Bali is the most popular island to visit in Indonesia. Indonesia is a large island chain above Australia consisting of more than 7,000 islands! Can you imagine how difficult it must be to govern so many small islands. The language of Bali is called Bali and is a Malayo-Polynesian language. Bali should be a top place to visit for any traveler, especially if you love the beach. Although Bali to some degree follows the standard tropical paradise appearance, Bali is still breathtaking and terrific to visit. Plus, who doesn’t want to travel and hang out on an island that looks like a living movie? Grab your towel and swimsuit we’re off on a Bali extravaganza!
Balinese Food… Yum!
Let’s delve a bit deeper into Balinese food. This volcanic island has strong Hindu influence so beef is rarely served in their dishes. The staple ingredient in Balinese dishes is rice accompanied with meat, vegetables, and seafood. Many of their foods include coconut mixed into the dish too. I really enjoyed this aspect of their food because even though many cultures live with coconuts all around them it’s unusual for it to be put into their food. When we asked out taxi driver what his favorite Balinese dish was he said it was the roast suckling pig called Babi Guling. We never got a chance to experience this dish but if you have the opportunity jump on it. Other classic Balinese dishes are:
Kopi Luwak is Balinese coffee made from the poop of an animal called a Luwak. It’s super expensive anywhere else in the world because it is only made in Indonesia as the Luwak is endemic to these islands. I don’t drink coffee but many people love it, so check it out!
Sates Bali style sates are pretty similar to Thai sates. They both have lots of chicken and pork options. Overall I really prefer the Balinese style sates because the meat generally has more flavour than Thai sates. I think the reason for this is I suspect that the Balinese marinate their meet or add spices and sauce to their meat while cooking it. The Thai’s usually just add a sauce. Plus Balinese sates come with a delicious peanut sauce.
Lawar is a super yummy dish which consists of chopped vegetables generally mixed with coconut. The coconut gives the veggies a sweet flavour. Not all Lawars are mixed with coconut though. Some can be mixed with minced meat or even blood.
To be honest drinking in Indonesia was a bit frustrating. First, it was hard to find a place that served drinks that weren’t crazy expensive, below 150,000 a drink. Secondly, once we did find a place that sold cheaper drinks we had trouble with the alcohol not being watered down. My girlfriend and I found a cheap drink restaurant and she ordered 6 drinks and wasn’t drunk or even buzzed by the end of it. She watched the bartender make all of her drinks too. It was later when we were speaking to other travelers who also agreed that often they thought their drinks had been diluted too. So if you are drinking a lot of “alcohol” but aren’t getting a buzz, maybe try another bar. Your current bar might be a bit crooked.
Bingtang Beer is the standard of choice in Indonesia. It is actually much better than other cheap beers. It’s light, tastes a bit like Heineken, and doesn’t have a bad after taste. It’s also pretty cheap like 15,000 IDR.
Arak is an extremely cheap traditional alcohol made in Indonesia and Bali. Its standard cost is 15,000-20,000 IDR. Much much cheaper than imported alcohol! It’s usually made from grapes, sugar, sometimes molasses, dates, and plums. It tastes slightly better and very yeasty. The reason that it has such a fearsome reputation as being dangerous is because it is often made from home brewers who aren’t regulated. Sometimes these home brewers make a mistake and don’t get all of the methanol out of the alcohol at a certain point in the brewing process. Methanol is extremely toxic and can kill you or cause other harmful side effects like blindness. Methanol removal is a standard part of any alcohol brewing process. If you drink arak enjoy yourself and try your best to make sure it’s from a reputable brewer.
Places to Visit:
Ubud is the most lovable city I’ve ever visited. Even the locals of Bali love Ubud? Ubud is surrounded by picturesque rice patties and fields filled with farmers in large conical hats. Ubud’s most popular tourist site is called the Ubud Monkey Forest. It is very easily found along Monkey Forest road. Hence its name the Monkey Forest is filled with monkeys that spill out onto the street. You don’t even need to enter the forest to see the monkeys or feel like you are surrounded by them. A word of warning is that monkeys although they may be cute they can be dangerous and aggressive. We saw monkeys jump on people and take their items. For this reason, be careful around the monkeys and don’t feed them. Enjoy the cute buggers from afar!
Kuta is right next to the airport in Bali. It’s so close it’s a very easy 30-minute walk from the airport to the city. We stayed at H-Ostel which is easily within walking distance. Kuta is at a great location to explore the surrounding areas of southern Bali like the Ulu Watu temple and the Tanah Lot temple. Kuta is much more built up than Ubud and feels a lot more touristy. I wouldn’t recommend staying there that long unless you like the more touristy atmosphere. One nice aspect of Kuta were the cheap massages. We enjoyed a few massages in Kuta and even tried out the Balinese traditional massage. I prefer Thai massages over the Balinese massage because at least with the one that we tried it involved a lot of pounding/ almost punching. It wasn’t a very relaxing massage, to say the least.
Bali is a unique island that is worth a visit. Ubud and Kuta although huge tourist destinations still retain their beauty and charm. Although drinking is a bit more expensive in Indonesia, the great food makes up for it. The island is truly lovely especially the clear blue sandy beaches. If anything after you have visited Bali once you are sure to go back. Bring your sunscreen, surfboard, be prepared to have a thoroughly enjoyable vacation.
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