An Aussie’s Quest for Relaxation on a Bali Holiday
I’m not Like Them!
For once, I found myself getting a little sick of all those usual Bali holidays, and I felt the itch to try something different this time. Something inside me just felt the need to be able to get away from the usual party scene and beach bum congregations that one would normally find in Bali. Also, I wanted to distant myself from the unglamorous fame that quite a few of my compatriots are guilty of – curse them! – by being exactly the type of tourists that you scrunch your nose up at when you see them slouched over at the bar drunk and rambling. You know the type, loud, obtrusive and main overbearing…and that’s before they even get their first drink down! Don’t even get me started on what the scene looks like when the alcohol starts flowing. That’s when the wonky stuff really starts. Crikey! I’d like to think I’m better than that.
So, with my tourist map in hand and a stoic look on my face, I looked for a different Bali experience, one where the locals won’t look at me with a sneer that just screams for me to get as far away from them as I possibly could. But I knew that I couldn’t fear the wall of shame forever, I’m here to have fun! So, scanning through the names and places on the map, I took a deep breath and chose my tourist traps…I mean, tourist spots.
Monkey Business in Uluwatu
Short of passively trying to avoid the “loud Aussie” stereotype, I chose to cut to the heart of the Bali experience and hit up some beaches. Bali is dotted with some of the most beautiful sand banks in the world, and I wasn’t going to miss them. I hopped into my rented car and drove to Uluwatu, only to experience some of the craziest beach scenes you could ever dream of. Sure, fire dancers might be a common type of entertainment, but how about seeing a troop of long-tailed macaques running around and generally acting like complete monkeys (pun intended), giving you a completely different type of entertainment? I wasn’t stoked.
Riding the Waves with Balinese Moonshine
The following day, I strapped on my diving gear and explored the USS Liberty wreck under the crashing waves of the Bali Sea. There’s nothing quite like seeing the life and color of the exotic marine life, not that we should compare to the diving in Cairns, back home. Over here, you get the whole cultural shebang package of Bali and her people, not to mention the endless supply more wooden craftwork than you can fit in the luggage and loads of cheap beer. Finally, after a tiring day of fun and frolic, I get my tired Aussie bottom to Nusa Dua long beach, where the crumbly white sand felt gently lush between my toes while I nursed a couple of mai tais. On my affidavit, I acted like a complete gentleman, even after a couple more drinks, a shot or two of what tasted like some serious moonshine. And of course, a couple of the local beers. Other than some light dancing around the beach, I was under my impression, totally well behaved, or sedated, if you will.
Pura Tanah – A Different Kind of Bali
The next morning, I told myself that I needed to go a little down tempo, so I went and visited the Pura Tanah Lot, which is the great, secluded little island with a beautifully preserved temple. Great for finding yourself and getting in touch with your spiritual side, or, nursing the mother of all hangovers. Feeling the unusual tranquil spiritually, I found myself wanting this calm more; this wasn’t the booming nightlife that most of my compatriots seek out so badly. I decided to bring myself a little closer to nature and paid a visit to Lembdah Valley, where the swaying palms and the crisp tropical breeze made me feel like I was stepping into a postcard.
Who Needs Beaches?
On the last leg of my trip, I decided to crash at one of Bali’s most beautiful and unique luxury hotels: The Ubud Hanging Gardens. My guess is that if Ms Georgina Rinehart decided to take a vacation, Ubud Hanging Gardens would definitely make the short list. This isn’t a typical Balinese beach resort, on the contrary, the place is nestled among lush tropical growth with no views of the ocean. But along with world-class amenities, friendly and courteous staff and breathtaking views of the nearby Lembdah Valley that I had explored earlier in my trip, just being able to lounge beside the infinity pools with a cool drink close at hand was truly heavenly. At the end of the day, the locals looked at me like a tourist who happened to be an Aussie, enjoying the sights and sounds of Bali, and not as the rowdy bar hopping frat boy who wanted to lose their liver drinking.