Bali was not in our list of destinations for a family vacation because it sounded more like a place for honeymoon goers and romantic couples to enjoy spas and massages, or for the culturally rich to learn about arts, history and heritage. So as parents who are not really fond of visiting museums and temples, a preschooler who prefers living creatures to architecture, and a baby who doesn’t really know anything except demand for milk and carry, well, Bali just didn’t sound like the perfect choice for a family-friendly holiday.
Bali, the “Island of the Gods”, is one of the 17,500 islands that make up Indonesia. Because of it beaches, Bali is the archipelago’s main tourist destination. Bali is the only non-Muslim island in the archipelago. Its inhabitants practice mainly Hinduism. The country lives on tourism, which accounts for 80% of its GDP. Agriculture, mainly rice cultivation, comprises the rest of Indonesia’s GDP.Although football is popular in Bali; cockfighting continues to be the traditional national sport. When it comes to surfing, Kuta is the most popular beach in Bali. Canggu Echo, located further north, is also known to have great waves. The local food is a mix of Indian, Malaysian and Chinese cuisine. Popular ingredients include ginger, chili, palm sugar and tamarind… Ubud, the most cultural city on the island, is said to have the best spas in the world.
Our Bali adventure started with flight delay on Lombok. Since this is Asia after all we took this into account. At least Nia and Svit sure did.
After staying in Kuta years ago we decided on more secluded place this time. We chose Crown Villa on Purnama beach (north of Sanur). http://crownvillabali.com/
Purnama Beach is located in Banjar Mortar Telabah, Sukawati village, Ubud district, Gianyar regency, about 11 km from Denpasar city. Some activities that you can be do include relaxing, sunbathing, surfing, or fishing. Purnama Beach is also often used as a place of religious ceremonies by the locals, such as Melasti and Melarung.
Purnama Beach deserves it’s place on your priority list while on holiday in Bali. The beauty and charm will attract and amaze anyone. This beach has black sand-like crystals, big waves and a beautiful view from the green paddy fields.
This place offered us a great escape from Gili crowds. The location is half way from Kuta, Denpasar, Pantagbai, Ubud, or Mt Batur so you’ll need to stock up your fridge before arriving since there’s nothing around. The waves were just what we needed to sleep us away at night, though sometimes the sounds of hitting the beach were almost scary.
Kids were running around the pool, or on the beach which was sadly unswimmable due to rocks and waves.
Besides launging around we also did few trips.
KUTA:– what to say about it? Either you love it or you can’t stand it. We are firmly leaning towards second choice.
A cultural hub surrounded by verdant rice paddies and lush rain forest, the city of Ubud is a must for any visitor to Bali. With great food, authentic Balinese culture, arts museums and performances, Ubud romances its visitors, making them fall head-over-heels in love with its charm.
Ubud lies 36 km from the resorts on the southern coast. The name for this royal village is derived from the Balinese word ubad (medicine), the moniker of a herb with healing properties which grows along the nearby Oos River.
If you aren’t interested in overpriced tourist hype but want comfortable accommodations at good prices, a central location, and all the facilities in a less hurried rural environment than the south, the Ubud area is for you. Despite the bumper-to-bumper traffic, too many loud motorcycles, and thousands of tourists during Bali’s peak tourist seasons, when it’s difficult to find a parking space, Ubud still shows glimpses of its basically rural character.
The stars over Ubud almost crowd out the sky they’re so bright, and during the day the heavens are crowned with fluffy cumulus and wispy cirrus clouds. Wandering around in the crisp night air is pleasant and safe. Candidasa, Denpasar, and the airport are all only an hour’s drive from Ubud, and beautiful landscapes and historical sites-Pujung, Gunung Kawi, Goa Gadjah, Tirta Empul, Yeh Pulu-are within easy reach.
Ubud is also the expat capital of Bali. A permanent Western community resides here because cultural and natural attributes make it the ideal place for those who wish to stay for any length of time on Bali. From your ‘losmen’ or homestay family you can learn how to make a bamboo mouth harp, study painting, maskmaking, and ‘gamelan’, or learn the art of the ‘dalang’.
We were »fortunate« to experiece the only rain that we had in all over Indonesia travel. And when I said rain I meant rain.
On the way we also stopped at Hindu Elephant temple, Goa Gadja
And of course rice terrace near Ubud – you have to pay 10000 IDR just to stop on the curve of the road and take a picture.
Mt BATUR sunrise climb:
Edita and I woke up at 2 am, with our shoes and extra clothes on. While waiting for our pick up my dear Nia woke up and started crying and calling her daddy. Since she was in the middle of her »daddy phase« Tina couldn’t calm her so…I stayed home and the rest is Edita’s story.
The sunrise is worth all the effort, but be aware the place is packed with tourists, I would estimate that about 60 other people made the trip the same morning. And you really see everything on the people from sandals to shorts and short sleeve shirts. Please be aware that it gets cold on top since this is 1,717 m tall mountain and the trail during the night gets pretty slippery too. The walk to the top was not all that difficult although that really depends on individual but since my friend encountered quite a lot of children (age 10 and up) during her climb, this really is something for the whole family.
For those of you who don’t know what Luwak Coffee is, here is a little summary. Luwak is a “musang “ a so called fox in Bali which eats only the best coffee fruit! Yes the fruits which contain coffee beans, and after going through their intestines they would discharge their feces in a shape of coffee beans! Interesting isn’t it? These fox only eats the best fruits and nothing else, thus the coffee bean produced by them is of top quality. The still-intact beans are collected from the forest floor, and are cleaned, then roasted and ground just like any other coffee. Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world and can sell for some very ridiculous prices. A pound of kopi luwak can cost you anywhere between $150-$600.
Initially I find it quite gross to drink coffee made of Musang feces but as a coffee drinker it was worth the try, I would say the coffee tastes a little watery but reminds me of Brazilian coffee beans, it has a little sourish taste to the coffee.
There was a complimentary 7 types of different drink from the factory – ginger coffee, vanilla coffee, ginseng coffee, lemon tea and many more… Best of all, it is refillable for free (accept Luwak coffee which is the only drink you have to pay for). Word of advice: if you are planning on buying this coffee do so in the supermarket. Buying it here, will cost you almost twice of what you pay in the store.
The word Tanah Lot is consisted of two words. Tanah word is interpreted as a reef looking like gili or isle. Lot or Lod word means the sea. So Tanah Lot actually means the small island floating on the sea. Tanah Lot Temple is different from other temples on the island of Bali, Tanah Lot doesn’t have a few pages because it’s built on a plain of coral that irregular corners of his home. Inside the actual temple compound itself there are tiered shrines that follow the fundamental elements of Balinese design where the number of levels constructed are symbolic to the complexities of the faith. There are other formations within the area that indicate that the site is not only of great religious importance, but also maintains archaeological value. Temple nestled in the ocean has a ritual or ceremony which takes place every 6 months or 210 days. At that time all the Hindus from different areas in Bali will come to worship in peace and harmony to invoke.
The most popular time to see Tanah Lot is late afternoon when the sun starts to settle over the horizon. Of course that means that the crowds are even bigger than the rest of the day. But hey what must be done…
So we only had around 2 hours left to reach our final destination of this day, Uluwatu temple, which is on bottom left side of Peninsula. Since the kids were getting uncaptioned the race for the sunset was on. Of course we reached it only few minutes before sunset and it was worth it. Balinese Hindu Temple is located right on the petrifying hill with the crevasse exist in the right and left side. Uluwatu Temple is one of Sad Khayangan (6 biggest temple in Bali) owns magnificent view of the Indian Ocean and sunset as a backdrop. This temple is amazing where the location is right on the narrow peninsula.
Initially, we thought it was just a temple but as we walked up the temple, there was a LOVELY scenery right in front of us. Uluwatu is famous for its edge-less ocean view and it sincerely took my breath away. After all the photo taking, we just stood at the edge, and allow the breeze to flow along our hair, it smelled perfect and felt amazing. Well, until the monkeys chased us away:)
There are also lots of monkeys running around and they can get pretty annoying. My wife encountered a brief fight with one of them over her flip flops. Happily she is still the proud owner of her sandals.
FACTS ABOUT BALI:
Bali, a beautiful island paradise in the Indonesian archipelago made international news when the island was rocked by suicide bombings in 2002 and 2005. However, the island is better known as an excellent vacation holiday destination and a major tourist attraction.
Tourists who have visited this South East Asian island will tell you that Bali exudes a certain magical charm and that is why, some people call Bali, the Island of Gods. After all, gods live in paradise don’t they?
You will be pleasantly impressed by the many stunningly beautiful tourist attractions and the charming local people. If you are a scuba diver, you will be pleased to know that Bali is one of the top scuba diving destinations in the world.
Bali presents itself as a modern paradox because its ancient and traditional culture is still very much alive amidst modern living. While the basic conservatism of the Balinese people has enabled them to preserve many of their ancient customs, culture and religion, it has never hindered the acceptance of the new and innovative modern technological advancement.
The island is indeed a feast for the eye for tourists on holiday vacation in Indonesia. As the island is situated near the equator, it has almost equal amount of time for rain and sunshine making its environment very suitable for human inhabitation and as a result, Bali has been inhabited and civilized since ancient times.
Bali is also the only island in “middle Indonesia” that has more or less uninterrupted cultural continuity for hundreds of years. It is of this reason, Bali is the only part of Indonesia that remains “Hindu” and is still retaining elements of fusion of ethnic and Hindu cultures of more than a thousand years of cultural tradition.
When the island was colonized by the Dutch at the beginning of last century, the Dutch colonial masters were so impressed by the traditions of the Balinese that a concerted effort was made to preserve the island’s mystical culture.
The Balinese society is a strong and cohesive one because the local people promote communal and family values. Feelings of alienation from parents and friends which are common in the western world are almost unheard of in Bali.
Children are carried everywhere or strapped to their mother’s back until they are at least three months old. Religious rituals are performed regularly to keep the children safe, healthy and to protect them from harmful spirits. Every aspect of village life is organized in such detail that the individual’s responsibilities and rights are meticulously defined by the Balinese tradition.
The Balinese are emotionally strong people and take the unfortunate incidents in their stride. The people are eternal optimists and believe that their Island of Gods enjoys a special place in the grander scheme of things. This is another reason why the local population can bounce back from the tragic terrorist attacks so quickly. Want to visit paradise? Then include Bali as your next holiday vacation destination for its many tourists attractions.