Here at Kiwi.com, we love exploring new places, but we also know that sometimes you want to go back to somewhere you’ve already been. Here’s our guide to some of the most popular destinations that Kiwi.com customers fly in and out of.
Destination – Bali
Airport – Ngurah Rai International
If you’ve never been …
… Prepare to feel like you’ve walked into a postcard. Broad, white sandy beaches, clear seas and the sun beating down out of a perfect blue sky. Temples, mountains, tiny villages and tourist traps; manic nightlife and yoga retreats. So let’s explore this wondrous corner of Indonesia, shall we?
Hit the beach
Obviously, let’s start with the reason that most tourists come to Bali. The beaches are stunning. Grab your sun cream and just relax for hours, or wade out into the ocean and have a swim. If you enjoy snorkelling, there’ll be plenty of opportunities for that, and for scuba diving to reefs to see the colourful fish flitting through the shards of sunlight.
Find your Zen state
Spas are big business in Bali. If the beach isn’t relaxing enough, there are literally hundreds of spas to choose from and find the one that gives you the treatment you need. Treatments range from a simple hand or foot massage, to yoghurt baths and courses focussing on relaxing expectant mothers or learning how to make your own organic massage products.
Party all night
Bali is famous for its nightlife, although this has come at a price. The area of the island extending from the village of Kuta to encompass the surrounding locales of Legian, Seminyak and Basangkasa, is well-known as the party capital – and with good reason – but has brought with it an increase in prostitution and drug use amongst tourists out to have a good time. Oh, and remember that nothing really gets going until after midnight …
The Ubud Monkey Forest is seen as an important spiritual, educational – and economic – centre for the nearby village of Padangtegal. Over twelve and a half hectares of forest you can see 125 different species of tree, but most people come to play with the 700 or so monkeys that call this park home. Throughout the year there are various events and festivals as well, so look ahead and see what simian tomfoolery you could get involved in!
Go with the green flow
Contoured waves of green cascade down the hillsides of the Unesco-nominated region known as the Jatiluwih Green Land. They are actually rice terraces, skillfully contoured into the hillsides up in the Balinese highlands and irrigated using a clever communal water system. This system was developed by farmers in the 9th century and is known as subak. It was for this overall preservation of the environment and the traditional methods of farming and preserving it that the region received its nomination.
If you’ve already been and feel like going back, what about these?
Hit the city
Why on earth would you go to a hectic, roasting hot city on an island famed for beach parties and chilling out? Well, to see what the regular residents of Denpasar (for that is the name of the island’s capital) get up to. There are some excellent museums on Balinese culture; the Bajra Sandhi monument can give you a wonderful panoramic view of the city; and the food is outstanding.
Find the ghost of a theme park
Shortly after opening in 1997, the Taman Festival theme park closed down due to financial concerns and has been quickly reclaimed by the jungle. Vines, trees and creepers wind through the creaking structures as carved stone figures loom over public spaces that are being lost to the undergrowth. Locals believe that spaces like this are only borrowed by humans, and that this is nature just reclaiming what is rightfully hers.
Try a themed tour
The island of Nusa Penida is still as undiscovered as it’s possible to get in somewhere as overrun with tourists as Bali, and the best thing to do is rent a motorbike and get lost. Temples, waterfalls and beaches all wait for you. The other option is to take one of the island’s themed tours; everything from island survival to seaweed farming and black magic.
A temple to the modern
Also on Nusa Penida, the Paluang Temple on the south of the island features statues to the staples of modern life; houses, everyday people, and even cars! Get to the village of Karangdawa and go from there.
Nyepi is the Balinese day of silence. It falls on every Balinese new year (in 2018 it’s March 17), and for 24 hours nothing happens except self-reflection. No-one is allowed on the streets, lights must be kept low, there is no TV or radio noise. Tourists must stay in their hotels; even the airport closes.
After the 24 hours is up, people flood onto the streets again to seek out family and friends to ask for forgiveness for any mistakes made over the past year and to perform religious ceremonies. It is a massively important tradition for the Balinese people. Rather than seeing it as an inconvenience, you should count yourself lucky to be a part of it.