SEPTEMBER 19, 2018 14:08 IST
UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 19, 2018 14:08 IST
The Tanah Lot temple | Photo Credit: Karishma Upadhyay
Chasing the sunset through emerald rice fields, virgin beaches and temple-crowned cliffs makes Bali just as alluring
Whether you are in Bali for its verdant rice terraces, monster waves or rollicking nightlife, you have to take a moment to celebrate its kaleidoscopic sunsets. While it is true that a beautiful sunset can be found no matter where you are in the world, the ones in Bali come with a dash of magic.
One of the most popular sunset destinations on the tiny island in the Indonesian archipelago is Tanah Lot, the temple of Varuna (the sea god), set amongst the thundering horses of the sea. It was here that I had a moment of peace and clarity while watching the sky turn pastel hues of dusky rose and dark lilac, as the sun began its daily descent. The ancient Hindu shrine is perched on top of an outcrop that’s only accessible during low tide. The rocky causeway and the cave at the base of the temple are home to the legendary ‘guardian’ sea snakes that live around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain, a natural spout of fresh ‘holy’ water.
Garuda Indonesia has introduced the first direct non-stop flight from Mumbai to Bali, currently operating Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Flying from other Indian cities means a layover in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur. On arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, Indians have a free visa for a 30-day stay in Indonesia with no extension. May to October is the best time to visit the island.
There’s something familiar about a priest, dressed in all white, sprinkling water over me and handing me a fragrant frangipani as a blessing, and yet, the setting is exotic enough for me to be enchanted. As pinks merge into purple in the sky, the area around the temple is overrun with tourists. Leaving the crowd behind, I climb the cliff overlooking the temple. I walk past stalls, selling everything from art and batik dresses to weasel coffee, to the cliff-top restaurants. With an XXL-sized tender coconut, I take in the unparalleled view of the tiered pagodas of the sea temple, framed by the dramatic sunset. There is a moment just before the evening light fades away when Tanah Lot resembles a life-sized floating bonsai garden.
Bali is the only Hindu island in the predominantly Muslim country of over 17,000 islands. With more temples per square kilometre than any other place in the world, it has earned the moniker ‘Island of a Thousand Temples’. But more than temples, Bali has boomed as the leading destination for sun worshippers, scuba enthusiasts and surfers. Think cool ocean breeze, salty hair and sun-kissed skin. Whether your idea of the perfect beach life includes sunset cocktails, postcard-perfect hidden bays, world-class surfing or a never-ending line-up of watersports, Bali is blessed with the most versatile beaches.
At the heart of Bali’s ocean-front action is Seminyak beach. The five-kilometre stretch of powdery white sand is dotted with bars, restaurants and shopping, just footsteps from the waves. On the southern coast, Gunung Payung and Melasti beach are epitomes of hidden tropical paradises, with calm cove-like waters rolling off a bright white bay, framed by dramatic rock formations and not a soul in sight.
If you are in the mood for love, head to beaches like Jimbaran and Karma, where restaurants serve sunset dinners on the sand and night-time films are shown under the stars. There’s also Padang Padang Beach, where Julia Robert’s character falls head over heels for her Brazilian hunk (played by Javier Bardem) in Eat, Pray, Love. Nusa Dua’s impeccably clean beachfront and calm waters are perfect for a family day out. There’s enough watersports, family restaurants and even a shopping complex to keep everyone happy.
For a change of pace, I head inland towards the cultural heart of Bali — Ubud. The undulating hills in the region are alive with art, yoga, meditation, healing, adventure and world-class food. Not to mention the sacred Ayung River, which is known for its good vibes and healing properties. I was spoilt for choice when it came to things to do. My pick — start the day with a trek up Mount Batur, stretch and exhale at The Yoga Barn, buy souvenirs at the Ubud Art Market and take a cycle ride around the lush Tegalalang rice fields just before sunset.
Wednesday, 19 September 2018
By Coconuts Bali Sep. 19, 2018
Bali has seen an increase in foreign tourist arrivals over the first three quarters of 2018, compared with the same period last year, with Chinese tourists coming in the lead.
Looking at aircraft alone, there were 107,338 aircraft recorded as coming in and out of I Gusti Ngurah Rai, both through the domestic and international terminals, whereas that number was 96,723 in 2017, making for an increase of 11 percent, according to Ngurah Rai Air Transport Traffic (LLAU) statistics.
As for overall passenger movements (foreign and domestic), there were 15,640,887 people served in the first eight months of 2018 at the Bali airport, an increase of eight percent, compared to the same period last year, which had 14,481,013 passengers entering and leaving Bali through the airport.
“In general, there was an increase in LLAU statistics at I Gusti Ngurah Rai International Airport in the period from January to August this year. We recorded an increase of 11 percent, while for passenger movements there was an increase of eight percent,” I Gusti Ngurah Rai Yanus Suprayogi confirmed with Merdeka in Badung, Bali on Wednesday.
From January to August 2018, Bali has experienced 4,139,187 foreign tourist arrivals, up 6.61 percent compared to last year’s third quarter accumulation of 3,882,526 foreign arrivals.
Of the 2018 foreign arrivals, a recored 972,442 tourists are from China, making the country the largest contributor to foreign tourists to Bali, coming through the island’s airport. Trailing China is Australia, with 770,228 and India, with 244,628 foreign arrivals.
Chinese tourists overtook Australians as Bali’s biggest market from the start of 2017 and have continued to dominate since then.
“Regarding the records for foreign tourists, China, Australia, and India still occupy the top three largest contributing countries,” Suprayogi said.
Monday, 10 September 2018
Best romantic date spots in Bali: Where to go for gorgeous views, luxurious dinners, and pampering sessions
Bali and World News and Views Editor's Comments:
Bali is not only ranked as one of the top destinations in the world but is also one of the most romantic places you could ever experience.
I should know after living here for 22 years and meeting my wife here Bali's romantic settings have certainly attracted me to stay here and enjoy romance on a daily basis.
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By Benita Lee Sep. 10, 2018
Photo: Artem Bali/Flickr
Bali is beautiful – there’s no doubt about that. After all, the island of the gods is perpetually teeming with honeymooners and lovey dovey couples, the Bali breakup curse be damned. But besides pouring your heart to one another during scenic strolls on the beach or staring into each other’s eyes while enjoying a sunset dinner, there are plenty of other unique yet romantic things to do on the island – day or night.
Whether you’re brainstorming proposal ideas or looking for a picturesque escape, here’s a list of date ideas for you and your partner to try out in Bali together.
Admire panoramic sights from the edge of a cliff
Kick the romance level up a notch at one of Bali’s numerous sky high, cliff-side beach clubs, where you can luxuriate in breathtaking views without getting your feet sandy.
There’s Omnia Dayclub perched on the limestone cliffs of Uluwatu, The Edge resort’s oneeighty°, which overlooks the pristine waters from its glass-bottom sky pool, El Kabron with its merrymaking Ibiza party vibes and, of course, the OG of its kind, Rock Bar Bali along the Jimbaran coast.
Brave the trek up Mount Batur to watch the sun rise
A hike up the mountain to breathe in the orange glow of the sun lighting up the sky sounds like a ridiculously romantic experience for adventurous couples, but it involves a bit of sacrifice on your part to feel your way around in the dark. Still, it’s the sort of adrenaline spiking activity that can bring your relationship to new heights, literally.
Just be sure to pack trekking gear for the cold start – your journey begins in the wee hours of the morning, after all – and do the climb with a guide from one of the numerous tour companies (like Bali Sunrise Tours or Bali Trekking Tour). Once you’re done gazing at the stunning sight of the sun gliding above the horizon, you can stop by the natural hot springs for a relaxing time.
Enjoy a feeling of peace at Tamblingan Lake
Be at one with nature at Tamblingan Lake, where the serene waters are surrounded by lush flora and fauna, making for quite the tranquil morning – especially if you’re the only ones there. You can trek hand in hand through the forest to get to the banks, then paddle out onto the lake or visit one of the temples nearby.
Explore your adventurous side at a secret waterfall
Photo: Henrik Sommerfeld/Flickr
Escape from the throngs at Bali’s popular waterfall sites and explore the island’s lesser-known – but just as glorious – spots, where your private time together won’t be bombarded by the constant clicks of camera shutters.
There’s a remote one hidden by the cliffs at Desa Musi – though you may have to ask the locals for directions – Jembong Waterfall with its cascading turquoise waters; Tukad Cepung Waterfall, a gorgeous beauty circled by cliffs; Nungnung Waterfall located at the bottom of a whopping 500 steps; and Banyumala Twin Waterfall in the Wanagiri district by Lake Buyan.
Get camera-happy at the marigold fields
The striking marigold fields make for quite the picturesque pitstop on your drive between Kintamani and Bedugul, with brilliant hues of yellow and orange gleaming under the sun. To see the golden florals at their best, swing by before harvest season (which changes yearly). Also in the East Bali village of Desa Temukus, you’ll find the “Edelweiss Garden”, a wonderland filled with soft, almost wintery white plants.
Go dolphin watching at the beach
Photo: Dominic Alves/Flickr
The popular attraction of Lovina Beach is a North Bali coastal town known for its dolphin watching tours, where local fishermen take visitors out to sea for a close-up look at marine life. The boat trip starts early in the day, but beware the crowds of eager tourists who will likely pressure the guides into chasing down the aquatic creatures just for a quick glimpse.
Whether or not you spot a dolphin is also down to luck, but hey, at the very least you’ll be rewarded for waking up before the crack of dawn with a majestic sunrise. *True romance*… right?
Have a candle-lit dinner in a beachside cave
Photo: The Samaya Ubud Bali Luxury Villas/Facebook
Forget dinner by the ocean – gaze across the table at each other in a cozy cave instead, where you’ll be well and truly spending quality alone time together. At Samabe Resort, the twinkling candles set the tone for your five-course beachfront dinner.
Otherwise, The Samaya Ubud offers an enchanting evening by the river at its elegant restaurant, Swept Away. To go all out, book the special table lit by 100 candles for the best view (and service) in the house. It’s pretty much like something straight out of a fairytale.
Luxuriate in a natural jacuzzi
Tegal Wangi Beach. Photo: Timothy Subroto/Flickr
Tegal Wangi Beach in Jimbaran isn’t just a slab of white sand and rolling blue waters – it’s also home to numerous little pockets of natural “jacuzzis”, which you can take a dip in while reveling in the sunset. These rock pools, found on exposed coral reefs, are filled each time a wave crashes in – and best of all, you don’t have to pay a single cent to enjoy ‘em.
Pack a picnic at Asah Hill
The not-so-secret picnic paradise of Bukit Asah Bugbug in Karangasem is a halcyon hideaway for couples who love to bask in the beauty of nature. It’s about a 40-minute hike to the top, but the seaside views from up high are worth it, especially when you’re reclining on a blanket and munching away on your packed lunch to the hypnotic sound of crashing waves.
Pamper yourselves at the spa
There’s pretty much a spa at every corner in Bali, but sometimes you just want to bask in luxury without having to count pennies. To indulge in lavish, relaxing body massages and soothing treatments side by side, make your way up to clifftop spa Bulgari Bali, float above the river on a massage bed at Permata Ayung Private Estate Spa, soak in the views of Tegalalang’s rice terraces at Puri Gangga resort’s Aura Spa, or head to Ayung River’s Puri Ahimsa wellness retreat for the Fivelements experience.
Sail across the waters at sunset
If you can’t get enough of the chill island life that Bali offers, step on board a catamaran dinner cruise and sail the crystal clear waters for an evening. Companies like Bali Dinner Pirate, Bali Hai Cruises, and Skylight Dinner Cruiseoffer buffet spreads with vibrant live entertainment and sunset views.
Shop your way through a local market
Photo: Love Anchor Canggu/Facebook
For a bout of retail therapy, head hand-in-hand to some of the oldest (and largest) traditional Balinese night markets at Badung and Kumbasari, where you’ll find locals hawking apparel, accessories, handicrafts, and trinkets. For something more modern, swing by Canggu for its fairy-lit Love Anchor bazaar filled with trendy knick knacks, or spend a lazy Sunday rummaging through the eclectic Old Man’s Market for hidden gems.
Sightsee in a submarine
Take a break from all that swimming and surfing, and glide through the waters in a sleek submarine, where you’ll visit the underwater world of corals and tropical marine life from the air-conditioned comfort of the vessel. No diving gear needed for this excursion – just a ticket on board Odyssey Submarine.
Sign up for a fun workshop together
Get hands on and create your own souvenirs together at any of the arts and crafts classes across Bali, including ceramic sessions at Sari Api, batik workshops by local artist Nyoman Warta, home brewing training at Seniman Coffee, stone carving and bamboo weaving lessons at WS Art Studio, and shadow puppet crafting at Museum Puri Lukisan.
Splurge on a helicopter ride for bird’s eye views
The view of Tanah Lot Temple from above. Photo: Air Bali/Facebook
Got the cash to splash? Take to the skies on a helicopter to explore Bali from way up high, with tours that include iconic sights such as Uluwatu Temple, Lake Beratan, Kuta Beach, Tanah Lot Temple, Lake Kintamani, and Mount Rinjani. These flights by Air Bali and Mason Sky Tours don’t come cheap, but when you’re in love, nothing’s too expensive. Right?
Take a walk on the wild side
Photo: Bali Safari Park/Facebook
Sure, it’s no South African game reserve, but visiting the Bali Safari & Marine Park is a little adventure on its own, with more than 100 species – including rare or endangered ones like the Komodo Dragon and the Bali Mynah bird – freely roaming across the space.
You can hop on a safari bus together, have breakfast with the lions (through a glass panel, of course), watch shows and performances, then get back on the vehicle for a night-time tour, where the roles are reversed and humans get locked in a cage, with predators prowling around.
Watch a movie under the stars
Photo: Karma Beach Bali/Facebook
If snuggling with your significant other on sandy shores under a starry sky is your idea of romance, this private beach club, a 30-minute drive from Jimbaran, has just what you need. Every Monday, Karma Beach Bali screens Hollywood blockbusters (anything from animation to drama to romance) with the sea green waters as your backdrop – there’s an earlier showing just after the sun sets and another later in the evening.
Plus, the blue-hued lagoon at Karma Kandara is a hidden little oasis at the bottom of a limestone cliff, which means you won’t get strangers randomly invading your quiet nook.
For more Bali guides:
9 unique hotels in Bali: holiday in a bubble, a safari lodge, bamboo bungalows, and more
Bali’s Best Beach Clubs: Where to lounge on sunbeds, swim in the sea & infinity pools, sip on cocktails, soak in amazing island views and get a taste of the high life
Bali’s Best Cocktails: Where to get a drink, classic, signature and inventive creations with a twist from the island’s coolest bars and top-shelf mixologists
Bali’s Best Healthy Food: Where to find vegetarian & vegan menus, superfood cafes, clean eating, raw food, organic options and more