Yes, I am back to Indonesia - Bali, this time, for the best friend in the world, Freya's* wedding. After visiting Jakarta and Bandung, I was looking forward to Bali of course, a beautiful beach resort offering views, relaxation and culture. It was a short flight to Denpasar Airport, where I was met and greeted by her relatives, most of whom have also flown in from various parts of the world.
Food for Thoughts
We were driven by their chauffeurs to the popular and scenic Jimbaran Beach for photographs taking and fresh seafood feast. I loved the sunset, friendly people, band playing music on the beach, and the sumptuous spicy seafood dishes - clams, squid, stingray, Tiger prawns, crayfish etc. It was not hard to harbour desire to swim, tan, read and snorkel at the beach in the daytime.
Besides beach dining of seafood or western fares at one's own resorts / hotels, may want to consider the Balinese Restaurants serving traditional food such as fried chicken, chicken cooked in special gravy, Balinese fried rice or soup etc. Note that some of the items may be spicy, but the overall taste is great.
Accomodation in Bali
There are many choices of places to stay in Bali, so let me share two of those I stayed in.
We drove 2-3 hours up the mountains to Buyan Lake Villa Resort - currently under revamping but we managed to get in for sneak previews. This lovely, cold mountainous resort houses many individual villas with two bedrooms each. There is a huge body of water - the Lake Buyan offering magnificent views if one thinks that the gorgeous mountain views and flowerbeds are not sufficient to pamper the eyes.
Each individual villa is spaced apart for privacy, and comes with a living room, large bedroom with two double beds and bathroom. We spent the nights running to each others' villas and having drinks parties till late. Refurbishment and major overhaul in order, but should be completed in under a year. There would be restaurants up the resort very soon (still building currently). Service would be excellent, and views would be awesome. I loved the cool night air.
For those who contend with staying near the beachfront instead of up the mountains, Ayana Resort and Spa Bali offers great view, excellent service, full set of facilities and a luxurious living experience for tourists. It used to be the Ritz Carlton in Bali. One has the choice of villa resorts or hotel rooms.
Drinks and Chillout
Well, there are plenty of places for drinks and chilling out in Bali for sure, besides the beach itself, of course.
The best bar in Bali to watch sunset and offering great coastline views, is the Rock Bar located at Ayana Hotel itself. One has to take an elevator to descend to the shores, and the bar is located by the sea along with swimming pools, if one prefers. The DJ spins from a station on the steep cliff itself - sorry, it was too dark for me to snap pictures. He looked lonely up there.
Alternatively, Ayana Hotel offers a couple of other lounges to chill out in, at ground level. There's also the Martini Club and Unique Rooftop Bar.
Other Activities in Bali
Besides having fun at the beaches reading, tanning and enjoying sea sports, besides visiting touristy spots such as Denpasar for shopping, besides dining on great food and having drinks at lovely clubs, what else does one do in Bali?
Visit UBUD - a tiny town in Bali with artistic villages, Monkeys Farm and working rice paddies for cultural infusion. There is also the Botanical Garden in Ubud with many different species of flowers and unique plants for the plant / nature lovers.
Overall, Bali is a charming little island that has everything to offer. A trip there truly soothes the soul and offers cultural satiation. I made quite a few new friends there, and would love to head back aain soon.