Created on Saturday, 17 September 2011 17:47
Written by Steve Phua
Bali is one place that you should not miss out when going for a breath-taking vacation during a long weekend. By taking a direct flight from Singapore, you can easily reach the land of Bali in roughly 2.5 hours.
Since Bali opened up its tourism industry, it has attracted tourists from all over the world, as far as from Japan and Western countries. Upon reaching, you will be greeted by tons of brochures as you exit the arrival gate. It is also not surprising to see that the majority of the Balinese are able to communicate fluently in English, and some are even trained to speak in Japanese language.
Less than 10 minutes of a rather smooth car ride from Denpasar airport to Aston Kuta hotel in Kuta, I was greeted by a zealous porter as well as the securities of the hotel. The room is nicely decorated, bed tidily made and cleaned before the check-in. With more than 50 over channels, you shouldn’t feel bored in the event where you feel like lying on the comfort of the hotel bed for the day.
Although the street where the hotel is housed doesn’t seem too well-developed, the outlook of the hotel itself, the friendliness and courtesy of the staff, and the interior of the normal deluxe room made up for any disappointment you might have earlier.
If you would like to travel to some hotspots for tourists but have yet to find time to do your research about it, you can easily do so at the hotel’s concierge. They have several packages, with different prices, all which vary accordingly due to the distance travelled to get there and the number of hours for the sightseeing tour.
I decided on a tour to three places but not without some excellent negotiation of the Singaporean’s spirit. I managed to get them to charge me by per hour rate, which is definitely cheaper than keeping to their initial tour package rate.
One thing that I liked about their tour arrangement is that they would normally planned to start with the furthest place for the tour, and then moved back down to the places that would gradually get you back to the hotel easily after the end of the whole tour.
The first place that I visited was the Taman Ayun Temple, which is known to be a royal temple of the Mengwi Empire. And as the word royal states, the whole attraction does look magnificent with a huge spacious garden right upon passing through a small bridge that overlooks the river surrounding the temple.
On the compound of the temple, within another massive gate lies what is only opened during their festive seasons and often not to the public. But the tourist can still take a walk around the perimeter of the gate, which is surrounded by low walls and river to prevent tourists from unauthorized entry, to have a view at the structure where the real holy ground lies. As holy as it is, ladies who are having menstruation are strongly discouraged from stepping into the compound behind the gate, or even within the perimeter of it. On the other hand, pregnant women are allowed.
If taking a walk on the lower grounds is not good enough for you, you may want to have a bird eye’s view of the whole temple just like I did. But as the steps are rather steep and high, you will have to watch your steps to avoid falling down.
The next stop that I went to is Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. With the name of the place being spelled out, it’s either you love monkeys, or skipping this place for the tour, as monkeys are loitering everywhere within the place.
By nature, monkeys are of a playful nature. Hence, it’s not difficult at all to spot them playing around with their mates. And if you lucky enough, you might be able to catch a couple of them during their mating period.
Fruit bats can also be found within the area, but fear not. There are just a couple of them hanging upside-down by the branches that are looked after by the locals. A picture may be taken with them with the help of a Balinese there, by paying a small amount of money – what they called donations – for the bats.
The last place where I was brought to is the Tanah Lot Temple. What differentiate this temple from the earlier temple I went to – Taman Ayun Temple, is that Tanah Lot Temple is being built on the rock, rather than on the firm solid ground.
I was greeted with a beautiful sunset slowly falling behind the horizons, in which the driver sped up just fast enough for me to catch it. Because this place is famous for its sunset view, it’s just a matter of time to see tourists rushing in to view the sunset together with you.
One other spectacular thing that you shouldn’t miss out is the Kecak Dance performed by the Balinese, just right after viewing the sunset in Tanah Lot Temple. While there were no music or orchestra around as music accompaniment, the sounds created by around 50 bare-chested and almost barehanded men made the whole dance performance enchanting.
After a day of touring and walking, I thought it was time to reward myself. I was given the recommendation to visit Made’s Warung restaurant for my dinner.
If you are looking for traditional Indonesian food, this is one of those places you wouldn't want to miss. I would say although the food was slightly pricey than those other cheaper restaurants in Bali that you could have gone to, the food does worth the price.
Since I am in Bali, one place that I know I would have to visit is the beach. Bali is not only known for their culture, but also their luxuriously beautiful beaches. How could one go around telling others you have been to Bali if you hadn’t been to any of its beaches?
Fret not if you feel like getting a massage done by the beach. Though the massage is not done right under the sun where you can have your suntanning done at the same time, the mobile massage services around did a pretty good job for my friends and I.
What's more, how does it sound if you are able to have a quiet romantic dinner by the beach with your loved ones? Less than five minutes away by foot, there is a quiet beach located behind the hotel, and various restaurants as well as pubs there for some night entertainment.
Listening to the gentle waves softly crashing against the boulders and having the gentle breeze blowing against your face as you dine by the beach, makes it seem like a perfect opportunity for wedding proposal.
My trip to Bali will never be perfect if I had missed out the sightseeing tour, the beach, or the traditional Indonesian food. There are of course lots other activities you can do in Bali, such as bungee jump, or learn how to surf! And if you ask, will I go back to Bali again? My answer is definitely a big yes!