Saudi Arabia’s King Salman recently embarked on a rare royal tour of Asia, which quickly made news everywhere thanks to his astonishingly large entourage of 1,500 people, as well as luggage as heavy as 65 elephants (500 tonnes, to be exact).
Let’s not forget that he also brought along two escalators (which are gold-plated, of course) for his personal use.
The king’s trip is significant also because he is the first Saudi Arabian monarch to visit Indonesia in nearly 50 years.
Those who have visited the Indonesian island of Bali will agree that it’s a magnificent place for some R&R – and King Salman clearly shares the same sentiment.
The 81-year-old ruler arrived on March 4 for a vacation after a three-day state visit to Jakarta, and later arranged to extend his stay on the island of the gods until the end of last week.
Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to Indonesia said the reason was simply that “he likes the sea”.
For those curious about the places the octogenarian visited, it is in fact possible to cover everything he did in just one day.
For starters, you should make sure you have a bed fit for royalty to rest your tired head in. King Salman’s choice of the very luxurious St. Regis Bali Resort located near Geger Beach, Nusa Dua, can be your top pick.
The King must have truly enjoyed the hotel – which he had booked out entirely – as he reportedly did not leave the premise during the first few days of his trip.
As wonderful as the St Regis gets, it would probably be unrealistic to expect the same kind of royal treatment that was bestowed upon the monarch.
The hotel’s management reportedly built walkways to the beach and erected bamboo fencing covered in white fabric to protect King Salman’s privacy, The Jakarta Post reported.
Unless you’re among King Salman’s exclusive company, don’t even think about having security as tight as his. But you can, however, trace his footsteps.
And to save you time, we’ve listed down the highlights on the king’s itinerary, so pack your bags – it’s Bali time!
The monarch loves the sea so it seems that he will go wherever there’s sun, sand and the beach.
According to travel site TripCanvas.co, Uluwatu is a one of the top surf locations in the world, and is home to many of the island’s best beaches and cliffs.
2) Nusa Penida
Part of The Nusa Islands, Penida is another place that is famous for its beautiful beaches perched alongside rocky steeps.
TripCanvas affectionately termed the trio of islands as the Maldives of Bali. Getting there is easy, via a short boat ride from Bali. It is reportedly not thronged with tourists yet, and is thus perfect for a private getaway.
3) Tampak Siring in Gianyar regency
Well-known for its temples and archeological remains, Tampak Siring is located in central Bali and is a short drive from Ubud.
It’s where the famous landmarks, Gunung Kawi Temple and Tirta Empul Temple, are located. Travellers who enjoy cultural sites might be interested in spending more time at Gunung Kawi, which is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Online travel magazine InBali.org reported that Hindus from all over the island visit Tampak Siring to bathe in holy water and meditate.
4) Discovery shopping mall in Kuta
Members of King Salman’s entourage reportedly took part in other leisurely activities away from the sun and sea. Instead, they went shopping at Kuta’s Discovery shopping mall.
Some of them visited and purchased several items from popular international brand stores.
A mall spokesperson told The Jakarta Post that he could not estimate the amount of money spent by the Saudi Arabian visitors, but noted that each of them carried at least five shopping bags.
The famous Kuta beach is right behind the mall, so there’s always the option of dipping your toes in the sand and enjoying the sunset after all that shopping.
The original version of this story was published on AsiaOne on March 9, 2017.