In the beginning of 2016, V & I were in desperate need of a mini- break. After a bit of discussion and shortlisting, we decided to take a week off in April and go to Bali.
After booking our flight tickets (There are plenty of Garuda Indonesia flights from Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport to Ngurah Rai International Airport (Denpasar) via Hong Kong or Singapore), we did some basic research and decided to stay in Kuta (taking into consideration it’s proximity to the airport and the beach) and made reservations at the Risata Bali Resort & Spa, Kuta.
The resort itself was very beautiful, the rooms well-appointed and comfortable, and the service extremely welcoming however Kuta, itself, has become quite “touristy” and the essence of Bali seems to be somewhat dulled. The rest of Bali, however, completely lived up to our expectations – Friendly locals, lush greenery, serene rice fields, intricate wood and stone carvings and an all- pervading sense of peace – it was just what we needed!
For sightseeing in Bali, we checked online and came across a highly recommended private tour company called Mike Bali offering customisable private tours (half and full day) around Bali. We emailed them and received prompt replies to finalise our sightseeing itinerary. The total cost for both of us (of course, this was in 2016) came to around INR 3,000 – 3,500 per day (for upto 10 hrs.) and included the car (in great condition) + gasoline + an English-speaking guide.
We were very happy with their service! The drivers were punctual, amenable to changes and super friendly. They gave us great recommendations for hotels and things to try. One even stopped at a roadside fruit stall to help us buy some local fruits! We never felt like we were being rushed around and that was just great!
So, here’s what we did in Bali:
Tanah Lot / Tanah Let
This popular sightseeing spot in West Bali is home to the beautiful Pura Tanah Lot temple which sits on a large rock, right in the ocean and is accessible only at low tide.
As you can see, we reached during the high tide and were unable to go into the temple, however, we walked along the cliff tops, found a restaurant serving giant tender coconuts and were quite happy watching the waves break over the rocks.
Echo Beach, Canggu
Canggu is a stretch of the coastline with black sandy beaches and is quite popular with surfing enthusiasts.
We strolled along Echo beach and then made our way to one of the nearby Warungs for some coffee (for me) and Bintang (for V).
This is a traditional Balinese artform which narrates mythological tales through dance and music.
Balinese Batik and Weaving Factory
We were taken to a showroom taken through the entire Batik- making process. The fabrics were beautifully patterned and made a great gift to take home for friends and family.
This entire village prides itself on being expert gold and silver artisans. There are plenty of showrooms where their creations are put up for sale.
Mas village is dotted with wood carving workshops where you can find the artists working on their craft. Their work is beautiful with the carvings ranging from mythologies and nature to more contemporary scenes.
This is a Hindu water temple famous for its holy spring water which is used for many purification rituals.
Lunch with a view of the Batur volcano in Kintamani.
Balinese Coffee and Spice Plantation
Checking out the coffee plantation, Tasting the many varieties of coffee and tea and sipping on Kopi Luwak which is coffee made from coffee beans digested by Civet cats. This sounds disgusting, but don’t be put off; It is actually quite tasty!
Ubud Monkey Forest
This is a small rain forest located in the heart of Ubud village. It is home to many monkeys and other tropical animals.
A large collection of animals, reptiles and birds. Not to be missed!
Padang Padang beach
An almost secret entryway leads to a small stretch of beach. Laze on the sand, play in the water or dunk under the shade of the many warungs for something cold to drink.
A beautiful temple located on a cliff edge with breath-taking views of the Indian Ocean.
This is a form of storytelling dance which narrates the story of the Ramayana.
The distinctive feature is the group of performers who sit in circular formations and repetitively chant “chak ke-chak ke-chak ke-chak” which forms the beat against which the drama is played out. The performance was mesmerising and definitely something not to be missed!
To cap off this trip, we also indulged in an amazingly relaxing massage at our resort’s spa. It left us feeling loose limbed, relaxed, and ready to face real life again.
I hope this post has inspired your next vacation plan and provided a basic guide on what to do and see in Bali. And as I always say, do your research, check out all the available options and customise the best fit for YOU!
Hi I’m Sonal. I love to travel, eat and read. My dream is to combine all three passions, pack my life into a suitcase and haversack and explore the world!