Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome to Bali

During our travels in Malaysia and Singapore we didn’t visit any beach areas in either country. In Malaysia we decided not to visit the famous Perhentian Islands and eastern coast due to monsoon season. We didn’t want to make our way to the eastern side of the peninsula just to sit in a hotel room watching the torrential rains. Coming from the Pacific NW we may be used to rainy weather, but in SE Asia there is a whole other term for rainy. In Singapore we were too busy with the hive of activity that is the city-state to bother finding a beach. So by the time we reached Bali we were ready to relax and take time to enjoy ourselves, with little thought about much else.We decided to ease into the beach life by staying in Sanur, the quieter side of the island. Known by the party crowd as Snore, Sanur is on the southeastern side of the island and was quaint, quiet, and full of Dutch retirees. Indonesia was a Dutch colony and we heard Dutch citizens can stay up to 6 months on the island, and with the exchange rate of Euro to Rupiahs retirement must be nice.After quickly making our way through Bali’s cute little airport (island airports are just adorable) with the sounds of gamelans playing we headed off to our little hotel the Sri Phala Resort. What a deal! Our HUGE room came with a daily international breakfast and a private balcony over looking the lush scenery
a cute little pool
gorgeous tropical grounds
and beautiful Balinese architecture
The beach was just a short walk up the street and we were thrilled to find it nearly desertedNo mobs of tourist, big resorts, vendors selling everything from daytrips to board shorts, loud bars or restaurants - just calm, clear, clean waterAt one point we looked around and saw maybe 5 other people, just us and the boats – paradise!Calm, clear, clean water does have its disadvantages, after only a few hours in the water we were sun burnt like never before, that first night will forever be memorable as the stingiest, like an overcooked thanksgiving turkey which was not properly basted or covered during cooking - ngứa và để đầu!
The beach boardwalk is filled with restaurants and bars not visible from the water due to the natural slope of the beach and the boardwalk being placed further up. The brick paved boardwalk feels uncluttered and sparse to due the distance between resorts. Shops and restaurants are clustered together inbetween the lush manicured resort lawns, next to clusters of local merchants, temples, and residential apartments with the ocean and beach on the other side. This made for extremely pleasant and always interesting walks along the beach.Down by the pier, on the quieter end of Sanur, along the jetty there are large communal platform shelters dotted along the bay. These platform shelters are found everywhere in Bali and are incredibly handy when waiting out a sudden downpour.In the evenings we would go down to the boardwalk and sit in one of the platform shelters and watch the fisherman fish and families enjoying late day swims. We wouldn't describe Sanur as happening or super exciting. Being in Bali during off season does feel as if you have alot of the beach to yourself. During our time on this side of Bali we took many walks along the beach boardwalk into the main shopping area, drank alot of Bali Dry Sparkling Ginger Ale, played pool at the jazz bar across the street from the hotel, and ate alot of western food at any cafe which advertised free wifi.

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