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Published: August 17th 2014
Before zeroing down on Bali for my vacation early this year, I was a little skeptical, being warned by its supposedly “over-rated” beaches and temples. Not until I got to spend three incredible days in this spectacular island, did I realize that Bali is a paradise for travellers of all kinds, be it adventurous backpackers, nature lovers, honeymooners, shopaholics, party animals or religious pilgrims. Profuse in art, culture, religion and food, the island has some of the best possible cliffs and ridges in the world that would make you fall in love with nature over and over again. A special shout to Uluwatu temple, 600 feet above sea level on the Bukit peninsula and Tanah Lot (temple), a rock formation off the island – Bali’s signature spots that one cannot afford to miss!
However, the most rewarding experience of the entire trip was an enchanting tour to Kintamani to get a glimpse of the picturesque Volcano Batur and its lake. Thanks to the highly fertile black soil around the volcano region, Kintamani is the abode to some of the best varieties of fruits and vegetables, exported to different parts of the world. Blessed with an ever-conducive chilly weather, partly cloudy
and faintly drizzling, we were mesmerized to see the dense clouds kiss the sleeping volcano and disappear amidst the mighty body. Though I’ve heard and read about volcanoes, little did I dream of a luncheon at a roof-top restaurant along the lakeside, offering a crystal clear view of the masterpiece –truly a lifetime experience!
As an intrinsic art lover, I would any day vote for the countryside of Bali, particularly the Ubud village - an artist colony famous for traditional paintings, the Celuk village - home to gold and silversmith, and the Mass village - center of wood carving craftsmen, all spread within a radius of 5 kilometers. We were left spoilt for choices with the innumerable batik printed clothes, wallets, handbags, footwear, scarfs, traditional and contemporary paintings, precious gems and stones and some of the finest quality wooden artifacts, strewn around us. Being a frequented tourist destination, everything seemed a bit pricy, but you can go wild with your bargaining skills if you really wish to buy stuff. And, if you are a coffee addict, you should certainly not miss the coffee processing workshop and get to taste the world’s most expensive and exotic flavors of coffee, especially
the Luwak coffee, obtained from the seeds of coffee berries after being eaten and defecated by the animal, Luwak.
Nevertheless, the city side, especially the Kuta area is an extravagant party place, known for its happening night life, branded outlets and posh eateries. If you’re hunting for some branded T’s, do not forget to check out the Polo Ralph Lauren showroom, as they have their largest factory outlet in Indonesia, offering a good mix of varieties at wholesale prices. After a stroll by the Kuta beach and streets alongside, we were all set for the much awaited Rock ‘N Dining experience at Hard Rock Café Bali, redeeming our free meal coupons as part of the tour package. I’d totally give it to Balinese cuisine when it comes to sea food and the food arrangements (lunch buffets and dinners) made on all three days were exceptionally good. However, the most relishing experience was at a fine dining called Ambassador, where we got to taste Balinese crispy duck for dinner. As a first-timer to tasting duck, I totally liked it and relished every morsel of the delicacy with contentment.
Tired of day-long shopping and sightseeing, our sore muscles were in
dire need of the rejuvenating Balinese massage and aroma therapy on the last day of the tour, before we boarded our flight back to Singapore. What excited us most was the photo shoot session with the traditional Balinese Triad costume, arranged by the masseuses, post the two-hour rigorous massage and spa. We were draped in colorful, ethnic clothes with golden apparels on our heads and hands, witnessing a true royal feel as we posed majestically for the photographer.
Awesome weather, splendid accommodation, delicious food, friendly people and great company perfectly complemented and completed the gorgeous three-day island tour.
P.S. Water sports, including parasailing, jet skiing, banana boat ride and snorkeling, is a prime attraction in Bali. If you are an all-aqua person who would love to immerse yourself in the deep blue waters of the Indian Ocean or take a sun bath by the beach side, then it is totally worthy to extend your trip by a day or two and enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
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