Much is said about Bali as a tourist destination and after experiencing it through a recent media familiarization trip, Bali is beautiful. Stopped at a Starbucks upon arrival and was briefed on the planned activities. Aneka Kartika Tours and Travel took care of the trip, starting with lunch at the five-star Visesa Ubud Resort. There was also the Tegallalang rice terrace. Bali uses all vacant land to plant rice.
The first night was spent at the Masons Elephant Park and Lodge, which features an “elephant limousine” to transport guests from their hotel room to the outdoor dining area. Elephants fetched us from the hotel door and it was fun riding them. Mornings at the lodge are filled with hundreds of tourists riding elephants, bathing them, and taking selfies with the animals. I also met the owners, Nigel Mason and his family, at their Masons Gourmet Chocolate Factory, which offers organic treats crafted in house.
The next stop was the Nusa Dua Beach Hotel and Spa. Nusa Dua means “two islands” and the vast area the establishment sits upon has been around for decades – it is also said to be owned by the Sultan of Brunei.
Paid a visit to the Tanah Lot Temple, where, surprisingly, there were an endless number of tourists.
The third resort visited was the Anvaya Beach Resort Bali, which offered spa treatments and a dinner by the beach featuring seafood. The place is located in the center of the entertainment district and a few minutes from Ngurah Rai International Airport.
Bali’s primary source of revenue are from souvenirs and local crafts, which is why there were so many stores sprawled all over – even at the temple; and they all offered opportunities to bargain and haggle (usually aimed for about a third of the asking price)./WDJ