We all have wish lists for travel as well as other things in life. Over time I am realizing 8 out of 10 people have Bali listed in their lists as well. It was in mine too. It is a magical place which caters to the needs of every person.For a honeymoon couple, there are a minimum of 10 most romantic spots here, if you are a bunch of friends on a bachelorette or catching up, Bali has a wide variety of options for clubbing and chilling. People also come here looking for answers, to their loneliness or life’s troubles. Traditional medicine , good food, wonderful temples and a lot of place to party makes Bali one of the most visited tourist spots.
I have been to Bali twice once in March’17 with my parents and once with a bunch of 9 friends in March ’18. Both trips were very different from each other, and both times Bali has mesmerized me and my imaginations. I still have not had enough of Bali and March 2019 seems to be already on cards.
I want to capture moments and high points from both trips but the recent one is fresh and has more elements to write about.
Four of us took an early morning flight from Singapore, while others were going to join us from Bangalore and Kolkata, India. We had booked a 4 bedroom villa which was very spacious and had quite a big outdoor swimming pool ( which we didn’t utilize much). Our villa was in Jimbaran and the way to it was quite difficult and long.Bali is a big place, wherever you end up staying you will have to keep the long travelling distance in mind. Also thankfully one of our friends had a local sim which helped us a lot to find the villa.
(With my parents we had stayed in a two room villa called Hakuna Matata which had a very Balinese character, open showers and a very beautiful swimming pool and couch area, definitely a better choice for a small group)
We had a few drinks while waiting for everyone to come. Once everyone reached and freshened up, we had ordered food already , we left for Uluwatu temple.( The initial plan was to visit the Tanah Lot temple, but due to travelling distance and fear of the same being closed we decided against it). With 9 of us, getting ready and leaving took time given that there was always so much to talk and also so many pics to be clicked;inside the villa, outside, girl gang, guys gang etc etc.
Uluwatu was around 1.5-2 hrs from our villa, and the drive was fun. From time to time we saw the black stone temple and the black stone idol wrapped in white cloths with green stripes. That is so Bali!. You would definitely enjoy seeing them. Also since we are Hindus , we were amazed to see so much of hindu culture in Bali and it was nice to learn the history around it.
As soon as we reached Uluwatu, and Vish ( my husband) got down from the car, a notorious monkey , came and snatched his glasses. Yes he has a poor eyesight and 4 days in Bali without his glasses would be soo difficult. It was hilariously funny though, we trying to ‘shshsh’ the monkey and throwing Oreo biscuits for him to hold and drop the glasses. But there is only one right way to make a monkey drop your thing, is throw a banana high enough for him to jump to catch. Our oreo trick didn’t work, and the monkey was relishing the glasses.
On top of a tree we saw one handle and then the other one break, poor glasses, poor Vish. Then there was this local saviour who threw a banana and we got our glasses back (yes yes, whatever was left of it) scratched , eaten and licked. So please be careful with sun glasses, glasses, camera and phones; Use throw the banana technique; and carry an extra pair maybe 😉
We wrapped purple color wraps , as mostly people wear shots and the legs should be covered , as a respect to the deity. All set, we made our way to the temple very aware of the monkeys. The view is stunning, deep blue water, with the roaring waves crashing against perfect colored stones, making the lulling sound and the perfect view. All the time while you take the stairs to go up, you realize the expanse of the Indian ocean and the beauty of it. There is a long walk, with different viewing point which we took and which provided different views to the sea below. Uluwatu is a the hilly area of Bali and so the sea is always down below.
( There is a wonderful local kecak dance which happens in the temple which we missed this time as it was already sold out. This one is a must see though, please reach early and book the tickets and book good seats. You have the view of an amazing sunset while you watch the dance. Car drivers might be able help you get tickets as well. The stage, the backdrop and the dance itself is a beautiful experience. One of the scenes from Ramayana the Hindu Epic where Goddess Sita is abducted, and Lord Hanuman saves her from the Rakshasa (demon) Ravana is enacted. The Background music is provided by a group of people making sounds from their mouths and this is an experience you should aim to see – I have attached some pictures in the gallery).
In the evening, it was dark and we were about to leave. I shouldnt have but I planned to use the washroom and my slippers was attacked by monkeys, while i was wearing them) It was dangerous but now that you think of it , not so :-).That day we planned to go to Rock bar in Jimabaran area so that we had the car and the driver could drop us to our villas.
The rock bar is at Ayana Resort and Spa and guests staying here enjoy more privileges. It is very uniquely designed on a secluded limestone cliff. The high point of the cliff is the place where the live bands perform. A blue light light up the live band areas and there is couple seat for the resort guests to enjoy drinks and dinner. There are different kinds of seating arrangements, couches for group, single bar chairs facing the beach and the beautiful waters. At high tides you might be lucky to actually feel the splashes of water from the waves crashing against the cliff. The drinks especially the martinis are amazing, we had heard but since they are very expensive, and hence we stuck to out Bintang beer. Big bags are not allowed to be taken down into the bar and we were asked to go back to the hotel lobby to store it in a locker. The lobby is a long distance from the bar anda workaround is better.
There is a funicular lift which takes you down to the bar and there might be queues. We were lucky as it was night-time, but during sunsets which are a must see at this place ,it might get very very busy. I had never seen something so beautiful and romantic in my life. It was a classy place and the right setting to enjoy the feel and sound water with music and drinks.I generally do not suggest food, being a vegetarian I cannot cater to a lot of people tastes, but when there is one veg item which stands out from everything else in the menu and no one can resist it , you need to order it twice. The Feta Cheese Fries at rock bar, are the yummiest things I ever had.
After a drink , it was time to come back to the villa and for the party to continue. some of us in the pool, we chit chatting, songs playing and lot of beers to have. After some time we moved party inside, and then it took a different turn, horror and terror stories people had heard or seen or listened to. It turned so interesting that the night lasted for a few more hours. Some of us scared and some of us one loving the eerie feeling. Plans to scare the ones already scared, locking rooms , switching off lights and a lot of laughs and wonderful moments we went to sleep.
Next day we had plans of going to Nusa Dua for the Blow Point or Splash point and to do some water activities. The blow point is really one of the miracles of nature where the structure of the rocks is such that the water gets trapped in a small inlet forcing it to push through the porous rock making it splash up to heights of 10 mt. There needs to be high tide and preferable wind to enjoy this site. Otherwise it is generally very hot. There is a big viewing platform present to enjoy the sight. This time around we weren’t that lucky and except a few small splashes in 2 hours there was nothing much to see.
(When I had visited with my parents it was a sight to behold, we had to wait for some time, and even though it did not reach the most miraculous stage we did enjoy many big splashes and the wonder of what was happening. It needs a little bit of patience and planning and if you are there in the right time I can imagine it would be one of the top experiences. ) I enjoy water a lot; I always thought I have experienced water in many ways. I have never feared it but now thankfully to the recent trips and the water sports I am going to describe I have fallen more in love with water – snorkelling, ocean bed walking etc makes me realize I do not know the depths of water that well, and soon I might learn diving.
A lot of food later from the food carts near the blow point (cheap and yummy food stalls) we made way to the water sports area. Amongst the many activities and many people, we decided to choose three activities: 1. Double parasailing: 8 of us would do.2.Jet ski- 3 people and thirdly ocean bed walking – 5 people. Only two of us were doing all three of them. The funniest thing when I came here with my parents I had done parasailing and ocean bed walking. I do not want to miss out, what if there are more beautiful fishes this time around. There is a scope of bargaining and given that it’s in my blood (Marwari blood after all) we decided to go ahead.
We started with parasailing, all of us in a boat to go parasail. The water splashing our faces, a bumpy boat ride later we started. 2 people at one time, some scared, some looking forward to it. The 2 girls most scared went first and had quite an experience, grounded to the boat but flying high in the sky. It was such a liberating experience. The last ones to go the 2 boys were the luckiest as they were dipped in water, not once but twice and surely enjoyed the experience more.
We came back to the shore and prepared for the Jet ski ride, three of us in our jet skis, with helpers sitting behind us made our way into the sea, going left and right in what seemed to us the highest speeds possible. For me this is another experience which makes me feel so alive, the fun of cutting the water at such high speeds, feeling the wind and water on the face and just screeching through, the waves being the speed bumps making your Jet Ski jump and you slowing down in the fear that the ski might topple.
After 20 mins of driving, exhausted and happy to the core, we got ready for ocean bed walking. It is really a very nice experience, not that scary, all under control, stairs to the bottom of the sea, oxygen in your helmet, and guides to help you. The sheer water pressure and the expanse of water around you with so many fishes to see is worth it. You hold a raling on the sea bed and walk around getting your pictures clicked with fishes all around you. With food in your hand, they come and eat and you enjoy the scene in front of you trying to protect from water entering the helmet and absorbing as much as one can. You actually stay quiet after you climb the stairs up because even though you had imagined what the depth of an ocean is made of you never thought it would be so easily possible to go and see it. I can just think what kind of experience diving would be.
I was really tired after three continuous activities and took a power nap on our way to Tanha Lot temple. It is quite far and was almost 2-2.30 hours of drive. All of us had a small nap to refresh ourselves. Sometimes you think, that how is it possible to have so many experiences and different level and kinds of satisfaction in one day. That is what we felt when we reached Tanah Lot temple. Big Balinese style columns at the entrance. There is an entrance fee. There are two temples for you to view and enjoy.
One of the temples in on top of the cliff and is a very beautiful sight as well. We did not go to till the entrance of the temple but just enjoyed the view. The place attracts millions of tourists and so you should expect the place to be very crowded. However looking at the sliver water with white to silver froth on the big waves can completely drown the crowd and give you a space of your own to enjoy. Just look at the temple and the water and the colours of the sky. It is beautiful. There are localities selling flower clips, hats and stuff like that. All we girls bought the white colour flower one side hair clip and did a photo session with the same. It is so Bali that even though you might not want it, you might end up getting one. One more wonder we discovered here is the spicy fruit salad which some old women were selling on the pavement. Raw mango, berries, strawberry, local chilli and spices crushed together. If you like spicy it is definitely a must have. We enjoyed the sourness and the hotness of the salad and made our way to the other temple.
This temple is on a big rock on the sea itself. During high tides it gets covered half in water. The waves of the mighty Indian ocean are just spectacular and with the right rocks and formation the beauty increases many a fold. There is a lot of scope of wonderful sunset, waves and temple photography. Believe me you will end up getting the best shots without trying. Please be careful of the waves, thankfully there are temple guards etc to protect and guide you. You can make your way through the water to the temple and it feels good. There is a particular Balinese ritual, a small one you need to follow, to wash your hands, take the rice on your forehead and the white flower – I came to know it is called ‘Kamboja ‘ in Bali. You can climb the stair to see the Indian Ocean from another viewpoint. Once you have had your share of the waves you go back to the shore, or climb the small rocks and wait until it is dark and they blow the trumpet for everyone to leave.
Both times I was there, I spent a long time on the rock standing and watching the waves hit the rocks and splashing water all around. It is an endless game to wait for the splash to reach you and even a few drops of it makes you so so happy. (When I went my parents, Vish and I had been married only for 4 months and standing there on the rock with his arms around me and the darkness around with just the sounds of water was a very beautiful moment. A moment which I don’t think either of us will ever forget).
It was dark, and the temple was about to close , we went and had a Luwak coffee, a coffee very famous in Bali made from the coffee beans produced in the poop of the animal Luwak. Not very tempting, and for me I might take some time to develop the taste. On our way we also tried the local food called Martabak which could be sweet or savoury, and had options like chocolate with cheese, and milk , and plain with cheese and bananas etc. Cheese is called keju there and milk is susu 🙂 These were lovely to have and we ordered more than we could finish but a sure try again next time.
What then, it was time to head to enjoy the nightlife of Bali. The place which we went to that night was Potato head Beach club in Seminiyak. Another lovely bar with a nice character. A beautifully lit infinity swimming pool from where you could see the beach and ocean. Some of us did go into the pool. The sun beds are difficult to get but once you get it, your night is made. The crowd is superb, the cocktails worth it and presentation and service deserves 5 stars. When you are leaving the bar you would notice ( if you are not too drunk ) that the walls of the hallway is made of beautiful window structures. Actually the old plank style window covers the whole wall.
It is the place to be and we were there till late at night, enjoying our drinks, getting high and relaxing. Once back in the villa, we spent some time chit chatting, having our turns in sharing stories, it was more about the out-of-body experiences and I shared a lot of my personally felt , seen and experiences stories. Our world is made of so many unique things and feelings. Late in night or early in morning we went to sleep. Again, how can a day have so many experiences?
Last night in Bali and we had plans of making most of the day. This day was a little more about relaxing and catching up, a lazy afternoon and happening night life.
We went to Ubud, the beautiful green rice terraces, so lush green that you love the place immediately. a valley of green rice terraces where you can walk down through muddy pathways and broken stairs and then have a nice cosy place to sit and have the famous Luwak coffee. But before heading there since we were very hungry and wanted to relax a little, we went for lunch to Bebek Teba sari.
They have beautiful hut structures where you sit with folded legs and lots of cushions and table in the centre. All around you there is water and fishes. You can even buy fish food and feed the fish which we really enjoyed doing. It was along lazy afternoon in the sun eating and drinking to out heart’s content. Chit chatting, playing with the fishes and just relaxing.
We reached there and trekked the rice terraces, everybody in their paces, realizing that we needed to be fit. The sunlight on these rice paddies are beautiful to see and behold. It was very beautiful. There are small shops along the pavement selling artistic stuff, carving, pictures and painting. It is beautiful to look at them.
There are two amazing stuffs which can be done in Ubud, other than taking lot of pictures. One is get picture clicked off you with the bamboo baskets and the small dagger which is used to cut rice. The second one which I noticed and did this time is their swing. It was a nice mildly adventurous thing to do. They tie you up safely and then push the swing so that you swing on top of the valley of the rice fields. It is amazing, the swing tied strongly to two trunks of big trees and that’s it. It is quite a thrilling experience to see as far as your eye can see, and the wind in your hair and nothing under your feet. I really enjoyed the ride.
We headed to Tegenungan water falls after that, but we were late for the same and the since it was getting dark it was about to close. There was a lot of steps going down and the climb up looked tiring. The place looked nice but since it was closed we could not go down.
We had some relaxing time around the water fall and went to Kuta beach shack side. It is a beautiful spot where you have food and bar joints on the beach each with live bands and singers. Beautiful decorations, very nice colors and very very comfy in the sea breeze and dark night. Before we reach there, our moods were already set. In the van, we had a big van with a lot of luggage space in back, some of us had danced. It was just a very funny but joyful situation, the car is driving its way to the Kuta beach and Bollywood numbers are playing and some of us are dancing in the back. There were people from other cars trying to take peak inside whenever we were stuck in traffic.
Our driver was smiling throughout but was driving carefully so none of the girls unbalance and get hurt. This set mood for the entire night. When we reached Kuta we ordered a lot of strong long island ice tea, danced a bit , walked to the beach and enjoyed the varied movements of the water. I was very relaxed and in a happy state. Each person again lost in their own moods, some talking philosophy, some relations and some nothing at all. When I am writing this I can feel myself standing there again and thinking of how clear and different our thoughts are on a nice trip than our daily lives, and there are so many times we take life changing decisions or fall in love, or motivate ourselves for something else.
We came to know about a unique phenomena which takes place in Bali around month of March.People all around Bali observe silence for two days and use minimal lights. Mainly small lamps but no electricity. Everything closes down mostly and the sky is so clear at that time that you can actually see the entire Milky way. Such a beautiful phenomena, it would be nice to see and observe it and experience the silence of the place to help silence our minds and clear it of all the chaos we collect over years.
A little exhausted, with a little drizzle we were planning the next stop. It was almost 1.00 am and some of us wanted to go home and some wanted to continue the party. Last night after all! We took taxis to go to Sky Garden and on the way some people fell asleep. The mood had gone down as there was too much traffic, we were in separate taxis, we fell asleep and it was raining heavily outside.
In two minds, we still thought that let us give it a try. There was some entry and we needed to keep our bags in the lockers. Overall the entry process was a long one. Before you enter the club you need to choose the two drinks you wanted. There are a different combinations and I am sure there were better deals than which we took. The shots you need to drink at the bar itself, the cocktails and beers etc you can carry to club inside. Before you enter you can start feeling the beat and the floor vibrating. As soon as you enter and move to the centre of the club we realized why it is amongst the top 150 clubs around the world. The DJ was superb and we had an amazing time dancing our guts out till 4.30-5.00 AM in the morning. We just danced, danced and danced. I never knew we could dance so much, head banging, repetitive movements, sweaty clothes but we loved the energy, the lights and music of the place. The crowd seemed nice with easy to identify for us the middle-aged Indian uncles looking for their prey 🙂
It was a wonderful three days and nights, next day we said our goodbyes and everyone left at different times. Till Next time!.
If you have any questions about any of the place, prices of the tickets etc, ready to help.
- Hakuna Matata- Villa for 4 people
- Secreat Villa Garden Jimabaran – around 9-10 people.
- Rock Bar
- Sky Garden
- Potato Head Beach Club
- Bebak Teba Sari
- Driver Gede
- Nusa Dua Splash Point