(From On the Road Asia)
Flying directly from Bangkok to Bali was the most cost-effective method of getting the four of us to the area of Indonesia we wanted to explore on this trip. Air Asia took us to Denpasar for $370 after a couple of days in the Thai capital to break up the long rail journey from south Thailand.
After what can only be described as a clusterf**k at 4.30am with 8,000 feckless Chinese tourists in Don Muang, we touched down 3 hours later in a serenely empty and wonderfully efficient Denpasar airport where Indonesia has relaxed visa requirements and now offers 30 days on arrival.
Bali was not and has never been a place I’ve yearned to travel to; visions of a Phuket-like tourist hell-hole overrun by drunken Aussies have been conjured when thinking of this island.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that only the Kuta area of Bali resembles this metaphorical Gomorrah of travel destinations and the rest of the island was quite an eye-opener.
We booked a taxi online to avoid the usual airport scams and dodgy drivers, ours was punctual and professional, and with the best price at the time I’ve no issues with a shameless recommendation (http://candidasataxi.blogspot.co.id).
The first things that deceive one about Bali are the travel distances and times; what appears to be a short 50km drive can easily take well over an hour, maybe two. The roads are clogged with trucks, buses and bikes and are mostly single lane; going is slow to say the least.
Our spot was Candidasa on the northeast coast and our hotel, The Natia, didn’t disappoint with two large adjoining rooms a few steps away from an infinity pool overlooking Lembongan Island.
The first day was spent unwinding from the journey and exploring the area which essentially was a busy road lined with pricey tourist restaurants all offering the same menus, and a bunch of souvenir shops.
Everything sold in a bar, restaurant or hotel in Bali is subject to 10% government tax and 10% service charge so it can get quite expensive and obviously there is no need to tip! Candidasa has no beach but we knew that before arrival, we live on a beach so it wasn’t a priority. Read More