Bali: A Glass Half Full

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Bali Indonesia

There is an inversely proportional relationship between travel experiences and number of travellers in a group.  The larger the group, lesser the experiences; smaller the group more the experiences. I discovered this self-developed theory during my last overseas trip to Bali with a large group of colleagues. When the Head of human resources informed me about the inclusion of my name in the list of people for the annual management offsite trip to Bali, I was overjoyed. As an avid traveller, I compiled a long list of ‘tourist attractions in Bali’ – places to visit and activities to experience. However, my expectations were short-lived as I realised soon after landing in Bali.

Every individual is unique and have their own set of priorities. For some travel is all about shopping, for others it is about visiting the local tourist attractions, for some it is about lying by the poolside and enjoying a glass of beer and for some it is about experiencing the local cuisines and so on. Whatever be the mojo of each individual, it is difficult to find two people with similar personal preferences while they are on a holiday.

Before you brand me a solitary bloke, let me admit – travelling with a large group does have its benefits too. And if the group happens to be one comprising a single gender – ‘males only’ in our case – the fun just multiplies. Liquor flows out of every single vessel and there is not an iota of boredom as jokes get cracked every single minute.

My experience during my trip to Bali was something similar. Although I had plenty of memorable moments with my colleagues, I missed out on certain personal favourite activities like snorkelling and scuba diving – activities for which Bali is famous worldwide. While I get a chance to snorkel at a sea beach in Bali, it was a very commercial locale and the experience was not that great.

Kuta Bali
With colleagues outside our hotel

In short, my short 4N/5D package trip to Bali was both fun as well as one of regret. Fun for all the things I was able to do, and a sense of regret for all the things I was unable to do. But the good thing is, I plan to return to Bali soon on a personal voyage and engage in all the activities I have missed.

Read on to know my experiences during my short trip to Bali – things I could pull off and things that I missed.

Nightlife in Kuta, Bali

Our place of stay in Bali, as arranged by our tour operator was Four Points by Sheraton, located in Kuta, Bali. It is a decent property located in the most popular tourist locale of Bali. Kuta in Bali is packed with hotels, restaurants, pubs, markets and every other amenity that tourists look forward to. It is also host to the popular Kuta Beach which ranks amongst the most popular beaches in Bali.

What makes Kuta popular amongst tourists is its vibrant nightlife. The guys at the hotel told me that it was the only locality in Bali, wherein pubs and discotheques remained open till early hours in the morning.

We exploited the advantage of our hotel being located in Kuta by visiting a new pub every evening. While most pubs had a similar vibe, the one that stood out was Sky Garden. It’s staff claimed it to be the largest and most happening nightclub in Bali. I cannot vouch for their claims as I did not have much time to explore Bali, but within Kuta it definitely was the most happening nightspot with people coming in droves. We had our share of fun at the club after a couple of beers and I strongly recommend this place when you are in Bali.

In addition to the nightlife, Kuta is also home to the biggest market in Bali for tourists. If you plan to carry back home some souvenirs and gifts for your loved ones, then Kuta is definitely the place for you to shop when you are in Bali.

Uluwatu Temple, Bali

Perched atop a hill overlooking the ocean, Uluwatu temple is a must visit during your trip to Bali. Tourists visit this temple for its splendid views of the ocean down below and the beautiful sunset that can be experienced from its environs. The temple also hosts a traditional dance performance every evening for tourists called the Kecak Dance. It is a Balinese rendition of a popular Hindu mythological epic Ramayana. The interesting element of this performance is the varied nature of sounds being produced by the performers without the use of any instrument. The performers use their voices (vocals) to create multiple sounds to suit the varied scenarios of the performance which is worth a watch.

uluwatu temple
At Uluwatu Temple
uluwatu temple bali
Traditional folk dance performance at Uluwatu temple

Benoa Beach, Bali

Our tour operator arranged for some team building exercises and water sports at Benoa beach on the third day of our trip to Bali. The water sport activities on offer were similar to most other beach destinations like Jet Ski, Parasailing, Flying fish, Snorkeling and Sea walker amongst others. I had indulged in most of these activities before during my trips to other beach destinations except sea walker and I was excited about this one.

Sea walker or sea walking, simply is talking a walk in a shallow part of the sea, usually at depths of 15-20 feet and enjoying the sights of underwater sea life. Unlike scuba diving, wherein you need to park an oxygen cylinder on your back, seawalker involves no such fuss. You are provided with a simple helmet that provides you with the needed oxygen to breathe and you can take a walk on the shallow sea floor. Although the idea of walking on the sea floor sounds a little too daring, sea walking is not much of a daredevil act and even non swimmers can do this activity. The area where this activity is performed is usually earmarked by the organizers and is mostly safe.

Since this was my first time, I did feel a rush when I descended from my boat wearing the heavy helmet but within a few seconds I was on the sea floor and the sights just removed my attention from all the associated fears. I strongly recommend seawalker as an activity to everyone who is in Bali.

In addition to sea walking, I also indulged in all the other activities mentioned above since they were all part of our package and already paid for. Although I had experienced these activities at another place, there was no harm in enjoying these thrills once again. What say?

To enjoy all the activities at Benoa beach, I recommend you to block half a day in your itinerary to enjoy the activities at leisure.

Benoa beach water sports
With colleagues at Benoa Beach
sea walk benoa beach
After a sea-walk at Benoa Beach

Mount Batur, Bali

The highlight of the trip was our trip to Mount Batur. I call it the highlight because never before had I witnessed the sight of an active volcano before. I have been to sea beaches, mountains, wildlife sanctuaries but an active volcano was a novelty and unique as you do not get to see one everywhere. Very few countries have the presence of active volcanoes within their geographical peripheries and luckily, Indonesia happens to be one of them.

Mount Batur is located in Batur village in the Kintamani region of northern Bali. It takes approximately 3-4 hours to reach Mount Batur from Kuta by road. The drive from Kuta to Mount Batur is a delight for the eyes as you pass through the Bali countryside and witness its picturesque sights. You will come across terraced rice fields, fruits orchards, dense forests and coffee plantations throughout your journey.

At Mount Batur, Bali

Tourist attractions in Bali I Missed

  • Tanah Lot Temple – The most photographed and famous temple in Bali. I missed it
  • Lovina Dolphin Sightings – Had heard so much about it but missed it
  • Snorkelling in Lembongan – My biggest regret. Hopefully someday in the future I will be able to experience this

 

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