Tips

Diverse Shopping Opportunities in Bali

Shopping in Bali is a more hands-on affair than what one might experience at a mall or supermarket in the West. This is not to say that Bali does not contain its share modern malls and department stores, but that the real joy of shopping in Bali is to visit one of the many smaller markets that can be found all over the island.

The first major difference a visitor will notice shopping in Bali is the bargaining involved. Expect to haggle over everything. Common etiquette in Bali dictates that once you begin negotiations, the shopkeeper will expect you to keep dickering until a price is reached both parties are happy with. Many markets in central and southern Bali are geared towards tourists, such as the massive Badung Market, Kuta Art Market, Kumbasari market, Ubud Art Market, Sanur Art Market and the Pasar Seni Sukawati.

Expect to find a treasure trove of fine arts and handicrafts as well as semi-antique furniture, wood and stone carvings, traditional masks and woven and dyed fabrics in these places. In addition with arts and crafts you will see local specialities such as aromatherapy oils, incense, gold and silver jewellery, pearls and much more. Beach-side markets stock everything from brightly coloured sarongs to simple coral jewellery and surfing equipment.

Shops selling similar items are typically grouped together in Bali making price and product comparison easy. Keep in mind that not all shops accept credit cards – this is especially true for smaller markets off the tourist path, so be sure to carry enough cash for all your purchases. Those who can’t resist the air conditioned comforts of an upscale mall can always visit western styled malls in scattered all over the Kuta and Denpasar regions in the south. For the ultimate bargains try looking at places that are not regular tourist haunts, especially around Lovina Beach in the north of Bali.

With some diligent shopping and a little bargaining, it is possible to live very cheaply in Bali. Ever dream of owning your villa or apartment in a 5-star resort in Bali’s less crowded and more affordable north shore?

A Surfing Safari – Your Bali Holiday

Anyone heading off on a Bali holiday is greeted by this island paradise with open arms. Bali is well renowned for her beautiful beaches, exciting non-stop nightlife and the wonderfully warm locals. But at anytime of the year, the hotels in Bali are filled with the most enthusiastic of all guests – the die hard (or try hard!) surfers.

Bali is often the first and last stop off on any Indonesian surfing safari, but it is also destination in its own right. Many of the hotels in Bali are only a stone’s throw away from wide sandy beaches and easily accessible surf breaks of every size and difficulty. The year round swell off the deep southern oceans of the Antarctic, means that Bali has a non stop supply of surf. The swell flattens out once it reaches the reefs and creates the perfect conditions for a true surfing Nirvana. There are around twenty top class breaks around the island to choose from, and surfers of all ages and experience are generously catered for by Mother Nature! A Bali holiday between April and October offers the best conditions for surfing, although unfortunately everyone else is heading there between these times too, and it can become quite busy on the line-up at some of the more popular breaks.

BEGINNER’S BREAKS

Unlike the rest of Indonesia which is heavily reefed, Bali has a lot of smaller breaks more suited to the beginner or intermediate. Kuta is probably Bali’s most famous beach and there’s a great surf tradition of ‘anything goes’! The sandy bottom and waist deep water means that anyone from six to ninety six can get out on their board and give it a try. Whether it’s hanging ten, toes on the nose or total wipe-out – you can ride the fun waves at Kuta without fear of shredding any body parts on an exposed reef! There are lots of surf schools and board hire shops, so if you have never surfed before – Kuta is the perfect place to start!

A lot of the hotels in Bali are close to the easy riding Kuta and Legian beach surf areas, and when the sun goes down you can come straight out of the break, and head for a cocktail! You can outdo each other with tales of gnarly waves and killer surf, and then party on with the legendary Kuta nightlife. For the budding grommets and Gidgets, it’s only a few steps from bed where they can dream Bali holiday surfing adventure!

SERIOUS SURFING

Veteran surfers will be heading over to the pounding breaks at Padang Padang or Uluwatu on their Bali holiday. Padang Padang has an awesome ‘killer’ wave and this world class spot should only be attempted by the most experienced surfer! It is one of the most dangerous waves in Bali to face up to, as the coral reef is almost entirely exposed. But even if you can only dream of conquering the wave, it’s still worth coming along to watch the brave make their assault.

Uluwatu with its famous entry cave is probably the busiest of all the surf breaks in Bali. You clamber down the dramatic cliffs and through the cave which leads out onto the beach. The waves at Uluwatu are fast and long, and the view from the break is breathtaking – but in the monsoon season the waves here can reach a terrifying fifteen feet so this location is definitely not for the feint hearted! As well as a constant swell at Uluwatu there is also a constant crowd – so be warned, if you do chance your luck against the giant waves, you’ll have an audience!

The island’s popularity as a surfing destination has increased so much, the hotels in Bali and the more popular beaches are heaving in high season. But the hidden beauty of this tiny surfing Mecca is that if you’ve got a bit of time, and a slightly adventurous streak, you just might find yourself surfing a break on a deserted beach with only the fish to see you fall!

Scuba Diving South Lombok

Hi all, as I’ve been living and diving in South Lombok for 7 years now, I’ve read numerous articles, blogs, and forum posts about our region and many people think South Lombok is only for the “rough and ready” adventure diver, so I feel the need to clear up a few misconceptions about the south coast of Lombok.

South Lombok, in general, presents itself as a relaxed place (some people compare it to Bali 20 years ago), and travelers of all interests (not only divers) can find a very tropical and enjoyable region to visit. One will find beautiful white sandy beaches, simple to more luxurious accommodations, friendly locals, and lots of nature and relaxation.

There are 3 unique regions in the south of Lombok, Sekotong, Belongas Bay, and Kuta Bay:

Sekotong is a tropical little place with not much topside activity other than maybe renting a motorbike and exploring the coastline, snorkeling, swimming, or of course scuba diving. It’s quite perfect for couples and families who just want to relax and enjoy. There isn’t much touristic infrastructure (although it’s developing fairly quickly), but most accommodations have an adjacent restaurant so no one will need to go hungry (or thirsty). The scuba diving it’s relaxed, colorful reef diving at very intact reefs and lots of macro life can be found.

Belongas Bay, the place where the misconceptions actually come from, is truly only for the more adventures traveler and diver. The region is basically in the middle of nowhere, and the locals don’t see very much tourism there. So don’t be surprised if you are approached in a quite curios manner, for some this might even feel a little disturbing. The diving around this region can prove to be very challenging (especially during the dry season from July till October), but also can be very rewarding in a sense of pelagic life. Most certainly I would only recommend diving there only to the experienced diver.

Kuta Bay is comparable to Sekotong (from the diving aspect), but offers more infrastructure and topside possibilities such as, cafes, restaurants, and accommodations. The diving there is well suited for all levels of experience, and the dive shops there also have pool facilities etc. available for all levels of courses. But it should be mentioned that Kuta is best for diving during the rainy season (November till April), as during the dry season it’s subject to wind and waves (hence the time surfers love the place).

There are 2 or 3 dive shops located in South Lombok, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to give you some more detailed info about the general conditions for the particular regions.

Hope you guys come and visit, and have a great day;)