Bali is a small Indonesian island sandwiched between Java and Lombok. Due to its close proximity it is a popular holiday destination for Australians and also for many other nationalities.
Three words to sum up our introduction to Bali… vibrant, colourful and chaotic… In fact we found downtown Seminyak (our first stop) to be somewhat overwhelming after the quiet and peaceful open spaces of New Zealand and Australia. While its relatively close location to the airport was convenient for our middle-of-the-night arrival, Seminyak was more of a holiday resort than what we were looking for in our trip to Bali. We popped into the Motel Mexicola (above) as a few booking.com reviewers were raving about it, but whilst the atmosphere and drinks were good it did feel like a bit of an overpriced tourist trap.
Most tourists dont drive rental cars in Bali. Instead there are literally hundreds of taxi’s continually circling the streets, honking at every tourist they pass. So finding transport in Bali is very easy as the transport comes to you!
In the Denpasar region (including the major resorts of Seminyak, Legion, Kuta, Jimbaran, Nusa Dua and Sanur) its best to get an official BlueBird Group taxi. There are several lookalike BlueBird taxi’s so you need to be careful to ensure ‘BlueBird Taxi Group’ is displayed on the sun visor. (NB There are no BlueBird taxi’s in Ubud which have their own local independent taxi’s).
If you prefer or wish to organise a day trip (as we did) you can pre-arrange a driver from a reputable company. You can find these on TripAdvisor where you can easily be communicated and booked by email.
The other way to get around Bali is by moped. If there are hundreds of taxi’s, there are thousands of mopeds! Locals drive them and tourists rent them. There are no range rovers here to pick the kids up. No way… the school run is done on a moped with a bunch of unhelmeted, uniformed kids on the back! Worse still parents drive mopeds while holding a baby in one arm and steering with the other! There are no apparent traffic rules in Bali… however, unlike many other countries, it feels stress free. Indeed “No rules = no stress” (as one of our drivers mentioned…)
While in Seminyak we hired a driver for a day who took us from Seminyak (in the south) right through the centre of Bail to Lovina on the north coast of the island. We stopped at the Ulun Danu Beratan temple on our way which is located high in the mountains of Bali. The drive down into Lovina was steep, narrow and twisty but had some wonderful views.
The drive took 4 hours each way due to the heavy traffic congestion and the difficult mountain roads. However our driver expertly weaved his way through the chaos…
In contrast to Seminyak, Lovina was quiet and peaceful and we felt it would be a lovely place to relax for a couple of days. Dolphins can regularly be seen along the Lovina coastline.
For the western visitor Bali is a cheap place to visit. This wad of notes is roughly 200,000 rupiahs which is around £10…
All of the food we had in Bali was excellent. For example we had the following in the excellent Black Beach Italian cafe in Ubud:
- 1 x Bintang beer
- 1 x red wine
- 1 x large portion of rosemary foccachia (to share)
- 1 x large pizza (to share)
- 1 x Bali tea
- 1 x freshly squeezed orange/lemon/ginger juice
= 222K rupias ie about £11.70
We didn’t drink tap water in Bali… up until now we’ve drank tap water in every country, even in French Polynesia and all has been fine. However everywhere we’ve read on ‘drinking water in Bali’ has advised that tourists need to drink bottled water. To lessen the environmental impact we’ve brought big bottles of water where possible… but having said that while in Indonesia we’ve had ice in our drinks and drank water presented at cafe and restaurant tables and suffered no ill effects…