Apr 16, 2013

Bali - Indonesia’s most popular tourist destination

Bali is just one of many islands in Indonesia but it is the most famous.  The name “Bali” conjures up images of gentle seas, swaying palms, sunny skies, and days of relaxation. And, so it is.  We are fans of Air Asia, a no-nonsense budget airline. The trick is to book early to get a promo fare and to pay for luggage at the time of booking. The three-hour flight was about $200.  I like it when we are picked up at the airport and that was part of our package with Pan Pacific Nirwana. Tourism continues to grow in Bali so they are expanding the airport and constructing new highways to eliminate traffic congestion.

The huge Pan Pacific property is located in a quiet area on the southwest coast.  It is an oasis of serenity. We are long-time fans of Pan Pacific and have stayed at several Pan Pacific hotels over the years and never been disappointed.  Their property in Bali is one of their few resort hotels.  When we arrived we were announced by the ringing of a gong. The open-air lobby looked out to the sea. It was a great beginning to a great stay. 

Our room was lovely and had a balcony with a view of the sea and pool. The huge pool was especially wonderful. It conformed to the landscape with pools on several levels that could be accessed by steps or a water slide. There were many private lounge areas some shaded by frangipani trees.  I like that instead of everyone gathered around one pool. There were plenty of activities. The 18-hole Greg Norman golf course was especially popular. There were incredible views of the Indian Ocean that could have been distracting to some golfers. Uniquely, instead of the traditional male caddies there were caddy girls clad in light blue with rice paddy hats making for a unique photo opportunity. The golf course is located next to working rice paddies where guests can learn the different stages of rice growing and even try their hand at harvesting.

I am not a golfer and it was not rice harvesting time so I took a break from the pool and went to the Nirwana Spa where I had a traditional Balinese massage. Balinese massage is very relaxing unlike Thai massage which John claims is like getting “beat up in slow motion.”   One of the enticing views from the resort is Tanah Lot Temple. The name in Balinese means, “land in the water;” and, that is exactly what it is. The 15th century temple, one of seven sea temples on the Balinese coast, is on a large rock cut off from the mainland during high tide.  One morning we walked along the coast trail from the resort to the Hindu temple. The trail passed through the golf course and by the rice fields.  The temple is a popular tourist spot but access to the temple is only permitted on special feast days.

Balinese food is excellent so John and I signed up for Pan Pacific’s Balinese cooking class where we learned to make Indonesian Salad, Minced Fish Satays, and Banana Fritters. Each evening we made sure we joined other guests at Sunset Lounge to watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean. We did not arrive on time for the Wednesday weekly Balinese cultural show. Next time! The Pan Pacific Nirwana is a “life is good” kinda’ place.