Last week brought news that the active volcano of Mt. Raung in Indonesia was spewing tons of hot ash into the air, forcing Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport to shut down and leaving thousands of travellers stranded in Bali. If you’re one of those affected, we feel your pain – although to look on the bright side, we can think of a lot worse places to be stuck for a few days. To cheer you up, here are some of our lighthearted suggestions on things to do while waiting for your next flight home, or if you just find yourself in South Bali with some time to kill. As they say: if life hands you lemons, make lemonade…
- Practice yoga and meditation
Cancelled itineraries, travel plans disrupted, lack of communication…these things can quickly add up to make your blood pressure boil. Let it all go – even just for an hour or so – with yoga and meditation classes that will help you to relax and calm those frazzled nerves down. You needn’t venture all the way up to Ubud either, as Seminyak Yoga Shala (30 minutes drive from the airport) offers affordable daily classes in Hatha, Ashtanga and meditation as well as biweekly tai chi and qi gong, all open to the public. All together now – ommmmm…
- Treat yourself to a massage
Standing in line all day at the airport is sure to make for some sore muscles, so be sure to relieve the tension with a soothing full-body massage. Luckily, you don’t have to travel far from the airport to find some excellent spas, such as the value-for-money Febri’s Spa in nearby Kuta, with treatments taking place in your very own private Balinese cottage and garden. Alternatively, head south to Aura Spa in Jimbaran to be thoroughly pampered by their wide range of exotic Balinese, hot stone and Ayurvedic treatments, including a 3-hour Hatha yoga, meditation and massage package for just US$80 that’s guaranteed to de-stress even the most pent-up traveller.
- Head to the beach
We know you’re probably feeling tired and homesick, but all it takes is a view overlooking the Indian Ocean, the feel of sand between your toes and the sound of waves lapping at your feet to put things in perspective a little. And on the positive side, you don’t have to travel far from the airport to find some of the island’s best beaches at nearby Jimbaran. All you really need is a towel and bathing suit, but for a more luxe experience, visit the five-star Sundara Beach Club to chill out in style with an infinity pool overlooking the waves. If you have a little more time, head south to Uluwatu’s Balangan Beach to enjoy one of the island’s prettiest beaches and watch the surfers tackle the waves amongst the rickety warungs, or visit the more upscale Finn’s Beach Club for some much needed R&R in a laid-back beach-hut setting.
- Go shopping
Because there’s nothing like a little retail therapy to make you feel better. Take our advice: hop into a taxi and head for Sukawati Art Market about an hour’s drive from the airport – it’s worth the journey for a full day’s shopping trip in Bali’s largest wholesale craft market, where even local retailers shop for their wares. Pick up souvenirs like woven rattan baskets, painted wooden figurines, carved shell boxes, silk and batik fabrics and t-shirts at a fraction of the price elsewhere. Nothing beats a hard-won souvenir to bring back some positive memories of your time in Bali…
- If all else fails, head to the bars
We’re not entirely suggesting that you drown your sorrows, but sometimes all it takes is a drink and the sympathy of fellow travellers to cheer you up a bit. You’ll find plenty of hard-charging places around the nearby Kuta and Legian area, but to enjoy a decent cocktail in a pleasant atmosphere, hop into a cab and head for Seminyak where the likes of Hu’u Bar, Potato Head Beach Club and Ku De Ta will provide you with enough fuel, food, lounge space and even a swimming pool to last till dawn. Alternatively, drive south to the iconic Rock Bar or the Unique Rooftop Bar in Jimbaran to soak up the spectacular ocean views – there’s nothing like a good sunset to cheer you up after all. Consider this our toast to your safe journey home.
For more suggestions, read our Destination Guide to Bali.
Looking for somewhere to spend the night? Take a look at our collection of Bali’s best boutique hotels here.