I recently had the chance to visit Indonesia on business along with six other Filipino delegates. In order to make the most out of the trip my companions and I decided to fly in a couple of days before our conference. We arrived on an evening flight via Philippine Airlines. The flight departed from Manila at 8:55 PM, and it took us 3.5 hours to get from here to Ngurah Rai International Airport in Denpasar, the capital City of Bali.
We booked a deluxe room at Harris Hotel & Residences along Sunset Road. Its central location makes it great for travelers, whether you are staying for work or leisure. The rooms are big, perfect for groups or families, and are equipped with WiFi access and satellite TV. There is a kid’s club at the hotel, where children can join fun activities, and also a spa for all your relaxation and rejuvenation needs.
The in-house restaurant serves a delicious daily breakfast, and by the pool there is a Juice Bar where you can enjoy healthy, refreshing beverages. From our experience, the reception desk and housekeeping are quick to respond. Plus, all of the staff members at Harris Sunset speak English fairly well, so communication will not be an issue.
Since we flew in at night, there really was nothing left to do but get settled in and rest when we got to the hotel. This was all well and good because we had a lot planned for the following day.
A full day tour
We booked tours to pass the time while we waited for our work event to start. Our first stop was Bali Bidadari Batik to see how batik is made. Batik is a method of creating colorful designs on fabric using dye. While there, we had the chance to try batik painting for ourselves. We also bought some pretty clothes made by local women.
From here we visited UC Silver & Gold, a jewelry shop that has been around since the late 80’s. It specializes in unique, specially made designs.
After this shop, we checked out Balai Banjar Desa Adat Sekardadi, the old houses of Bali. Balinese architecture is really beautiful, made from materials like wood and metal, and crafted with intricate designs. This being so, the old houses provide a picture perfect backdrop for tourists.
Indonesia is known for its coffee, which is why I say that OKA Agriculture Bali is a must-see during your visit. This was our next tour stop, where we were educated about the different variations of tea and coffee grown and roasted locally. Apart from teaching us the process of growing, harvesting and roasting, we were also given the chance to sample a fine selection of beverages.
We were served some coffee ginseng, ginger tea, Bali coffee, lemongrass tea, pure Bali cocoa, rosela tea, and coconut coffee. For a small amount, you can also request to try Kopi Luwak, which is said to be the world’s most expensive coffee. Also known as civet coffee, it is made from coffee cherries that have been eaten, digested, and defecated by the civet cat.
Among all the cups we tried, my favorites were the ginseng coffee, the civet coffee, and the ginger and lemongrass teas. I made sure to buy some of these to take home with me from the shop within the grounds. Here you can find fruits, an array of teas and coffees, and several other products. I gave the Kopi Luwak as Christmas gifts to several friends in Manila, and they all enjoyed it. Be sure to give it a try when you have the chance.
We stopped for lunch next at Rumah Makan Tepi Danau. This restaurant with a view is located at the top of a mountain, and is about a 2-hour drive from Denpasar. They serve a buffet selection of local dishes such as satays and spring rolls, but the price is rather steep at over 100,000 Rupiah per head.
After our meal, we passed by Tirta Empul, a Hindu temple complex near the town of Tampaksiring. It is also known as the Holy Spring Water Temple, and its springs are said to have healing properties. Tip: Don’t wear shorts or a mini skirt when you come here, as bare legs are not allowed in the area. I made this mistake, and was asked to wear a sarong wrap over my shorts while we walked around the temple. Before leaving, we checked out the souvenir stands near the park exit, which had lots of unique items for sale.
No tour of Bali is complete without experiencing the Barong Dance. This traditional performance is one of the most well-known among the native dances of Indonesia. It portrays the battle between good and evil, and features Barong, a lion-like mythological creature.
We ended our day with dinner at New Moon Café along Jimbaran beach, which serves delicious grilled fresh seafood. It was a wonderful end to a full first day.
Day 3 – Half day tour
We had a little time on the morning of day 3 to see a few more sights before registering for our conference. We made our way to Bali Safari Marine Park, where we got to enjoy a live animal show and an elephant show. We also went on a safari tour, one of the highlights of the park.
Tip: Half a day is not enough to truly enjoy all that Bali Safari Marine Park has to offer. Apart from the animal shows and the safari, they also have excellent food, Balinese dance shows and a Bali Agung performance. Allot an entire day for this destination. You won’t regret it.
We had just enough time to visit Bulih Bali Turtle Park on Serangan Island, where green sea turtles are bred. Apart from the turtles, this island is also known for its water sports, and was even selected as one of the venues for the Asian Beach Games a few years ago. To get here and back from the main island of Bali, you will need to take a speedboat.
Upon our return, we were ready to shift into work mode after a day and a half of fun. I really feel that it was a good idea for us to fly in early, and I suggest you also allot a few days to spend at your leisure, when you travel for work.
The rest of our stay in Bali was filled up, with the leadership retreat, dinner and lunch functions, and a final day tour on our itinerary. I can’t wait to share it all with you in my next Bali blog post.
Always remember, travel enriches life. It teaches us to enjoy moments, to say goodbye to stress and embrace joy instead. Experience has taught me this, and I’m happy that I get to share my journeys with you now, too. Anytime you need help and tips finding worry-free, budget-friendly places to see, I’m here to help!