If you can only spend a few days in Bali, I’d make it Ubud rather than Seminyak for the variety of tours, shops, restaurants, performances, scenic beauty and massages. There was a massage parlor every two to three feet offering traditional and therapy massages, reflexology, herbal baths, body scrubs, milk…sea salt…honey. The most unusual one is called Mandi Lular (Herbal Bath) that includes a traditional one hour massage followed by a body scrub with lular (turmeric sandal wood and rice powder) to remove dead skin and then a yoghurt splash to eliminate toxins. Costs range around 120,000 Rupiah, $12.50 for 1:45 minutes. Such a deal! I would have loved to try this but when a person is as hot and sweaty as I was, the thought of taking clothes off to be massaged was unappealing.
Walked by Bumi Bali, a Balinese cooking school where a lesson was in progress. You must reserve 24 hours in advance and it costs 250,000/person. Looked and smelled great.
You can take a Balinese dance class, painting course, go trekking, cycling, rafting, diving. Rent a bicycle, motorbike, take one of the many daily tours to:
- Kintamani, Besakib Temple (the most important temple in Bali);
- Kehen Temple (one of the biggest temples in Bali);
- The bat cave, waterfalls, Bali Museum, or Taman Ayun (the royal family temple complex).
Use Bali as a jumping-off spot to visit more islands close by. Lombok, the lesser Sundas Islands with packages ranging from 3-5 days. See Flores overland. Combine one or two packages and visit the Komodo dragons on Komodo Island. A great description in a Komodo dossier that said, “…look overhead at trees at all times, because sometimes young Komodo dragons like to sit in the trees…” If you have one week, combine Flores with KelimutuThree Color Lakes, Komodo and Bima. (Bena has areas of culture that are unique and megalithic villages.)
For even more choices, take a fast boat to the Gili Islands (or go by air), and/or Nusalembongan. Too much to do with not enough time to do it in. Just like Douglas MacArthur, I shall return!
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