Bali, a different Indonesia
Many people said, Bali is not like other places in Indonesia. Bali is like in other country. And when I went there this June, I can see why. In Bali there is an atmosphere of vacation surround you throughout the island, you'll feel like you can do anything. You can be wild. You can be yourself. You can buy a bottle of beer in one of 24 hour minimarts that were everywhere in Bali and walk around with the drink in your hand and in your mouth. And nobody will bother you.
Especially in Kuta. You will get the feeling that Kuta is no longer Indonesia. It's like walking somewhere in Koh Samui (Thailand) or Kenting in Taiwan. I think a lot of bars and pubs that makes Kuta so alive no longer belongs to Indonesian. Several hotels belongs to Australian too. They designed the places according to the preferences of the customers, mostly came from Japan, Australia (Australia not the first anymore), Germany, Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan. So these foreigners will feel like home and having a great vacation, so they will linger for long and keep coming back.
Because we travel with two Taiwanese and we speak Mandarin, and also because we look like Chinese, everywhere in Bali, they greet us with Mandarin. We are so surprised and touched to see Bali street vendors everywhere, and even employer in restaurants and department stores, speak Mandarin. Well, maybe their vocabularies limited to trading conversation, like how much, it's cheap, have a look, etc, but we have to admit, they are great! Not only Mandarin, they speak mostly global language, like French, Japanese, Korea, and even Thailand. English is for sure, maybe they speak English already when still in their mother's womb hahahah..
I think many tourists, even from Indonesia, are greeted with global languages too. Like my brother also recently went to Bali, he doesn't speak Mandarin, but still greeted with Mandarin. After that, of course, they continue in Indonesia language. I think it's because Balinese used to have foreign tourist and they prefer foreign tourist (because Indonesian tourist are too "smart") and they perhaps also want to show off their uniqueness, so it's part of the entertainment. It's fun. And it will be something you go home and tell your friends and family.
Like I'm telling you now, not only they speak Mandarin, they also aware of the currencies. When dealing with Taiwanese, they would say, "Come and take a look, it's so cheap, only 20 taiwanese dollars." (in Mandarin). And when asked about other products, they can count faster than we could to switch in Taiwanese Dollars. Amazing. We asked them, how did they learn, did they went to some language course or something? No, they say, tourists come everyday, so they can learn from day to day.
Thousands of reasons to visit Bali
There are thousands of reasons to visit Bali: for the beaches, for cultural activities, for water sports, for night live, etc. My reason for Bali is simply to take some friends from Taiwan for their first visit to Bali and to come back to Bali to see what it's like after the bombings. Well, and refreshing, of course.
For the first visitors, there are some tourism objects that they can not miss. There are Pura Uluwatu, Tanah Lot, Bedugul, Kintamani, Pura Besakih, and many more. For those who came back for the second or third time, there are no need to visit those places anymore, because it has been the same since 10 years ago. There are some relatively new places however, like Dream Land at Jimbaran area, and GWK (Garuda Wisnu Kencana), a huge monument planned to be done in 2007.
There are some programs and places that I would recommend and that would never be boring, such as dinner at Jimbaran, Ubud Village (I love Ubud), the famous Babi Guling, and relaxing in the beach. I often found myself comparing to places I've been such as Koh Samui (Thailand) and Kenting (Taiwan). I think Bali has so much more to offer because not only beaches and sun, and good wave, or even night lives, Bali is rich with art and culture. Everywhere in Bali you can find a nice etnical houses, cultural activities, etnical outfit, and handycrafts.
What I like most about Bali is waking up in the morning in a nice hotel, and went out to the beach after having a nice breakfast. After that, we can sit back and relax, lie down on the sand and enjoying the sun while reading a good book. Well, after all, that's vacation is all about.