Sunday, 24 February 2019

The easiest way to tour Uluwatu Temple - Hiring a private driver

  1. Go early. By 10 a.m. the tour buses are starting to arrive. If you like crowds wait for kecak dance/sunset hordes.
  2. Drivers wait outside big hotels in Kuta and Nusa Dua. Bargain for a good price. We wanted three hours (100,000 rupiah per hour seemed fair - roughly one hour each way to get there and one hour to walk the cliffs and forest trails. The driver was happy with 300,000 rupiah. He waited in the car park until we returned. The van was comfortable and air conditioned.
  3. Travel time (Nusa Dua - Uluwatu) varies from 35-55 minutes depending on route taken and traffic.
  4. Clothing - even though the actual temple is out of bounds - you are provided with sarong and sash with your 30, 000 admission fee.
  5. Watch the monkeys. Keep your distance. They have been known to grab food, sunglasses, hats, shiny jewellery.
  6. A guide is unnecessary.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Five things I hate about Bali...

1. Dodgy street currency exchange. If the rate looks too good to be true... it is. Go to reputable money changers (e.g. PT Central Kuta, BMC) but avoid hotel exchange rates.

2. Plastics in the surf - disposable diapers are the worst

3. The taxi mafia/taxi counter prices at Ngurah Rai Airport
 Head outside the gates (5 minute walk) and grab a metered taxi (e.g. Blue Bird Group) or (if you are feeling cheeky and only have hand luggage), take the lift up to the Arrivals level and grab a taxi that's just dropped someone off.

4. The proliferation of tattoo parlours.
New trend - tattoo removal shops in Kuta/Legian.

5. Roadside rubbish dumping.
If there's a slope, chances are there's a mountain of trash down there.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

5 reasons Bali is still a great destination

Legian sunset
Since the 1970's tourists have been flocking to the Indonesian island of Bali. Why do they return? Is Bali past its use-by-date? Here's why they keep on coming (a personal view):

  • Ngurah Rai International Airport has finally got its act together. Passport control is a breeze. There is even an "Over 60 years booth". No Visa on Arrival (e.g. for Australian tourists) hassles.
  • The morning swim/body surf at Legian Beach (before 7 a.m.). No surf schools, no glare, no hassle, just beach dogs, fishing boats on the horizon, great surf and misty Mount Agung to the north.
  • Food. Cap cay or Gado-gado (around $A2 each) at the closest warung. Never quite the same, always delicious.
  • Range of accommodation options (from $20 - $2000 a night)
  • The people. Still friendly, great customer service with a cheeky sense of humour.