|The rice fields are abundant in Bali. In the backdrop is an inactive volcano|
|Kuta is one of the busiest beaches of Bali that is famous for its water sports|
|Major religion is Hinduism. The art depicting their faith is seen everywhere|
Bali has been a dream destination for people all around the world. In fact, the variety this tiny mass of land can offer to a traveller is simply amazing. One can find everything here- right from the beaches to forests to mountains and volcanoes; and right from bars to night clubs to temples to natural parks.... The three pictures above easily tell about the diversity Bali has in store for its guests. Why should there be any doubt if Bali is every body's dream destination. And, after having visited this place, I wonder why for many people it always remains a dream to visit this place and they never get to fulfill it!! This land is so easily approachable, visa is available on arrival, people are fantastic and loving…and above all, it is not very expensive also.
The dream came true for me
|The room at Jati Homestay where I stayed in Ubud area of Bali Island|
|Staying is quite inexpensive in Bali, especially in home stays and hostels|
It was my first trip to Bali, and I was naturally excited. I was flying from Singapore to Bali on very cheap fair and on very competitive air service…thanks to new routes started by Air Asia. Singapore is the best place to board a connecting flight for Bali, though one can reach there from Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok also. As for Singapore, you can get multiple-entry visa easily and cheaply, as compared to Thailand or Malaysia. And there are more airline options from Singapore than there are from other places.
I had read a lot about Indonesia on internet… and friends who had already been to Indonesia had been telling me to be on my guard while roaming alone or in night there. Hence, there was an undercurrent of apprehensiveness along with obvious excitement. But this sense of apprehension was dispelled the moment I came out of the most beautiful and quietest airport I had ever seen. The only other airport that matches the quietness and simplicity of Ngurah Rai Airport of Bali is Al-Nozha Airport of Alexandria in Egypt, though it is not as beautiful.
Four days were not enough
|A Balinese home...detached buildings in the front, a large courtyard in the rear|
My trip to Bali was four-days long; though later I realized that four days were not enough if one wished to savour the beauty of this tiny island and nearby islands of Lombok and Komodo. Bali is indeed a tiny mass of land, but so rich in cultural heritage and natural beauty that one needs time to enjoy all this. The trips are usually a day long, and believe me, every trip leaves you physically exhausted but mentally refreshed. And there are many pre-designed trips offered by travel agents. Some trips take you to nearby islands and these can span from one day to two days, depending upon whether you wish to come back to Bali the same day or the next day. And if you wish to traverse the land on your own, then you need more time.
So folks, I had only four days and I had to get the maximum out of it. At airport, visa officer asked a good number of questions before finally granting me one. I suppose they interview everybody like this, and I was not an exception just because I was an Indian. A seven-day visa costs you 10 US dollars, and for a three month visa you will have to furnish 25 US dollars. Just outside the airport, you can have paid taxi to anywhere in the island. The taxis are air-conditioned, and the ride offers you some spectacular views on the way especially when you are heading towards interior areas like Ubud or much higher in the mountains.
|An artifact shop in Ubud, which is full of artistes; and shops full of artwork|
|The owner of my home stay at work. He is one of the numerous artistes in Ubud|
|A painting by the owner of my home stay that depicts a scene from Ramayana|
Ubud was the place where I stayed for two nights, and it was the place I fell in love with. It is an artistes’ village where every second person is a painter. If you wish to live really close to nature, then you should go for home stays there. There are a number of home-stays where you live in big family houses. In the end of their courtyards, the local people have made provisions for guest houses. The room tariff is unbelievably low at most of the places, and the stay is pleasant, comfortable and well taken care of. One can find a home stay for as-low-as US $4 per day. In most of the home stays, rooms are made of bamboos and wood only.
Charming beaches of Bali
Charming beaches of Bali
|Kuta is always abuzz with activities. If one is not surfing, one is sun-bathing|
|It is Sanur beach. The sunrise scene here is mesmerizing and unforgettable|
|Local couples also come to Sanur in morning to soak themselves in warm sunrays|
Afternoon showers bring respite
|The mountains look somewhat like a misty heaven after the showers...|
|...while roads are suddenly lit up with headlights, much before it is dark|