Every year, my best friend and I take a vacation together. 2017’s destination was Bali. We booked an air/hotel package on Expedia in May for an August departure. The cost was $1820 each from Detroit to Denpasar which included breakfast daily. We stayed at a nice, four star property named the Ramayana Resort and Spa. The Ramayana was within walking distance of the beach. There are very few hotels right on the beach in the area where we stayed–Kuta so walking to the beach may be the only option.
Display at the Ramayana HotelBali is a very small island, yet getting anywhere takes hours due to the congested traffic. There is no way I would attempt to drive there. We arranged with our hotel for a driver for the day when we wanted to do side trips. I think we paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $70 a day for a private, SAFE, reliable driver. In my opinion, he was worth every cent!
One of our day trips was to visit the temples “close” to Kuta (took hours to get to them).
On another day trip, we went to the town of Ubud. In Ubud one can stroll artists shops, view rice terraces, and see the Ubud Palace. When we were there, the palace was under renovation and it was nearly impossible to see anything. I bought some beautiful hand-made quilts in Ubud made of scraps of discarded saris. The price on these was the best I saw in Bali. I saw some at the market in Kuta, but they were going for about $5 more each. My biggest regret is that I didn’t buy more of these quilts. Nearby, we visited Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave.
The highlight of this trip for me was a day trip to Borobudur. We flew from Denpasar in Bali to Yogyakarta, Java on Air Asia for $68 and change each. We just planned a one day trip. Don’t listen to the naysayers–Borobudur can be done in a day. We scheduled our flight to arrive at 7:50 a.m. and depart at 3:25 p.m. We had plenty of time to visit the site at an unhurried pace.
We really enjoyed the food in Bali. One restaurant we frequented more than once was Poppies Restaurant. The place was cozy, service great, and the food was delicious. I couldn’t go to Bali and not try Babi Guling. It seems to be the national dish consisting of roasting an entire pig. I liked the texture of the meat; very tender, but I was not used to the spice combination which just made it ok to me.
Roasted street corn was a real treat. It’s available throughout the day and very inexpensive.
One tip for visiting Bali that I cannot stress enough is to print off your flight itineraries. One must present the flight itinerary documentation to security in order to pass the airport doors.
I described Bali as a Cancun for Australians. It is definitely a beach destination much as Cancun is for Americans, but if one wants to turn a party, beach trip into a cultural journey, it’s very easy to do so in Bali.