|Count the moments and not the time that flies....|
With my limited knowledge of the world and no travel experience then, Bali Ha'i did capture my interest and led me to Bali. Apart from our very own Philippine Islands' Boracay and Palawan, Bali ranked as one of the famous getaways in southeast Asia today. I also remember reading then that Balinese women were considered to be one of the world's most beautiful women.
Bali, being a lush tropic island with its promise of pristine white sands and breathtaking sunset reminiscent of our own Manila Bay sunset - easily goes to our bucket of "places to go" list. I generally keep expectations simple.
Bali is a 2.5 hr direct plane ride from Singapore. It was still considered off-peak season and we were able to get a relatively cheaper fare via Air Asia. We were greeted by sunny weather that day upon arriving at Bali's Denpasar Airport, which was undergoing massive renovations. I saw the architectural rendition of the upcoming revitalized Denpasar Airport and I must say, it will be a sight to behold when it's finished. It will manage to stay genuinely Balinese and at the same time, breath that world class look and feel. Something to look forward to.
|Approaching Lembongan Island|
Bali is also a significant vacation for Kyla who is celebrating her 9th birthday this month and she requested this destination.
After weighing the options for the accomodations, we chosed Holiday Inn Baruna Bali Resort Hotel. For one, it is situated on a beachfront, perfect for my vision of strolling along the beach on a sunset and suits Kyla's personal agenda. Kyla started collecting sea shells and corals from the beaches we have been to. This resort is also 10-minutes away from the airport. You can actually see and hear the airplanes landing to the runway if you hang around at the beach.
|Our Villa for the week. This one is secluded from the rest of the hotels.|
|View of the beach from our terrace|
We got a spacious junior suite that can accomodate the main bed and has convertible sofa bed big enough for two kids. It has a separate dining area and a mini living room where the sofa bed was stashed. At some point in life, space is a precious non-negotiable bit when hunting for a place to stay.
Truth to tell, I did not have an agenda planned for the 4 day-holiday. I deviated from my usual "we gotta have an itinerary planned in advance to maximize the trip" mentality. I figured, heck, I've been doing planning everyday of my life... Why on earth would I want to do the same on a holiday right?
So we decided to just be spontaneous and see where the week will lead us. So for the first two days it was simply the art of doing nothing.
|Sand art and girly stuff|
|Waiting for the Sunset|
There are a variety of package tours available in Bali depending on your preference. For the city slicker, one can have a tour of the rural villages and country life. For the history buff, Bali have several temples where you can find remnants of the by-gone era; or have a tropical safari and white water rafting adventure. The famous Tanah Lot temple is best viewed during sunset.
Holiday Inn hosted a BBQ Buffet that also comes with a cultural show featuring Balinese traditional dances and the iconic Mas (ie, masked charactrers). Guest were also treated to free henna tattoo which Kyla and I availed of. I got my metamorphosis icon for a tattoo.
|With the Balinese Cultural Presentors|
|Balinese Women in a traditional dance|
|Kyla's first (henna) tattoo|
On our third day we decided to take the cruise to the nearby Lembongan Island. It is an hour's sail aboard Bali Hai II. This will take you to Bali Hai Cruise's private beach club where you can enjoy the tranquil view and white sand beaches, do a bit of snorkeling, parasailing, diving and endless Banana boat ride. Sumptuous tropical BBQ buffet is served by lunch time. And by siesta, you can simply, just bask under a hammock and watch the clouds passing by and keep an eye on the coconut trees in case something falls from the sky, which is what Kyla and I did. You may also opt to get Balinese massage in one of the huts dotting the beachfront.
|Welcome Aboard to Bali Hai Cruise !|
|Basking under the hot Bali sun and unbelievably cool waters|
|Kevin found his own napping spot at the Beach Club|