When a travel agent (Wanderstruck Travel and Tours) emailed me that I can go on 5D/4N trip to Bali with airfare, hotel accommodation, tours, and 3 meals each day at only P24,000 (around USD571), I said yes right away without any further thought.
It was worth it, too. Mind you I did miss the flight going there (woke up late!), had to pay for another 1-way ticket and missed a good part of the 1st day tour, but it was still a great trip nonetheless.
Bali is a treat for relaxing at the beach and to appreciate a new culture. It’s really very similar to Bangkok. There are a lot of temples to visit (they all look alike, no need to look at every single one) and good beaches to visit. It is not unusual to see grotesque demon-like figurines or images (considered as Bali’s ‘gods’) at modern shop windows, bars and regular establishments. For such a tiny place (one can finish sightseeing in a couple of days), Bali has hundreds of active volcanoes. Because of this, there are no establishments higher than 10 floors. Shopping isn’t a strong point in Bali but nonetheless it was enjoyable.
Although I missed seeing the grand Garuda Wisnu temple, I did enjoy the other parts of the tour. First we witnessed the traditional Barong Dance before driving off to the top of the Kintamani mountain for lunch at Lakeview Restaurant with a great view of Mount Batur.
We went on to visit Tampaksiring, a temple with holy spring water where people come in droves to take a dip and cleanse their souls. Then we capped off the day by getting the famed traditional Balinese massage (which I found really painful!) and a fantastic seafood dinner at Jimbaran beach. Surprisingly, the beach seemed deserted at an early hour, which made me think of Boracay where the crowds stay up till morning.
The next day, we successfully completed the morning tour of Taman Ayun and Ulun Danu temples but could no longer take another temple stop and insisted on going to the beach. That’s what Bali is known for anyway, right? So off we went to the beach and discovered the Beachwalk at Discovery Shopping Mall where the high end malls are just a short walk to the shore. Even till the next day we just visited the beaches and skipped the other temples in our itinerary because Bali really does have good beaches. Although the waves are stronger, the beaches in Bali are just as nice as the ones back at home. What’s nice in Bali is that unlike beaches at home, the establishments are pushed inwards and are nowhere near the shores so there’s more sand to enjoy. This is really a place for people to work on their tan.
Apart from reminding everyone not to miss their flights, I would highly recommend reviewing itineraries set by your travel agents closely and change what needs to be changed. You don’t need to see every single corner of the town. If you want to spend more time doing other things do exactly that and enjoy yourself!