Travel Tips

Bali

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I had seen some great photos of Bali and when RCI bookings for Medewi Bay Retreat were available for May we took the plunge. We did this booking and then started doing the research for the destination.  I bought the lonely planet pocket guide for Bali and Lombok for this. But while reading this realized that there is almost zero coverage for West Bali where the resort is situated. This got us reading more on the destination. Below are some notes
  • Bali is a relatively small island. About 140 km west to east and 90 kms north to south.
  • The roads in Bali are narrow which results in longer journey times. Eg from the airport in Kuta to our resort in Negara, it took us 3.5 hours.
  • It lies 8 degrees south of the equator and has warm climate through out the year (between 23 and 33 degrees celcius). It is fairly dry between May to August. We did get to experience heavy showers in the evening on one of the days of our 8-day tour.
  • ATMs availability is fairly good. But do carry cash as well. For entry fees to some of the places, only cash is accepted. Also, if you intend to take a visa on arrival, you will need to pay the 25$ fees in cash. While leaving Bali, you need to pay Passenger Service Tax which amounts to 1,50,000/- IDR. This again needs to be paid in cash.
  • Get acquainted with the conversion rate for your currency with IDR. If you have a currency converter app on your mobile it will prove very useful. Prices in IDR seem to be very steep but are not really so. :)
  • In the arrival area of the Bali airport, you will find lots of brochures placed there by various tour operators. Collect some so that you can get reference material for planning your tours there. Most of the brochures also have Bali maps.
  • These brochures advertise package tours. They also advertise for cars on rent (including driver and petrol). We preferred the car-on-rent option. It cost us around 50$ per day. This turned out to  be more economical and gave us much more freedom with respect to time, places to see, etc
  • 90% of the population in Bali is Hindu. Every village has a temple dedicated to Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh. Children are taught the Gayatri Mantra in their school. One of their newspaper is currently printing stories from the Mahabharata on a daily basis.
  • Though Ramayan and Mahabharata are revered here, there are no temples for Ram and Krishna here. 
We had originally booked the Medewi Bay Retreat for the entire stay of our tour. But, during our research, we realized that travel times would be very high, especially when targeting places in central and south Bali, and we split our stays.  We planned our stay so that we stayed in West Bali for 3 nights, 2 nights in central Bali and 2 nights at South Bali.

More details on the Hotels and sightseeing to follow.
The below site is a good source for reading on Bali
http://www.baliguide.com/

Additional photos for Bali can be seen below