I reached Bali on the morning of the 11th of September, 2016. This place is actually very far from Bangladesh and you need to spend more than 6 hours in flight and cover a distance of 5,000 kilometers. Including the transit, you easily end up spending an entire day for a one-way travel. As a result a five days tour effectively becomes a three days tour.
View from the resort
The places of interest are quite far from each other and short stays are generally confined to the Kuta and Nusa Dua area; located at the southern part of the island. I somehow had a thought that Bali is a very small island like Singapore or the Maldives. It turned out to be much bigger (20 times the size of Maldives) with a population of 4,000,000. So my geography was not as good as I thought previously. People who really want to experience Bali should visit with a mindset of staying at least two weeks if not more.
The Volcano, one of the many attractions
The island has a very dominant Hindu culture and there is no sign that it is part of one of the largest Muslim nations on earth. The island is actually given lot of autonomy by the Indonesian government. Considering the island generates a lot of tax from the tourist revenue, the policy seems to be a win win one. However, as in other places in Indonesia, big businesses that operate in Bali are owned by the Indonesian Chinese people. This ethnic group controls more than 70% of the country’s business although they represent less than 5% of the total population. This is actually not unique as ethnic Chinese people control huge parts of the business sector in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam as well.
The first thing that impressed me about Bali was its weather. It is generally mild and in the evening it becomes very pleasant. Due to my sickness I could enjoy it only on the first evening of my arrival but that one experience proved to be very memorable. It has wonderful resorts and these resorts have been developed over huge swaths of land. Some of the resorts are almost self sufficient as they are more like a modern village with all kinds of amenities and shops. The southern part of the island (where most tourist activities happen) is dotted with numerous hotels. The tourists were generally from western origins previously, mainly Australians. However, the situation is changing now as the nouveau riche Chinese middle class is continuously increasing their presence. During my stay and my short tours I found that people from the subcontinent are still not significant contributor to the number of tourists in Bali.
The Resort where I stayed
I was unlucky as my untimely sickness prevented me from experiencing most of the activities that I had planned before going there. But from the people who accompanied me I could realize that the water sports and cruises were very satisfactory and the hospitality of the Balinese people were impeccable. However, like what I found during my Sri Lanka tour a year ago, the guides or drivers have a tendency to take you to shops of their choice for buying souvenirs or other items. They would strongly advise you not to buy anything from anywhere except their designated places. I guess there is some hidden contract and one should remain careful about it.
Water sports in Bali
For movie lovers, Bali has a fantastic movie theater. It’s located at Beach Walk Shopping Mall and offers a very limited number of English movies. The theater is also not very big as it has only 50 seats [Although at the same area a general theater would be able to put 100 seats easily]. The facilities and services are really excellent. They have really spacious chairs [All 50 seats] and the staff actually come with the menu after you get seated so that you can order your favorite food and beverage which they will bring back within minutes. I saw the movie “Sully” [Featuring Tom Hanks, my favorite Hollywood actor] in that theater and the overall experience was great. There is also a very nice and spacious shopping mall in Nusa Dua.
Bali Collection, A shopping mall in Nusa Dua area
Bali is also a great place to reflect. If you are staying in the hotel most of the times like I was forced to do this time, reflections become even more deep and thorough. I was watching the movie Allegiant during my flight from Bali to Singapore. There is a line in that movie, “You want to help people but you are not ready to sacrifice, you want to bring peace but you are not ready to struggle for it”. Perfectly sums up the character of most of us these days I guess.
16 September, 2016