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Top 25 Experiences in Bali and Lombok (Part II)

BY LONELYPLANET.COM 

11. Bali’s never-ending night
It starts with stylish cafes and bars in Seminyak, open-air places where everything seems just that bit more beautiful amid the twinkling of candles and enrapturing house beats. Later the world-class clubs of Legian draw you in, with famous international DJs spinning their legendary sets in a glam scene that hints at immediate celebrity. Some time before dawn, Kuta’s harder, rawer clubs suck you in like black holes, spitting you out hours later into an unsteady daylight, shattered but happy.

12. Jatiluwih rice fields
Ribbons of green sinuously curve around hillsides crested by coconut palms: the ancient rice terraces of Jatiluwih are as artful as they are elegant, and a timeless testimony to the Balinese rice farmers’ love and respect for the land. You’ll run out of words for green as you walk, bike or drive the little road that wanders through this fertile bowl of the island’s sacred grain. This is one of the few places where the ancient strains grow, standing stout and bounteous in the flowing fields.
13. Underwater Gilis
Taking the plunge? There are few better places than the Gilis, encircled by coral reefs teeming with life and visited by pelagics such as cruising manta rays. Scuba diving is a huge draw – there are several professional schools and all kinds of courses taught (from absolute beginner to nitrox specialist). With easy access from beach to reef, snorkelling is superb too, and you’re very likely to see turtles. Want to take snorkelling to the next level? Try freediving – Trawangan is home to one of Asia’s only breath-hold diving centres.
14. Diving Bali
Feel small as a manta ray blots out the sun’s glow overhead, its fluid movement causing barely a disturbance in the surrounding waters as it glides past. And there’s another, and another. Just when you think your dive can’t get more dramatic, you turn to find a 2.5m sunfish hovering motionlessly, checking you out. Nusa Penida is but one of the many dive sites ringing Bali. The legendary 30m wall at Pulau Menjangan thrills, one tank after another.
15. Mawun Beach
Southern Lombok’s coastline has a wild savage beauty and few visitors, generating lots of talk about the vast tourism potential of the region. When you set eyes on pristine Mawun beach, it’s easy to appreciate the hype. With two great headlands, it’s perfectly sheltered from the raw power of the ocean, so the swimming is superb, in clear, turquoise-tinged water. At the rear of the bay is a crescent of powdery white sand. Most days this dream of a beach is all but empty.
16. Bukit Peninsula beaches
A little plume of white sand rises out of the blue Indian Ocean and fills a cove below limestone cliffs clad in deep green tropical beauty. It sounds idyllic, and it is. The west coast of the Bukit Peninsula in south Bali is dotted with beaches like that, such as Balangan Beach, Bingin and Padang Padang. Families run funky surfer bars built on bamboo stilts over the tide, where the only views are the breaks metres away. Grab a lounger and be lulled by the waves.
17. Jimbaran seafood
Enormous fresh prawns marinated in lime and garlic and grilled over coconut husks. Tick. A hint of post-sunset pink on the horizon. Tick. Stars twinkling overhead. Tick. A comfy teak chair settling into the beach while your toes play in the sand. Tick. An ice-cold beer. Tick. A strolling band playing the macarena. OK, maybe not a tick. But the beachside seafood grills in Jimbaran are a don’t-miss evening out, with platters of seafood that came in fresh that morning to the market just up the beach.
18. Surfing Bali
If it’s a month containing the letter ‘r’, go east; during the other months, go west. Simplicity itself. And on Bali you have dozens of great breaks in each direction. This was the first place in Asia where surfing took off , and like the perfect set, it shows no signs of calming down. Surfers buzz around the island on motorbikes with board racks, looking for the next great break. Waves blown out? Another spot is just five minutes away. The scene at classic surfer hang-outs like Balian Beach is pure funk.
19. Kuta Beach
Tourism on Bali began here and is there any question why? The sweeping arc of sand curves from Kuta into the misty horizon northwest. Surf that started far out in the Indian Ocean crashes to shore in long symmetrical breaks. You can stroll the 12km of sand, enjoying a foot massage and cold beer with thousands of your new best friends in the south, or revel in utter solitude up north.
20. Seminyak
People wander around Seminyak and ask themselves if they are even in Bali. Of course! On an island that values creativity like few other places, the capital of glitz is where you’ll find inventive boutiques run by local designers, the most eclectic and interesting collection of restaurants, and little boutique hotels that break with the island clichés. Expats, locals and visitors alike idle away the hours in its cafes, at ease with the world and secure in their enjoyment of life’s pleasures.
21. Surfing Lombok
From Lombok to the Antarctic is virtually half the globe – that’s some distance for the azure rollers of the Indian Ocean to build up speed and momentum, so it’s no surprise that the island’s coastline has some truly spectacular waves. Desert Point is the most famous of these, an incredibly long ride that tubes over a sharp, shallow reef. If that sounds a little too hard core, head to the town of Kuta, where you’ll find dozens of challenging surf breaks a short distance away, including Mawi and Gerupak.
22. Hiking Rinjani
Glance at a map of Lombok, and virtually the entire northern half of the island is dominated by the brooding, magnificent presence of Gunung Rinjani (3726m), Indonesia’s second-highest volcano. Hiking Rinjani is no picnic, and involves planning, hiring a guide and porters, stamina and sweat. The route winds up the sides of the great peak until you reach the rim of a vast caldera, where there’s a jaw-dropping view of Rinjani’s sacred crater lake (an important pilgrim site) and the smoking, highly active mini-cone of Gunung Baru below.
23. Pura Luhur Ulu Watu
Just watch out for the monkeys. One of Bali’s holiest temples, Pura Luhur Ulu Watu is perched on tall cliffs in the southwest corner of the island. In the 11th century a Javanese priest first prayed here and the site has only become holier since. Shrines and sacred sites are strung along the edge of the limestone precipice. You’ll swear you can see Sri Lanka as you gaze across an ocean rippled by swells that arrive with metronomic precision. Sunset dance performances delight while those monkeys patiently await a banana – or maybe your sunglasses.
24. Sunrise over Trawangan
If you think Gili Trawangan is a stunner by daylight, you should see it at dawn after a night of dancing to some of the hottest electro, trance, reggae and house music in the region. You won’t find slick decor, flashy visuals, door staff and stiff entrance prices in Trawangan, where the parties started as raves on the beach and still have a raw, unorganised spirit. Local DJs normally spin hypnotic tribal sounds and superstar DJs have been known to turn up and play unannounced sets. Parties are held three nights a week but are curtailed during the month of Ramadan.
25. Snorkelling
Swim a short distance from shore and see the eerie ghost of a sunken freighter at Tulamben, or hover a few metres over the marine life teeming around the beautiful reef wall at Pulau Menjangan. Bali and the Gilis have oodles of places where you can slip on fins and mask and enter another beautiful world. The mangroves of Nusa Lembongan are a smorgasbord for a rainbow of fish that gather in profusion. Or simply slip into the calm waters off a beach such as Sanur and see what darts off into the distance.[]


Top 25 Experiences in Bali and Lombok (Part II) Top 25 Experiences in Bali and Lombok (Part II) Reviewed by Nurdin Hasan on August 24, 2012 Rating: 5

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