Bali: A touch of heaven

With its spectacular beaches, rolling hills, volcanic mountains, and lush rice paddies laying a magnificent backdrop for a unique, deeply spiritual, and endlessly welcoming culture, it’s no wonder that Bali has a place among the top tourist destinations worldwide.

With its spectacular beaches, rolling hills, volcanic mountains, and lush rice paddies laying a magnificent backdrop for a unique, deeply spiritual, and endlessly welcoming culture, it’s no wonder that Bali has a place among the top tourist destinations worldwide.

Most trips to Bali begin in Kuta, the tiny Hindu island’s tourist (and party) hub. Kuta has a wealth of options for hotels, restaurants, bars, night clubs, and shopping.

If you’re looking for a room on a budget, any taxi can take you to the streets Poppies I and Poppies II, between which lie a number of options, many of which come with breakfast, private bath, hot water or A/C. A double room will start around 100,000 rupiah (Rwf6,500), though prices may fluctuate depending on the season. Don’t hesitate to negotiate.

While in Kuta, a good option is to rent a chair and relax on the beach. Be sure to swim between the designated flags, as the current can be rough, and watch out for trash. Taking a taxi away from Kuta to nearby Jimbaran’s resort strip can be a nice option to avoid the crowd, as well as some of the pollution. Drink a beer or a fresh fruit juice and partake in the wealth of seafood restaurants offering incredibly fresh food right along the beach.

Before heading back into the thrum of Kuta’s nightlife, swing down to the tip of the Bukit Peninsula and catch the sunset from Uluwatu, a cliff top temple with spectacular views. Entrance is 20,000 rupiah (Rwf1,200). Sarongs are free to borrow at the entrance gate. The temple is inhabited by a large number of monkeys, so keep a firm hold on your belongings. Performances of the Kecak Dance, or ‘monkey dance’, happen nightly at 6.00pm (70,000 rupiah, Rwf4,600). Though invented in the 1930’s and not actually a traditional part of Balinese religion, the dance is wildly popular and entertaining.

If you’ve had your fill of fun in the sun, head inland to Bali’s dance and art hub of Ubud. The architecture in this tiny town is incredibly elaborate. Even the guest houses and home stays are as intricately carved as the temples, with airy rooms situated around central courtyards, and fish ponds and tropical plants galore. Rooms will run between 100,000 and 300,000 rupiah per night for a double (Rwf6,500 to 21,000).

Ubud has no shortage of attractions to keep one entertained, educated, and enthralled. The streets are lined with galleries, shops, and museums intermingled with restaurants and coffee shops. Outside of town, numerous temples and caves abound, as well as a botanical garden, the so-called monkey jungle, a bird park, and a handful of craft villages, making it worth hiring a motorbike for a day or two. There are also dance, art, cooking, and yoga classes in town.

With its extensive art, religion, architecture, and culture, amazing views and white sand beaches, and the warm, friendly attitude, Bali is a paradise on earth, no matter what your pleasure.

Roundtrip tickets from Kigali to Denpasar International Airport start at USD1,300.

 

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