Paradise Island: Discover Indonesia
Lying just south of the equator and flanked by the Java Sea and Indian Ocean, Bali is without doubt one of the most famous islands of Indonesia. Often referred to as The Paradise Island due to its incredible natural beauty and tropical climate, SIXTYNINE Degrees’ Jonathan Fraser flew with Singapore Airlines to explore this Indonesian Idyll.
One of the first things to hit you upon your arrival i n Bali, despite the glorious humid heat, is the huge number of statues and temples around the island all of which are surrounded by small offerings and draped in cloths of varying colours. Despite only occupying an area of around 6000km, Bali is home to over 12000 temples. It therefore came as no surprise to discover that the name Bali actually comes from the Sanskrit word for offering.
Offering is inherent to the culture of Bali. Even today there will always be an offering made with even office workers bringing a flower to place on their computer to ensure a successful day’s work. Predominantly Hindu in religion, the Bali people make daily ofef rings of fruits, flour and incense for the good gods and cigarettes for the bad; its’ all about striking the righ t
balance between good and evil and this is reflected in the cloths wrapped around the statues with black and white checks for balance and harmony, yellow for wealth and white for purity.
Despite these traditions Bali is a bustling island o f industry with markets on every corner selling fresh fru it and produce alongside craft shops and some pretty high end designer boutiques. The island’s roads are crammed full of interweaving scooters, many of them carrying entire families as well as their luggageT. his choreographed chaos of last minute lane changes, u-turns and uncertainty as to rules of the road makes every road trip an adventure. Its’ one we’d recommend not to take yourself though as unless you not only have eyes in the back of your head and cat like reflexes you’ll find it much safer and much more relaxing organising a driver through your hotel o r ordering a taxi rather than a hire car.
Make Sure you Visit:
Ubud Monkey Forest:
Make sure you put plenty of time aside to visit the Ubud Monkey Forest. Home to dozens upon dozens of grey long tailed Macaque monkeys you can wander around the beautiful landscapes whilst monkeys swing from trees, walk by or sit beside. The monkeys are wild but are more than used to visitors and are friendly and welcoming – especially if you buy some bananas for them on the way in. On our visit there were lots of infant monkeys to see but don’t get too close to little ones as mum will be not far away watching. Call into restaurant Laka Leke for lunch after your visit, it’s just next door.
Shopping in Bali is great value with approximately 17,000 Balinese Rupeya to the pound as we write this. There are markets everywhere in Bali and it’s the fruit and vegetable stalls offering a wealth of unexplored flavours to sample. From Dragon fruit to the snake like skinned Salak Bali fruit – a cross between an apple and a pineapple taste wise and quite dry- it’s always recommended only to sample the fruit you see peeled in front of you as that way you know it’s fresh. There are multiple handicraft districts across Bali with craftspeople specialising in delicate silverwork and gold jewellery as well as intricate carving. The Ubud Art Market offers a wide range of crafts and all incredibly well priced. This is definitely a place to haggle – ask the price and then offer half. You should find your price somewhere in between!
Where to Stay:
Potato Head Beach Club:
If all of that exploring has left you wanting some down time, then the Potato Head Beach Club is the place to relax in style. The beach club is home to three restaurants, two bars, an infinity pool and a 500sq m sunbathing lawn that all look over the Indian Ocean. Instantly recognisable, the Beach Club sits like a shabby chic coliseum as its walls are made up mismatched
and multicoloured 18th century shutters all salvaged from across the Indonesian archipelago. It’s also got one of the best sunset views in Bali and is host to a programme of parties, exhibitions and installations featuring both local and international DJ’s musicians and artists; we just missed Grace Jones performing there – gutted!
Montigo Resorts, Seminyak:
In a remarkable destination known for its verdant rice terraces, pulse-pounding surf and enchanting dances, lies a new haven — Montigo Resorts, Seminyak. Perfectly combining the tropical idyll with modern comforts in the heat of Bali’s
cosmopolitan district, it offers 108 stylish and expansive guest rooms and suites. We were lucky enough to stay in one of their luxurious and spacious Executive Suites with private garden and terrace, huge superking bed which was incredibly comfortable. The suite’s spacious bathroom features twin vanity with a generous sized tub as well as power shower to unwind under after a day of sightseeing.
Make sure you sample the range of treatments at the Montigo Resorts’ in house spa during your visit. We enjoyed a wonderful hour long Balinese massage before relaxing in the garden pool and dining at Tyggo, the resorts’ stylish bar and restaurant which offers a wide range of Indonesian and western menu options. We’d thoroughly recommend sampling
their Balinese Banquet. www. montigoresorts.com
Singapore Airlines offer daily flights from from London Heathrow to Singapore and onwards to Bali. The flight from London takes approximately 12 hours with the onward journey to Bali taking roughly 2.5 hours. For up to date schedules, prices and booking information visit singaporeairlines.com