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This is how I traveled from Singapore to Bali. And who would have thought Bali would become such a “trendy” island?

I mean, it was always popular because of its beauty, wonderfully lush nature and tradition, and its dear smiling people, but this is way above what I might have expected a few years ago when I visited for the first time.

While I was thinking about this Bali series for the blog, I often stumbled across posts and photos from Bali, “things to do”, “ultimate places to visit” etc. and it seems like – everybody is in Bali right now or at least they are trying to be. You can’t even say that you are a traveler if you haven’t been to Bali yet, right? It’s fascinating how the place can “explode” in a relatively short period of time.

Singapore to Bali

Traditional gates

Don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy that the island’s economy might get boosted by more and more visits throughout the years, but I am slightly concerned because of the impact mass tourism usually has on places. What if it just gets too crowded?

Bali-island-boats-Glimpses-of-The-World

SINGAPORE TO BALI: Beautiful scenery awaits

(Given the topic, let me just add that Vietnam and Cambodia are still on my bucket list, but even though I used to be so impatient to go, I am not sure anymore if I am to visit these countries soon. Why? Well, it seems the two destinations are so overwhelmed thus far that I don’t really wish to be jostled by a flock of people who wiggle their way out to the all-popular places to take another photo of one and the same spot. This world of ours is so vast and I can go and visit other places I always wanted to see, giving Vietnam and Cambodia a chance to breathe. Our paths will cross at some point in the future, I am sure.)

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Always smiling

“Đoković, right?”

Anyway, for all of you who have never been to the island (if there are any of you left), let me just tell you: Bali was one of my favorite destinations. This was my first trip to a country so foreign in terms of language and alphabet, that I immediately felt lost. Also, it’s so remote when coming from Europe, that I got the impression that people there don’t really know or care about the specific country you are from. It’s Europe, right, that was sufficient.

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A typical sight on the road

Coming from Serbia, I got used to explaining to people I encounter overseas that “it’s a small Central European country”, that my city was once “the capital of former Yugoslavia”, etc. And when I came here, I didn’t expect anything less. I mean, why would Serbia be interesting to Indonesia and Bali politically or in any other way more than to the other side of the world, to the U.S. or Canada? (And most people from North America I have met during my journeys did struggle to locate it.) It’s halfway around the world from Belgrade, Serbia after all!

But you know what happened?

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Fishing during the low tide

I was chatting with the guy who carried my bags and showed me to the hotel room in Nusa Dua when I checked in. A nice, polite conversation – about my flight from Singapore to Bali, if I was on holiday, how long I was planning to stay on the island, etc. And of course, I said where I was from.

The guy got silent, thinking for a while, obviously couldn’t really place Serbia on the map of Europe in his head. But suddenly, he smiled.

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SINGAPORE TO BALI: Interesting statues

“I know Serbia!” he said: “Novak Đoković, right?”

Oh, this made me so proud. Well, Novak, I sincerely thank you!

Whenever I talked to locals afterward and when they started frowning in confusion after asking about my homeland, I just mentioned Novak’s name. And got a patting on my shoulder almost every time!

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During one of the cruises

Singapore to Bali

I can’t really tell you what my first impression was of the island because I landed at night. The capital Denpasar’s airport seemed small but nice, and I was greeted there by the local guide I have booked in advance. He held a sign with my name on it – my first name was spelled correctly while I couldn’t even recognize letters of my last name.

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Selling goods on the beach

It was so helpful that the guide picked me up since I was coming from Singapore to Bali, truly tired. The flight was pleasant and short, but I spent a few days in Singapore prior to the Bali trip, rushing around like crazy. So much so that I even had a slight muscle inflammation.

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Oils and powders at the spa

(In case you are wondering, the issue was resolved by one of the lovely Balinese massages. It’s probably too early in this series to talk about massages since this is the first post of the travelogue, but let me just say – it felt like hitting the reset button.

There is a range of treatments to choose from on the island and I just had to book a looong one. It began with the foot massage, after soaking my feet in warm water with essential oils and flowers’ petals. Then they took me to a pleasant room to get undressed and take a quick shower. Followed by the crystal scrub, the actual message, and the quick bath to enjoy a cup of warm tea in, the treatment was more than I have expected.

You can treat yourself to a short half-hour massage by the swimming pool or take your time at the spa center.)

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Massage area next to the pool

My bags were put in the car, we were chatting on the way to the hotel, making arrangements to have tea together the next day. And I felt relieved. Didn’t know why at that moment, but soon I realized that I was still under the pressure of Singapore. In comparison to the city-state that is all so disciplined and supervised, it seemed like coming to the laid-back place that was so welcoming.

And it turned out to be so true!

Next: A PERFECT WEATHER (2)

The full Bali SERIES

Bali travel blog pin

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Comments:

  • yogawinetravel

    06/03/2018

    Too funny that everyone seems to know the Djokovic – Serbia connection! It sounds like your arrival in Bali was much needed, and that although your name wasn’t spelled correctly your pick up went as smoothly as it could. I’d definitely like to go back to Bali one day to explore more of the island!

    reply...
    • 06/03/2018

      Hey, thanks! Yep, it was funny, but I felt proud at the same time. 🙂
      The same here, I’d go back any time. People are extremely friendly.
      Thank you for reading it through, hope it was interesting. <3

      reply...
  • 06/03/2018

    So funny how they automatically knew your country after mentioning Novak Djokovic. I find that sports is a way a lot of countries get to know one another, namely through the players, and in that sense the world gets a little smaller and more aware of one another. Cool story though, would really love to visit Bali someday!

    reply...
    • 06/03/2018

      Not only sports, but famous characters in general. 🙂
      I remember when somebody was trying to explain to me where Mali was in Africa. It went through my head “Mali, Mali, wait a minute..”, but then it hit me – I knew it because of the Songhoy Blues, one great group I’ve just heard of back then and loved. 😀
      Yep, that’s how the world gets smaller each time. 🙂

      reply...
  • 07/03/2018

    I’m currently in Perth, Australia and Bali is a hot spot for Perth people! I’ve met people who’ve been about 12 times. I haven’t been yet but can’t wait to go!

    reply...
  • Marvi

    07/03/2018

    We have more or less the same perspective when we travel – I’d rather visit a place (despite it being on my bucketlist) at a time where there are less people. So while it is very popular, I’d rather avoid it to stay away from the crowds, for the time being. 🙂

    The massage sounds pretty relaxing (I think I need one right now. LOL) after your trip to Singapore. Bali sounds very laidback indeed, I wish I could visit soon, too.

    reply...
    • 07/03/2018

      It’s not that I don’t like the crowds, but it rather seems like I’d only do more damage since we’re all visiting at the same time. It wouldn’t be the first spot on the planet to be ruined but its visitors, unfortunately. That’s why the island’s popularity gets me worried sometimes.
      Thanks, Marvi! 🙂

      reply...
  • 09/03/2018

    I haven’t really explored Bali because many have shared that it’s just a typical beach travel destination to unwind and relax (which I’m not that much into). An active traveller, I prefer to explore various attractions rather than sitting back and relaxing. Which is a waste, because I live so near to Bali HAHA!

    reply...
    • 09/03/2018

      Hehehe, when you do go eventually, I’d like to hear your opinion. If it is “just another island” or not. 😀
      I’m also an active traveler and I had great time in Bali. In my opinion, there’s a lot for everybody, whatever one’s preferences might be while traveling. 🙂
      Thanks, Nathan! 🙂

      reply...
  • 11/03/2018

    I am planning a trip to Singapore and then from there to Bali since thats really cost effective. But i was wondering if it will be too much of a cultural change. but after reading your post I am relieved and confident that the change will be for good and i will enjoy the experience

    reply...
    • 11/03/2018

      Oh, yes, you’ll see. There’s no better place to go after the bustling city of Singapore than to the island as such. 🙂

      reply...
  • 11/03/2018

    I am very conflicted with Bali. I have heard (and of course seen pictures) that it is such a beautiful place. However, many news about beaches and ocean full of trash, has made me wondering if I want to wittness that in person. It is such a horrible thing happening, and something must be done soon.

    reply...
    • 11/03/2018

      I agree, mass tourism can be devastating to places of such beauty. There must be a way to incorporate some sustainable solution. But, everyone should probably start with and reconsider their own habits when traveling, right!
      It’s such a pity, the island is lovely! <3

      reply...
  • 13/03/2018

    Indeed Bali is of one of our favorite island destinations and we’d love to go back in a heartbeat. In fact have been already working on an itinerary to spend a month this year. Love the smiling people and beauty that lies there.

    reply...
  • 14/03/2018

    Bali is definitely a trendy destination, pretty much all of my friends have been there within the last couple of years, I must be the only one that hasn’t visited yet! The beaches and temples do look amazing, though.

    That massage after the flight from Singapore sounds like the perfect way to start a relaxed holiday, massages are one of the things I mist the most from Souteast Asia!

    reply...
    • 14/03/2018

      I’m sure you’ll love it when you do go eventually. 🙂 Even though it’s that popular, it’s such a pity not to see it in person.
      And yes, I totally agree regarding those lovely Asian massages. Such a treat after a long day, right!
      Thanks, Alberto. 🙂

      reply...

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Danijela ćirović

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