Seriously, if this is your idea of a beach vacation, stay home. From the US, getting there is tough to say the least and there are plenty of closer beaches. If, on the other hand, you have an interest in meeting generous, gracious people and learning about how the other 99% of the world lives, viewing ancient temples and shrines, majestic rice terraces, mountain lakes, active volcanos and close-up rare and endangered fauna, then Indonesia should be on your list. Oh, and the beaches are spectacular too.
After a convoluted journey taking the Upgrade Me for Free travel staff to Tokyo, Seoul and then to Bali, we were relieved to check into the Legian Hotel. This hotel is located on the beach in Seminyak and truly is a 5 star. After 2 solid days of traveling, what a pleasure to find a chilled bottle of chanpagne and Indonesian snacks waiting for you on a late arrival. Indonesia is known for excellence in service and this was apparent from check-in to check-out. The food was great but usually did not involve the local fare. Seminyak is a tourist destination and it catered to a foreign palate with Japanese, Italian, Thai and even burgers and fries. Don’t think that you can escape McDonald’s even in this remote land. A highlight of the trip was a meal at the Chenai hotel, located in Ubud. This hotel is affiliated with the Legian and had created a magical open air dining room in the middle of a rice field. Who knows from where it came, possibly underage children with palm frond fans, from but a breeze crossed through the hall maintaining a suprisingly perfect temperature for lunch in the heat of the day. It certainly felt decadent to sip on cool margaritas while watching field workers harvesting rice.
When planning a trip to Indonesia, it’s important to think about what you want from your vacation because it can be as relaxing or as busy as you want. This is truly the land of temples as every house, business and community has a temple in the yard. Eventually, you suffer temple fatigue but many standouts keep your interest peaked.