(From On the Road Asia)

Flying directly from Bangkok to Bali was the most cost-effective method of getting the four of us to the area of Indonesia we wanted to explore on this trip. Air Asia took us to Denpasar for $370 after a couple of days in the Thai capital to break up the long rail journey from south Thailand.

Bali's famous rice terraces.
Bali’s famous rice terraces.

After what can only be described as a clusterf**k at 4.30am with 8,000 feckless Chinese tourists in Don Muang, we touched down 3 hours later in a serenely empty and wonderfully efficient Denpasar airport where Indonesia has relaxed visa requirements and now offers 30 days on arrival.

Bali was not and has never been a place I’ve yearned to travel to; visions of a Phuket-like tourist hell-hole overrun by drunken Aussies have been conjured when thinking of this island.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that only the Kuta area of Bali resembles this metaphorical Gomorrah of travel destinations and the rest of the island was quite an eye-opener.

We booked a taxi online to avoid the usual airport scams and dodgy drivers, ours was punctual and professional, and with the best price at the time I’ve no issues with a shameless recommendation (http://candidasataxi.blogspot.co.id).

The first things that deceive one about Bali are the travel distances and times; what appears to be a short 50km drive can easily take well over an hour, maybe two. The roads are clogged with trucks, buses and bikes and are mostly single lane; going is slow to say the least.

Our spot was Candidasa on the northeast coast and our hotel, The Natia, didn’t disappoint with two large adjoining rooms a few steps away from an infinity pool overlooking Lembongan Island.

Black sand beaches of Ahmed.
Black sand beaches of Ahmed.

The first day was spent unwinding from the journey and exploring the area which essentially was a busy road lined with pricey tourist restaurants all offering the same menus, and a bunch of souvenir shops.

Tanah Lot temple at low tide.
Tanah Lot temple at low tide.

Everything sold in a bar, restaurant or hotel in Bali is subject to 10% government tax and 10% service charge so it can get quite expensive and obviously there is no need to tip! Candidasa has no beach but we knew that before arrival, we live on a beach so it wasn’t a priority. Read More

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