Beautiful Bali | Travelogue Part 1
I stood by the ocean, under the sun with my feet in the sand, and felt as free as the birds catching the wind.
And there I was, finally in my right mind, having an ice lolly, in Bali
No matter what time of the year it is, I love beach holidays, because beach sunsets draw me to their magic. I went to Bali in December 2017, for 5 nights and in this article I will tell you why Bali is such a good place to visit, with friends or with your partner. You can find the most insane sunsets with the best music clubs and the most exquisite body spas. The people of Bali will greet your day into happiness and ensure that you have a laugh even while walking on the road. I went with Ila, my friend from 15 years, our friendship has a way of communicating without even speaking!
The best time to visit Bali
The best time to visit Bali is July – Aug followed by Dec – Jan. We visited Bali during the Christmas week (20th -25th) and we were definitely bummed by the rain of the first day. It was a Wednesday and the island was mostly empty but Thursday onwards tourism picked up, weather improved and we were once again sure of our trip decision.
Pro Tip # 1 – It’s June, and time for you book your July tickets, if you want to see Bali at its best.
The next thing to do was to figure out the currency, and we were stupefied when we realized that we are going to be millionaires there. Indonesian currency values at quite a low scale in the world currency market. 1 INR = ~200 Indonesian Rupiah (IDR) and again we made a slight error where we didn’t convert all of our Indian currency into either USD or IDR before departing. The airport currency exchange brokers always charge more and India currency can’t be exchanged at all places once you are on the island. Thankfully we found – Central Kuta Money Exchange agency and got a good enough exchange rate for our INR.
Pro Tip # 2 – Exchange your money either into USD or IDR from vendors in India and don’t rely completely on airport exchange or destination city vendors. Also, if you are exchanging money in Bali make sure you keep an eye out on the money and always keep it visible as many friends reported being duped by local exchange vendors where they count the money in front of you but while putting it in the envelope they go inside and remove a few millions.
Getting there and airport arrivals
We took Air Asia direct flight to island of Bali from Mumbai and it was a 10 hour cramped up journey (with an hour stop in Kuala Lumpur). I wouldn’t complain because I feel we got our money’s worth but I definitely had a very sore back post our return journey.
At arrivals, there is abundance of Sim card vendors, taxi vendors etc. When we approached a sim card vendor to take a local SIM we were taken aback by the price – some 20,000 IDR. It was only a day later we figured that this figure only looked big but in reality was just 100 Rupees. Our bad maths and nervous tourist mindset of being cautious! Well, honestly we didn’t take a SIM during the entire stay because we found that each place we visited had free WIFI including the beach cafes. I wanted to be disconnected from the world – to reconnect to nature. And sometimes it just feels so right to leave your phone back in your room.
Pro Tip # 3 – The Bali runway is right along the beach / ocean, so keep an eye out for some breathtaking landing!
Where to Stay
We broke our stay into two parts – The first 3 nights at a Villa with a private suite, yea sounds fancy, remember we were billionaires their; and the last 2 nights at a resort with an infinity pool, both places in Kuta.
18 Suite Villa Loft by Amithya – a two story villa with a pool. We loved our room and would rate this so much more than a hotel room. The service could be just a notch better, but again they served us breakfast in bed and we would come back to locally baked deserts waiting for us each evening. This stay was just a 5 minute walk away from the famous Kuta Street. The restaurants and clubs are located in this part of the city and the place is alive until after midnight.
The Patra Bali Resort & Villas – while this is located in Tuban, it is just a minute drive away from Kuta and 5 minutes’ drive from Airport. The hospitality was great, the infinity pool was great but it was raining both the times I wanted to jump into the pool. The resort does have an awesome view for sunsets (main pic above is at the hotel’s beach).
Pro Tip # 4 -The three main areas for stay in Bali are Kuta / Semiyak, Ubud and Nusa Dua each with their distinctive character. While Kuta / Semiyak offer local markets, great restaurants and party places, Ubud offers a stay amongst the hilly region of Bali and its rice fields ; Nusa Dua offer sports activities and is home to some 5 start hotels with a very relaxed, chilled-out vibe. If you have visited Bali, and you had a favourite pace to stay, I would love to read them in the comments section below.
The Nusa Dua beach was definitely my favourite and it was here I lost myself in the sea. Today when I mediate I try to remember the back-floating me in the Nusa Dua waters with Ila watching over me, making sure I don’t venture too far from the shore.
In the next article, I will list our 5 day itinerary elaborating on the places we visited and where we shopped, so do watch out this space.