You have decided a good family trip to Bali is in order. You have booked your flights and arranged good accommodation through your travel agent but, there is a drawback. You are worried because time is of the essence and you will only have a week to experience as much of Bali as possible, its mesmerising culture and the delights of the scenic countryside.
On top of that you want to do some shopping and no doubt the kids want to do their own thing. Poses a problem? Not really. If you plan beforehand, do some research and discuss with your family what you want to see and do then you will all have a fabulous holiday experience. Start off by asking each family two things they want to do in Bali. You will be pleasantly surprised how each individual requests are similar to other family members. Makes it ever so much easier!
As I mentioned earlier, do some research. Grab yourself a Bali guidebook and do some research (they come in handy when you are over there). A lot of people swear by Lonely Planet but I would recommend Rough guides. It’s totally up to you. Troll Bali websites and forums to gather information suited to your needs for your trip.
There are literally hundreds out there in cyberspace and so it’s a matter of obtaining the information appropriate to your already chosen family requests. Involve the whole family and make it fun. Okay, you mind is now on overload with information and it’s time to sort it all out. Now, the time comes where you break it down into sections. You want to do the shopping (we all love that!), go on a couple of roadtrips and see what’s ‘out there’, maybe take in a cultural show and imbibe in some interactivity with the locals. Here are a few ideas to help you plan a great trip:
Shopping: Bali is geared towards tourists and you will find this obvious when you walk up and down Jalan Legian from Bemo Corner through to Seminyak. First impressions will see you being overwhelmed but it is important to just look around everywhere before you jump headlong into parting with your money. Most of the things on sale are much the muchness everywhere you go. Besides the traders along the main drag, you will find even more down the side streets running off this street.
There are plenty of traders down both Poppies Lane 1 and 2. The Kuta Art Market behind Matahari Square is a maze of stalls and a colourful place to do your shopping for clothes and other items. You might also want to check out the traditional markets on Jalan Melasti in Legian.
If markets aren’t your thing then there are many department stores and specialty shops spread a round the tourist area. These include Carrefour and Geneva (fabulous for Balinese crafts) in Seminyak, Matahari Square in Kuta and the Centro Discovery in Tuban. All the aforementioned are fixed-price and so you won’t be able to bargain.
Day Trips: Most of the bigger hotels have organised trips where you can travel with fellow tourists to see the attractions of the countryside. They also organise cultural shows where you can enjoy the traditional dances of Bali. The village of Bona is renowned as centrepoint for these. Bali is only a small island and so it is quite east to get to all points of the compass in a day trip and return in time to plunge into the pool and down a cold beer before the sun even sets on the horizon!
Choose one or two of these trips appropriate with your pre-planned ‘must-see’ list. With only a week to see as much as possible then I suggest two one-day trips and one morning trip. With the one-day trips you will see many places of historical interest, places where traditional arts and crafts are made, temples, stunning scenery and volcanoes. There are basically four of these and one being to see the Mother temple in Bali, Pura Besakih.
Morning trips are a great idea and a suggested couple are the Sangeh tour which takes in the monkey forests at Sangeh and Alas Kedaton and then on to Tanah Lot to see the temple on the rocky outcrop; probably the most photographed place on Earth.
The morning Denpasar tour will give you a great insight into the bustling, historical city with visits to museums and other places of interest. A visit to the Kumbusari and Badung markets is a must for fabulous shopping. Visiting the temple at Uluwatu is another, Beware of the thieving monkeys there!
Sunset Dreaming: Being surrounded by crystal blue oceans it is only natural that Bali has some mind-blowing sunsets. Kuta Beach is renowned throughout the world as a fabulous place to just chill-out and observe the golden globe being absorbed by the inky coloured sea. Everybody heads down to Kuta or Legian beaches for this occasion and it can get fairly crowded.
My tip would be to head own to the Centro Discovery Mall and walk out the back, down onto the beach and find a suitable place to take your photographs and enjoy the sunset. If you like, you can walk along the beach in the direction of the airport and watch the fishermen take their boats out for a night’s fishing. What is great about witnessing the sunset at Centro is once the sun has been devoured you can go back to the Centro Discovery Mall and devour some delicious food at one of the many restaurants overlooking the ocean. A delightful way to spend an evening on paradise island.