Everything you need to know for your first Bali holiday!
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When you become bored with your daily Bali existence of eating, drinking, sleeping, reading, swimming and shopping etc, I suggest you give consideration to one or two tours before its time to head for home.
If you are unsure of where to go and what to do, it would be a good idea to visit one of the many tourist information booths, which are just about on every corner in busy downtown Kuta and Legian. You will find lots of info at these kiosks to keep you as busy as you want to be. All accommodation varieties also provide an excellent choice of brochures for your consideration and they will assist you in arranging bookings, pick up and pricing.
Everyone has their own idea of how they would like to spend their day so I am going to give you just a few suggestions to consider for your first look around Bali, which won’t run you ragged by the end of your holiday.
Following is my personal recommendation of a professionally managed tour company:
IMPORTANT: A must do for all first-timers to Bali interested in tours of all descriptions around the island is to visit the website of Bali Success Tours. You will be amazed with the detail and the number of activities available to you with a complete explanation of each one and costs involved. You can be assured that your safety is paramount with this excellent Australian operated company.
One thing is for certain when you do decide to spend a day touring around the island is to consider your comfort and these people deliver just that with modern, clean and spacious vehicles. With that in mind I highly recommend you contact Bali Success Tours. If you are not sure of where to go or how long it will take, these guys will suggest tours lasting from 6 to 8 hours up to 10 to 12 hours. Check them out at their website.
BALI SUCCESS TOURS: www.balisuccesstours.com.au E: [email protected] (Tell them Mike from Holiday to Bali recommended their business). You may be pleasantly surprised with a discount offer on your first Bali tour if you ask.
Other recommended tour sites are as follows:Bali Discovery Tours www.balidiscovery.com/ Bali With Kids www.baliwithkids.com/ E.R. Tours (A complete guide to having fun in Bali) www.ertours.com
Uluwatu Surf Beach
Take a tour with a professional driver to the incredible Uluwatu Temple situated on a cliff face and also Blue Point Uluwatu. On the way to Uluwatu, ask the driver to show you beaches at Jimbaran Bay, Dreamland and Padang-Padang.
After the temple and on your arrival in Uluwatu, ask your driver to take you to Blue Point Restaurant. This will really open your eyes when you take in the fabulous views overlooking the blue Indian ocean.
You have two choices here to consider. Firstly, you can walk around to the right of the restaurant which is perched high on a cliff with a large infinity pool and if you swim to the edge you will have fabulous views of surfers way down below. The pool service offers towels, change rooms, showers, sunbeds, shady umbrella’s, snack food and cold drinks. All of this can be enjoyed for a very reasonable price and remember to take some slip slop slap, hat, water, togs and maybe something to read. The second choice is to go to the left of the restaurant where you will find a way down to the bottom. On the way down there are a number of shopping opportunities and great cold Bintangs available along with tasty snacks to be enjoyed. Bye the way this option is only suitable for fit people because there are many stairs to negotiate which are high and also steep. I think you will enjoy this place if you are adventurous.
Before you leave Uluwatu, you might like to check out the wedding chapel. It’s a stunning building of mostly steel and glass overlooking the ocean. It’s definitely worth a look and while you are there you maybe lucky enough to be shown one or two of the villas also perched high on the cliff. Ask one of the staff if one is vacant with ocean views for you to take a peek at.
It’s your call regarding how long you take to do this trip and depending on time you could also call in at the Garuda Cultural Park on the way home. Concerts are held there in a disused limestone quarry. It’s worth a look but not exciting if you are not in a hurry to get home.
Another trip, which you could consider is Candi Dasa on the east coast. The drive time alone would be around two hours each way but you will see some nice country. This is the area where some cruise liners anchor and ferry passengers ashore for excursions to Ubud and surrounds.
Arrive in time for lunch at one of the beachside cafés. As a matter of interest ask your driver to show you the Amankila Hotel, which is just before Candi Dasa. Check out how the other half live in this very ritzy establishment, which I believe has been the holiday destination over the years for a number of film stars and royalty.
Ubud is another option and by comparison to Uluwatu being very dry with low vegetation, Ubud is rainforest country with very lush green terrain, a fast flowing river and magnificent views of terraced rice fields.
The area is the cultural centre of Bali, famous for paintings in the main and lots of other weird and wonderful objects, which you will find in large quantities for sale and at very reasonable prices. Apart from an abundance of local paintings there are also many items which you see for sale in Kuta. If you go with Charlie, ask him to take you to a steep road stretching about five kilometres or more long with lots of different shopping opportunities lining both sides of the road.
You will be absolutely amazed at what you see on offer. Just ask your driver to stop if anything appeals to you.
At the top end of this steep road you should stop at the terraced rice fields where the views are absolutely sensational. Ubud is also well known for its café’s and restaurants. You would do well to ask your driver to take you to one of the best according to your budget. The beautiful Amandari Hotel overlooking the Ayung River is also worth a look while you are in Ubud.
My two favourite restaurants are The Lotus Cafe and Bridges restaurant.
Echo Surf Beach
My last tour choice for your consideration is Echo beach near Canngu (Channgu) on a Sunday afternoon. Allow up to an hour travelling each way from Kuta, Legian and Seminyak areas. Private transport is the best way for you to travel up the coast and back.
What you can expect to see here is surf, which is best suited for experienced surfers only, lots of cold beer, great food choices, great music and a wonderful sunset if you are there and settled by 5pm.
After you arrive at Echo beach I suggest you make your way down to the NEW section being white and blue for the best service and quality food on offer. The OLD section was completely destroyed by heavy seas lashing the coast.
Echo beach is a very popular place for mixing with people from all corners of the globe. There is not much more I can tell you about Echo Beach but I do think it’s a cool place for you to experience.
Other Must Do’s
Bali Safari and Marine Park, people of all ages will enjoy this experience.
Bali Butterfly Park
A visit to the butterfly park is a senic and interesting family day out in the country with young kids. I recommend you also give consideration to one of the local operators like my friend Charlie. Mob # 0815 5792272. E: [email protected] Charlie knows the island like the back of his hand. Note: Charlie would appreciate one to two days notice if possible.
Mountain bike riding tours from Ubud is a great way to go and is not too difficult because you are going down hill most of the way.
Take a cruise on the Bali Hai to the islands of Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembogan. (www.balihaicruises.com/ ) This will be a very memorable trip for you if you have not experienced anything like it before. If sea sickness is a problem, you should be offered a pill before sailing and if not make sure you ask for one before leaving the harbour.
After leaving Benoa Harbour on a high speed and comfortable catamaran power boat you will soon experience extreme swirling waters and sheer cliff faces as you pass through a passage on your way to your Nusa Lembogan destination.
On arrival you will be given the option of staying on board to enjoy all the water sport options available to you or going ashore to laze about and do your own thing or join in on the fun provided by the cruise company.
Your boat will be secured to its own floating pontoon. From there you can enjoy snorkelling, scuba diving, banana boat rides and also you can check out what’s under the water from a semi-submersible boat.
In my opinion the day out represents good value for your dollar. Now that I mentioned the word dollar it is well to remember all dollar amounts advertised in Bali are in (US$) only. So if you use a credit card, you will be billed in US$ currency.
These trips can be arranged through your hotel or other type of accommodation or ring 703060.
Sport and Exercise
Other ideas to amuse yourself could come from one of the following.
Golf … the golf courses are brilliant.
Here are three suggestions you wont be disappointed with.
Take a taxi ride or preferably go with a private transport operator who will both deliver and pick you up at any of these courses where you can also hire all of your requirements. Please note a strict dress code applies.
- Tennis and squash
- Horseback riding
- Waterbom Park
- White water rafting
- Fishing trips
To find out more about these activities ask for a brochure from one of the tourist booths or from your hotel/villa to find out the costs etc. Or ring 703060
Swimmers beware – Swim between the flags. Surfing beaches can be dangerous and definitely not for beginners.