BOB AND FIONA'S BALI VILLA

Ever been to paradise....? Dear friends please do come and visit us in our island paradise. You will only need to pay for the flight, we will look after you when you arrive.

Frequently asked question number one! Where is Bali and how do I get there?

Bali is an island in Indonesia It is right next door to Java, which is the island that houses the Indonesian central government. Although Indonesia is largely muslim, Bali is Hindu. Indonesia is in South East Asia, and the next landfall across the Indian Ocean is Australia. Bali is just south of the equator, which means rainy season (oct - march) and dry season (april - september). Rainy season is even hotter than the dry season, but generally termperatures are around 28 - 32 degrees by day. In rainy season it doesn't rain all day, generally, usually just means there is a heavy shower or a thunder storm most days. Days are approximately the same length all yea around, light from around 6.30am to 6.30pm. (Indonesia is 8 hours ahead of us). Bali has all the mod cons you are likely to need. A large International Airport at Denpasar, just 90 mins drive from our villa. There is an excellent regional hospital at Tabanan should you need medical care, and the once we needed its services it was both quick, excellent, and very cheap ( I think it cost us about £6 for a consultation and medication!)

It is very easy to fly from the UK. There are several airlines flying daily from Heathrow. We tend to use Singapore Airlines who fly via Singapore to Denpasar twice daily. Changing planes in Singapore couldn't be easier, you don't need to stopover, although you can if you like, usually it is only a 1 to 2 hour turnaround there, and one of the most beautiful airports in the world. Singapore use the new Airbus 380 super jumbo fon many of its Heathrow to Singapore flights, you can check this if you book online, and if you select the upper deck there are many pairs of seats so if you are travelling as a couple and book early you can reserve these and sit next to noone! Alternatively you can fly with Thai airlines via Bankok, and Malaysian airlines via Kuala Lumpa, or Royal Brunei vis Brunei. All of these we have done, but don't be tempted to stop over in Brunei - not much to see or do Also Brunei is alcohol free and that goes for the flights too! Flights vary. The cheapest we have ever managed to book was £960 for the two of us (ie £480 each) with Singapore in November 2009. Generally you can expect to pay around £1500 for two (£750 each). Although it can be dearer at peak times eg Christmas. Although the Balinese do not celebrate Christmas, most of the visitors still do!

Hindu is a religion with a 210 day calendar, so watch out for some wonderful ceremonies. However, before you book do check the date of Nyepi. This is the one Balinese ceremony that shuts down everything, including the airport, for the day, but the airlines don't allow for it in their schedules. So a quick internet search can avoid this problem in advance. We found out that we had a flight the day before Nyepi one year, when we hadn't heard of it, and there was a bit of worry until we found out exactly what day the airport would be closed!! Nyepi is a wonderful ceremony and a good illustration of the Hindu faith. All the villagers neet together in the evenings for weeks before hand building an Oga-Oga. Rather like our Guy for the bonfire, but he is made from paper mache to any design they like. On the day before Nyepi he is blessed by the priest and then paraded around the village and all the houses, and all the evil spirits are sucked into it. It is then carried onto the beach and burned. All the spirits fly into the air and the island will be dark and quiet for 24 hour to trick the spirits into thinking it is empty, so they will all fly away to Java next door!

Bali is only a couple of hours flight from Australia, which makes it very popular with Aussie tourists and surfers. And it was for many years a Dutch colony, so there are many Europeans there too. Most Balinese learn English as a second language at school, so many of them speak or understand it.

s