Bali, Bali, Bali

Bali Travel Blog

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NB - I put the date as June because June/July is the peak season. Most Aussies go to Bali at this time because it's Winter for us!

There must be something about Bali. There are families that go every year, stay in the same or similar resorts and just chillout. I have a lot of friends whose families do this. There are even some resorts that are famously Aussies-only. I think the appeal is that parents can let the kids run wild under the supervision of 'Kid's Club' while they relax by the pool. Other people tend to fall in love with the place after heading off the beaten tourist track and finding beauty and rich culture practically hidden from the world.

My family did the resort thing once to my memory; and as much fun as it was, it was a bit surreal staying in another country and realising your neighbours from home were in the next room! My sister was about 7 at the time and she loved it, what kid doesn't love water slides and chips and braided hair? But I think my folks were a bit weirded out too, we never went back to that resort! We once ended up (by accident...loong story one day I wil get around to  Bali Blog) in a 5* resort in Noosa Dua, the Bali Hyatt, and I will admit that place had luxury coming out the ears but it also had an air of unaturalness - like a Zoo. The island definitely caters to all kinds.

My best memories of Bali are not in a resort. We hired a driver to take us to the mountain town of Ubud, its about as different as you can get from Resort-land in Kuta or Noosa Dua. We stayed in a gorgeous hotel that was made up of about 50 villas on terraced land running down the mountain side. Every single one had an awesome view over the roof of the others, it felt very isolated (but with the bonus of room service and buffet breakfast). The best part? Our bathroom had walls but no roof.. it's so hot all year 'round that you can bathe under the stars! Ubud has great markets that balance tourist crap with local produce, most of it is better quality too. I bought one of my favourite necklaces from the Ubud market and I always get complimented on it. My tip for Bali: learn a bit about the most prevalent religions, Bhuddism and Hinduism, and buy a piece of jewellery or something with the Om symbol. It may not seem ethical, but having an Om ring and understanding that it was Bhuddist got me a long way with the locals. They love it when tourists take an interest in Indonesian culture.

I will have to get the name from my mum but there is one place that stands out vividly for me. There is a very famous Mask-Maker in Ubud who designs and carves the most beautiful wooden masks I have ever seen. It is just one man and his family, he makes both traditional Balinese masks and crazy abstract ones. The Balinese have a very strong culture that is unique from larger Indonesia. Their dancing is incredible, the stories are told through intricate movements where one blink can have huge meaning!! Most of the masks represent demons but there are also gods and goddesses. My mother has a Goddess mask and it is the most serene piece of wood you will ever see. Not only will the mask-maker hand design, carve and paint a specific mask for you, he explains the process and the symbolism of each piece.

Even taking a day trip, to the Volcano or one of the out-lying coastal villages, gives you a really different experience from the tourist havens. I can't really describe the beauty of the countryside, and anyway it's more of an incentive for you to check it out yourself! Drivers are cheap, get one who speaks English or take a guide. I have to admit we got the Hotel to organise one, since it wasn't a huge place they didn't actually rip us off. You have to be careful hiring off the street, but I guess it depends on your sense of adventure!
mypictures4u says:
Had not realized until now that you have been there, too. Only difference is that we did not stay in a ...er...high end resort. Was great, though. Fine little place called "Hai homestay". I liked Ubud. Wasn't crowded with tourists like other places. And I met a local artist. Was a fascinating experience.
Posted on: Aug 01, 2008
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Bali
photo by: mr_shanet