Bali Ha'i may call you,
Any night, any day,
In your heart, you'll hear it call you:
'Come away...Come away.'
Bali Ha'i will whisper
In the wind of the sea:
'Here am I, your special island!
Come to me, come to me!'
In the 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, the matriarch Bloody Mary sang of a mystical volcanic island, an exotic paradise that is forbidden to the US Navy sailors except for its highest ranking officers.
Fortunately the real Bali is as enchanting, yet very much welcoming to surfers, sun worshippers and shoppers who come in by the droves.
After hearing how such a wonderful time my friends had here, I have finally made my way to experience it for myself last week. This is after having booked my ticket and accommodation almost seven months in advance (the ‘joy’ that is AirAsia and Tune Hotel, hehe).
The following are some pics from my recent liburan… ;)
Arriving at Ngurah Rai International Airport, unmistakably Bali…
At Tune Hotel Kuta, just 600m from the beach…
And speaking of the world famous beach itself…
Surfs up! Even good ol’ Ronald himself is in on the act, hehe…
Downtown Kuta, home to many boutiques selling ‘designer’ items, if you know what i mean ;p.
For a more authentic retail therapy experience, there are shops galore offering local hand made arts and crafts. (Tip: Haggle as much as possible as the prices are most definitely on the high side due to its touristy location)
I guess, someone is in Hard Rock heaven, hehe…
While Kuta beach is overly developed and commercialised (read: a bit dirty), on the opposite side of the island lies Dreamland beach in Bukit peninsula near Jimbaran. Here the sands is powder gold and the water pristine. But one must be careful when swimming here, as it is also renowned for its dangerous shore break: the waves are so tall it could overwhelm you!
None is more alive than at GWK Cultural Park, Jimbaran famed for its Wisnu and Garuda statues, and live Kecak and Barongan dances…
Do be careful of your belongings, for these furry thieves are super quick with there paws…
Spa time, monkey style hehe
Another place visited is Pura Taman Ayun, a royal temple of the Mengwi Empire. It is still utilised by the locals for prayers.
But the highlight of the trip is definitely Pura Tanah Lot, one of the main pilgrimage sights on the island. Finally I'm here!
Touching the holy snake… for good luck ;)
All i can say is Bali has certainly lived up to my expectations. If there is anything that is on the downside is the terrible mecet. Even though the island is not to large, getting to one place to another on the road is frustrating when your bumper to bumper. As such, the five days spent here here is not enough as there are still many places I have yet to visit, such as Uluwatu, Mount Agung and Ubud. You could say that I am saving it for a later date ;)