Travel: One week in Bali

Here is the first travel suggestion and one that I’ve just done (Sept 2023).
I flew into Bali from Australia and checked into a hotel Seminyak. This suburb is equally inconvenient for both main flying locations on the island, but it does have lots of restaurants, a selection of good hotels and a buzz to it that’s a bit more stylish than Kuta. I like to get a cold beer and an Indonesian meal in the evening and watch the world go by and this is a perfect place for that.

About an hour to the south, by motorbike and god knows how long by car when the traffic is bad, is Nusa Dua and the south coast of the island. Nusa Dua is the place for high-end resorts – you can pay some top dollar for the luxury, hence why I opted for Seminyak. Once a backpacker, always a backpacker.

From what I gathered there were two main take offs, Riug and Timbis, both good with plenty of space and astro turfed areas. When I visited it was towards the end of the flying season, which I think wrapped up in Oct as the wet season kicks in and the wind swings around, but peak flying time seems to be from July to end Sept.

Cloudbase Paragliding from Australia run tours which groups you with fellow pilots, gives you a organised experience and chance to progress skills and get personalised tuition and guidance – book early as they can be busy and limit numbers so you get a personal experience. Hey you even get a jazzy flying top when you join their tour.

There is quite a stretch of coast to fly but while I was their a section was closed due to an incident and when I revisited a few days later the whole stretch of coast was closed for the day as the President was staying in one of the luxury resorts along the coast line.

On my first flight I landed on one of the private beaches to the East of Riug. I had been in the air for a long while, cruising the stunningly beautiful coast and gradually building up the desire for an icy cold Bintang. (Please note – at both sites there is no shop for cold drinks/snacks so bring them with you).

I spotted a bar on the beach from the air and landed on the beach, narrowly avoiding a kite tether that had been rigged to fly all day. The bar / restaurant was fantastic, built into a natural cave with vegetation hanging over the entrance and flaming torches decorating it.

I packed up my stuff and ordered a beer, just one, it was $8, which is about double the normal rate…I did ask if happened to be happy hour and there was a two for one deal but they just laughed.

I climbed the stairs back up the cliff and walked along the road back to take off…about 45 mins I guess….another fly and hike.

It’s an easy coastal flying site. Be cautious of areas where there is no beach to bomb out – the waves and current can be vicious and there are no lifeguards at hand. Take snacks. Top landing is very common but take off can be quite busy with tandems. A motorbike lift back to the take off from the beach areas can be booked within a few minutes with Grab or Gojek or will all be taken care of if you’re with the Cloudbase tour.

I did a few days at Riug and Timbis then rode north to Candidasa. I had to swap motorbikes to company that would allow me to travel around the island without limitation – I recommend Sewa Motor(+62 857 3857 2043) . I dropped my big bag at my next hotel and headed off travelling light – Pi3 in the Easiness backpack and clothes etc under the seat.

It was about a 2 hour ride. The first hour through Seminyak suburbs and Denpasar and outskirts, then on to the coastal road going past the bat cave, salt production area, Pandang Bai – good for diving and the ferry to the Gilli islands and finally to Candidasa.s

I like Candidasa. It’s pretty sleepy and laid back. It attracts fliers and divers and travellers that want to escape the madness of Kuta/Legian/Seminyak/Canggu and Ubud. I had booked a bungalow at Bali Shore Villas. It was about A$85 including breakfast and they upgraded me to a huge 2 bedroom, two bathroom villa on the waterfront at no extra….what a cracking deal.

I went on the hunt for the fabled launch – condition looked good but not a single paraglider in the sky. I motorbiked and then walked up a dirt track and finally found it.

This launch has been developed by the team at Cloudbase and they have done a really great job. Access costs a few dollars that go into a local fund to help maintain and manage the site. The one very very important point here is NOT to fly over the temple. This is disrespectful and could result in one very awesome site getting closed down. and this is no exaggeration – it has been closed for many years previously.

The launch is quite low but you can soon gain height and its not impossible to get up to 2000-3000 feet ASL. There is a wide lift band and maybe thermals coming of the sea or black sand beaches. Its a great site and possible to span a gap between one headland and another.

I landed on the black beach and the guy I had bought the access ticket from drove my motorbike around to it and collected me – what an awesome guy.

Some people decide to land on the beach near the hotels on the other side of the head land but they looked a bit skinny to me so I took the easy option.

Cold beer is available a few meters from where I landed and some kids helped with my wing pack up and I gave them a few dollars to say thanks. Its good that we can inject a bit of cash into the economy – it will promote the sport in the eyes of the locals and hey have been through some very rough times during Covid when the normal tourist dollars dried up completely.

You get a good view of the 3000m high Mt Agung volcano from the candidasa site. I couldn’t find anyone that was game to launch from their a do some cross country and upon some investigation, there was some speculation that it may be closed for hiking at the moment…maybe next time.

Day 1Arrive
Day 2Riug / Timbis
Day 3Riug / Timbis
Day 4Travel to Candidasa
Day 5Candidasa
Day 6Candidasa
Day 7Return