Well, we’re baaack, after 15 sun filled days in beautiful Bali!! We had a wonderful time…bit of a shock coming back to cold and rainy Brisbane!!
Unfortunately, I caught a gastro type virus on the plane on the way back Friday night and am still battling it…not nice. So I’ve gone from Nasi Goreng and numerous mojitos to dry toast and water!!! Due back at work Thursday so hopefully will be fit to be out in public by then!! There were a few people on our flight that had obviously indicated on their health declaration that they had flu-like symptoms…we saw them all taken off to one side. .poor things. We haven’t had a call form the health authorities, so I assume no one on our flight had the swine flu or we would’ve heard by now!
Before I start, I’d like to thank everyone on TA who provided such valuable information. I can honestly say, without your information and tips, I would have been a lot more overwhelmed in Bali. I put together a 14 page word doc from the info posted on here (I know; I am a research Queen!!) and using this info, I was able to plan where to go and what to do instead of having to muddle through. So thanks heaps everyone...it really enhanced our holiday!!! It’s such a valuable resource for the travelling community.
I need to “fess up” that we really didn’t do much at all, compared to some of your adventures I read about on here!! We really needed a complete break and spent most of our time around the pool!! So this review will give you an idea of our impressions and what we thought about restaurants etc. We have promised ourselves we will do more when we go back next time.
We spent 7 nights at the Santika Resort in Tuban and 8 nights at the Griya Santrian in Sanur. I have written separate reviews for each of these resorts and given info re restaurants and shopping in the area.
We really liked Sanur and the fact that it was more laid back and relaxed than the Kuta area. It felt cooler there than Tuban and the beach was really nice. I think next time we’d stay for a few days in the heart of the shopping area of Kuta/Legian to be close to everything and go back to Sanur.
We had great weather, apart from one day and night of very heavy rain. It seemed to be getting hotter by the time we left on 23 May.
Here’s an overview of things we did, on the rare occasions we dragged ourselves away from our pool sun loungers, ha-ha!!:
Whilst in Tuban, I got a light cashmere jacket made at Janoko Tailors in Poppies Lane 2 for $300 000R. I didn’t bother shopping around, just got a cab straight there based on recommendations on TA. The jacket was ready for me on the day we arranged to have the fitting and was just perfect; no alterations needed. ..I was really impressed by their service and workmanship - would highly recommend them. I have to be honest though, when we first walked in, it was chaos and there were people everywhere trying to pick out fabric etc and it was really hot in there. It was quite overwhelming and I nearly walked straight back out!! But to give them their due, they got to everyone quickly and the whole processes didn’t take that long. I’m glad I persevered!
Also went a couple of doors down to Liza Tailors and got a dress done for 300 000R, as Janoko said they were unable to do it as it was a difficult pattern. This was copied from a picture, so we had to alter it about 3 times, but we got there in the end and I am happy with it. They were very nice about the alterations and even drove out to Sanur twice for fittings!! Something I learned was although they seemed to have a lot of dress material, there was very little that I liked. I think next time if I wanted a special dress made, I’d pick out material here that I really loved and take it over. Same goes for stretchy tops and that sort of thing; they just don’t have the material.
I am a bit embarrassed to admit we only did one sightseeing day trip and one shopping day trip from Sanur whilst we were there!! We meant to get to the Safari Park and actually booked it, but that morning didn’t feel that well after too many cocktails the night before, so we cancelled it!! We plan to do more stuff next time we go!
Celuk was a maze of silver Jewellery shops! We stopped at one and did a tour of the factory and saw the workers making it, which was really interesting. I ended up buying something at Prapen on the way back. Our driver didn’t know of it, so I’d been looking out for it and suddenly saw it as we were driving along!! The shop is really up-market and beautiful, with lots of fountains and ponds and gorgeous toilets...worth holding on for!! It reminded me of a resort! They did seem to have stuff that was a bit different here…I liked it better than the other shops we saw. I bought a pair of silver earrings for a gift for about $AUD40 I think.
Loved Ubud and spent an hour or so wandering through the markets. Found a funky little clothes shop (sorry, can’t remember the name) across the road from the markets and bought a couple of nice tops; they were having a big sale, so it was great!
Tegellalang had shop after shop of mosaics and handicraft stuff. We asked our driver to stop on the side of the road for a few minutes to let us have a look. We found a lovely square mosaic bowl at the first shop we looked at and got it for 20 000R…so cheap!! Unfortunately it broke on the way home even though it was in the hand luggage, but it was a clean break so we should be able to glue it up!
The volcano….well, unfortunately it was absolutely pouring with rain on this day, so of course we couldn’t see a thing when we got up there, cloud cover was very heavy. We had lunch in the restaurant...not sure of the name, but it’s the main one the drivers take people to. To be honest, I thought the food was horrible and there were flies everywhere and the tablecloths were really dirty. We didn’t want the buffet as we’d had a big breakfast, so asked for the menu. They were reluctant about this as they said it would take longer but they took our order and it took about 20 minutes. I had some sort of chicken and rice dish. The chicken was cooked but was ice cold and really rubbery. My husband had a club sandwich and it was also cold with chips that looked like they were yesterdays! I wasn’t game to eat the meat, so just had the hot rice!! I don’t mean to sound like a whingher, but it really was the worst meal we had in Bali…I was so scared we’d get sick. Anyway, we didn’t so all’s good. But we were telling someone about it and they said their good friend ate there and caught a nasty stomach bug – he was ill for months! Something to consider if you go up there. I wouldn’t eat there again.
We used 2 really good drivers from 2 different companies that were both really good (Ary and Made) and reasonably priced. Not sure if I am allowed to give out their contact details here, but am happy for people to send me a message and I’ll give you their details.
We tended to go to restaurants near our resorts and didn’t really venture into the Legian/Seminyak area for dinner. I have provided comments about the restaurants we went to in my hotel reviews.
We did go to Billy’s twice for lunch and dinner. IMO, they had the best cocktails that we had...they were reasonable at about 50 000R and cold. Loved the band they had on and the staff were great fun…we had a good laugh with them! It’s a great night out there.
Went across the road to the Beach Shack for drinks….these too are really good and cold.
We got Dewa to make 5 pairs of shoes and we were really happy with his work. Dewa has been recommended by many on the forums, particularly Batt…thanks Batt for recommending him. He is a really lovely man and great to talk to about Balinese customs etc. I buy shoes through Kumfs that fit orthotics which cost about $AUD130. He copied these exactly and they’re great. We paid $AUD42 each for 3 pairs of ladies dress shoes and $AUD58 each for 2 pairs of men’s dress shoes. These are really heavy base ones with the Velcro top – Windsor Smith brand – cost about $AUD150 here. They were copied exactly – right down to the stitching….amazing. Dewa uses sheep’s leather so it stretches better to your foot and is softer than cow’s leather. I highly recommend him. You can contact him on his mobile on 081 2362 2247 and he’ll come to your hotel...he doesn’t have a shop as he lost it in the bombing. You’ll need to allow at least 4 or 5 days to get stuff made. He also makes leather jackets, bags and boots, tailored clothes, dresses and swimwear. I didn’t see samples of the swimwear fabric but he said he mainly has plain material not patterned. Where possible, it’s better to take something with you that he can copy.
We bought Kelvin Klein eye glasses at the shop in Carrefour near the large supermarket for about $AUD130 from memory. They’re really nice. We decided to get the prescription lenses made up at home.
I bought a Pandora-like silver (??) bracelet at the market near Matahari. Not sure how good the quality it is, but I paid 400 000R for the bracelet and 6 charms. We probably could have got it a bit cheaper, but got sick of the bartering in the end...they started at over a million! It looks nice, so that’s the main thing! When buying charms, I just have to check that they fit, as not all do.
Anyway, I think that about sums up our trip. We had a great time and met some lovely people around the pool and pool bar! There seemed to be others who weren’t able to drag themselves too far from the pool, so I don’t feel so bad! We plan to go back hopefully next year or the one after and do a bit more “cultural” stuff next time!