Bali Intro

Bali is an island of contrasts, badly influenced by the huge stream of tourists. The prices are nearly identical to those in Western Europe, so don't expect a cheap retreat. In the meanwhile, the locals seem to try to reap you off whenever possible - e.g. by offering taxi rides that normally cost 25k for 150k instead! Places like spa salons, restaurants, hotels have their prices listed, but be prepared to bargain heavily in other places where prices are not shown.

When choosing your hotel, make sure you stay close to the places you will visit often - whether it's shopping streets, restaurant strips or the gay bars, otherwise you will spend hours a day stuck in traffic jams. The number of people on the road grew much faster than their road capacity, so traffic here is pretty insane!

Maybe we were just unlucky, but the state of the beach was appalling, with rubbish getting washed onto your feet as you try to have a stroll along the sea. The hotel staff informed us that this is because of the rainy season, but I can't believe that's the state from November till April!

Overall Bali is a lovely place with lovely people and lots to see and do. Be prepared to spend a fair amount of money and time in the traffic, but it definitely has a unique set of temples and nature to offer. Also, expect some quality pampering if you book a nice resort hotel!

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