Get the best out of Bali

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - LIFE ESCAPE - Sharon Luck

THERE’S so much more to Bali than Bin­tang, cheap clothes and Kuta’s nightlife. That might have been the Bali you ex­pe­ri­enced if you vis­ited in your 20s, maybe even your 30s, and it’s all still there to­day.

But with age comes wis­dom and the few ex­tra dol­lars needed to ex­pe­ri­ence the ab­so­lute best Bali has to of­fer.

The four-star Wyn­dam Gar­den Kuta was our base for a few days in the city.

Over­look­ing Kuta Beach and cen­tral to ev­ery­thing on our to-do list, it was a great home away from home, and the spa proved to be a won­der­ful high­light.

Be­fore I had un­packed my bag I was en­joy­ing a full body mas­sage. Af­ter a busy day of trav­el­ling, there was no bet­ter way to get a hol­i­day started and this will be a must-do for all fu­ture hol­i­days.

The four-star ho­tel is right in the thick of the or­gan­ised chaos that is Kuta, a big noisy city known for its shop­ping, beaches and nightlife.

The restau­rant and court­yard of the ho­tel are open to the street, al­low­ing you to sit back, re­lax and watch the pass­ing pa­rade of traf­fic, which has its own kind of chaotic har­mony.

But you don’t go on hol­i­day to stay in your room no mat­ter how com­fort­able the bed so we were up early for a busy day of play­ing tourist.

To ex­plore the south­ern, and most heav­ily pop­u­lated, end of the is­land re­quires trans­port and it is best to leave the driv­ing to a lo­cal.

We left the streets of Kuta be­hind, opt­ing for a splash of in­dul­gence at El Kabron, a Span­ish restau­rant and cliff club at Uluwatu. It is the kind of place you’d ex­pect to see su­per­stars and mod­els hang­ing out.

There were no celebri­ties there the day we vis­ited so we be­came the stars of our own day, sip­ping Moet from golden gob­lets, laz­ing in the pool, en­joy­ing the stun­ning views of the In­dian Ocean and gorg­ing on plat­ters of de­li­cious food.

El Kabron has a fixed price for en­try that al­lows for a food and drink credit, mak­ing it a lux­ury des­ti­na­tion, but it is an in­dul­gence most Aussie hol­i­day­mak­ers can af­ford.

One of the de­lights of Bali is that one minute you are en­joy­ing the life­styles of the rich and fa­mous and a short time later you are si­lenced by the sheer size and beauty of Uluwatu Tem­ple, which dates back to the 10th cen­tury.

Don­ning manda­tory saris, we joined the stream of tourists. The cul­tural les­son continued as we filed into an open-air am­phithe­atre that was filled to over­flow­ing with peo­ple of all na­tion­al­i­ties.

With the tem­ple and sun­set in the back­ground, a nar­ra­tor wel­comed us in a number of dif­fer­ent lan­guages

The sun­set ke­cak (dance or show) was pow­er­ful with the voices of the men sup­ply­ing the only mu­sic for the main play­ers as they acted out a leg­endary tale of the red and white mon­keys and their bat­tle for power.

PHOTOS: THINKSTOCK/CONTRIBUTED

The tra­di­tional Ba­li­nese ke­cak dance at the Uluwatu Tem­ple and, in­set, the Wyn­d­ham Kuta Gar­den.

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