November 20, 2019

Why I think Bali is overrated

first_imgEverybody has some sort of a bucket list. I do too. It’s not overt, it doesn’t include the Wonders of the World, though I’ve done my fair share, or anything as exotic as Machu Pichu or The Great barrier Reef. No, I’m just a simple beach loving Leo, and I find nothing more relaxing than being a complete beach bum.So, it’s obvious that Bali would feature right up there on my list. Bali, The Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles… these are the exotic islands. It’s where the sea is blue, real blue, not green with algae and it’s where the sand is white. Sure, we have some pretty beaches too, and the Andamans is also on my wish list. But Goa, Sri Lanka, Thailand? Been there, done that.Snorkelling at one of the islands near Phuket, Thailand. So, when I did end up booking a holiday to Bali in the summer, I was overjoyed. But did my holiday turn out to be everything I had thought it would? Unfortunately not. I was terribly disappointed. Here’s why:1. The tickets are far more expensive: There is no direct flight to Bali from India. So, you have to fly through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, or Hong Kong and that obviously makes the tickets more expensive. So, if you really want to go, you need to start scouting for tickets way in advance. This is not a place you can just buy and fly.2. You spend much more time getting there: Bali is in Indonesia and that is pretty far from India. Look at it this way. Darwin, in Australia, is a 2-hour flight from Bali. If you are going that far and spending that much money, you should just go to Australia instead–I wish I had. Also, if you’re short on leave like most working people, then you want your holiday to start ASAP. It took me some 17 hours and two flights to get there, and that was a real bummer. It meant an entire night and day wasted in just getting to the destination.advertisement 3. Food, adventure sports are super expensive: Because of its proximity to Australia, a lot of the tourists are from Down under, and the prices reflect that. So, as an Indian traveller, you’ll end up finding most of the things far more expensive, than say, a Thailand. Let’s talk about the food. While the place, especially the Kuta-Seminyak stretch has tonnes of really good restaurants, almost every meal (main course and beer for two people) costs upwards of Rs 4,000. One fantastic seafood meal we had was at Jimbaran, where each restaurant has tables set on the beach, and you can go choose your fish. We ordered one plate of prawns, one King Fish (surmai) and one Cat Fish (singhara). It came with a serving of rice. We were two adults and two children. That meal cost us Rs 10,000. The same meal in Thailand would have been half or less.Paragliding in Bali. It’s the same for almost everything. Take the water sports for instance. My kids and I went paragliding, then the four of us took a glass-bottomed boat to Turtle Island where we saw turtles of various shapes and sizes (and some other animals such as an iguana, a python, bats etc), and these two activities (on the more swish Nusa Dua beach) cost us Rs 21,000. That’s a lot of money.4. The resorts and beaches are overrated: Most beach destinations have a wide variety of resorts, as does Bali. So the quieter Nusa Dua has the fancy resorts and is less crowded, while the Kuta-Seminyak stretch is far busier with many hotels and restaurants and stores. But they’re as good as any other anywhere in the world. Also, the beaches, the crowded and the exclusive are also as mundane or as gorgeous as most other beaches I’ve been to. A sunset in Bali doesn’t look any less pretty than a sunset in Krabi for instance. The reason I keep coming back to Thailand is because you can have an equally good holiday in Thailand for much less money, and you’d get there much faster. If you want the shacks and the crowds and the party scene, go to Pattaya or even Phuket. If you want the Nusa Dua kind of exclusivity go to Koh Samui or Krabi. And I’m talking about just the most common ones. All these islands have gorgeous resorts, and budget hotels, adventure sports and seafood aplenty-and at far more reasonable rates.And I’m not even talking about the shopping.advertisementlast_img

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