My lovely colleague Barbara has just returned from a trip to Bali, where she spent the best part of a month researching the hotels, activities and hidden gems of this beautiful country so she can help others plan their holidays. Tough job, huh? Anyway, today I have asked her a few questions about Bali and I am delighted to share this post by her all about her favourite finds. Enjoy!
What do you love most about Bali, Barbara?
The thing that I most love about Bali is it’s people and culture. Most people treat Bali only as a tropical island with beautiful beaches but its definitely not the only reason to visit this country (let’s be honest, you can find far better beaches in Thailand ). But, I challenge you to find many countries with a more colourful and vibrant culture than Bali. You can even arrange a purification ceremony for yourself here! Bali, unlike the rest of Indonesia (which is predominantly Muslim), is a Hindu country – or Agama Hindu Dharma, which mixes aspects of Buddhism, Hinduism and animism. They believe it is necessary to offer protection from the bad souls and spirits – and this can be seen everywhere. For example, if you enter a traditional building you will see there is usually a wall or a large element which blocks the entrance as the bad sprits can not go straightforward.
I hear Bali is a really touristy – is that true? Can you still get off the beaten track?
Absolutely, there are still so many places which are untouched – like the northern part of the country. Pemuteran for example is a lovely village close to Jawa with its black sand and stunning views of the hills, this is also the region where you can find winery – not that you would expect in Bali but I highly recommend to taste it.
For a fabulous spa treatments and very traditional style accommodation there is no better place in this region then Matahari (you must definitely try out their 6 hand massage) – click here for more details. There are actually just a few places that are touristy – it really is not the whole country, it’s a small part of it – just they are the places everyone has heard of.
Amazing! Where are some of your favourite places then?
One of the my favourite places in Bali is inland – Ubud, once a small village, is more of a town today – but the further from the centre you stay the better the location with the views over the jungle and nearby temples. You can discover how the vanilla or coffee grows or spend days cycling among amazing rice terraces and spectacular scenery. Speaking of coffee here you can also find one of the most expensive coffee in the world – Coffee Luwak – its name comes from the animal Luwak which chooses only the best grains which are then found in its poo 🙂 If you wish to stay in style I will go for the Hanging Gardens with one of the best infinity pools in the world.
Ok, so what about the beaches?
For the perfect beach holiday I would spend a few days on Lombok, which is an island very close to Bali (just a short boat ride away). The island is so green with fantastic beaches and great roads, away from the crowds. Hotel Tugu in Lombok is an institution on its own but the location is to die for, completely empty white sands with the view over the Gili Islands.
So, what have you learned this time? I think you’ve been to Bali about five times now?!
Every time I visit, I am amazed by how many new things I discover! For instance, I didn’t know that you can now even arrange a day trip to Yogyakarta (on the island of Java) to see the world heritage of Borobodur temples.
What about for the more adventurous holiday-makers – what would you recommend?
For those who love to be active during their holiday and discover as much as possible a great idea is a few days cruise to see the Komodo dragons on the nearby island of Komodo – they are fascinating! I would also recommend visiting the beautiful island of Flores. It really is spectacular, and not very touristy.
Thank you very much Barbara, I think I shall have to return to Bali soon to see all the places I missed!!