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Bali

Thursday, July 10, 2008
In our last episode, we took you to the most popular parts of Bali — the areas around Kuta, Legian and Jimbaran. This week we will take you further afield to experience more of what this little island has to offer, including less traffic and fewer hawkers.

First stop Ubud, the cultural heart of Bali and a pleasant one-hour drive north of Kuta. It is Bali's cultural heart with a concentration of art museums, dance and music troupes and handmade crafts. There are rivers and verdant rice paddies, and it's an ideal place for bike riding and walking.

While it is a major tourist area, Ubud has its own serenity. Its name comes from the Balinese word ubad meaning medicine, after the healing properties of plants growing at the Camphuan River.

Surrounding villages offer carvings, paintings and gold and silver jewellery. The central Ubud market sells just about everything. It's a good place to use the bargaining skills you perfected in Kuta. Don't forget — wood carvings must be declared on entry back into Australia and will be inspected by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service.

While in Ubud you must see a traditional Balinese dance. The best place is in the courtyard at the Puri Saren Agung, across from the markets.

Ubud is home to the sacred monkey forest where 300 long-tailed macaque live. The site is Balinese Hindu, housing Ubud's temple of the dead, and the monkeys are believed to guard the temple and forest against evil spirits. They are treated with much respect.

There are some things to keep in mind. The monkeys are not tame, and in fact are very aggressive, so avoid eye contact and you should certainly not tease them with food. While there are signs warning people not to feed the monkeys, there are locals standing under those signs selling bananas and nuts — so you decide!

The macaques swing from branches and it is strongly recommended you keep cameras, glasses, hats, earrings, chains and anything else that might attract them tucked into a bag. Remember: they will grab anything they can and swoop back into the trees with their rize.

There is a small temple in the forest and a track leading to Nyuhkuning, a wood carving village.

Candi Dasa in Bali's north-east has some beautiful quiet spots for a day trip or a base for a few days. It is nestled between the Lombok Strait and mountains, and is close to historical landmarks including Bali's mother temple, Pura Besakih. It is an up-and-coming seaside destination, and is particularly popular with divers. It is home to Tenganan Village, a unique place belonging to the original Bali Aga aboriginal communities.

Have a look at the open-sided volcanic crater between Candi Dasa and Padang Bai. The terracing, which is just visible inside the crater walls, is a peanut crop!

Pasir Puti Beach is 5km from Candi Dasa. Sadly, the tourist boom in the '80s led to the harvesting of coral from offshore reefs to make concrete. That meant ocean currents swept most of the sand away from beaches, which are not as beautiful as they once were. However, you can swim in the king's pool, which was his private domain until the monarchy lost its power and Indonesia became a republic in 1945. The king's son lives nearby and he uses the pool, but has to share it with the rest of Bali.

The tiny village of Tirta Gangga has great views, good cheap restaurants and excellent trekking. It was built in 1948 as a summer palace and its architectural style is a blend of western, traditional Balinese and Chinese.

It consists of three parts. There are two pools and a tower fountain in the lowest part, a pool in the centre and a resting place for the king's family to the north. The elegant palace has been damaged on several occasions, including during the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963. It has been renovated step-by-step, and while it's not grand, it is a place of beauty and a reminder of the former power of the Balinese rajahs. Perfect for a refreshing swim in the spring fed pool.

Nusa Lembongan, 20km off Bali, is 30 minutes by fast boat from Sanur, near Kuta. The island's main source of income is farming seaweed, which is used in the making of everything from cosmetics to gelatine in ice-cream!

Its second most important source of income is tourism, thanks to its beautiful beaches and great snorkelling, scuba diving and surfing. The little island is easy to get around and most tourists hire a scooter for their stay.

There are two main beaches. Jungutbatu is the larger and has lots of hotels and cheap eateries. It attracts backpackers and surfers. Mushroom Bay is more tranquil and has the island's best swimming beach. It is more up-market.

There is a lively surf scene along the south coast at Dream Beach. The surf breaks, with names such as Shipwreck, Lacerations and Playground, can be dangerous and are not for novices.

Location

Bali, Indonesia.

Cost

Creative Holidays has accommodation packages to Ubud starting at $24, Candi Dasa from $42 and Nusa Lembongan starting at $64. Prices are per person a night, twin share.

Garuda has 28 flights a week to Bali.

Fares from:

  • Darwin $ 622
  • Perth $ 852
  • Melbourne $1105
  • Sydney $1122

Darwin: Valid for sale until November 20, 2008 and for travel July 21-September 18, 2008, and October 6-November 20, 2008.

Perth: Valid for sale until March 31, 2009 and for travel July 16-September 23, 2008, October 8-December 9, 2008 and January 14-March 31, 2009.

Melbourne: Valid for sale until March 31, 2009 and for travel July 13-September 18, 2008, October 5-December 11, 2008 and January 14-March 31, 2009.

Sydney: Valid for sale until March 31, 2009 and for travel July 21-September 25, 2008, October 13-December 11, 2008 and January 19-March 31, 2009.

Fares from other Australian capitals and regional centres are available in conjunction with Virgin Blue and Executive (Business) Class fares from all Australian ports.

Prices correct at July 10, 2008.

For further information

Creative Holidays
www.creativeholidays.com
Or book through your travel agent

Garuda Indonesia
Ph: 1300 365 331
www.balionanybudget.com.au

Indonesia
It is recommended travellers to Indonesia see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended for Indonesia. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information visit www.welltogo.com.au.

Check out our celebrity Getaway blog or our photo gallery for more Getaway adventure pics.

User comments
Hi, I am considering travelling to Bali in the next couple of weeks. I was wondering if you guys consider it too dangerous. Thanks Joel.
Hi I am planning a holiday to bali for christmas and new year with my partner, was wondering if anyone can suggest places to visit and things to do in Bali. Also places to stay will be great. We are on a budget and its already looking pretty late... If anyone has come across and specials or packages will be appreciated. Thanks heaps Cheers Karen
Thank you Jason for an amazing Bali Special! I was delighted to see and hear you present other areas of Bali (especially Candi Dasa which is my favourite place in the whole world!) that shows travellers what Bali is really like. I have been going to Bali now once or twice every year and everytime I go I find it harder to leave! No wonder there are so many ex-pats living in Bali now. There is so much beauty and culture in Bali and so many amazing places to see and your segment certainly touched on so many of them. I've travelled the island and everytime come back to the east coast, especially Candi Dasa and the Bali Shangrila Beach Club. It is one of the most pretty and pristine places I have seen and stayed in Bali. The area is full Balinese culture and the local people are happy, friendly and have a beautiful nature. Well done Jason and thanks again for a great segment. I watch Getaway every week, it's simply brilliant. I wouldn't miss it for the world! Many thanks to all the team.
Hi, I'm a travel industry employee for the last 12 years and past resident of Bali and my parents still reside there.I was very disappointed by the BALI SPECIAL. Its great that Bali is back on the map due to recent events in past years but your information was incorrect... for instance - Nusa Lembongan, 20km off Bali, is 30 minutes by fast boat from Sanur, near Kuta. Sanur is not near Kuta!! Plus, your host Jason - was no where near pronouncing most of the destinations, beach names, temples etc. Admittedly, not everyone can pronounce Indonesian terms well. Bali is such a repetative market and you ought to know what you are talking about, especially to convince the traveller to visit again respectively due to recent events.

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