Tips

Diving, Snorkeling or Just Relaxing in East Bali

Many people head to Bali because of the party atmosphere most commonly found in areas such as Kuta and Legian, but for those who are looking for the perfect area to just kick back, relax and unwind, make your way out to the Amed region of East Bali.

Now you won’t find all the crazy nightlife, maybe the nocturnal animals, there isn’t even an ATM anywhere to be seen, but if you are into diving or snorkeling it is the most beautiful part of the island. Located just off the coast are a number of different wrecks for you to explore, or you may want to just cast your eyes around on the magnificent coral reefs and interesting marine life.

What you will find is very cheap and quite good quality accommodation at a number of 4 or 5 star resorts ranging from hotel type rooms through to beach front villas. Most of the resorts can also arrange for transport to pick you up from Denpasar airport, or any other part of the island that you wish. Cost of the transport from the airport to Amed is usually in the vicinity of 350,000 Indonesian Rupiah, which works out to just under $40USD one way for the 2 1/2 hour journey. You will also find that most of the resorts have arrangements with qualified diving schools so that even the inexperienced can take advantage of the excellent diving available in this area.

While visiting this area, I stayed at the Puri Wirata Dive Resort & Spa. This resort has it’s own PADI diving centre and runs various different courses depending on your experience. But this resort was also an excellent place to just relax and unwind, with nearly all of the rooms having an ocean view from the balcony. Or if you prefer you can head on down to one of the 2 pools, both of which are located right on the beachfront. I would have to say though that one of the most enjoyable things about staying at the Puri Wirata would have to be the staff. Balinese people are some of the friendliest that you will find and nothing is too much trouble for the staff here at this resort.

Now for those that may be thinking that being such a remote area you may not be able to keep in contact with the outside world, you are safe. Mobile phones do work in this area and you will find that most of the resorts her have complimentary WiFi for access to the internet, not necessarily in your room, usually in the restaurant areas.

For those people who may be a little unsure about eating different kinds of food, rest assured, not only can you find an assortment of local and asian foods, there is also plenty of the western favourites available as well in most of the restaurants. One thing you definitely do have to be careful of is to make sure that you don’t drink the water from the tap, it is not the cleanest available, but there is plenty of bottled drinking water available for you.

Anybody who enjoys getting right in there and experiencing different cultures will also enjoy a trip out to this part of the island, with a number of different sites for you to visit. A short drive will take you to Besakih, high on the slopes of Mt. Agung, the islands highest and most sacred volcano. Here you can visit Pura Besakih, known as the mother temple of hinduism, by far the most important temple complex for the large hindu population on the island. Or you can visit one of the 3 water palaces, once belonging to the last raja of Karangasem located at Tirta Gangga, Jungutan and Ujung. The palace at Ujung has been rebuilt after it was badly damaged by the eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963.

But one of the most fascinating places you will find is located just outside of Candidasa called Tenganan. Here you will find a Bali Aga village (the original Bali) with the people there still living according to their traditions and ceremonies. For years visitors have been coming to this living museum for the geringsing, a cloth woven by the women of Tenganan.

So if you are looking for a place to go to chill out, or do some diving on your next trip to Bali, make your way up to East Bali and experience what this island was really like before the tourism really kicked in. Just make sure that you do have enough of the local currency to cover your expenses while you are there as there are not many ‘decent’ money changers around the area either, but most resorts do accept the major credit cards.

Beautiful Places To Visit In Bali

Bali is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Asian region due to her lush natural landscapes and beautiful white sandy beaches. However, if you are not a beach lover, there are still many places to visit in Bali that will pique your interest and make your vacation to this island worthwhile. In Bali, you always have a choice whether to go to the tourist hot spots or to explore parts of the island that is not necessarily popular with visitors but still beautiful nonetheless. Don’t be fooled by the island’s minute size because there is definitely more to Bali than meets the eye.

If you are a history lover with a passion for arts, one of the places to visit in Bali is the region of Ubud. This small town is the hub for all local arts including sculptures, dance, music, handicrafts and architecture. Ubud has been developed tremendously but still maintains its charming traditional villages and relaxed environment. Cultural shows are regularly performed for visitors. You will also get the chance to mingle not only with the friendly locals but also with the majestic Sumatran elephants. This provincial town is also known as a detox centre on the island due to its endless source of medicinal herbs and plants. So you can choose to be pampered at a number of spas available at very reasonable prices.

If you are a nature lover, there are many places to visit in Indonesia but none could probably compare to the lush panorama of Kintamani in Bali. Mount Batur is a famous active volcano located in the region along with Lake Batur, the biggest lake in Bali. The villages in Kintamani such as Kedisan and Sukawana Villages are all unique in their own way. The one similarity they share is the traditional and ancient architecture as these villages have probably been here since any local could remember. Expert travellers may advise you to be out of your hotel room early in the morning to view the sun rising between the slopes of the volcano and enjoy the panoramic view of the paddy fields at its best.

If Hindu temples are on your must-see list, the one temple you may not want to miss is the Pura Tanah Lot (Tanah Lot temple). Made up of rock formation, the location and physical outlook of the temple gives the impression of a mystic and sacred place. The temple itself is surrounded by water and all access is cut off during high tide due to the rocks. Pura Tanah Lot is still visited by the locals during any Balinese celebration. If you are lucky enough to witness these celebrations, you will get to see the locals in traditional costumes performing traditional songs and dance as an offering to the gods.

A trip to Bali is incomplete without visiting the beaches. Legian beach is one of many places to visit in Legian Bali. This particular beach may not be as popular or crowded as the beach in Kuta but you can still enjoy the same activities such as swimming and surfing without anything lacking. Sunset on the beach may also be one of the most memorable things you will ever experience at Legian. Of course, like any other places in Bali, Legian also has its own share of spas and retreats where patrons can rest and relax while being pampered by their trained masseuses.

The island of Bali may be a minuscule dot on the world map, probably even invisible. However, Bali offers a variety of activities and experience for tourists and visitors alike. Many places in different regions of the island are able to fill your days here on the island with endless wonder and a vacation that you will probably never forget.

Book Review – Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love has become the latest book for women in search of themselves since it was written in 2006. Since its film adaption staring Julia Roberts, which was released in 2010, it has gained even more popularity.

Summary

The book is the author’s, Elizabeth Gilbert, memoir of her one year long trip through Italy, India and Bali. The book was published in 2006 and remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for almost 4 years and has printed over ten million copies.

More in detail

The author is 32 years old when, after her divorce and a rebound relationship, it becomes clear to her that she hasn’t spend time alone since she became a young adult and started dating. She decides to take a year to herself where she is dedicating time to her own journey of finding three things: pleasure, devotion and balance.

She starts her travels in Rome, where she learns Italian, dives into Italian food and ‘dolce far niente’. Next she journeys on to an ashram in India to devote her time to meditation and prayer. Her last segment is exploring Bali, where she had met an old medicine man on a previous travel who foretold her that she would lose all her money, get a divorce and come back to Bali. In this last stage she finds balance between spirituality, devotion, pleasure and love in the form of a Brazilian business owner.

Her yearlong travel was, luckily for her, paid in advance through a book deal from her publisher in New York, which made her a career as a highly paid freelance writer.

About the author

Elizabeth Gilbert is an American author who was born in 1969. She has written a few short stories, a novel, biography, two memoirs and worked on a couple of books as a contributor. She worked as a journalist in New York for a few national magazines including SPIN, GQ, The New York Times Magazine, Allure, and Travel + Leisure.

Film adaption

Columbia Pictures bought the film rights for ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ with Julia Roberts starring as Elizabeth Gilbert. The film was released in August 2010.

Personally I find it to be a really good adaption, given that it spans over 3 countries and includes endless experiences and insights that the producers had to pick from. I think Julia is a good choice to play Elizabeth, playing a real and honest woman on the way to find herself, which is not always an easy and pleasant ride.

Recommendation

Both the film and the book are truly enjoyable. As to be expected, the book has many more details that the film cannot capture so I would recommend reading the book first.