Today’s Featured Writer: Porter Olson
Your Daydreams Are Calling
Travel is often filled with colorful but misleading phrases. Words like hotspot, off-the-beaten path and paradise lose their currency when a destination is no longer hot (travel trends come and go like the latest runways fashions) or so thoroughly wired to the rest of the globe that off-the-beaten path simply refers to having sporadic Wi-Fi connection.
Bali Sunset, Indonesia (Photo: Dohduhdah/Wikimedia Commons)
However, travelers are a romantic group by nature, and many of them are still looking for that far-flung tropical outpost. They believe there is an undiscovered beach out there somewhere. Ponce de Leon’s fountain of youth is still hidden beneath a cascading waterfall or camouflaged in a tangled mass of flora and fauna. When travelers go in search of this pristine swath of beach and Rousseau style romanticism, they often find themselves in Southeast Asia, on the island of Bali.
Travel might be filled with colorful phrases, but Bali has the most vibrant and intriguing nicknames. The Pearl of the Indian Ocean and Island of the Gods are just a few of its praiseworthy monikers. Needless to say, this lush and beautiful island in the Indonesian archipelago is well deserving of its esteemed reputation. When you close your eyes and daydream about a tropical holiday, a picture of Bali is what forms in your mind, even if you do not know it yet. But when a daydream calls, you better answer.
Kuta Beach Surfer, Bali, Indonesia (Photo:Jordy Theiller/Wikimedia Commons)
Planning, Logistics and General Facts
Despite what you might think, Bali is not off-the-beaten-path. Spiritual seekers, world-class surfers and divers have been visiting the island for years. What was once a well-kept secret or as they say in the travel industry, a hidden jewel, has become increasingly visible over the years.
From sandy beaches and volcanic mountains to countless Hindu temples and chic resorts, Bali has something for everybody. This is why budget travelers, jetsetters, hippies, New Age gurus, Julia Roberts in the film “Eat Pray Love,” and what seems like the entire continent of Australia, due to its proximity to the island, have descended on the Bali.
Pura Batu Balong Temple. Rock formation is Tanah Lot. Bali, Indonesia (Photo: chensiyuan/Wikimedia Commons)
Avoid visiting Bali during July and August. The hotels and restaurants hike their prices, and the entire island becomes a headache inducing traffic jam. Bali is small; it measures only 90 miles east to west. In the off-season, the island is quiet and there are better deals on accommodations.
In Bali, the Indonesian Rupiah is the main form of currency, and 1.00 Indonesian Rupiah is equal to 0.00011 U.S. Dollars. It is a good thing that debit cards and credit cards are widely accepted, as the currency exchange can be a bit mind-boggling. You will need a passport to visit Bali, and when you land at Ngurah Rai International Airport, you will need to purchase a Visa on Arrival. For a U.S. citizen, this temporary travel visa will cost you $25 and is good for 30 days. Finally, Balinese and Indonesian are Bali’s two main languages. However, English is also spoken throughout the island, especially at those places that cater to tourists.
Balinese Dancer (Photo: Yves Picq/Wikimedia Commons)
A Bali Planner
Bali is a stunning combination of sun, sand, surf and spirituality. From the town of Seminyak, which is an enclave of upscale restaurants and trendy resorts, to the Ubud, which is known for its museums and arts and crafts, Bali has a lot to offer. Balinese dance and music is legendary, and dance spectacles like the Kecak, Barong and Legong Keraton have long captivated visitors. All aspects of island life are infused with culture, arts and religion.
Indonesia is Muslim, but the island of Bali has been a Hindu sanctuary since 100 BC. There are roughly 20,000 Hindu temples on the island, and enlightenment has been a major draw to visitors since the 1960s, when tourism and spiritual pilgrimages became intertwined. In other words, if you are looking for inner balance but do not want to travel to an ashram in India, you can visit a Hindu temple and pick up a surfboard in Bali.
Kuta Beach, Bali, Indonesia (Photo: Ibenkjoker/Wikimedia Commons)
Your Daydreams are Answered
Whether you are riding the waves on Kuta Beach or marveling at the black, volcanic sand in Lovina, watching a traditional Balinese dance or bird watching at the West Bali National Park, Bali may not be off-the-beaten path, but it is certainly a hotspot. You never know: it might just be the fountain of youth you have been looking for.
About Porter Olson
About the Author: When he’s not out traveling, Porter Olson is a writer and blogger for USDirect.com.