When I was asked* to write about my Bali experience by Cover-More Travel Insurance, my very first thought was of a photo I had taken on my last visit there, a few years back.
The second thing I thought about was volcanic ash clouds. More on that later…
When I visited with my gal pals a few years ago, we had a great time shopping, eating, swimming, reading and doing nothing much of anything. Of course, there were cocktails as we watched the sunset at Kuta.
As anyone who has visited Bali will tell you, the Balinese are quietly spoken, gentle people who always have a smile on their faces. We visited for 10 days which gave us a chance to slow the pace and get to know some of the locals a little better.
The Coconut Lady
We met the Coconut Lady who had a warung on the beach in Nusa Dua. Set beside any number of identical stalls, there was a lull in trade when we wandered up. She was thrilled we had chosen her stall to buy snacks from. Though she spoke not a word of English and my Bahasa Indonesian is non-existent, it was made abundantly clear how happy she was for us to relax at her stall. When I tried to buy a coconut from the counter, she insisted on cutting a new coconut so the drink would be fresh. That’s customer service. See the slide show here.
The Hotel Staff
There was the housekeeper who decorated the bed with flowers each day and asked where our husbands were and why we hadn’t brought them with us. Why indeed. The ever patient receptionist who smiled sweetly, regardless of the complicated demands asked of her by guests. The waiter who served us coffee at the pool and wanted to know why we sought out the shade rather than the sun, like the tourists from northern Europe.
And, we met Mr Egg. That wasn’t actually his name but the name he had selected to make it easy for his customers to remember. Mr Egg shuttled us between towns, up into the hills of Ubud, out through rice paddies and to the airport. Along the way we learned that Mr Egg had a wife, son and daughter living in a distant village. He came to the resorts to drive and send money home to his family, whom he only saw once a month. He talked about how the drop in tourism after the bombings had affected his livelihood and about how sad he was for the everyone who had been impacted by those events.
Recently Bali tourism has taken a bit of a hit because of the Mount Raung volcanic cloud. My own volcanic ash cloud story is not one that I’ll forget. We were in Bulgaria in 2010, when the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull decided to put on a spectacular display that drifted through the atmosphere and grounded flights across the whole of Europe. What should have been a short 4 hour flight to the UK at the end of our holiday turned into cancelled flights, 2 extra nights in Sofia, a flight and a night in Barcelona, a futile train journey to the French border that was thwarted by a strike, another night in Barcelona, a train journey to Paris and an expensive night there, a train journey to the coast and a ferry to the UK. Oh, and meals. Whilst thousands of people were forced to sleep in airports and train stations, dine out of vending machines and eek out the last of their funds, we were able to at least sleep comfortably and awake refreshed to join the long, long queues to buy tickets. The difference? Travel insurance of course.
A holiday in Bali can be relaxed or as adrenalin charged as you want to make it. You can lie around the pool, scoot along on a moped or go white water rafting. Regardless of what you decide to do, as you can see from my own experiences, the best laid plans can quickly change to a rollercoaster ride. Reliable travel insurance is a must. Cover-More is one of the providers in Australia that has travel insurance specifically for Bali. Many activities are included automatically and for those who are frequent visitors to the island, there’s a multi trip plan.
Of course, Bali is incredibly good value as a holiday destination. When I visited in 1997 the exchange was 3 Rupiah to the $AUD. Now, it hovers at around 10. Despite some challenging events, Bali remains an easy and interesting holiday destination. If, in between the cocktails, shopping and massages, you make time to spend with some of the locals, you’ll be richly rewarded.
*TIFFIN was asked to write a sponsored post about my Bali experience by Search Factory and Cover-More Insurance, using original content + the Cover-More video. The Icelandic Volcano drama really did occur & TIFFIN had never been so happy to have Travel Insurance!