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Tanah Lot- The most photogenic temple in Bali

With the record of being the most photographed and the most photogenic temple in Bali, Tanah Lot stands tall and firm on the black rocks...

Showing posts with label MakeMyTrip. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MakeMyTrip. Show all posts

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Plan your first trip to Bali

Bali, popularly known as the paradise island is one of the most voted travel destinations. Blessed with pristine beaches, lush greenery, rich architecture and towering mountains, Bali is a seamless blend of modern and tradition, that welcomes tourists round the year. Though it is pretty easy and cheap to travel in Bali, you certainly need to keep few things in mind and plan in advance. This post is for Indians planning a trip to Bali for the first time. (Not a bagpaking trip but a mid sized budget trip for seven days)


At Kualalampur Airport

Most of the South East Asian flights connect Indonesia. Choose any airlines but AirAsia. (I was sleepless throughout the journey. There is no leg space and you cannot incline your seats either. Low cost carriers do have this disadvantage). 

Since the journey is long, you can go for full service carriers which include food and other in-flight amenities. Our toward journey was in Air Asia and return in Air Malindo. I could easily judge the difference in the service and quality. 
Contact your service carrier for good deals on flights. Ours was from Makemytrip.

Check for the number of stoppages. Direct flights would generally be costlier. Air Asia halt was at Kualampur Airport for three hours till the next connecting flight.              

The colorful Kualalampur Airport

Tip: Allow yourself ample sleep in flight or at connecting airport so that you reach your destination fresh and energetic. Air Asia flight had left me sleepless.  I could not sleep at Kualampur Airport either.  So a sleep deprived me took a walk inside KL airport to kill time.


We like to keep it light

Air Asia allowed 20 kg of cabin baggage and 7 kg of hang baggage. Air Malindo, for our return journey had 30 kg allowance for cabin baggage.  (Air Asia has number of other constraints and I hate them.)

It is advisable to read the same on the websites of your respective airlines so that you do not get last minute surprises.Also, travel light and leave some space in your luggage for souvenirs that you might want to shop in Bali. 

Keep your essentials, documents, camera etc in your hand baggage or carry on luggage. Things like batteries, body lotions, medicines need to go in your cabin luggage. Check the airlines website mentioning the list of items that you can carry in respective baggage.

Keep an extra luggage lock and secure your cabin bag before handing over to airlines for luggage boarding. The lock of our cabin bag was tampered with which we discovered later. Thankfully a backup lock saved us from any loss.   


For Indian citizens, no visa is required. Pretty easy for Indians you see!  For people from other countries please check http://www.visabali.com/tourist-visas.php. Rules keep changing so please keep an eye on the updates. 

Sim and Calling Card

You can buy a sim from anywhere in Bali which comes pre-loaded with data. You might have to further recharge the sim for calling value. Primarily you would require data to navigate maps, so make the best use of data. Buying a sim at the airport might be expensive. We bought 3 Care sim from a shop close to our hotel which costed us 30000 IDR.  

Currency Exchange

Indonesian Currency is called Indonesian Rupee often abbreviated IDR is valued much lesser than Indian Rupee. One Indian Rupee is equivalent to 210 IDR. Makes you feel rich? Now look at the dollar conversion. 1 USD is 13659 IDR.

Its a standard norm to convert Indian Rupees in Dollars. Do that in India instead of going to exchange counters at Bali airport. Remember, exchange rates in dollars are offered at higher prices at airports. At the airport, it is advisable to convert a smaller amount of dollars to Indonesian Rupee (IDR), so that your taxi fare is at-least sorted. For the rest of the amount, exchange $ to IDR from any authorized money exchange. Go for the ones which are big and authentic. Stay away from small shacks or shops. Chances are you might be duped. We exchanged from Central Kuta Money Exchange which was in the lane behind our hotel.  


Taxi at Bali airport

Download UBER app in your phone and use it freely to commute there, especially when you land in Bali and heading to your hotel. Taxis at airports charge exorbitantly. For instance Bali airport taxi charged us 150,000 IDR (More than Rs 700) to drop us to our hotel in Kuta. Whereas Uber charged 30000 IDR (Rs 142) for the same distance from hotel to airport.


Never skip insurance while traveling international because you do not want to spend heftily on foreign land should you face ANY medical condition. Contact your insurance agent or buy online in a single click. Insurance also covers the loss of luggage, theft or certain emergencies. We bought ours from ICICI Lombard. Just provide your date of travel, flight tickets, purpose of visit and visa or hotel info, and the policy would reach you in your mail box. Its that simple. For Bali which is a humid place and you can be prone to diseases/insect bites in forests, travel insurance is a must.      

International driving licence

Tourists are often carried away by stories of fake valour. For instance an acquaintance told me that International Driving Licence is not required in Bali and Indian DL would suffice. Please do not fall for the trap. Cops in Bali are strict and in case you break any traffic rule or face any unforeseen contingency, the first thing they would ask for is an International Driver’s License which failing to produce may lead to huge penalty or criminal case. 

You can apply for one in your local/district court at a nominal cost. It would be valid for 1 year from the date of preparation. We prepared ours from Gurugram District Court at Rs 1200. Yes a little nagging and sweating in queue is required, but after all it’s for your own convenience.

Once you have all documents ready, keep photocopies with you and keep them handy. 

Transport in Bali 


Bali has narrow but good roads minus the potholes. Just like one would cruise through Goa on scooters/bikes, follow the same here. Hire a scooters for two reasons- One they rarely get stuck in traffic and two, are cheaper than taxi/Uber for long distance ride. 

Watch out for scooter renting shops near your hotel or ask your hotel reception for help. Check the bike's condition before you pay, especially tyre pressure, pickup, seats, headlight and most important, the documents. Take a trial ride before you close the deal. The scooter would be given to you with little petrol, enough to ride to the nearest petrol station. (Petrol is called Pertamina in Indonesian language). Petrol is quite cheap here. (One litre costed 7500 IDR or Rs 35 only). Make the most of your scooter ride. We rented a scooter at 50,000 IDR per day ( Barely 230 INR) from a tiny scooter rent shack at Kuta. 

Always keep your international DL, insurance and bike documents with you handy.

Traffic Rules 
Indians are used to jump traffic lights, over speed or honk unnecessarily. Try doing these in Bali and a cop would be waiting for you at the next traffic signal. Irrespective Bali is a smaller place and economically weaker than India, traffic rules are strictly adhered to. We had stopped at a traffic signal few inches after the crossing line and retracted the bike as we realized our mistake. Inspite of undoing the wrong, a traffic cop chased us and fined us with 300000 IDR. Phew! It was one hell of an experience on foreign soil. 

Needless to mention, helmets are a must for both the riders. Do not over speed and do not argue with the cops. Its better to be safe than sorry. Yeah?  

Food in Bali

Bali is dominated by non vegetarian cuisines, especially sea food and pork. Vegetarians do face problem in eating out. If you don't even eat eggs, then you would surely have a tough time.  However you can ask the restaurant to make vegetarian rice or noodles for you sans meat or fish sauce and they would happily do that for you.  Nasi Goreng (stir fried rice) is available almost everywhere which you can customize while placing order. Our favorite place to eat out was "Gateway of India" in Kuta.

The restaurant we frequented in Kuta
Fried rice and kadhai paneer in Gateway Of India

Anyway fruits and bread are always available everywhere which is a huge respite for vegetarians and vegans. Talking about Vegan food, yes there are a few vegan restaurants in Bali (which was surprising to us). You can look for them in Zomato. We ate in a vegan restaurant in Ubud. (Going towards Ubud Palace, the restaurant would be on your left).  

Everyday breakfast spread by my hotel
 In case the smell or sight of anything non veg is unbearable, then you can always carry ready to eat meals or noodles in your luggage. Though that may not suffice for more than two-three days, it would be something better than nothing.  


Bali has a tropical climate all year and has moderate temperature. The beaches enjoy breezy weather and pleasant sunshine. Maximum temperature reaches upto 30-32 degree celsius. Carry comfy cottons, light airy casuals, beach wear and comfortable footwear. You would need flat slippers or floaters most of the times.   

Hope these tips help you plan your trip to Bali. For more posts on Bali read the most popular places Monkey Forest and Tanah Lot  

These tips and experiences are from my trip to Bali in August 2017.

Live, love, laugh and be a travel addict!

By the way, this post made it to the Indiblogger home page in the popular blog list. 

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The must see's of Nusa Dua, Bali

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Trip to the Paradise Island Bali isn’t complete without a visit to Nusa Dua. Located in the southern part of the island, the quaint pristine beaches of Nusa Dua is popular as a surfing destination. Even if water sports do not interest you, the place has a lot more to offer. Here is a virtual tour of the luxurious Nusa Dua through my blog post.

1. Nusa Dua Beach

Needless to mention, the white sparkling stretch of Nusa Dua beach is the most popular attraction of the place. This beach is a poplar picnic spot for families and kids. Surfers of all age have  blast here. The water literally is dotted with sails and surfing boards, as the pristine white sand shines in full glory. You can sit under a tree and relax. Sun, sand and a fruit mocktail in Nusa Dua would be the best way to holiday here. Different stretches of the beach have variety of scenic beauty. The other side of the beach has rocky beach with limestone cliffs, which make perfect photo opportunity props.   Spending half a day at this beach would be a great idea for your Bali itinerary.

Entry fees- None (You can keep your belongings in the shafts or boats for a nominal fees. We left ours on the beach, since Bali is safe and no body steals)
Location- Southern point of Bali. You’d pay toll on the way to enter Nusa Dua.

2. Museum Pasifika

Pic courtesy- Tripadvisor

Attention art lovers and history enthusiasts. Who would have thought that a place like Bali has something serious and immense like this museum? The museum has works of art, culture and heritage of Indonesia and Asia Pacific region.  200 Eminent artists and cultural artefacts from 25 countries have found a prominent place here in the huge space divided into 11 galleries.  Cameras are allowed in collection galleries. Flash or tripod is prohibited and video-taping is limited to the lobby area. The museum is a great learning place for children, and is wheelchair friendly as well. You can spend a good 2-3 hours and imbibe a lot of knowledge. Check out the website https://www.museum-pasifika.com/ for more details.

Entry fee- 70,000 IDR
Location- Complex Bali Tourism Development Corporation (BTDC) Area Block P at Nusa Dua. (Few blocks away from waterblow)

3. Water Blow

Straight from the heart of the sea, water blow, is a natural fountain that forms when the high sea waves lash the rocks. Watch the nature’s splendour in full force when the waves splash as high as 20 feet.  Water Blow gets its name from the sea waves fill a rock cavity and lash with strength, hence getting its name “Water blow”. A beautiful pathway has been constructed for the tourists to walk across and enjoy the view. Tourists step down at the end of the pathway to see the waves closely and love getting drenched in the waves’ splash. You may want to check the time of high tides before visiting this place, since the crowd only starts gathering after 11 am.

Even if water blow does not entice you, the breezy air, the emerald and blue shades of the ocean and gliders hovering above your head would surely hold you there. This is place to have fun just like the waves play up.

Do not step on the rocky cliffs, as they tend to be slippery and the washes might sweep you away in split seconds.

Entry Fees- None
Location- Nusa Dua Beach, Few meters from the museum parking. You would cross a park with statues of Krishna and Arjun.

4. Under water sea walk

                  Pic courtesy- Balisuntours
Imagine walking on the sea bed surrounded by colorful fish and gorgeous coral formations. The underwater life is the most exasperating and beautiful beyond imagination. The sea walk is one such experience which you would never forget.  The walk is for everyone, including kids, even if you cannot swim. You would wear a huge helmet mask weighing around 6 kg which helps you breathe and see through the glass. Several agents and sea walker companies offer sea walk packages. You can choose from Balisuta OR Viator for packages. I had booked through Balisuntours.

Approx time under sea- 60 mins
Fees-Between 45 -80USD depending on the location and facilities

5. The hidden beaches- Geger and Menigat 

   Pic courtesy- Indonesiatourism.com

The hidden beaches in Bali are secret gems hidden gems of the Paradise Island. While there are many secret and less visited beaches in Bali, you can explore of these in Nusa Dua.

Unlike the overtly crowded Kuta beach, Menigat is a quiet one with very less footfall. You can choose to relax and unwind on the sandy stretch without doing anything. If stay in hotels in this area, your view will be spectacular every day.

Geger beach has rocky cliffs and clean bank with crystal blue water. You can sit under the rocks and read a book or sip a drink, while enjoying the cool breeze and exotic view. Enjoy food at reasonable price in few cafes at the beach.

The best part of these hidden beaches- Less frequented by public, less commercialized, clean and no hawkers pushing you for souvenirs or massage package. These beaches are meant for people who want to spend peaceful “me time”.  

Menigat- l.Pantai Mengiat Kawasan ITDC, Nusa Dua, Kuta Selatan, Benoa, Kuta Sel
Geger- Desa Adat Peminge, Sawangan | jl Giri Puspa D 1no12 Mumbul, Nusa Dua
Entry- Free

6. Abandoned plane

                   Pic courtesy: nomadoholic.com
An old abandoned plane on ground in the middle of nowhere rather sounds bizarre. Don’t worry, the planes have no engines. Nobody knows where these planes came from but there are several people who claim the ownership. Rumours have done several rounds that these planes will be converted into restaurants, though nothing has been done so far. There are two of these in Nusa Dua, both of which we saw many times while passing by these areas on scooter. The planes are stationed since many years and offer opportunity for photo shoots while walking on the wings.

Even Google Maps shows these planes as landmarks in Bali. Beat that!

They looked eerie to me but I am sure would have been fun to go inside the “ghostly” planes. You must visit if you want to ride the wings or mount the plane’s nose without hurting/killing yourself.

Entry Fees- None
Location- One on Bypass Ngurah Rai, next to Dunkin Donuts and  another in South Kuta, along the Jalan Nasa Dua Selatan road.

P.S- I had visited Bali in August 2017


Friday, September 22, 2017

Tanah Lot- The most photogenic temple in Bali

With the record of being the most photographed and the most photogenic temple in Bali, Tanah Lot stands tall and firm on the black rocks since the 16th century. Literally translating into “Land in the sea”, Tanah Lot is said to be a work of Dang Hyang Nirartha, a Hindu traveler and a religious figure in Bali. 

This is one of the seven sea temples around the Balinese coast dedicated to the sea gods.
The large offshore rock has been shaped by the sea waves continuously for years. Resulting this, the temple's face rock started to wear out, posing danger to the surrounding and inside potions of Tanah Lot. The Japanese Government in 1980 helped in conservation of the temple and offered an aid of $130 million for its restoration . The exposed areas were restored and parts of the rock temple are artificial installations, unknown to the public.

Like all other temples, public entry is restricted inside the temple. Visitors can roam around the temple premises and the temple cave. Tanah Lot offers magnificent view of sunset and the surrounding enormous ocean that washes the rocky banks with full might. The holy snake housed in the cave at the foot of the temple is said to be guard Tanah Lot from evil spirits. Seeing the snake is said to bring good luck. Well, you can see and touch it by buying a ticket at 50k IDR which they term as"donation".

Cave of the lucky snake

I made it to the Tanah Lot around 5:30 pm, just before sunset. You need to enter through the market place, passing by the colorful souvenir shops. Suddenly the street echoed with soothing music and got crowded with people dressed in traditional attire, carrying a palanquin or paalki. I instantly felt a divine connection while witnessing the procession.

The market street in evening
The long distance that we traveled and spent lavishly on refilling our scooter's petrol were worth the pain . The gorgeous sunset, the magnificent temple and the traditional procession were visual treats. Post sun down, the market street started to bear a deserted look. We made a pit stop at an eating joint to have an early dinner, since we had famished. My growling tummy gave up and I refused to budge without eating. So much for skipping lunch!

Bali is non vegetarian food haven. For the veg eating mortals, noodles is the safest option. We had a wholesome meal at Naty's with veg noodles topped with egg, crispy fries and banana shake. A smiling courteous staff, great food and relaxed ambiance makes Naty's a "must try" in Tanah Lot.
With beautiful memories and full appetite, we rode back to our hotel, passing through the rice fields and crowded streets.

Though wearing a sarong is practiced at the premises, we did not see anybody sport it. Neither we were asked to tie one. I am assuming they ask to do that during the worship/puja time.

Advisable- Be dressed in breathable comfortable clothes, since the weather is humid and hot during the day. Carry water with you and be prepared for a long ride to and fro. The roads are literally jam packed in the evening. Be patient, do not honk or shout when stuck in traffic in the narrow lanes. It is a common sight and locals are used to this chaos. All you can do it wait for the traffic to clear.

Location-  20 km from Denpasar.
To reach- Hire bike /scooter or taxi.   
Best time to visit- Evening. Reach after 4:30 pm to view the sunset and the religious procession leaving from the temple.
Entry Fees- 60,000 IDR
Entry to the cave of snake- 20,000IDR 

PS. My trip to Bali was in August 2017

Monday, September 4, 2017

Here is why Bali's Sacred Monkey Forest a must visit

Bali, the paradise island of Indonesia, is known for its natural beauty and protected wildlife. One of the well known forest reserves is the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. As per the legend, the forest is home to thousands of monkeys who are said to be the guardians of the forest god. The fact that monkeys snatch belongings, had scared us initially and we voted against visiting the forest. However, as Ubud Palace turned out to be a fifteen minutes affair, we shunned our inhibitions, crossed our fingers and bought tickets to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Trust me, it was worth it.


Though the monkeys are harmless most of the times, they might crawl up your back and sit on your shoulders asking for a treat. Better cling to your belongings and try not to open your bag in front of them. We did not encounter any angry primate apart from a baby monkey who jumped to husband while opening the camera bag, thinking we would feed it. We got away safely. Phew!

Spread over 12.5 hectares of land, the lush green forest has more than 186 species of trees and several points of interest to explore. It generally takes 2.5-3 hours to see the forest. Each artifact in the forest is a masterpiece of Balinese architecture. It is the raw unspoiled beauty that makes these so authentic. The statues stand tall in their full glory without artificial reconstructions. It amazes to see the untouched structures with slippery green moss. May be that's how they preserve the natural beauty.


The starting point of the forest is the Center Point which exhibits a fountain, animal statues and signboards with directions. The fountain has animal structure drinking water from this pool. Imagine, this was made long ago even before the forest was open to public. Good imagination leads to great innovations and I found this particularly cute. 

Center Point of Monkey Forest

We started walking left from the center point and descended a flight of stairs which was the way towards Holy Spring Temple.

The descend towards Holy Spring Temple

Like all temples of Bali, this was too closed for public. You can only appreciate the beauty from outside. A beautiful pool, full of gold fish, with spring water source, across the temple accentuates it’s beauty.

Holy Spring Temple

Holy Pool of Spring Temple
Behind the temple, a little Wooden Bridge brings you to the end of that part of the forest. Sans monkeys and less footfall of tourists, this makes a great place for photo opportunity. So could not miss one :)

The small bridge behind Holy Spring Temple

As you walk back, you would cross the Dragon Statue and long Wooden Path, leaving you stunned with their finesse.
Dragon statue
Wooden path
The most striking structure of the forest is the Main Temple, where every corner is an example of sheer brilliance. The Hindu temple is surrounded by statues of monkeys as well as real ones, which throng the place for food.

Exploring further you'd cross the open stage, where occasional events are organized. The amphitheater was a pit stop to take a much needed break for our tired feet. We had covered more than half of the forest area by then and my new shoes gave me shoe bites. AS we relaxed marveling the beauty, we watched baby monkeys cooling off themselves in a pool nearby.

Little ones beating the heat

Apart from the above, an exhibition hall is also a part of the forest, which was not open that day.

As the Sun and clouds played hide and seek, the hues of the forest kept changing shades from light green to deep emerald. Green not only makes you happy but also energetic. At least I was full of energy and positive vibes after touring the forest. Perhaps the effect of abundant oxygen? Natural beauty and playful monkeys gets the forest a footfall of more than 10,000 every month. Still need a reason to visit this delightful place? Think not. Plan your trip now!

Some vital info for all readers-

-The monkeys do not harm or attack you unless provoked or threatened. They are busy eating or lazing around most of the times.

-The forest guards are present anyway to help if required.

-You can buy food for the monkeys in case you want them to jump on your back. Do not scare or hit them, especially the ones with their babies. Remember its their home and you are the visitor intruding into their privacy.

-Do not look them into the eye and stay away from the alpha males or angry ones lest the entire herd should attack you. 

-Ladies, you would be required to walk a lot. Wear shoes or flats. Heels are a big no no.

-Be dressed in comfy cottons as the jungle tends to be humid and hot.

-Not wheelchair friendly. 

Entry ticket to Monkey Forest- 50,000 IDR
Location- Ubud in Kabupaten Gianyar
Timings- 8:30am to 6pm
Nearby places- Ubud Palace, Ubud Art Market