Bali Travel Guide - Page 2
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BALI. For some, the word conjures up images of infinity pools, surfing beaches and tropical temples. For others, it's a nightmare of topless tourists and sweaty sightseeing. Well, we just got back ourselves and we, with the help of tips from friends and locals, did something in between...something that turned out to be awesome. Put on the SPF, hire a car* and join us this week as we reveal an An Awesome Day on Bali (Jaunted-style).
Our awesome day on Bali begins with breakfast at Biku, in North Seminyak/Kerobokan.
Step outside of one of the mega resorts in Seminyak and Kuta and you'll very quickly learn two things: the local breakfast is a billion times better than whatever the resort is giving you "complimentary," and it's kind of difficult to find the beautiful Balinese-style buildings of your dreams in a city where so much is recently built of concrete.
The answer to both is Biku a tea house/restaurant/bookshop that serves a killer brunch and "Asian high tea" in a colonial-style building with exposed beams and ceiling fans instead of AC.
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Selamat pagi! For those in the know, you know that's "good morning" in Bahasa Indonesian. Naturally this can mean only one thing. We're in Indonesia! To be specific, we're in Bali; even more specifically, the town of Ubud.
After a few flights and even more fun in a few airports, we arrived on the tropical island and it was all worth it. First, we began in the beach town of Seminyak, which was everything you dream of when Bali comes to mind. Infinity pools, luxury hotels, black sand beaches, cocktails, and sun have all played a major role in this trip. We even sampled kopi luwak, a rare coffee of origin in Indonesia basically made from mongoose poop. More on that later.
If your New Year's resolution was to take a volunteer vacation, i-to-i Volunteer and Adventure Travel is offering an incentive for you to keep it.
The travel company is offering 12% off any of their volunteer or adventure experiences if you book by January 31, 2011. i-to-i has several different types of trips planned for 2011, including building, teaching, and conservation opportunities to fit any skill set.
The Indonesian island paradise of Bali, a major tourist hangout, seems to be having a few glitches lately. As if running out of alcohol wasn't already a pretty big problem, now the rabid dog problem looks like it is getting a bit out of control.
Previously rabies-free, the disease hit Bali last year, but it's only in the last few months that the drama has really hit the press and worried tourists. Ten locals have even died from rabies in the past year, and now tourists who get bitten by suspicious-looking dogs might have nowhere to turnpost-exposure vaccine supplies at Bali hospitals are pretty much non-existent.
Indonesia's popular beach vacation island of Bali might become a perfect retreat for vacationers wanting to detox, since the government started tightening up the laws on alcohol importation.
It turns out that until recently, some 90% of the beer, wine and spirits being brought into Bali was imported illegally to avoid the 200% duties and taxes. But with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (we'd vote for him just for his cool name) getting in for a second term, he decided to crack down on this practice. As a result, alcohol is starting to get scarce, and what's left in store there is starting to get ridiculously expensive.
Apparently some hotels have even started asking their guests to bring alcohol along and the hotel will reimburse them. So if you're heading to Bali soon with the intention of indulging in plenty of cocktails by the pool, either think again or BYOB.
Not many would recognize the name "Ngurah Rai International Airport," but many have flown into it: It's the arrival point for anyone visiting Bali and it's more commonly referred to as Denpasar. Whatever you call it, it's in for quite a few changes, judging by the announcements made this week by Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla.
The problem right now is that the airport's capacity is really only 2 million passengers a year--yet 4 million people are arriving in Bali annually. Quite rightly, authorities have decided that a $110 million expansion is needed, and so the terminal that currently services domestic air traffic will be enlarged. Once it's done, it'll become the international terminal.
An interesting part of the planning is that no commercial shops will be built in the new terminal. Officials say that since Bali is known for its "traditional art markets" in the tourist areas, there shouldn't be a bunch of new airport shops to compete with them. And here we were thinking airport shops were meant to be tear-the-last-foreign-currency-out-of-you pit stops.
Shops or not, the new Bali airport is meant to be finished during 2010. But let us be the first to say that we think "island time" will make that 2012.
Uh-oh. The Indonesian island holiday paradise of Bali is not quite the paradise we thought. It's just lost the status of being rabies-free, so now we've got to warn you about it.
Last year it was the chickens that were dangerous, but Australian health authorities have just confirmed that rabies is back in town. The Balinese are denying it for now, saying three locals died of a brain infection... after being bitten by dogs. We'll let you decide.
In any case, there are now warnings for tourists to consider rabies vaccinations before they fly to Bali and to look out for dogs, cats, monkeys and other animals who might scratch or bite you. Even if they're not (yet) foaming at the mouth.
The mostly Muslim country was considering banning the wearing of bikinis in every part of the country as part of an anti-pornography bill being pushed through the Indonesian parliament by some of the more conservative Muslim parties. Which is totally their right, of course--but it probably wouldn't be great for tourism on Bali in particular.
In any case, Bali is mainly Hindu, and plenty of locals there were vowing to simply break the law if the no-bikini rule got passed. Luckily it looks like they won't have to. The bill now contains exemptions for special tourist areas so relax: You can still pack your bikini for Bali.
Bali Travel / Buses / Green Travel / Islands / → All Tags
The environment's been getting an unexpected boost on the Indonesian island of Bali in the last couple of weeks. Fuel shortages caused by late arrivals of tankers to Bali's main fuel depot has meant that many gas stations simply closed up shop.
And that meant some tourists had their trips well and truly disrupted. With bus drivers unable to drive their empty-tanked buses, some travelers got stranded while others were ferried around in smaller cars that still had some gas.
Bali Tourism officials were quite concerned--especially as it's supposed to be Visit Indonesia Year--but perhaps it's just a strong shove from fate to remind people about the idea of green travel. Who knows where the fuel might run out next? We'd better start learning to walk again.
If for some strange reason you've had enough of lying on the beach during your Bali holiday, then you can always check out the Bali Zoo. It's not massive, with just 350 animals calling it home, but it likes to double as a conservation unit and has dubbed itself "Nature's Education Centre".
Thanks to a cooperation going with the Peel Zoo in Western Australia, the Bali Zoo is modernizing its animal enclosures and has the aim of making it a zoo where "animals will be lining up at the gate to get in." We'd like to see that.
The news of the moment at Bali Zoo is that it's just started running Night Tours of the zoo. Since plenty of the 350 are usually pretty sleepy during a balmy tropical Bali day, night tours should help you see animals being a bit more active. Just watch out at the front gate for that animal queue.
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Last year we were urging you to get to Bali quick smart, but looks like we might have to change our tune. Headlines today are telling the world that there's been a confirmed death from bird flu on the island. Given that Indonesia is the location of almost half of the world's known deaths from bird flu, it's hardly surprising that Bali's becoming a risk too.
Tourists traveling to Bali are now being strictly warned to avoid contact with poultry, as the disease is contracted directly from birds. At the moment the virus isn't contagious between humans, although scientists are worried that could change. For now, be careful and don't play with chickens, no matter how much you love animals.
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Time to hang with the locals and burn off those calories you were busy packing on back at the ho-tel: the Sumatran Orangutan Society is holding a 5K fundraiser this Sunday in Ubud, Bali. The race starts at 4 p.m. at the Ubud football field. Tickets are $3.50 for foreigners, and you can buy them at several shops around town. Food and massages await you at the finish line. If not for the workout, do it for the orangutans like you're supposed to. Are you seriously going to say no to the little dude above?
· Sumatran Orangutan Society [Official Site]
· Sumatran Orangutan Society Fun Run [Bali Blog]