By John Lechner
Bali Bogans or Paradise for all?
I have to start this blog with a confession. Until last year I was a complete Bali snob. My snobbery was almost entirely based on it's reputation as a prime Bogan (for my international visitors think Redneck) holiday destination.
While Bali is definitely a favoured holiday destination for countless Aussies keen to get drunk, party hard and live cheap on a holiday. What I learned on my first ever visit last year is that these hard living party goers don't like to stray too far out of Kuta.
So essentially you can avoid 99% of the trouble makers by just completely avoiding Kuta.
As an international traveller I have been around the world and been to many places near and far. I can honestly say that Bali is one of the most beautiful places I have been. That is if you get out and about.
Ubud for instance and the highlands in general are just breathtaking, there is so much to do both for the highly active and those that want to just want to relax.
So let me take it back a few steps and start the story properly. In late 2014 I sent my wife Kim off to Bali for a week of chill. It had been a crazy year and she needed a bit of time to re-charge. Kim spent the week in complete indulgence relaxing at a place called Bliss Sanctuary for Women. They describe themselves like this...
Come and stay with us in beautiful Bali where you will be nurtured to your heart’s content. No kids, no couples and only a handful of women at any one time.This is pure holiday Bliss. We are a sanctuary for women who want the ultimate relaxation, hassle free Bali retreat experience.
Kim came back raving about both Bliss and Bali so I was open to the idea of a Bali Holiday for the first time. Then my good friends at italktravel sent me an offer we couldn't refuse. A really cheap (40% off) Club Med deal, we ended up booking that with my brother and his family and choose Nusa Dua in Bali because it is the closest Club Med and thus the least travel for the kids.
Short answer is, Club Med is a perfect holiday for the family, meals and drinks are all included, there is tonnes to do in the resort as well as close by.
Exploring Bali left me mesmerised. It is just beautiful. The rainforests, temples and the colours just wonderful. I didn't get a lot of shooting in during our trip but I did get some. I also read a few books, relaxed by the pool and just had a great family holiday.
Anyhow when we got back we were keen to return and actually ended up booking a private villa for a holiday with our neighbours in July of this year. Thing is I still had a lot of shooting I wanted to do.
I tend to keep an eye out for stupidly priced deals, thankfully one came along. Return to Bali on Virgin fully inclusive, not one of those fares where you pay extra for meals, luggage and toilet paper (kidding) but all the bells and whistles for $360.
Perfect, we had a week when it worked out for the family for me to disappear, so I booked it. That was months ago now and I depart next week. I actually wasn't sure if I was going to go.
The beginning of this year has been very slow for sales of my art and I didn't think the cost of the trip was possible. But the reality is I need to go. It will be good for me, the business and my mojo. To immerse myself in a week of shooting will be perfect.
I am planning to hack this trip as much as possible. If I can find a way to reduce or avoid spending money I will. So far I have booked my accommodation, paying with frequent flyer points. As much as I dislike the slow train ride from Maitland to the airport it is about $150 cheaper than driving and parking. But that is the start. I think I can do the rest of the trip for under $400, probably even $300.
The real challenge will be ground transport. Sunrise shoots at 4am mean paying for a driver and a car. So I will need to be strategic as to when I use cars. I am actually looking forward to the challenge and will keep you up to date with how I go.
In the coming days I will go through my preparation and will share it as it happens.
More to come soon. Have a great day. Want to stay in touch? Click HERE!
If you are planning a trip and need some help to take better photos on your trip, then recommend you download my FREE eBook - Better Travel Pics.
Sunrise on the beach at Nusa Dua, captured on my iPhone 6