Port of Call: Benoa, Bali






Sights and sound set the mood.

We disembarked the ship in Bali and were immediately immersed with the sights and sounds of a culture waiting to be discovered; beautiful sunshine, a delightful troop of local dancers and wonderful music were all awaiting us.

When is the last time you spent one million in a day?

Before heading out for the day, I visited the currency exchange kiosk located at the port. Although credit cards may be accepted in some places, most vendors will only take the Rupiah (IDR).  The bonus is that 1 US dollar is worth about 14 000 Rupiahs so exchanging 75 US dollars will give you over 1 000 000 Rupiahs to spend!

*Travel Tip: be sure to get local currency at the cruise port.


When planning for my day in Bali, I had read quite a bit of information from different sources and one thing that was mentioned time and time again was the traffic jams that occur on this island. For a cruiser, this is valuable information; getting stuck in a traffic jam on your way back to the ship is not an option. Everyone has heard of “pier runners”, trust me, they are not a myth; if your ship is leaving at 5pm, it will leave, with or without you.

*Travel Tip: Bali often has traffic jams, be sure to get back onboard your ship on time.


Having taken all of this in consideration, I had decided to book a tour with my cruise ship.  I’m not an advocate of cruise ship excursions, they are often over crowded and leave me with the feeling of being herded like a sheep without having the chance to get immersed in the local culture. On the other hand, cruise ships often offer “on your own” type excursions; these basically consist of transportation to and from a site of interest with a few hours for you to explore the area on your own. These tours are usually offered at a descent price point and offer the bonus of guaranteeing your return to the ship in time to sail away; in a place like Bali, this is a must. I chose Ubud on your own.

*Travel Tip: “On your own” type excursions are a great value and always get you back to the ship on time.


The drive to Ubud, on an air conditioned motor coach, was a most amazing experience. A balinese tour guide flooded us with anecdotes and information about the local culture with such pride and enthusiasm one would think that he was living in paradise.
Just before arriving in Ubud, our guide oriented us towards the main attractions of this luxuriating city; temples, markets, shopping and, of course, the monkey forest; as I always do, I headed out in a direction few other took. What I discovered was a city that seemed to have grown it’s way through a jungle.


If you are lucky to be close by when school let’s out, you can follow the kids to their favourite street vendor for lunch; probably the best restaurant review available!


No visit to Ubud would be complete without going to the monkey forest. Make sure your bags are closed, your glasses and phones are put away and don’t forget to wear long pants; if you are going to buy bananas, the vendor will get the monkey to sit on your shoulder and they need something to grab on to in order to get up there!

*Travel Tip: Visiting the monkey forest; wear long pants. Do not cary food with you. Be wary of cameras, phones and glasses.


As any cruiser will tell you; you can’t say you’ve seen a place by having spent 8 or 10 hours there while your ship was in port. But, as in the case of Bali for me, you can say you have seen enough to know that this beautiful piece of paradise is now on your bucket-list. I sincerely hope I have enticed a few readers to put Bali on there list!

Keep reading at http://www.michaelcruises.com/2015/09/port-of-call-benoa-bali.html

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