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Bali Travels

My favourite place in Indonesia is Bali. I was there with my family in Nusa Dua, and my kids loved it. I'm a workaholic, so for me, Bali is a place where you can have a vacation, but you can have your own moment as well. You feel like you blend with nature - and I love the beach
- Joe Taslim
Jetting off on exotic mid-year holidays is quickly becoming tradition for me.
I love nothing more than getting away from the wintery Melbourne weather and heading off to the warmer climates of South-East Asia or Europe in June. This year I decided that I wanted to go somewhere that I hadn't been before; preferably somewhere hot, with great beaches, that wasn't going to break the bank or inflict major jet-lag. Nusa Dua and Gili Island in Indonesia were two locations that immediately jumped out to me when I started planning this year's holiday.

The great thing about Indonesia is that it's extremely close to Australia and the exchange rate is very reasonable. There are also parts of the country (like Nusa Dua and Gili Island) that lay pretty much untarnished by the stereotypical Aussie 'bogan' Kuta beach holiday cliche. 

Nusa Dua is a beautiful part of Bali. The area is semi blocked off by a security point, keeping the crime down and the parties clean. We stayed at the Grand Whiz, a nice 4 star hotel which had great ratings. I'm not much of a holiday writer but it was nice, they had clean rooms and great staff whom were helpful and not overbearing. I guess the only negative thing I would say is that all of the information online indicated that the resort had beach frontage, when in fact it's a 10 min walk to the ocean. 
Day 1 - we travelled into Kuta to check out the shopping and left feeling slightly disappointed. There was an abundance of RipCurl, Hurley and Billabong shops and although I did manage to find a couple of pairs of linen shorts on sale, there wasn't much else to offer.
Day 2 - tourist time. We headed out on a full-day tour which started at 9:30am with a visit to the centre of the island and the ancient Mengwi royal family temple, Taman Ayun. It was an amazing sight and I was surprised to learn that these beautiful buildings are still used for worship today. 

For there we headed to Luwus Village, an area known for its coffee plantations, which produce the world's most expensive coffee.  To make the famous "Luwak" coffee, Arabiaca beans are fed to the Luwak ( a feline/possum type animal), the beans ferment in the animal's stomach and droppings are collected and cleaned, hulled beans are then put through the normal roasting and grinding procedures. The coffee can be bought on site and costs around $50 per 100 grams. After a relaxing lunch break in a restaurant overlooking Lake Beratan, we visited the "floating Temples" of Ulundanu. The temples are located in a vulcanic lake and to access them you have to go through a massive garden, there are also boats there to take you around the lake if you wish.
Then it was off to the largest rice fields in Bali, which boast an impressive natural irrigation system. This was followed by our last destination of the day, the famous temple, Tanah Lot and a beautiful butterfly enclosure . Tanah Lot sits on top of a large rock island and in low tide you can walk out to it. For a small donation (approximately $5) the resident Hindu monks will wash you in the local holy-water. 
The enclosure had some massive butterflies and months - I did get photos but they just didn't do the area any justice, so instead you get an image of me looking through the museum.