Blissful in Bali
Despite accommodating Australian tourists in bulk, Bali is well worth a visit. It really is an amazing place. The locals are super friendly, the beer relatively cheap, the beaches are great and the restaurants and bars provide quality food, booze and fun. You also have the added excitement of risking life and limb the moment you set foot on the road (same as everywhere else in Asia).
In Bali you can spend your time enjoying the sun, sand and surf. Hire a surfboard and learn to surf at Doublesix, buy a watch from Honest 2 Bob, a bracelet from the beach hawkers and get a massage on the beach out front of the Jayakarta Hotel. Or take a ride down to the sparsely developed Bukit Peninsula, famous for its surf (which had no swell whatsoever when we visited).
You can wine and dine in Seminyak, taking your pick from a full selection of international cuisines with rice paddy views and distinct Balinese flavours. Or venture out to Echo Beach, pull up a table, order a couple of Bintangs and watch the local boys tear up a quality five-foot lefthander. The real action begins once the sun sets and they wheel out the seafood barbeque. You can do a demolition job on their discount Snapper, Tuna steaks and Calamari.
The moment you get away from Denpasar and the beachside tourist development that stretches from Kuta up to Seminyak you see a completely different side to Bali. Even in the city it is still quite beautiful, functioning rice paddies still punctuate the low-rise development.
Head for the black sands of Lovina on the northwest coast. The drive across the island features a breath-taking climb through the terraced farms of Gunung Agung and past the Danau Buyan and Danau Tamblingan volcanic lakes.
Or you can opt for the inland charm of Ubud. Despite the fact that it is bursting at the seams it maintains a village feel. Hire a bike and explore its steep streets, be accosted by food seeking monkeys at the Monkey Forest Sanctuary, or get a taste of Indonesian Buddhism at Goa Gajah (the Elephant Cave).
You really can have a great time in Bali. We certainly did.