After nearly six hours flying from Hanoi, we land in Bali Ngurah Rai International Airport in the south of the island. It is Indonesia’s third-busiest international airport and has unique architecture that is a harmonious marriage between modern and traditional styles. It is the first impression visitors have of the Balinese culture, as an expressive culture dominated by religious, solidarity and aesthetic values.
Stepping out of the airport, I soak up the brilliant sunshine of Bali - it feels luxurious on my skin after the cold of Hanoi. Denpasar, the capital of Bali, is quiet, peaceful, green and clean. No traces remains of the Agung volcano which erupted on the island last November. I feel safe walking around the area, which, despite it being the low season for tourism, is still packed with traffic.
A short drive from the airport takes me to the Oasis Lagoon Sanur hotel, located in the heart of an area trademarked as Bali’s oldest upscale tourism destination - Sanur town, where a myriad shopping options reside. It is not only eye pleasingly designed, carefully combining classic and modern Balinese architecture and using locally sourced materials but is also integrated with the local village and community around and behind.
After a peaceful night, the next morning I wake up and am immediately immersed in the local atmosphere, with the sound of roosters calling and birds chirping. With few other tourists staying, I enjoy a quiet and tranquil second morning on the hotel terrace, watching the locals passing slowly by. Originally a small fishing village, Sanur has developed into a well-known tourist destination, particularly popular with families and more mature travellers.
Leaving the hotel after breakfast, we head to the Seawalker base at Puri Santrian hotel Sanur where we have a chance to walk right through the bottom of the ocean, face to face with sea life and view an incredible array of sea life. Through its unique diving system, we experience a dive down deep. Seawalker is perfect for those who would love to explore life under the sea but are not confident swimmers or do not wish to learn to dive.
It is a kind of soft dive system, where people can see the same environment as scuba divers do but without the necessary certification.
I am equipped with the latest in marine exploration technology, a helmet with transparent visor but no air tank is necessary, so I am lightweight and flexible and breathing the same as I do on the surface. It’s an amazing, unforgettable experience in Indonesia, exploring the magnificent underwater world of Bali.
After a delicious lunch at Sanur beach, we move to one of the must-see places in Bali – Bali Safari and Marine park, homes to hundreds of amazing animals representing over 60 species, including some rare and endangered species such as the Komodo, Orang Utan, and the Bali Mynah.
At the park, we take a safari journey with the Safari Tram, where we can see various African animals up close. The wildlife here is diverse. We spend a pleasant few hours, seeming to float around the lions, meerkats, porcupines, white African rhinoceros, a giraffe and a hippopotamus that are lazily swimming or walking around.
Dinner comes in the form of the wildest fine dining moment, where we feast surrounded by lion kings at the Tsavo Lion restaurant, before taking in the spectacular shows of Bali Agung and Kecak Masterpiece at the park theatre - truly unforgettable experiences.
“When you wake up in the morning or whenever you look out of your room, you can see wild animal strolling around. We operate Mara River safari lodge and Tsavo Lion restaurant here with a wish to give tourists a memorable sense of an African panorama,” says Nyoman Sutarjana, director of sales at Bali Safari & Marine park.
Bali Safari & Marine Park, as part of Taman Safari Indonesia, and a member of SEAZA (The South East Asians Zoo Associations), CBSG (Conservations Breeding Specialist Group) as well as PKBSI (Indonesia Zoological Parks Associations) is at the frontline of wildlife conservation in Indonesia and is actively involved in ensuring the future survival and wellbeing of many Indonesian animal species through engaging education and conservation programmes such as the conservation and release of Bali mynah, Sumatran elephant, and Sumatran tiger.
Leaving the Safari, my only regret was missing the opportunity to experience the elephant Safari. Through this remarkable experience, the largest land mammal in the world takes you on its back to explore an African themed environment.
By Que Chi