Friday, February 3, 2012

Bali - Two days of sun, sand and sea!

As a tourist, your days in any destination are numbered. So, to do everything is not quite possible. We decided to see what interested both of us, a heavenly massage, some water sports, a romantic cruise, some Balinese shopping and some very famous Balinese destinations - all in just 2 days. After that we had only one final day left when we decided to travel deep in the remote places of Bali (more on that later!)
The day after traveling far and near in Bali, we took some time off in the morning and headed to a lovely massage. Balinese people excel in giving massages and they have a wide variety of choices too - swedish, aromatherapy, water based etc. I only remember that when it started, almost immediately, in the calming music, I dozed off. Following the massage was the romantic sunset cruise Bali Hai, which had some amazing cabaret musicians. (Word of caution though - if not ordered prior to boarding, there might not be much to eat for vegetarians other than bread and desserts). The cruise can often show some very beautiful sunsets. A glamorous sunset, with some great wine and dessert is a place every honeymooning couple wants to be, for sure!
More than half of the tourist population comes for water sports, one of the most famous activities in Bali. The most adventurous marine activity at least I had was not the sport itself, but the journey to the activity. We planned to do a flying fish sport, and to do that we had to go to a little deep on the surface of the ocean. A high speed engined boat takes you to the interior of the ocean and you jump from the boat to the vinyl sleeping bed, on which they tie you with belts and they drag the vinyl bed on the ocean, which starts flying at the high speeds. So, you literally fly in the air with the face up! Now, the ocean is not a calm water body to enjoy the ride any day, but when the only place you get on the boat is on its nose, in its exterior, with ocean water splashing on your face (not softly at all), you know you already have experienced the adventure and not a very safe one (people like me do not know how to swim and are hydrophobic too :|). 
After the water sporting activities (more than just the flying fish), we headed to do some shopping. Now, the cheapest artifacts are not what you can get in malls, but in the handicraft shops featuring art of local artists, made on the spot. They do some great bargaining too. Almost all the malls in Bali are on the beach. So, you can shop for as long as you want in the shade and then get some sun when feeling cold and then getting some shade when you are hot in the sun. We went to the Discovery mall and Kuta Beach after noon, it was hot but cool breeze kept the spirits high. Kuta beach is famous for two things - surfing and the sunsets. We missed watching the sunset at Kuta beach to make way for our trip to Uluwatu. Kuta Beach is a beautiful one with beachside hotels and resting areas with musicians performing at any time of the day. 
Uluwatu is a temple on the cliff, really huge. Uluwatu is known for its sunsets (most of the Balii is, but Uluwatu and Tanah Lot are the best views). Another famous sight at Uluwatu is that of playful and mischievous monkeys and sometimes violent and greedy too (they have snatched a lot of things from the humans and then they run down the cliffs which the humans don’t try to). Uluwatu is one of the 9 temples which were built by ancient Balinese kings who wanted to preserve the Hindu culture of the island. The temple premises also has the famous Kecak dance performed by humans dressed as monkeys.  
After the famous beaches we saw for the two days, we were waiting for our one last day in the island and the hearts already heavy, the end of the vacation was almost near!

Views from the sunset cruise

The handicrafts shop in the Discovery mall and the food joints in the mall - Yes, I did not miss any of the America's favorite joints.

Pictures from Kuta Beach, taken after noon, when the crowd was very less on the sea, but filled in the malls.

Sunset in the Uluwatu beach with the temple on the cliff