Welcome to Bali
BALI is often described as being too touristy. In my opinion that is a rather superficial statement, as all it takes to discover the Bali which has enticed visitors to return time and again, is to leave the tourist enclaves of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak and Sanur behind.Let me help you discover Bali – an island which, although quite small, tends to leave a huge impression on visitors who make the effort, and spend the time, to have a good look around.
Bali is easy and inexpensive to get to
Air Asia operates flights to Bali from Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand. Jetstar also has direct flights to Bali, making Bali a prime destination, serviced by the best known budget airlines in the region. Of course, most full-service airlines also fly to Bali.
Bali offers a huge variety of hotels, resorts with spas, as well as simple bed and breakfast establishments. Of course there are also the typical Balinese homestays, which are often found in family compounds, offering a rare opportunity to observe how the Balinese live.
If you are planning to stay for any length of time, one month or longer, I would suggest that you base yourself away from the main areas in the south. You could split up your stay as follows:
1 week around Tabanan, which gives you easy access to Tanah Lot and the western part of the island.
1 week around Padang Bai or Candidasa, for access to the north-east coast.
From the East Coast townships of Padang Bai, Candi Dasa, Amed, and Tulamben, it takes but a few minutes to reach some of Bali’s most spectacular scuba dive sites.
1 week in one of the small villages near Loving on the north coast, to make it easy for you to explore the north of the island.
1 week in the Ubud area, to explore the cultural heart and the central region of Bali.
Ubud still attracts painters and writers from all around the world, and successfully stages an annual writers festival.The silver and goldsmiths of Mas produce some wonderful jewelry which is exported all over the world, and maybe it’s best not to take your credit card when visiting their showrooms.
There is so much on offer in Ubud. You can sign up for silver jewelry making classes, batik making classes, cooking classes – and the list goes on and on. There are also plenty of yoga schools and spiritual retreats. It is not unusual to rent a room in a home-stay, and realize later that the owner is actually a famous artist. For the more energetic, Ubud is a perfect place from which to plan a hike up Mt Agung, Bali’s sacred mountain.
Since I am a diver, here is a little more information about scuba diving in Bali.
Scuba diving in Bali is still something of a secret. Having dived in most of the more “fashionable” dive areas in Indonesia, such as Bunaken, Lembeh, Raja Ampat, Ambon, Banda and Komodo, I can say that Bali is still one of my favourite dive destinations. Let me tell you why in a little more detail.
1. Bali offers something for everyone
Whether you enjoy brisk currents, a beautifully, coral encrusted wreck, muck diving, deep diving, or a mix of all of the above, it’s all here in Bali. Although some road travel is involved to get from one area to the next, there are no expensive, domestic flights involved, which makes Bali a very cost and time effective dive destination.
2. Taking up scuba diving, or upgrading your certification?
Bali has a large number of professionally run dive operations, offering the whole palette of dive courses. From open water to dive instructor, it can be done in Bali. At prices which are hard to find anywhere else in Indonesia, or for that matter, anywhere.
3. Are you a diver who is traveling with a non-diver?
If you are traveling with a non-diver, you know how difficult it can be to balance your passion for diving, with the needs of your non-diving partner. In Bali that’s not an issue. There is plenty to do for non-divers – day tours to cultural treasures, shopping, getting pampered in a spa, hiking, mountain biking, surfing – the list goes on and on – oh, have I mentioned shopping?
Come to Bali, try the diving, and be amazed
How to get from A to B
To get around Bali, and if you can afford it, I would recommend hiring a car with driver. As the traffic in Bali is not for the faint-hearted, it can be a little nerve wrecking to drive on your own, but it can be done. If you ride a motor bike at home and have a license, you may like to hire a scooter. They are actually small motor bikes with 125cc motors. Public transport exists, but it is very time-consuming, and very uncomfortable.