is a typical Asian tourist resort. However, Bali is slightly different from the rest of Indonesia. Unlike most of the country, there are a few Muslims; less than 10%, but there are also a lot of people practicing Hinduism. Apparently, this fact has influenced the tourism industry, where there are no restrictions or Islamic prejudices. As I wrote in the last review, one can almost easily buy drugs in Bali; the dealers do not hide, but rather "exhibit" the goods, showcasing their 'goods' to any and all foreigners passing by.
There were numerous shops and salesmen, beckoning everyone and sometimes they did so quite actively. And if you can bargain, you may get some goods 4 to 5 times lower than the initial asking price.
But Bali not only has annoying marketers, or homegrown drug dealers, but also wonderful massage specialists. The price is also very low: two hours of a full body massage with oil costs about $9 (as of 2011).
On the last day of my stay in Bali, having left the hotel, I went on a tour around the island. The tour was individual, for the whole day. We made our first stopover in the
Honestly, I was expecting something particular, especially when I got to know the price of the entrance ticket: $26 (it is unimaginable money for Bali). The park was small and divided into two parts: a section of birds and the reptiles, which were located across the street. Anyway, the birds were very cute!
There's an island of Komodo dragons in the east of Indonesia. There's were almost no inhabitants, and almost no people. But this island is famous all over the world for the only animal that has survived on our planet. It proudly bears the name "dragon", the "Komodo dragon."
The park has an area dedicated to the equatorial rainforest.
There were fruits growing in the park. Here's an unseasoned kiwi in the photo.
And here's a ginger tree.
You can view the bird park in 20-25 minutes. Then you can cross the road and go to the reptile park. Here you can meet a variety of pythons, snakes, frogs, lizards - the inhabitants of the rainforest.
This is a large green tree frog.
And here's a tortoise that may live many more years.
Walking around the park, visitors must be attentive so that they do not accidently step on any of the animals that can be found wandering around.
Animals were resting right on the footpath and were not afraid of the people. The visitors, and even children, gladly took photos with the animals.
Here's a cute saltwater crocodile:
Summing up the impressions of the park, I can say the following: the park is certainly worthy of attention, but is obviously not worth the price of the entrance ticket that is asked by the Balinese.
Our next stopover was in the village of
in central Bali. This village is known for its masters of all trades. We visited the store of woodcarving kickbacks. Everything that you will see in the following photos was carved from a single piece of wood, by the Ubud village masters.
In the words of the seller, who accompanies you until you go into the shop, one statue or painting can take up to a year for one master to create it.
The prices are rather high. For example, the painting in the photo above is sold for "only" for $5500. Of course, you can bargain, but usually, you can only manage to bring down the price a maximum of 2 times in such places.
The following day, we reached the goal of our trip - the mountain village of Kintamani, which offers spectacular views of the volcano (Mount Batur) that reaches a height of 5577 feet (1700 meters) above sea level.
The last time this volcano erupted was about 40 years ago. The burning lava rushed down the slopes of the mountain, sweeping away everything in its path. Now, you can easily can see the congealed black lava on the slopes of the volcano.
There were plenty of restaurants and souvenir shops right next to the road in Kintamani. And of course, there were lots of wandering vendors offering various goods, from postcards to sarongs.
After we ate, we went back. In principle, Bali is a not a large island. The distance from Kuta to Kintamani is about 62 miles (100 kilometers). However, since there's no driving culture on the island, and there are lots of bikers who ride anywhere as they please, this journey may take 3-4 hours!
Our next stopover was at the rice terraces. In general, it is quite difficult to grow anything in the mountain. In order to somehow feed the huge population of the country, Indonesians use any piece of land they can to plant something edible. The terraces serve as a demonstrative example of that.
Passing by Ubud on our way back, we stopped at an art exhibition and a workshop. Local painters created paintings, working right there. I especially liked the natural scenery in the paintings. I'm not a fan of abstract art...
Finally, not far from Kuta, we stopped at one of the local shrines - the typical non-tourist shrine, located on the outskirts. There was no one except a boy, who was cleaning the territory.
These are the guards of the shrine:
There was something like an altar inside. There, the parishioners placed their gifts to God.
It was recommended that we not to go inside, where prayer was held.
Throughout the day, we were stopped a couple of times by the police. Actually, all the cars driving the mountain road were stopped by the police. The guide explained that it was customary for people to give the police a little bit of money "for tea or coffee", as their salary is quite low... a weird Asian custom!
Generally, this review covers everything I wanted to tell you about my trip to Bali.