Thursday, May 30, 2013

An Intro To Bali: Taking An Exotic Vacation To Indonesia: Travel Blog

An Intro To Bali: Taking An Exotic Vacation To Indonesia: Travel Blog

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An Intro To Bali: Taking An Exotic Vacation To Indonesia

Posted: 29 May 2013 01:35 PM PDT

Canadians who have yet to venture to the remote, tranquil, and beautiful island of Bali are in for a treat. Unlike other travel destinations that rarely match the images we conjure in our minds, Bali delivers. It is ringed by blue waters that lap luxuriously on shores filled with white, pristine sands. A lush, green cover of foliage rests on sloping cliffs that rise gently toward the sky. Temples and pagodas share the landscape with volcanoes and mountain peaks, all testaments to the island’s peaceful terrain.

Travelers will find a unique land that caters to their whims while offering experiences unlike any they’ve encountered elsewhere. Luxurious resorts, tantalizing cuisine, and full-treatment spas can make any vacationer feel welcomed and pampered. Meanwhile, numerous Balinese ceremonies, rituals, and performances provide a feast for the eyes.

In the guide below, we’ll give you a head start on planning your trip. Use our recommendations as suggestions designed to guide you toward creating a memorable experience. Bali awaits.

A Quick Guide To Fun Activities In Bali

Those who enjoy relaxing on their ventures to other parts of the world will find plenty to keep them busy in Bali. Most of the resorts provide spas, restaurants, and areas for lounging. Travelers who enjoy sightseeing will find countless spectacles to observe on the island. And explorers who are more adventurous will find plenty to sate their need for excitement. Regardless of what type of activities you are doing, be sure to always consider travel insurance as a Canadian travelling outside of Canada so that you are covered for any unforeseeable events.

Read on for a quick list of 3 enjoyable activities we highly recommend.

#1 – Visit The Tirta Empul Temple

This is a Hindu temple located near the center of Bali. It hosts a pool of holy water that draws local Hindus from around the island, and serves as a popular prayer sight. Visitors are welcomed to peruse the shrines and various statues erected throughout the premises. The temple has a peaceful ambiance that may be jarring to those accustomed to a fast-paced way of life. Spend an hour or two to gain a better understanding of the culture of the island. Cost of entry: approximately $2.

#2 – Visit The Elephant Safari Park

The elephant safari park is a particularly good activity if you’re traveling with young kids. They’ll marvel at the large animals, all of which are kept in great condition and are friendly to people. You’ll have an opportunity to feed the elephants and ride them through an exotic ecosystem built at the park. You’ll also learn about their ancestry and customs, the latter of which makes clear the animals’ intelligence. Cost of entry: $65, but plan to pay $20 more to ride the elephants.

#3 – See The Kecak Dance

The Kecak Dance, sometimes called the Ramayana Monkey Chant, is a spectacle held at Ulu Watu. It’s a musical drama conducted with more than 150 performers using little more than their dancing and vocal chords to entertain spectators. The Dance is performed mostly by men – the addition of women is relatively new and there are rarely more than a few – dressed in colorful costumes. They chant vigorously while acting out a Sanskrit epic called the Ramayana. Cost of entry: approximately $8.

Start with these 3 activities. There is, of course, much more to enjoy on the island. Those with a penchant for hiking should climb Mount Batur, a volcano surrounded by a lake. Or, rent a bike and journey through the town of Ubud. Surfing in Kutu, snorkeling on a nearby island (Menjangan), or rafting through the watery passages of Bali are also enjoyable treats for adventurous travelers.

Where To Find Great Food In Bali

It shouldn’t surprise you that seafood is the cuisine of choice on Bali. The restaurants specialize in preparing delicious seafood dishes that are certain to satisfy your taste buds. Many offer serene environments designed to make vacationing diners feel instantly welcomed and comfortable.

We recommend visiting Sardine. Many tourists rate it as one of the best culinary experiences available on the island. The restaurant is located in Kerobokan. Constructed from nearly a dozen types of bamboo, it offers a romantically lit ambiance set among lush green vegetation and the lulling waters of rice paddies. You can also enjoy outdoor seating amid bright green lily ponds. Start with the Asian lobster and prawn bisque before ordering the pan seared wild snapper. Or try the grilled kingish with balsamic becurre rouge. End the meal with a coconut panna cotta or warm chocolate fondant. The entire experience will cost approximately $50 per person.

Next stop: La Lucciola. It’s perched on Petitenget Beach and boasts a large, open facility. There are two levels to the restaurant, both of which enjoy a comfortable breeze from the nearby waters. While many of the dishes are built around seafood, you’ll also find Italian meals on the menu. Try the bok-choy risotto doused in a sesame ginger or a seafood stew containing garlic prawns, calamari, and chili. Many visitors rave about the moist duck breast and oven-baked snapper. Finish off the meal with a berry-based panna cotta or a couple scoops of vanilla bean gelato. Plan to spend approximately $35 per person.

For a slightly different experience, we recommend visiting Ibu Oka in Ubud. This restaurant draws the locals. It’s reasonably priced and you’ll find some of the best babi guling (suckling pig) on the island. Plates are approximately $3 and only outdoor seating is available. If you’re going for lunch, plan to arrive at 11:30 to beat the crowds.

Bali’s Top Luxury Hotels

Since you’re traveling halfway across the globe, it’s worth spending your vacation in a luxury resort. There, your every need (within reason) will be accommodated by a friendly staff eager to make your stay enjoyable. Many of the rooms found at beachfront resorts overlook the waters, providing guests with a memorable view that is both tranquil and mesmerizing.

One of the best bets on the island is the Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan. You’ll find a large outdoor pool; a comfortable restaurant with a view of the jungle; and rooms equipped with every amenity you might need, from cable TV to refrigerators. You can choose to stay in one of the suites in the main structure or reserve one of the dozens of private villas strewn throughout the resort. Luxury comes at a price. Plan to pay between $500 and $650 a night during May.

We also recommend the Komaneka Resort near the Jalan monkey forest. This facility prides itself on its exclusivity and style. It is set among rice fields and surrounded by vegetation and exotic plants. The rooms come with cable TV and a DVD player, and the bathrooms include a marble bathtub. The resort’s restaurant provides meals in an outdoor setting with seating nearby a tranquil pond and covered by a canopy of trees. Rates range between $300 and $400 a night during May.

The Matahari Beach Resort is also recommended by travelers. It’s in a secluded location, providing guests with a quiet, relaxing atmosphere. The facility, ornate in design, is set between the Java Sea and Barat National Park. If you enjoy exercising while traveling, take advantage of the resort’s fitness center. After your workout, enjoy a meal at the on-site restaurant or cool down with a slow swim in the outdoor pool. Rooms can be reserved for approximately $300 per night in May.

The Best Way To Tour The Island

When it comes to getting around the island, Bali is unlike most of the other travel destinations we’ve covered. Traffic is unpredictable and disorganized, which makes renting a car problematic. Getting from place to place on bike is doable for short distances, but unrealistic if you need to reach remote parts of Bali.

Another option is to hail a taxi when you need one. The problem here is that the taxi system is tricky with some rates based on metered time and distance and others based on whatever prices you can negotiate with the drivers. Additionally, some of the drivers are untrustworthy. They attempt to charge astronomical rates from confused tourists.

By far, the best way to travel on the island is by hiring a personal driver. Although it can cost approximately $50 a day, the expense is well worth paying. You’ll have a driver at your beck and call who knows the island and will transport you anywhere you’d like to go on a moment’s notice. The concierge at your hotel should be able to make the necessary arrangements. Be aware that you may need to negotiate the driver’s daily rate.

The Flight To Bali: How Much Will It Cost?

In our “Best Hotels” section above, we used May for the room rates. This is one of the best times of the year to travel to Bali. The tourist season hasn’t yet accelerated by that point, allowing you and your travel companions to enjoy the mid-80s tropical climate in relative peace. Additionally, the precipitation on the island dies down significantly in April (it picks back up in November). With this in mind, we’ll use May for airfare rates from Canada to Bali.

A round trip ticket leaving Toronto will cost between $2,000 and $2,500 if you book your flight well in advance. Flying from Vancouver can be less costly (between $1,500 and $2,000), but the deals tend to disappear quickly during the tourist season. Expect flights from Montreal to cost more, with tickets ranging between $2,500 and $3,000. If you are planning to get some last minute deals, make sure that you are actually getting one.

Look for bargains. Many of the airlines, trying to spur business ahead of their competitors, launch early-season promotions that can bring major savings to the savvy traveler.

If you have never visited Bali, add the island to your list. It offers an experience that nearly all travelers rave about. You’ll find that a week spent on the island will make you forget completely about the stresses of normal daily life.

An Intro To Bali: Taking An Exotic Vacation To Indonesia is a post from: - Travel Directory