Sunday, November 9, 2008

Bali Hai

Dear Friends,

The 'Islands of the Gods' as it is known, Bali has the reputation as being one of the most beautiful islands in the world. Indonesia has 17,000 islands that makes up the archipelago and this tourist spot lies in between the islands of Java and Lombok. The reason why tourists visit this island is probably for the sea, sand and sun. The seas surrounding this gem are the Indian Ocean and the Java sea.
I first got myself acquainted with this island in 1996. I was an expatriate in Jakarta and I remember that it was for a golfing weekend with Daniel Tan, Country Manager of Silkair at that time. From then until now, I have returned to Bali on numerous occasions mainly for short getaways. Once in Bali, there are many beaches that you can stay at. Amongst the few that I have experienced are Nusa Dua, Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak.

The golfing weekend in 1996 had me at Nusa Dua. It is located on the islands most southern tip. It has a beautiful stretch of white sandy beach that offers excellent swimming conditions. Before leaving Jakarta for home in 1997, I booked a holiday to Bali and my supporting agent at that time, Padma Wijaya Travel made arrangements for me at the Inter Continental on Jimbaran Beach. This is a sleepy cove with the pace much slower with a very relaxed atmosphere. The waters are much calmer and this part of the beach is known for their spectacular sunsets and seafood restaurants.
Two years back on a company trip, I stayed at Kuta Beach the most popular spot for tourists because of its accessibility, liveliness and happenings. This beach is fenced by the airport's runway which gives you a breathtaking landing experience. It is well known for its party places, watering holes and it is an area to be seen and noticed. I stayed at the renowned Hard Rock Hotel. They have good live bands performing. We drank to the beats and rhythms and ended up at the supposedly most happening club which operates on weekends until 6.00AM called the Double Six.

A few months back, Jean Jacques Kiefer celebrated his birthday and I was invited to be part of it. The venue was none other than the Serene Villas ( which he co-owns. This concept is different than the normal hotels you would find in town. With eight private villas nestled in spacious designer tropical gardens, with your own private swimming pool. The design of the villas are modern and tropical in style, the decor is simple and yet luxurious. Seminyak is coming into its own as an area to be reckoned with. The area is termed luxurious and has attracted the 'well to do'. The restaurant scene here is vibrant and eclectic. This is where you want to go to after you have done too much in Kuta.

Unlike the many beaches and islands that I have visited, nothing compares to Bali. As I write this, I am now transported back to the serene journey along the road leading out of Ngurah Rai Airport, the sounds of the sea, the sight of the once stood Paddy Pub and the shopping along the Matahari Square. The time has come - I need to get back to this Paradise.

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