Finally, we have concluded our 5 days of meandering around Bali, exploring food, entertainment, and solitude. Here is the final wrap-up of our trip documented from 13000ft above sea level, as we eagerly head to Hyderabad, to join the friends and family for Dasara festivities.
- Bali Island is just about width 90mi (east to west) and 69m (north to south), with a population of about 5 million. Over 80% of the population is known to adhere to Balinese Hinduism. However, they do not believe in Idolism (hence no idols in most temples) and are big believers of Karma
- 80% of the local economy is driven by Tourism. Almost every business appears to promote tourism and selling related services. You need not walk more than a dozen steps to find a place to book tourism related service. Local folks are super friendly, and we found the place to very safe 24 hours a day.
- Bali gives a feel of Goa, Ooti, Munnar, Kerala but lot more cleaner, quieter, and cosmopolitan, few unique travel experiences, while being easy on the wallet
- Bali’s central mountains include several peaks over 2,000 meters in elevation and active volcanoes such as Mount Batur, the volcano which we are supposed to scale for morning sunrise camp, and had to drop off due to impending eruption of Mount Agung (3000m), which known as the “mother mountain”. Mt Agung is an active volcano rated as one of the world’s most likely sites for a massive eruption within the next 100 years. This is one started making noise on the day we started to Bali and started spewing smoke on the day we landed. We took a leap of faith and did not cancel our trip, as Batur is 80 miles away from Kuta where we camped, which is now called as island’s cultural center
- We booked our trip via Trip Factory (found via Google Search), as they responded to our online price quote within 15 minutes of our query. They did pretty well in terms of pricing and customer service. However, I recommend not using any travel service, especially Bali, as it will give maximum flexibility in terms of planning our day per our personal theme. Most packed tours have fixed itinerary and can’t be changed so easily. We had the best fun, doing things, outside the standard itinerary
- We rented Bikes (Scooty) in Bali, which made our trips to shopping, restaurants, and movies, quite effortless and fun. Taxi rides in Bali can take a really long time, given the small roads and lots of traffic. Given that, we have explored food in really popular joints, and some of them were located in small streets, where taxis won’t make it, bike rental was a big plus. Here is some GoPro footage shot, en-route to lunch at an Italian place and returning back to the hotel. Highlights of 30 minutes drive have been compressed to the 60-second footage.
- Entire world cuisine is at your doorstep in Bali. Though we are vegetarians, we had plenty of options to explore good food at great prices and locations with great ambiance and service. We have used Google maps and various food blogs to find the coolest places to dine around us
- Visiting temple in Bali wasn’t as mind-blowing experience as visiting temples in Cambodia. All the tourist places are heavily crowded and need to be visited at the right time of the day for great pics and experience, or use avenues such as boating (ex: at Ulun Danu) to get exclusive views.
- We loved the drive to Ulun Danu, speed boating, and most importantly lunch at Gong Jatiluwih amidst beautiful rice terraces
- Visiting Goa Gajah was not awe-inspiring. Ubud is good, only if you have some shopping to do, or maybe to see Rice Terraces (which is not as awesome as what we saw at Ulan Danu)
- Tanah Lot seems to be a must visit item for everyone, and scenic place to be for sunrise or sunset. Monkey Temple can be easily skipped
- Visiting Luwak Coffee plantation for experiencing the world’s most expensive coffee was interesting
- Be sure to try ATV Ride in rugged terrain via Brother Bali ATV Adventures
- With this trip, we have realized, traveling as a solo family, is lot more fun than traveling as big family or group, as it will ensure lots of flexibility in planning our day, choosing the theme of the day, and selecting places to go and dine too J.
Here are key pics from our meandering around Kuta, exploring food, and Entertainment. For pics of specific sites, click those relevant links.
LEMON GRASS THAI:
Our default choice of cuisine is always Thai. An hour after we landed in Bali, we found Lemon Grass Thai which as in 10-minute walking distance.
Sisterfields claims that all of their sauces, nut milk, ice creams, and preserves all made in-house, and produce their own buttermilk, ricotta etc. Places are located in Seminyak area and took us 20 minutes Scotty ride. We tried brunch items, though we went here for Dinner. Food is presented in quite tastefully.
Gong Jatiluwih Restaurant and Lounge is a beautiful Restaurant in the middle of the most amazing Rice Fields with great food and panoramic views. Yet, like many such places in Bali, visiting and indulging at this place does not make a hole in your wallet. Yes, both pizza and pasta were delicious. We also found Samosas in the menu, and they tasted pretty decent too. Views helped enhance the taste quite well too 🙂
Dinner @ Biku: This place is owned by the princess of Bali.
CRUMB and Coaster:
This was just 10 minutes scooter ride within Kuta, and located in a very narrow poppy street, and is highly rated and raved on Zomato. We went there just before the last order time-out. The ambiance was very nice in a natural serene environment. Food was good too.