As the Western World closes out its summer and returns home, hotel vacancies abound and prices in Bali lower to ensure sales during the off season. This transitional period, coinciding also with the shift from dry to wet season, may be your best opportunity to visit the tropical paradise. With something for everyone, you can surf the final swells of the season, participate in any of the islands many cultural events, or pick a spot to relax to while taking in some of the island’s breathtaking landscapes. To the island’s south-west lies the popular tourist district of Kuta, an undisputed focal point for foreign travelers, and to the north lies the mountainous regions sheltering the beauties of Bedugul, Kintamani, and Besakih.
Along the shores of Kuta Beach and the streets of the Legian subdistrict, there is a dense jungle of luxury beach-side resorts, less-than-luxury alley-way hotels, restaurants, bars, night-clubs, and street vendors. For those seeking the slower-paced spa and resort atmosphere with beach access just across the street, it’s suggested to stay along the Kuta Beach street of Jl. Pantai Kuta, with luxury sprawling north from the landmark Hard Rock Hotel. For those with fast-paced plans and faster dwindling wallets, the accommodations scattered among Poppies Lane I and Poppies Lane II provide easy access to both the sun of the Sunset Beach and the alluring night-life of Legian. Within this area there are also countless street-side shops and eateries for those wishing to immerse themselves in Balinese culture, but for those less adventurous there is always the family-friendly Beachwalk on Jl. Pantai Kuta offering a less hectic and more secure and consolidated place to shop, eat, and withdraw funds or the famous Discovery Shopping Mall near Waterbom Park further south on Jl. Kartika Plaza.
If you are looking to put some space between yourself and the bustling nature of Legian while still having it within manageable reach, Jl. Sunset Road has its own selection of resort hotels, fine dining, and shopping opportunities. Located along the borderlands of Kuta and Denpasar, the southern tip offers higher-class shoppers the DFS Bali Galleria and to more economical shoppers the Mal Bali Galeria. With brand names like Channel, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Tiffany, Prada, and more, DFS Bali Galleria is a cornerstone of Bali shopping extravagance. To those looking for more affordable merchandise, the Mal Bali Galeria also offers many international brands along with a Matahari department store and a Hypermart. Further to the north also lies a smaller center for shopping and eating surrounding a Carrefour as a as well as a Krisna Oleh-Oleh for unbeatable prices on clothing and souvenirs.
The highly exclusive resort area Nusa Dua lies on the eastern beach of South Kuta, with the more diverse Tanjung Benoa peninsula just to the north known for its world famous Benoa cruise port. As the resorts in this area leave very little left to be wanted, those seeking to get out and about need only visit the Bali Collection to top off their material needs. Also, as the wet season picks up momentum the waves swell along the eastern coast making this location prime territory for surfers during the wet season, along with Sanur Beach to the north.
For those more explorative types, Ubud is a common base of operations for those wishing to discover the more natural aspects of Bali. Home to the popular Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, this is a great place to call your home while making plans to travel around the more remote areas of the island, with the convenience of also being central so that traveling south into Kuta is just as easy as traveling north into the agro-tourism regions. Journeying into the northern mountains, the trip passes by countless plantations open to the public and offering a wide variety of locally grown herbs, spices, coffees, teas, and more. Rolling expanses of terrace farms are scattered throughout, along with beautiful jungle valleys and misty jungle mountains.
Transportation around Bali is by no means difficult to come by. While getting from point A to point B is as simple as walking to the edge of the nearest thoroughfare and waiving down a taxi, most resorts have their own fleet of drivers eager to take you on their own personal tours around the island. If your plans consist mainly of staying within Kuta, a two or three dollar cab ride can get you where you want to be as long as you remember to only wave down Blue Bird Group taxis, marked by the depiction of a blue bird hovering above their car-top taxi designator. I am by no means affiliated with the Blue Bird Group nor do I have anything to gain or lose by promoting their services, however my opinion is that they are the most reliable and consistent taxi company to provide metered taxi services while other drivers don’t provide meters and simply smile and ask you for ten to twenty dollars for a two dollar trip. The Blue Bird Group does not have jurisdiction over transportation from the airport, but either a brisk walk to the nearby drop-off area or a bit further to the main gate will be sure to present one within moments. As far as the drivers-for-rent are concerned, their prices vary greatly depending on the length of time and the distance you plan on traveling, so it is highly advisable you have a rough plan in mind of where you want to go before negotiating the hire of one and where you are paying to go after you hire one.
Whether planning an exclusive tropical getaway, family vacation, or unforgettable spring or summer break, Bali could definitely be the destination for you. With its tourist districts, exclusive resort areas, and remote tropical landscapes carefully administered, whichever path you choose is sure to leave you unfettered from unwanted elements and immersed in the vacation of your dreams.