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Bali | Transiting in a Tropical Paradise

Bali needs no elaborate forewords as it is already synonymous to what we mean as “tropical holiday”. It’s just about everything that you wish for in a dream vacation—sparkling beaches, vibrant nightlife & fascinating island culture.

But what if you only have a weekend to experience its romance?

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I transited in Bali 3 times over my 2-week Trip of Wonders journey in Indonesia. First was on my way to Lombok from Yogyarkata; second was from Lombok to Labuan Bajo. And finally, on my route back to Jakarta.

Imagine all the emotions just watching the waves curl to its shores from the aircraft window. Mull over the feelings of being trapped inside the airport waiting for connecting flights, knowing that behind those walls is already paradise.

After the bottled up excitement, Bali, finally!

Lombok, Flores, Bandung & Yogyakarta are equally stunning places in Indonesia. But Bali keeps a unique charm too that held us in deep anticipation all throughout the trip.

Sadly, Bali wasn’t part of the official journey anymore & our less than 24-hour affair with it was just to fly out back to our home countries. But I chose to stay for a few days to explore the island before moving on to another engagement in Jakarta.

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My sand timer started to drip as soon we snaked through Denpasar’s maddening traffic. As every second was precious, staying in a beachfront luxury boutique resort was a spot-on start.

But as I lazed on the infinity pool over well-chilled spicy margarita, my mind couldn’t help but wander to the Bali of my dreams—exploring ancient temples, watching traditional dances, checking out local designer brands & eating babi guling!

One Island, Many Destinations

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Bali is just a small island. But with its wealth of attractions, it is larger than what you can imagine. It was quite a challenge pinning down where to begin.

Luckily, I had the rare chance of meeting Mr. I Ketut Ardana, one of the prominent figures in the Bali Tourism Board who steered my journey in the island.

As a first-timer, I felt I must head first to the core of any Balinese delight—its cultural & spiritual wonders. And with very limited time to explore, nothing could come more efficient than being showed around by Bali Sunshine Tours.

Bedugul & the Temple

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Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is always the reason for coming to Bedugul. Because of its panoramic location where the temple floats on the lake, no wonder why it is one of the most photographed temples in Bali.

Faithful locals come here for cleansing ceremony & I was lucky to have witnessed a procession. Teeming with colorful banners & gamelan orchestra, watching the Shivaite devotees in this religious gathering was a spectacle.

Ubud & the Bed of Finds

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Ubud is the bud of royal sophistication amidst the blossoms of Bali. And the best example of this is Puri Saren Agung, the royal palace that showcases the best of Balinese regal architecture & garden design.

Ubud is also a bed of finds. From art galleries & flea markets to exquisite local designer shops & celebrated cafes.

Going Babi Guling

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Of course I never let the famous Babi Guling escape my gustatory fancies. This food is no stranger to me. In the Philippines we call this yummy roasted pig “lechon”.

My guide brought me to the famous Ibu Oka. The long queue was enough to say how delicious it is on this side of Bali.

Shopping, the Swish & Schlocky

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After ditching all my coat & ties for a life of travel, I’m beginning to re-collect the clothes that I used to wear. The shops in Ubud gave me an instantaneous heart attack—linen pants, distressed shirts, patches, stiches & handwoven fabrics.

But if you love shopping for cheap souvenirs, then Ubud’s market is a mecca for it.

Coffee, Tea or Me?

 

Quite outside the tourist radar is a roadside café in Negeri. Its sprawling garden is filled with native trees, flowering shrubs, a mini-zoo of exotic animals & a lovely café.

Get an overload of exotic Balinese coffee like the kopi luwak & wonderfully refreshing choices of organic tea.

But it’s Batuan Temple

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Just by cruising around the island, it isn’t hard to believe what people say that there are more temples than homes in Bali. I visited a few & truly had the feeling of overload.

But then there’s Batuan Temple. It’s an 11th century temple complex popular for its intricate sand bas sculptures & expressive paintings. I’m glad to have gone in because it’s indeed beautiful.

Oh, Uluwatu

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Light chasers would love Pura Luhur Uluwatu because of the sunset that create the dramatic backdrop to the temple perched atop a cliff.

But it’s not only the temple that people come here for but also to catch the sunset performance of Kecak. It is a dance that tells snippets of the epic Ramayana & traditional exorcism rituals. As a performing artist in my younger years, this is my kind of Bali high.

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I know, few days are never enough to experience the mystique of Bali. But everything that I had that weekend was more than enough to inspire me to come back.

I’m a seasoned traveler & I can always swing on my own. But there really are times that I would just like to sit back & be driven around on a private tour. And Bali was among those places that I’d just like to play pampered.

Since there are tons of tour operators around the island, I had to phone Ritz & Grace Travel, a Bali-seasoned agency in the Philippines to make all the arrangements for me. Gladly, Bali Sunshine Tours did really well in giving me a spoiling Bali-in-transit journey.

I can’t wait to be back in Bali. Maybe this time to cycle around or hop on an ATV, walk on the rice terraces or trek Mt. Agung. I can’t wait to eat, pray & love.

-oOo-

 

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