been to Bali from 14 to August 26 1999, for the first time I didn't go to the adventure, in
fact, I booked from Italy the flight and the stay to the Ramada Bintang Bali; the choice has been imposed by the fact that it was impossible to find
a seat on the planes as august is considered high season; is necessary to say then that the tourist packets for this destination are particularly convenient in comparison to the booking of the flight and to the search of the hotel on the place. The island is relatively small and therefore there are not problems even if
the base is done a place only.
I flew with Cathay Pacific: Milan-Frankfurt-Hong Kong, I had already flown with this company and also in this case it has proven one of the best between those that I have tried. Hardly gone out from the airport the first thing that I noticed was the sky studded literally of kites, I discovered then that the Balinese love them particularly and it's possible to find/buy kites of all the forms and dimensions.
In a few minutes we reached our hotel to Tuban, in practice the south zone of Kuta that is then the most famous and touristic place of Bali. The hotel is dipped in a tropical garden, besides it is the only one to have a direct access to the beach in that zone.
This is surely the most touristic place of Bali, the atmosphere is very distant from the small villages interior the island but there is the advantage that there is the possibility to meet so much people, there is a big choice of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops.
Late afternoon all the persons gather on the beach to assist to the sunset and even to have a drink. Before dinner a walk can be made along Jalan Legian and Jalan Pantai (the two principal streets) to give a glance to the varied shops.
To Kuta are found all the typical products like objects carved in wood, silver jewels, paintings or batik that are produced in the villages of the inside, it is not necessary therefore to buy the souvenirs during the tours because it is not said you can get a better prices. There are a lot of surfers shops, besides the tables naturally, good quality sportswear can be bought to really convenient prices. It has me very amazed to see the Armani, Valentino or Versace boutiques (to the appearance regular) selling imitated articles, till now had happened me to see this type of goods only in the markets.
Every 10 meters it is found a moneychangers, is necessary to make a lot of attention however because it is easy to take some cheats; a typical deception of these place consists in giving in change banknotes of small cut a few to the time, counting and recounting them while they chat with you, at the end when you leave the banquet you realize that they gave you half the due sum. The suggestion is to use the official moneychangers like the P.T. Central Kuta (it finds one inside the Matahari department store and others shed for the city), they have slightly lower rate in comparison to the others but they don't have commission, give the receipt and above all they are honest.
The Indonesian food is excellent and cheap, typical dishes are: nasi goreng (rice), mie goreng (noodle) jumped in frying pan with vegetables and meat or fish, the satays (meat or fish kebabs) served with a spicy peanuts sauce, barbecue fish and shellfishes.
I signal the restaurants that have liked me more:
Poppies: it is perhaps the most famous of Kuta, you eat in a beautiful tropical garden, the dishes are well cooked and well presented;
Lenny's Seafood: also here the dishes are well presented and the portions are abundant;
Mini Restaurant: in spite of the name is very great, it is specialized in barbecue fish, the only negative side is that the kitchens are very smoky;
TJ's: Mexican restaurant that has liked me quite a lot;
Mamma Lucia (now the name is "La Barracca" but the owner is the same): this time I also threw an Italian restaurant (really I ate to the Sanur restaurant), I have to say that I remained more than satisfied, excellent the varied types of hand made pasta cooked with the sea fruits, however it is a little bit expansive than the other restaurants;
Jimbaran: this bay south of the airport is famous because the whole beach is full of restaurants that cook barbecue fish and shellfishes; the tables and the chairs are supported directly on sand, everything contributes to create a beautiful atmosphere. Some restaurants had been recommended to me, but after having walked a little bit to the search of that correct, we took the first one that it inspired us (Uganda Cafe) and I must say that we ate well there, before entering in the restaurant it is of obligation to bargain on the price of the fish.
Kuta is the Bali center of the funs, there are place for all the people, between the discos: the 66 Double Six, the Gado Gado, the Peanuts and the Sari Club, perhaps the more frequented, usually visited by the surfers with their attire and typical slang; it is also found the Hard Rock Cafe . There are also quite a lot bars where to listen the local bands that ventures practically in all the kinds of music.
Between the varied beach sellers can be found some masseurs that make massages, 30 very relaxing minutes for 20.000 Rps, naturally it doesn't concern professionals. For something more professional I can recommend the Teddy beauty saloon, it is a very funny and a little bit particular man; I have been there a couple of times on suggestion of a participant to the Bali Forum; besides the massages, beauty treatments can be had either for woman either for man. It's necessary to book since the masseur is not always present in the saloon:
Taxis are very very convenient, besides the official company (the blue taxis) every 10 meters you will be stopped by someone that wants to offer you a passage (bargain is obligatory). As possible suggestion to take the blue taxis considering that they Always use the taximeter and therefore every run will be more convenient in comparison to that with the private taxis, average a run inside Kuta costs 5000-10000 Rp.
Very convenient is renting motorbikes or cars but the traffic is really crazy (very worse of Thailand or Malaysia) and therefore it is decidedly unadvisable. A curiosity, has me very stricken the sidewalks, in fact, are very tall in comparison to the level of the road, besides this there are continuous latches and broken manhole-cover therefore is necessary to make a lot of attention to walk.
As far as it concerns the visit of the island I avoided the tours organized by the hotel, I preferred to turn me to a private guide that I found through the Bali Forum, besides the economic saving there is the advantage to have a person that will bring you where you want and even in the place outside tourist route. After having contact a little bit I choose Agung Suta Wibawa , to say truth however I was not completely satisfied, following however I attach a list of guides that I have recovered from the Forum:
Agung Suta Wibawa 0361-974-909, at his mobile: 081-239-22957, 200,000Rp per day
Dewa Mayor, mobile 812 391 3184, 250,000Rp per day
Putu Arnawa, tel 976597, Kijang with aircon, 350,000Rp per day.
Nyoman Sutapa, tel 773637, 200,000Rp for 8 hours, car and van.
Wayan, Taxi number 313, tel 724724 (home 701090), 150,000Rp per day.
Dewa Made Adiwisma, tel 975140 (fax 975188), 250,000Rp per day, Toyota Kijang
Wayan Purya, tel 945694, 225,000Rp per day, BMW
Ni Luh Made (female "cultural hostess"), 350,000Rp per day, speaks French as well as English
Jaya Adiwa, mobile 081 23912791, 250,000Rp per day, double aircon Toyota
Wayan Merta, mobile 081 1386761, 250,000Rp per day, Toyota Kijang
Wayan Seniasa, mobile 081 2390857, 200,000Rp per day, Toyota Kijang
Dewa Nyoman Pujana but prefers to be called Nyoman (0361) 943825
Wayan Subagia Fax: 62 361 978623
The visits interior shot the island give the possibility to enter in contact with culture and the balinese art , practically anywhere there is a temple and after a little bit they seem all equal ones, crossing the villages give the possibility to assist to varied religious ceremonies like marriages or cremations, moving between the places on the mountains the very characteristic rice terrace can be observed.
Between the places that I have visited:
People normally goes to this temple that it finds on a small promontory to assist to the sunset, the problem is that further being us other 10000 persons comes, literally attacked by the sellers and therefore some "magic" is lost. For this motive our guide has brought us in the morning.
The temple is nothing of special however it finds on a tall bluff very spectacular, along the road that hands to the temple there are quite a lot beautiful beaches where the surfers are gathered because it is the zone where the most beautiful waves are, between these I have seen Padang Padang that it deserves surely.
Its' the greatest and most important temple for the balinese and it finds to the feet of the Gunung Agung that further being the tallest mountain of Bali is also a volcano that has erupted the last time in 1963. Even if my LP said that the temple is not particular impressive I liked it more; thanks to our driver we effected the visit with a local guide that has also brought us in the zones normally not accessible to the tourists.
It's the Bali cultural capital, unfortunately we have been there few hours, surely suggestion the visit to the Neka Museum making an idea on the balinese painting and then to launch in some acquisition, I bought a small picture in the Agung Rai gallery that it is one of the most important of Bali, in the varied shops surely it's possible to spend less but at least they gave me a guarantee.
It's the second volcano of Bali, the first crater to around 1700 meters can be reached with a scaling that it is usually made at night to assist the sunrise from the top, at the base of the mountain it is found a biggest crater that is occupied partly from the lake Batur.
There are few tourists that visit the capital city of Bali, according to me instead a half day tour is worth the punishment to do it, above all for the one that has never seen an Asian city, further to a walk for the streets of the city I liked quite a lot the market of Pasar Badung that it is the greatest and old of Bali.
It's a small island to 1 hour by boat from Bali, I have not seen her directly but who have been there, spoken to me of a beach and an exceptional sea, the only problem it is that the sea strait that must be crossed is usually quite a lot moved and therefore not advisable to whom it suffers sea sickness.
On suggestion of a couple of Italians I booked the diving to a banquet that sells the varied tours and that is near the Matahari department store to Kuta, they proposed me the Surya Diving Center with which I made 4 diving for a total of 1.000.000 Rp all inclusive. I must say I remained satisfied, the equipment was acceptable but above all I effected the first 2 dives alone with the instructor and the others 2 with another person.
The first day we dived in one of the most famous place of Bali: the wreck of the Usat Liberty near Tulamben; the place is reached in around 3 hours by car and the dive it is effected directly from the beach, for me was the first dive on a wreck, we crossed the varied parts of the wreck and the visibility was excellent (1 and 2 on the Bali map).
The following day we reached the Manta point near Nusa Pedida where I finally realized my big dream to see the mantas, in this place even if I wore a long 3 mm wet suit I felt some cold (point 3 on the Bali map).
The last dive was surely the most exciting, we dived along the reef to south point of Nusa Ceningan and we left each other to transport from the strong tide for some km. I thought to fly on the air as a paratrooper (point 4 on the Bali map).
Copyright © 1999 Giuseppe Ruperto. All rights reserved.