Karma Kandara Beach

Bali is not exactly known for pristine white beaches, but Kandara Beach is definitely the exception to that rule.

Found in Uluwatu, Kandara Beach is actually a private beach attached to Karma Kandara Resort, and you have to pay an entrance fee of IDR500000, of which IDR300000 goes towards spending credit that can be used at the Karma Beach Club. Access is by a cable car, which only takes about 4 people at a time, and it takes about 15 minutes in between each ride. It can be a bit of wait in between but you do get a gorgeous view as you come down.

 

We decided to drop by the beach and pay up for the day pass - yes, it's expensive, but I can see why they would want to maintain the beautiful pristine condition of the beach! Protected by a cliff, you're greated by lovely white sands with nearby shaded caves, an amazing view as you come down on the cable car and gorgeous blue waters the perfect temperature to swim in.

The beach (or rather, the cable car) only starts at 9am, so you don't have to get up at the crack of dawn, although I would advise an earlier start considering how hot the sun gets later  - 11am already feels like scorching noon heat, but if you're lucky you might score a lounge chair, or you can retreat into the shade of the beach club.

The kitchen at the Karma Beach Club also opens at 11am, and that's when the beach really starts to get busy so it might be a good idea to duck in for some food and drink. The food and drink selection at the beach club is decent, and you can generally get a meal with a non-alcoholic drink with the initial entrance fee and just top up as you go. Prices are generally higher than the rest of Bali, but as expected from a hotel.

 The Karma Beach Club in the background

The Karma Beach Club in the background

 Soft shell crab linguini anyone?

Soft shell crab linguini anyone?

Just be warned, the lounge chairs are for hotel guests (you can try to book one in advance by emailing fbadmin@karmakandara.com), but don't be put off otherwise as the club still provides towels for you to use, or you can find some shade at the nearby caves.

If you love the beach and have the budget for the visit, I would definitely recommend dropping by. The beach never felt overcrowded, and there were activities available such as paddle boarding or volleyball, asides from the throng of sunbathers taking advantage of the sun. Great for families and friends alike, and stay till sundown to take advantage of the amazing sunset!

 How gorgeous are these waters?!

How gorgeous are these waters?!

Karma Kandara Beach.jpg

Hot Ballooning in Cappadocia

Cappadocia has been one of the most magical places I’ve visited in my life.

We started off after a massive 40-odd hours of travel, door to door from KL to Istanbul, then hopping on another flight to get us to Kayseri airport almost at midnight because of a plane delay, and having to wake up about 3 hours later in order to get on our balloon ride.

To be honest, I’ve always been afraid of heights, and the thought of going up on a balloon at over 2000 feet was intimidating, but I’d heard so much about how the landscape would look like from the air so I decided it was something that we absolutely had to do.

And it was absolutely worth that AM wakeup. 

We drove out while it was still dark to the office of Kapadokya Balloons for the standard breakfast that they offer to all participants of the balloon ride while their pilots figure out how the weather will be on the day. Our pilot Murat walked through table to table updating us on the progress as they figured out how safe it would be, and eventually we set off in our minivans.

As we drove to the balloon site, we were greeted by the sight of dozens of balloons in various stages of fueling; from those still on the ground to the ones which were fully inflated and were floating above ground. Even watching the balloons being fueled at dawn at close range was kind of magical, to see the flickering fire slowly breathing life into the balloons.

Balloons in the Dawn

The balloons held from 16-20 people and you had to climb up into the basket where there were different compartments – about 4 people to one compartment. They had harnesses for us, although we weren’t told whether it was mandatory or not to actually put them on. 

Despite my fear of heights, it was a very smooth takeoff and the actual balloon wasn't as shaky as I thought it would be. We glided up so smoothly as the skies slowly brightened as the sun started to rise and streak the sky with its golden rays, painting the sky in red and gold.

Fleeting Sunrise

I had a moment of momentary panic when I realized how far up we were (3000 feet at one point!!), especially when I looked down and realized how far off we were! Our balloon was a bit bigger so we probably could go up a bit further than some of the smaller balloons – so it was especially nerve wrecking to be one of the few balloons out of dozens to be floating up this crazy height, but then I eventually got used to the height. 

Hot Air Balloons

The view was AMAZING. I got blown away by how stunning everything was despite the partially cloudy weather, especially since the Cappadocian landscape in itself is such a strange and magical view. It wasn't just about the height, but the amazing Cappadocian scenery was quite the experience- dipping in between valleys and going up high in the sky. 

 Check out how nervous we look (we're both afraid of heights)!

Check out how nervous we look (we're both afraid of heights)!

We would fly near enough for Murat to point out the details in the cave residences, and glide up a slope the next moment. He seemed to take particular pride in how smoothly he was able to navigate the balloon, and it was fantastic to have an aerial view, something that you might not always get.

It was an interesting experience seeing how they actually land the balloon – the team actually has to chase the balloon with their truck as the pilot then lands the balloon on the back of the truck once they’re near enough. 

We ended the experience with juice and champagne, and even got a certificate out of it!

 I survived the balloon ride!

I survived the balloon ride!

It was absolutely fantastic – if you’re ever in Cappadocia, you should definitely try it out.

We went with Kappadokya Balloons, and we paid about EU150 for an hour flight. It actually seems to be a bit cheaper to book in Cappadocia through your hotel, or directly at the company all through, so I would recommend doing that instead of booking online! You can find them at Kapadokya Balonculuk, TR-50180 Göreme, Nevşehir, Türkiye.

For more travel photos, check out the hashtag #FoxyTravelsTurkey on Instagram.