Friday, April 13, 2012

Bali escape hatch on our doorstep

Bali is the too-easy escape hatch on our doorstep, a seductive zone of spas and sunsets, waves and temples, plus the chance to shop to the brink of bankruptcy.

Guide to Asia:


Regardless of Bali's labels - the island of the gods, the morning of the Earth, or paradise mislaid - the place continues to draw us in. About 700,000 Australians visit each year, despite the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's long-standing travel warning. In general we return sunburnt, surfed out, credit maxed, hungover and happy as Larry.

Southern Bali could be renamed the Shore of a Million Motorbikes, such is the all-day traffic jam that oozes across its Sanur-Denpasar-Kuta-Seminyak sprawl. Yet somehow we keep the cool that we don't have at home - the trick is, of course, to be driven, don't drive - and make our way through the traffic to art galleries, rafting safaris, cooking classes, beachfront weddings and spa sessions, more or less on time.

Catering to an estimated 2.7 million annual international visitors and a very large numbers of domestic tourists, Bali has bloomed with theme parks for families. Toucans, hornbills, ibis and scores of other rainforest species flit beneath the canopies of Bali Bird Park in Batubulan. Kuta's Waterbom Park is a gleeful melee of children and huge waterslides with vivid names like Super Bowl and Smash Down. The Elephant Safari Park Lodge at Taro, north of Ubud, has jumbo shows and an on-site resort while its competition, the Bali Safari and Marine Park at Gianyar, presents the huge Bali Agung stage spectacular.

Meanwhile, Kuta Beach could be the world's biggest tanning park. Here heliotropic visitors rotisserie themselves to bronze or blisters while besieged by a walking, hawking supermarket of masseuses and trinket spruikers.

Bali Travel Information

Bali Travel - Top Bali Sites

Bali Travel Guide