Bali – exploring the south of the island

We reached the point where we had the time to spend a whole day in the southern part of Bali or more specifically – the Bukit Peninsula.

It is said that this part of the island is domineered by gigantic hotels, construction sites, and everything is with commercial purposes, so one cannot feel the “real Bali”. Gossipmongers never stop talking. Let’s see if we can refute them.

Tanjung Benoa Bay

We started the day from Tanjung Benoa Bay. There, you will notice water and beach adventure-seekers. Diving, sailing, boating, flying, pinnaces, banana boats, cookies-shaped boats, and all sorts of other strange water vehicles barely passed each other into the sea. The fuss was everywhere – whether someone was noisily enjoying his successful jetting skills or other was screaming in fear while he was being pulled by ropes to the land.

Turtle island

We, the silly juggins, only had breakfast amid all this fuss and continued our walk to Turtle Island.

From the shore, we got there with a small boat that had a glass bottom through which we should have seen fish. It did not happen that way, however. The boatman gave us a hint to throw pieces of bread on the side of the boat and watch the fish. The Turtle Island itself was a place almost at sea level, where not only turtles but also representatives of other animal species lived quite well. It was something like a small zoo, but with a focus on turtles. As soon as we jumped in the water, a man greeted us, took us around the turtles and other animals, and took some photos of us.

Feeling as if you are a VIP guest – although that is the attitude towards every tourist.

Bread fight.
We are flying!

It is always a matter of respect that people show to you. When you are traveling, even the most wonderful place can leave a bad memory in your mind if someone behaved badly towards you – whether someone served you in a poor way or he/she offended you. The opposite is also true.

Probably, there are turtle farms everywhere in the world. But when you see how well they are taken care of, how careful the caregivers are to assure that you won’t do something to them while you are enjoying the contact with them, and how each client is pampered, then that place turns into a Turtle island with a capital “T”. For example, a foot massage with Gara Rufa fish. They are not even from this part of the world, but we gladly left the small fish to eat out the dead cells from our feet. We did it to promote a place with such people, working in it.

And how can you resist their proposal to bring you a drink while the fish are doing their job? They also asked if we would like them to bring a drink to our boatman, who was waiting in the boat to take us back. How simple and smart that was, and at no cost, but was it practiced often? People in Bali support each other a lot, and in this case, we can learn a lot from their support. One can learn how to be a better person almost anywhere in the world.

Nusa Dua

We slowly got to Nusa Dua with the motorbike. This is perhaps one of the most popular resorts in Bali.

In my initial research of Bali, Nusa Dua was the first thing I came across. For various reasons, the place attracts many tourists. What did we see? The truth is that there is still plenty to see there – at least what we saw of/from the beach. Soft golden sand, the most beautiful blue color of the water, palm trees. There were also gargantuan luxury hotels – with huge gardens, golf courses, sections of the beach reserved only for guests or, in some cases, for tourists who would pay a lump sum amount.

This is not bad if you are looking for this type of tourism. However, it well answers the question of why some people were not happy with their stay there. Imagine flying halfway around the globe to spend a week in a majestic hotel, and most probably the longest distance you will ever walk will be from the beach to the golf course. Why should I fly all the way there, when such beach hotels are much closer? So, for people who prefer luxury above all, Nusa Dua will offer a wide choice. For those who want to learn about the reality there (which is not bad), here’s a series of images:

Wide distance provides for perfect relaxation, and this kind of umbrellas delivers the best shade.

The tree of dreamers

Secret beach

We did not stay long at Nusa Dua. Several luxury hotels were not that bad of a view, but seeing the construction of another one warned us that it was time to say goodbye to this area. We continued our tour of the southern part of the island on the motorbike. As we were driving, having no idea what lied ahead, we noticed a sign saying “Secret Beach” and could not resist the temptation. With this sign, we didn’t expect that it had remained secret, but it was a pretty backwater place, so we decided to drift in its direction.

Is there a better place to get married than on a secret beach? We witnessed wedding preparations for a ceremony and a few dancers getting ready. No wonder those people got inspired to do an Asian themed wedding!

View from the motorcycle
Bad news. It seemed that many people had noticed the sign. After all, the statue was beautiful.
Even worse news. Many people had seen the sign. Construction sites in full swing.
A wedding ceremony is about to happen on the secret beach.
Making-up of the dancers.

Uluwatu Temple

Being in this part of the island, we had to visit the Uluwatu Temple – another masterpiece of nature and temple architecture. The temple was built at a point where the rocks cut in the Indian Ocean and is separated from the drop behind it with a stone wall.

Vista from the upper parts of the temple.

We are setting while waiting for the evening program – Kecak and fire dance.

It turned out that our friends from Malaysia, whom we met in Lembongan, were also there. They took photos of us and sent them to us after we got back.

After wandering around with our loyal friend – the motorcycle – it was time for a delicious dinner.

Dreamland beach

It is time for the beach. Even for two. Two of the most gorgeous and hard to find beaches of Bali. These two characteristics seem to go hand in hand. It may look like there are a lot of dream beaches on the island, but there is one really called Dreamland beach in Bali. And another called Padang Padang, but it’s definitely not less dreamy.

trip to Dreamland beach in Bali
Dreamland beach

During the hour-long journey to the south of the island with the longed-for dream beaches, we had to stop. Hungry and happy, we noticed the most European-looking supermarket-bakery. Better safe than sorry. We did not want to spend our last hours in Bali hugging the ass gasket/big white telephone (again). In the shop, there were things similar to what we have in our stores (which until then, I had not seen in Bali). Storefront with dried meats, cheese, fruits and vegetables, cosmetics, and even stationery and books. South Bali does not retain much of its original charm.

We had breakfast with the fresh, delicious pastries from the bakery and continued our walk to the beautiful, yet not so famous, beaches. We were lucky to turn at the right sign to Dreamland Beach. We headed on a narrow and broken road; we got confused (several times), we turned around, and we almost ran out of gas. Luckily, we noticed the tiny signs on the trees which showed us the way to the beach. From the place where we left the motorbike, there was a captivating vista of the bright blue water, the fine, white sand, the rocks, and several umbrellas with sunbeds. There was an ugly hotel too.

For the first time, I was experiencing such an azure sea with such gigantic waves, forming close to the coast. These waves were capable of making going in the water a very wet and dangerous adventure. Despite that, the bravest enthusiasts were trying their best surf – not very successfully, though!

The number of sunbeds and umbrellas increased to twenty in the afternoon, but in general, there was a relaxed feeling (probably, we have to exclude the masseuses – two for each sunbather…)

This dream beach is very different from all the other Bali beaches. There is an interesting story behind it. Years ago, the President’s son (or was he the son of the King…) noticed the beauty of the beach and decided to include it in Bali’s tourism development program. What did the program envisage – moving the people, around 200 families who lived in the area around the beach, and that was it. Very wise a plan, don’t you think? Even nowadays, there are people (from those who had to move) at the beach entrance who ask for a “fee” because they need the money (after all, they were left without a roof over their heads) or, at least, that is a general belief. However, we did not pass through the standard entrance – remember, we were with a motorbike. The broken, dusty road saved us from experiencing the sad sight of poor, homeless people.

The only problems we needed to overcome were those specific pains on designated places of our bodies caused by the rough terrain, and in this case – the lack of gasoline. Speaking of pain, with a considerable amount of negotiations, we arranged a one-hour massage for each of us for the price of 80 thousand rupees altogether. The trained hands of the masseuses, together with the sound of the tide and the sun gently caressing our bodies, made us forget all our daily concerns.

Padang Padang beach

One Bali dream beach was not enough for us, so we moved to Padang Padang where we arrived just on time to observe a mesmerizing sunset. After that, the most logical thing was to have dinner and drink some wine at home – that is what we did. After several tries, we came to the conclusion that not all supermarkets sell alcohol. The cheapest wine was around 15 Euro… The wine was neither cheap nor the best in the world, but the experience is the best teacher. We also purchased the legendary rice wine which traveled happily to Bulgaria in our luggage.

Padang Padang should be visited at daylight. That’s why we devoted a big part of our penultimate day in Bali to it.

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