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added listing W Retreat & Spa Bali - Seminyak
'''Bali''', the famed ''Island of the Gods'', with its varied landscape of hills and mountains, rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, lush rice terraces and barren volcanic hillsides all providing a picturesque backdrop to its colourful, deeply spiritual and unique culture, stakes a serious claim to be paradise on earth.
With world-class surfing and diving, a large number of cultural, historical and archaeological attractions, and an enormous range of accommodations, this is one of the world's most popular island destinations and one which consistently wins travel awards. Bali has something to offer a very broad market of visitors from young back-packers right through to the super-rich.
Be mindful of airport porters who may attempt to take control of your luggage either adjacent to or immediately adjacent to the baggage claim or in other sections of the airport. These porters may look quite similar to actual airport officials and may carry a name badge. If you do not wish to engage the services of a porter, then a firm but polite "no" should suffice. If you do accept their services then a payment is required with Rp 5,000 being the standard charge. Many of the porters demand money if they have been successful in picking up your bag, even if you tell them not to do so. Most certainly do not pay them if they do this and completely ignore any demands they make for payment or any other 'services' they may claim to be able to provide.
When '''departing from Bali''', you are subject to the '''airport departure tax''' which can be paid in cash in Indonesian Rupiah only, so save some bills for the trip out. The airport departure tax is Rp 150,000 for international departures and Rp 40,000 for domestic departures.
Departing Bali to overseas destinations can be a fraught experience. Corruption is rife (the most corrupt airport in Indonesia by far) and immigration, customs and airport officials operate a large number of scams aimed at relieving departing passengers of as much of their remaining cash as possible. The most common scam is to claim that souvenirs require export licenses (you can choose to fill out the supposedly necessary paperwork but there's so much of it you would miss your flight were you to complete it all. Fortunately the happy scammers have an easy solution - hand over lots of money [a few hundred thousand rupiah might be enough if that's all you've got in your wallet but amounts asked can range up to millions of rupiah/hundreds of dollars] and the license problem can be miraculously sorted out.) No license is required for anything other than antiques. Or it could be that you will be told of an excise duty that is payable. Other scams include removing alcohol from luggage, individuals charging departure tax (its payable at a booth and a receipt is stuck to the boarding pass), refusal to accept unwrapped checked luggage (meaning you have to pay to have your luggage wrapped in plastic shrink-wrap), and, on the way in, demanding cash deposits for expensive goods to ensure that they won't be sold (but, of course, there's no way to reclaim your deposit when you leave).
'''Weddings''' in Bali have become very popular in recent years. Many couples who are already legally married choose Bali as the place to renew their vows. Full wedding-organising services are widely available: ceremony arrangements, photography, videography, flowers, musicians, dancers and catering. There are several wedding chapels available that are usually attached to luxury hotels, and the number is growing all the time. There are many professional organisers to handle your wedding in Bali, and these are easily found through the Internet. Destination weddings, featuring all types of religious and presentation arrangements, are becoming increasingly popular, with large private villas being one of the island's many offerings for venues.
An excellent way to get to know and understand more of the country is to do some '''volunteer work'''. There are organisations that arrange work for international volunteers in Bali and other places in the region.
It is important to understand the tax and service charge that hotels are obliged to levy by Indonesian law. All high-end and mid-range (and a fair proportion of budget) hotels will levy a 21% tax and service charge on the room rate (the so-called "plus plus"). When you make a booking, you should always ask whether the rate quoted includes or excludes this. Simple budget homestays/losmen and informal accommodation are not obliged to levy these charges. The 21% consists of 11% sales tax which goes to the government and a 10% service charge which goes into a pool shared between the staff.
* [[Komodo]] is an island and national park in East Nusa Tenggara. The island is famous for the Komodo dragon. Accessible most easily by air via Labuan Bajo on Flores. Flight time 80-90 min.
* [[Lombok]] is an unspoiled island east of Bali with beaches, waterfalls and volcanoes. Direct boat services or 20 min by air.
* [[Yogyakarta]] has convenient air service from Bali on Garuda with scheduled service early in the morning and late in the evening, making it possible to have a full day of sightseeing in [[Prambanan]] and [[Borobudur]] and still make it back to your hotel in Bali in time for bed.
* [[Bandung]] is near Jakarta but conveniently served from Bali using AirAsia service (flight time around 1+ hour), it is a popular tourist destination for Malaysian visitors and day visitors from Jakarta. Bandung is the centre of garment and textile industry in Indonesia, people go to Bandung looking for bargain clothes and textile in its factory outlets and trade centres. Bandung also famous for its art deco architectural buildings, nice cafes, laid-back lifestyle and cooler air since it is located 700 m above the sea level. It also has some outdoor activities like visits to the nearby semi-active volcano crater and hot spring. Day trips to Bandung are not recommended, better to stay one or two nights in Bandung.