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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bali August 2015

A Friday Frenzy email from Jetstar had me in a frenzy, $89 Sydney to Bali. (One way) What a bargain, I sent a text to my girlfriend Trish and between both us trying for hours to book tickets, and check out price of return flights, we couldn’t get on to Jetstar’s booking page. Soon we had the kid’s involved (4 computers) Trish’s daughter finally cracked it and managed to get through to book. The return trip from Bali to Sydney was $39 plus taxes. We ended up paying for seats selection in row 11 (nice quiet area, and quick escape off the plane) and we only took hand luggage each way for a total of $785 for four adults return.
Taking this trip, is Trish my girlfriend, Mel her daughter and Gem my daughter and myself, most of this blog is about Trish and I, it seems we are too old and boring to hang out with 18 year olds. So this is how Trish and I explored Bali.
Trish has been to Bali three times but quite a few years ago now and this will be my 13th trip. There was a lot of Bali I wanted to show her and new places I haven’t seen before myself. Our plan was to start off in Legian for a few days with the kids then up to Ubud to kiss the kids goodbye (both adults) and off to Lovina for us for a night and two nights in Munduk before spending 2 nights in Ubud, collecting the girls, then across to the east coast to Candi Dasa for 3 night and back to Legian for the rest of our holiday.
Trish had done some research on hotels and booked all of our accommodation via Trivago App on her phone. We got some great deals and thought it would be a good idea being peak season. 

Day 1.

Sydney to Melbourne with Jetstar was delayed 15 minutes, no big deal. We were soon on our way and once we landed in Melbourne we managed to check-in and to get through immigration pretty quickly and made our way to the gate. Only to find out our flight has been delayed for two and a half hours!! Darn Jetstar!! We landed in Bali at 1am and with a quick paced walk we paid and received our visas and headed to immigration,  20 minutes later we were on the outside of Ngurah Rai International Airport and haggling for a taxi to the Kusnadi Hotel Legian. We managed to get it for 80,000rupiah ($8AU).
I have stayed at the Kusnadi a few times now it’s a great clean basic hotel with stunning beautiful grounds. It costs 450,000rupiah ($45AU) for a twin standard room or 550,000rupiah ($55AU) for a double deluxe room.

Kusnadi Hotel web site - here Business Card - here

Day 2.

We ate breakfast at the hotel and made our way to the Bintang supermarket to stock up on some supplies. We also got sim card’s for our phones which cost 75,000rupiah ($7.50AU) which was way too much but after watching the girl trim the sim card to fit my phone and set it up for me, I was glad to give her the money, I grabbed a data plan for 100,000rupiah ($10AU) for 4 gig more than enough to keep in contact with family and friends via social media.
We dropped our stuff off at the hotel and grabbed a cab to Garlic Lane and to Ketuts fixed price stop for a little shopping. (Business Card - here and here)
Lunch was at Indo-national (Business Card) which is always great food and service. Meals here are cheap and start at about $5AU to $15AU.
We stopped at a small tour booth (Business Card) and asked about shuttle bus prices to Ubud and after a little haggling we managed to get it for 240,000rupiah ($24AU) for 4 people or $6AU each to Ubud.
We spent the afternoon relaxing by the Kusnadi pool with a few drinks.
Dinner was at Mozzarella Bar and Restaurant in Legian on Padma Street, meals range from about $10 to $25AU. It has a great atmosphere, service and the food is to die for. 

Day 3.

We decided to go Tommy’s Café (Business Card) for breakfast, the iced milo’s are just way to yummy.  After breaky we took a quick walk down to the Legian beach.
Our shuttle bus was due at 11am, by 11:20am (Bali time) we were all aboard and on our way with one stop on Legian Street to pick up an English couple. The trip took two hours with a bit of a wait for a ceremony just out of Ubud and the traffic in Ubud didn’t help either.
We got the girls settled into the Inata Hotel on Monkey Forest Road $70AU a night. The hotel was up a long corridor and set behind the shops which helped block the street noise out with a small but nice pool area and the rooms were perfect clean with all the modern conveniences. 

Inata Hotel web site - here

By the time we got the girls settled in, it was getting late and we needed to find transport to Lovina fast. Best we could do was a private driver for 500,000rupiah ($50AU), ripped off but what could we do. Wayan the driver turned out to be an ok guy, and when we heard about his life we didn’t mind paying the bit extra. We made it to Lovina with a few quick stops along the way, by sun down. We booked in at the Bali Lovina Beach Cottages, right on the beach of Lovina a small cheap hotel that was clean basic and a little tired. We paid 400,000rupiah ($40AU) for the night. 

Bali Lovina Beach Cottages Info - here

Early morning Dolphin Tours from the hotel were 100,000rupiah ($10AU) at the hotel. We decided to drop our backpacks in our room and checkout the sunset, this is where we meet Wayan who had a boat and for the price of 70,000rupiah ($7AU) so we booked a seat for the dolphin tour. 

We made it to the dolphin statue right on sunset for an amazing sunset and took a few photos. We walked around and decided to have some Thai food for dinner at Jasmine Kitchen (Business Card), the food was really nice and the price was between $4 to $10AU.

Day 4.

5am I awoke to Muslim Prayers over the loud speakers, Trish didn’t hear a thing. By 6am we were standing on Lovina’s black sand beach waiting for our boat. We were soon aboard and heading out to sea with an armada of other boats to steam across the Bali Sea. It took a while to spot the dolphins but we managed to see quite a few. Each time dolphins were spotted hundreds of boats converge upon the spot scaring them off. An hour and a half soon ended with some great memories and a numb bum.

We headed straight for breakfast, and then back to the room to pack our back packs as we had organised Wayan to pick us up at 930am. 

Our first stop was Banjar Air Panas the Hot Springs we had a swim in the pools and a massage with the tall water spout.  Entrance fee was 5000rupiah each and a locker was 3,000rupiah.

Next stop was the Git Git Twin Falls it costs 20,000rupiah per person entrance fee but well worth the few kilometre walk.
Wayan asked if we wanted to go a coffee plantation, we said yes. As Trish has never tried kopi luwak, and being a coffee fan she was keen to try it. 

Next stop was our hotel in Munduk; well we both looked a little worried as we turned off the main road down a back farm road to the Kasan Green Hill Villas. This place was quiet and way out of the way of anything, we stood in reception for a good 10 to 15 minutes with no-one around. Finally a young guy came and went to get the manager, another 10 minutes went by before the hotel manager came out of breathe and started to explain how our room had blown down and he was booked out. I looked at Trish and Trish looked at me and I’m sure we were thinking the same thing! We sat down and chatted about our problem when the hotel manager phoned another hotel and soon enough a driver from the other hotel picked us up and took us to another hotel which only had a room for 1 night and we wanted two. We looked at each other again! The hotel manager asked us to wait and he few off down the road , he was soon back and asked us to follow him next door to Made Homestay Munduk (Business Card) for 350,000rupiah ($35AU) a night , the room was nice, clean and service was excellent and a view to die for.

We wandered down the road (we were on the top of a huge hill, so coming back was always a challenge) we decided to have dinner at Pondok Asri Warung and Homestay the food was Balinese/Indonesian and dirt cheap and very tasty.

Day 5.

Breakfast was Balinese pancakes, toast and tea or coffee at Made’s Home Stay, and those pancakes were very sweet and yummy. We then waited for our guides to arrive, we had booked a guide via Made’s Home Stay that cost us 40,000rupiah an hour and our trek was 3 hours long.

We set out walking down the main street of the village then into the back blocks of Munduk and into farm land as we went along our guides described certain herbs, spices and fruits.

We were soon in the jungle at Munduk’s tallest waterfall Merlanting; we sat and enjoy the peace, amazing scenery and the cool breeze. Then came the steps, hundreds of them and it was getting hot, darn hot. I thought Trish was going to die as she struggled to the top.

Our next stop was another impressive waterfall up river which was not as good as the previous waterfall and was overrun with tourists. We finished the walk off by walking along the top of a ridge and down into Munduk Village via farmland and rice paddy’s.  The trek was a great way to see and experience Munduk and some of its surrounds.

We had lunch next door to Made Homestay at Made Oka Warung and Homestay (Business Card) Trish had fish and rice while I had ayam betutu (steamed chicken in Banana Leaf with Balinese spices) it was good! Both Meals cost 40,000rupiah. A late afternoon rain storm had us stuck in our room to enjoy a beer with an amazing view. We took this time also to speak to the girls in Ubud; they were having a goodtime but complained about 1 rooster waking them up in the morning, we had to laugh as we heard hundreds of roosters all night and day.
Lunch was so tasty we decided to go back to Made Oka Warung, Trish had Nasi Goreng I had the Cap Cay (a vegetable broth with chicken) and for afters Trish had Balinese pancakes and I had the black rice pudding another wise choice very sweet but tasty with a couple of drinks for 120,000rupiah ($12AU).

Day 6.

We sat eating breakfast with a wonderful view of Munduk's valleys and mountains. Our transport to Ubud had arrived early, so it was a rush to get ready and bid farewell to all the family. Transport to Ubud was 300,000rupiah on the shuttle bus which we were the only people besides the driver.

 Lake Buyan

We managed to get a stop at Lake Buyan lookout and Lake Bratan along the way. We arrived just in time to pick up the girls before checkout of Inata on Monkey Forest Road. A quick walk up the road we stopped in at Ibu Rai for a delicious meal.
We grabbed a driver to Ketuts Place in Ubud for 40,000rupiah we checked in and relaxed by the pool soaking up the sun. Trish and I decided to walk around Ubud and check a few things out, and left the girls with the pool, sun and Wi-Fi. Whilst in town we searched for a shuttle bus and found a place just past the markets with prices a bit cheaper at 60,000rupiah per person to Candi Dasa, we paid a deposit of 100,000rupiah and will paid 140,000rupiah once we get picked up.
Dinner was at Coco International, the food was good and cost 450,000rupiah for 4 people and a few drinks. Then onto CP Lounge to enjoy a few drinks, a puff on the shisha pipe and some live music. 

Ketuts Place web site - here Business Card - here

Day 7.

Breaky was at Ketut’s, Trish and I headed into town for an early morning look around before the crowds came rolling in.  We made it to the Palace in 10 minutes from Ketut’s and went for a look inside and arrived just as some young girls had just finishing up a Balinese dance class, the dance and music (even though it was on CD) put a nice feel to the place.

We headed across to Ubud markets before the crowds and the day’s heat got too hot.

We crossed the intersection to Monkey Forest Road and walked down to the Monkey Forest, paid our 30,000rupiah per person entrance fee. I love the Monkey Forest it has such a magical feeling to the place with its carvings and moss covered stones, but I hate those cheeky monkeys.

We walked back up Monkey Forest Road and past the Palace crossed the road and into my favourite restaurant Ibu Oka  for my favourite Balinese food Babi Guling (roast pig) I always buy the traditional meal it tastes so good and even though it’s getting more expensive each time I go, it’s a great value large meal for 70,000rupiah ($7AU). Trish had the special which is a small portion of rice, pork, cracking and sauce for 35,000rupiah.

Later in the afternoon we decided to walk the Camuhan Ridge Walk. Trish and I left Ketut’s and headed towards the palace where we turned right and walked towards the bridge until we came to the Hotel sign on the right side of the road saying iBAH, turn right here and follow the road down to the walk bridge and keep veering right and watch for the signs pointing the way to the walk, is on a path all the way and mostly used by locals with the odd tourist here and there. It’s fairly easy except a few uphill sections which can be a bit much in the afternoon heat but well worth the effort with the rewards of some great views of the rice fields and some local life, we stopped in at Karsa Kafe for a cool drink and to admire the stunning view over the rice fields.
On the way back to the hotel we stopped into a Tino Spa (Info) which is on the right down a small ally on the way back to the Palace we both had a Balinese massage for 70,000rupiah for 1 hour and worth every rupiah.
Trish, Gem and I went to oops for dinner which is across the road from the markets the food is great here but a bit pricey we paid 560,000Rupiah for 3 mains and a few drinks each. 

Day 8.

We had breakfast early at Ketut’s and went into town to grab a few things and to pick washing up before our 11am shuttle bus to Candi Dasa. The shuttle arrived on time, it was a small 7 seater van and we had an English Girl to pick up in Ubud also, then we were on the hour and half journey.
Home for the next 3 nights was the Puri Oka 1,500,000rupiah ($150AU) per room for 3 nights. We had lunch at the hotel and spent the afternoon lazing by the pool and watching the ocean with a few quiet drinks. Until dinner time and we started it all again, we did organise a snorkelling trip to Blue Lagoon for 400,000rupiah for 4 people and gear. 

Puri Oka web site - here Business Card - here

Day 9.

We had finished breaky by 8am and by 9am we were in the Jungkung and heading out past the break wall and onto Blue Lagoon with Yogi our boat driver/guide. Once there we feed the fish and snorkelled for a while and on the way back trolled for fish we arrived back at the hotel just after 11:30am without any fish.
After a shower we headed down the main street to find Ari’s Homestay and to try one of the famous hamburgers and they were beautiful and only 35,000rupiah each.
We took a slow walk back and decided to stop in at Dewi Spa Salon for an hour long Balinese massage.
Not far away we met a driver called Wayan waiting near a large pond on the main street who gave us a lift back to the Puri Oca for 20,000rupiah. We discussed a day out with Wayan (Business Card) and grabbed his card.
Once back at the hotel we found that Mel was unwell, so we called Wayan back to take us to the Doctors and back to the hotel for 50,000rupiah.
We had dinner at the Puri Oka.

Day 10.

Breaky was a Puri Oka and we had organised a flight home for Mel, so we could breathe easy again. She was getting plenty of bed rest and Gem was sitting by the pool looking after her. So Trish and I went for lunch at Vincent’s this place was amazing with food and service.(Business Card)

We had phoned Wayan and asked him to meet us at Vincent’s for a half day tour, our first stop was a few rice fields then Tirtagangga Water Garden Temple, entrance fee is 20,000rupiah per person.

Next stop was Taman Soekasuda Ujung Water Palace with an entrance fee of 35,000rupiah per person.

Next stop was the chocolate Factory at Jasri, wow what a beautiful peaceful area and the chocolate at the factory was so yummy slightly better than Nutella.

Last stop on our day out was Bali Aga the Original Bali Village, though I enjoyed this place I couldn’t help but feel it was a people zoo, but also held a lot of history.

We finished off the afternoon with a beer by the ocean watching a golden sunset.
Trish, Gem and I had dinner at Vincent’s and the food and service was even better than the lunch service.

Day 11.

Breaky was a Puri Oka, then it was time to pack.

Wayan arrived at 930am to start our journey back to Legian, along the way we made a stop at Pura Goa Luwah the Bat Cave. Be careful here the Balinese women try the hard persistent sell of their items.
We arrived at the Arca Bungalows at 1230pm, which is located down a side street off Legian Street, after quickly settling in we made our way to Garlic Lane to Ketuts (Business Card) and Miss Debbie’s Shops (Business Card) for some fixed price shopping.

We dropped off our shopping and headed towards Bali Sea Turtle on Kuta Beach for 4pm to release a baby turtle. We like their Facebook page and watched for the daily posts if they have any turtles to release, the afternoon we went there was over 300 turtles to release.
Dinner was at Indonational then back to the hotel to pack Mel’s bag and drop her at the airport for her flight home. 

Day 12.

Breaky was at Arca Bungalows and then we took a walk to Mugg Shots for a morning coffee. While waiting for iBud Tattoo to open, Gem was getting 3 hours of work done for $300AU.  
While Gem was getting her tattoo, Trish and I went across the road to Luna Spa for a 1 hour foot scrub and massage for 75,000rupiah each and Trish had her hair cut for 40,000rupiah.
We checked up on Gem and took her a drink and a snack and we headed back up Jalan Padma Utara to Yogya Warung for a good cheap Indonesian lunch, 2 meals and 2 beers for 90,000rupiah.
Dinner was at Seaside Restaurant and we had a few drinks at the Y Not Bar.

Arca Bungalows web site - here

Day 13.

We had an early start at 645am with a taxi ride to Sanur Trish and myself were going to Bamboo Shoots Cooking School 450,000rupiah per person (Web Site). Once we arrived at Sanur’s morning wet market we were guided around by Wati she spoke about different food and also got to try a few different things. After the markets we arrived at the cooking class at (place), there was 1 other couple from England joining us.

We were given breakfast then the aprons were handed out and it was time to get our hands dirty, we all helped cook 6 delicious meals. At the end of the morning we all felt like we were about to slip into a food coma. After the class we received a recipe book and a taxi ride back to our hotel, we arrived back at the hotel by 1pm.

We rested at the hotel a couple of hours, and grabbed a cab to Seminyak. It was bliss time, and we had an appointment at Chill (Web Site) for 90 minutes of Reflexology and as usual they didn’t disappoint.
Dinner was at Indonational. 

Day 14.

Breaky was at Arca Bungalows, then Trish and I went for a wander around town. By 12 we had decided to get a driver and see more of Bali, Our driver cost 400,000rupiah. Our first stop was the Royal Palace Taman Ayun at Mengwi entrance fee was 15,000rupiah each

Our next stop was Alsa Kedaton monkey forest, the entrance fee is 15,000rupiah each and you’re assigned a guide for free/protector from the cheeky monkeys. A tip or a small purchase from their shop is always welcome.

Our last stop was Tanah Lot, the entrance fee is 35,000rupiah each, and we made a small donation and touched the holy snake for good luck. We did miss out on the blessing at Tanah Lot itself as it was low tide and the line was miles long.
We got back about 5pm and decided on Mozzarella Restaurant and Bar in Padma Street, then onto the Apache Bar for a few drinks and some live music.


Breaky was at Arca Bungalows and then a wander around Legian looking for a batik Bali bag for Trish, which we had been looking for the last few days.
We grabbed a taxi back to the Arca Bungalow and got the taxi driver to wait while we checked out. The driver asked a guy can we carry on along this back street to Padma Utara he said yes, it was an interesting ride with us backing up to let other pass and taking 3 attempts to get around a corner. But we made it; we came out near the spider bar on Padma Utara.
We soon arrived at the Royal Tunjung Bali Hotel and Spa walk in price was $45 for a super deluxe room and $40 for a deluxe room. Gem was happy we left her at the pool with Wi-Fi to look after her, while we grabbed lunch at Yogya Warung and spent most of the afternoon hunting around Seminyak for a batik Bali bag. We found the newer style printed fabric batik bag and Trish was a little happy.
On the way back to the hotel we decided to stop at Tommy’s café for an iced milo drink.
Dinner was at Mozzarella restaurant and bar in Padma Street, and after dinner we walk down towards Padma Utara and the 2nd shop from the corner there was heaps of old style batik bags hanging from the ceiling. I had to giggle…..

Day 16.

Breaky was at the Royal Tunjung. And at 9am, Alex our driver from yesterday picked us up and we headed out to Padang Padang beach for a while.

Our next stop was Blue Point; we sat at the top of the cliff looking down watching the surfers in the beautiful turquoise water. We soon started to weave our way down the alleys to the beach.

And our last stop was Uluwatu Temple the magical temple on the stunning cliff.
We arrived back in Legian later in the afternoon so we had a late lunch at Yogya Warung, and later had a great Balinese massage back at the hotel and relaxed with a drink.
Our last dinner was at Mozzarella restaurant and Bar in Padma Street, after dinner we got our packs ready and grabbed a taxi to the airport.

Goodbye Bali ......... Which leaves me wondering, whats next ?