Part 2 as promised.......quite a long one again, sorry!
10th April. With the wedding festivities over we headed over to the Safari and Marine Park in Gianyar where we had booked a 2 day honeymoon package. We arranged for one of the parks drivers to pick us up and it took 1.5 hours and cost 15 USD which I thought was a good price considering the distance, we also booked the private transfer back but for some reason it cost a lot more – at least double. The honeymoon package wasn’t bad value at 375 USD for 2 nights, included 2 day safari tours, breakfast both days, lunch and dinner for one day and a couple of massage tokens but we didn’t use those. The night safari is definitely worth doing although it is quite short, over before you know it but nice to get up close to some zebras and lions. The lodges themselves are nice and sitting out on the balcony watching the animals was fab. We loved watching the lions over dinner and thought the pool area was lovely too, not a massive pool but big enough and luckily it wasn’t crowded when we were there. I’ve written a more detailed review on the hotel section if anyone wants any extra info…..
12th April. We didn’t do much today after heading back to The Laguna, a bit of sunbathing then off to Kuta for dinner at TJ’s. When we arrived we couldn’t believe how busy it was! We’d heard good things about TJ’s and we both love Mexican food so it was one of the places we just had to try. The prices were really good and so was the food – we both had a 3 course meal, 1 small bintang, 1 large bintang and 2 cocktails and it cost 460,000 – not bad and if we hadn’t had cocktails it would have saved us 100,000. It was a really nice setting inside and the only bad thing was the slow drinks service but they were really busy, loads of people queuing up outside hoping to get a table - definitely worth a visit but you do need to book. We would have loved to stay out and check out the nightlife a bit more but we had an early start in the morning so headed home.
13th April. A real highlight of our holiday was our day out with TA recommended driver Dean. He picked us up at 9am, the car was modern and comfortable, he spoke English very well and had a great sense of humour. Our first stop was Tanah Lot Temple, definitely worth going to and although it would be nice to see at sunset it was also nice to see it in the day and avoid the crowds, it was still busy but not half as busy as it is at sunset.
After this we had a drive past some lovely rice terraces, Dean dropped us off at the side of the road and we met him further up and took a very scenic walk through them with Dean. The steps can be a bit deep so watch your footing, I slipped down one and Dean just managed to catch me!!
Our next stop was a local temple, not really planned a planned stop but they were having some kind of ceremony so Dean dressed us up in some traditional sarongs and pulled us in for a closer look……a very interesting stop and I was worried the locals would mind us being there but they seemed happy for us to sit with them and watch. We love the pictures we got here, they made us both giggle when we looked back through them.
On to another temple stop - Ulun Danu temple (Ithink) – another scenic temple surrounded by water and Dean came in with us explaining more about it as we were going along. He loves to take photo’s and it was great to have someone there who knew how to take good shots, so often when you go on holiday you end up with lots of pics of one or the other but never that many together so we felt pretty lucky to come away with lots of photos to remind us of the day.
We stopped off at a little place called The Strawberry Stop in Bedugul for lunch, we had been worried we’d end up being taken to some expensive tourist place but we needn’t have worried, it was a lovely little place and very cheap too.
Dean asked if we liked animals to which we said yes so we stopped off at a local shop to buy some peanuts (which we weren’t charged any extra for) and then pulled up somewhere along the side of a road, we could already see quite a few monkeys and Dean sat us down with some peanuts, within seconds we had monkeys sat all over us! Quite en experience sitting with them and feeding them, just watch out of the bigger ones, they are quite greedy, I kept trying to feed the baby ones but the bigger ones would always get there first, we were covered in dirt by the time we had finished and one of the monkeys even peed on D, much to everyone’s amusement, it was all worth it though!
We also made a little stop along the hills to get a great view of the lakes below, very scenic but didn’t take many pics as our camera battery was dying, we had taken so many pictures though so I’m not surprised!
Our last stop was to Munduk waterfall, definitely worth seeing if you can. Its quite an easy walk down though I imagine quite slippery if it’s been raining, I’d suggest going to the toilet before you get here as the ones on the way down weren’t exactly pleasant! It was great to stand so close to the waterfall although if you got too close you could really feel the spray coming at you. We were surprised that Dean always accompanies you too, it was a great to have a driver that didn’t just drop you off and leave you to fend for yourself and ofcourse if he’s with you he can capture the moments on camera too!
I’ve got a few photos (ok well more than a few, I’ve actually taken a lot out aswell) of our trip with Dean if anyone is interested….
I’d highly recommend a day out with Dean, he’s not the cheapest driver around but you certainly get your monies worth. He’s very popular too so best to book early, a few months in advance if you can, out of our 2 and a bit weeks there Dean was only available for 2 of the days but we already had plans for one of these sadly, we did have half a day with one of his other drivers, there’s a bit of info on that later on. Deans website is below if anyone wants to contact him…..
We headed to Mai-Mai’s on Mengiat street again for dinner, another nice meal and they had a singer on too which we enjoyed listening too. 2 courses each, 4 large beers and 2 small ones came to 354,200. Another lovely but pretty cheap night out.
14th April. We had a walk along the beach to start the day, if you walk to the right you can walk along to another beach, there’s a few stalls selling drinks etc and no street sellers to annoy you, not that there’s that many directly in front of the hotel but its nice not to keep getting disturbed (a polite no and they walk on to the next person though so its not too bad, the ones in India would sit down next to you and start getting their goods out even if you said no! so we didn’t mind these ones too much!). The water along here is a bit rougher though and further out you can see surfers catching the waves.
We had lunch at Nyomans again, very nice pork sates and sweet and sour pork. We decided to try Tropical for evening dinner, also in the same area on Mengiat street – if you eat here don’t sit directly in front of the kitchen as it gets very hot, we had to ask to move somewhere a bit cooler. A 2 course meal each, shared desert and drinks (2 large bintangs, 2 small, 2 cocktails) came to 395,000 inc 15% taxi and service charge. The staff were nice and friendly again although we did prefer the food in Mai-Mai’s and Nyomans. Free wifi here too.
15th April. We were met in reception by Kasa Made – Dean had booked this for us as he wasn’t available, the driver had good driving skills although his English wasn’t quite as good as Deans and he didn’t have quite the same photography skills but a good day out all the same. I think we had just been spoiled on our day out with Dean, quite hard for anyone else to live up to that I think, if only every driver was as good as Dean! We were heading up to stay in Amed for a few days so booked to do some sight-seeing along the way. Our first stop was to watch the Barong & Kris Dance at Denpasar, 80,000 each but we enjoyed watching it, hopefully on our next trip we’ll catch one of the fire dances, a bit disappointed we missed out on that this time.
Next stop was at a place where they paint material with waxes, not really that interesting for us as we’d seen this being done in the Caribbean. He also offered to take us to see some paintings and silver smiths but we declined those, we didn’t want to end up arriving too late in Amed.
Stop no. 3 was at the monkey forest in Ubud, great place to go and walk around but the monkeys are a bit cheekier and the food doesn’t last long becasue the monkeys run up and snatch it from you. It cost us 20,000 each to get in and 20,000 extra for a portion of bananas. We enjoyed the walk around although much preferred our up close monkey experience with Dean.
We also visited the markets in Ubud to do a bit of shopping, probably paid over the odds for some things but tried out best to get prices down – I blame lack of haggling skills on being British lol! I don’t think we did too badly in the end, I got a lovely summer dress for 40,000 and quite a few other presents to take back home for the family.
We passed more nice rice fields and stopped off for a few quick photo’s, unfortunately we were pounced on by local sellers as soon as we stepped out and saying no didn’t seem to work, they just kept following us, it wasn’t long before we retreated back to the car!
Our last stop before the long drive to Amed was lunch over looking the volcano at Batur Sari restaurant, not too badly priced at 70,000 each for an all you can eat buffet lunch, I thought the food was ok, D enjoyed his. I must say it’s not for the faint hearted as there were quite a lot of flies around the food but I was hungry so ate regardless. After reading another recent JBR it sounds like we were lucky not to have had any bad after effects from the food! Wish I had know beforehand that the buffets around the Kintamani can be a bit dodgy, I would have eaten elsewhere. One thing to warn you about is the young teenage boy down there who was trying to make small talk before attempting to sell you something, not really what you want when you need to go to the loo! Its still worth going for a drink and to enjoy the views though, unfortunately it was a bit cloudy while we were there but we still had pretty good views overlooking the volcano, maybe next time we’ll try and do the sunset trek there. A long but very scenic drive through the mountains followed and we arrived in Amed early evening.
We had booked to stay at Kembali Beach Bungalows for 2 nights with the hopes of doing some snorkelling – in short we weren’t disappointed! We were quickly checked in and settled in our room, we had the end bungalow (no. 1) and it was nice to find some petals decorating the bed. It was clean and comfortable with a great veranda to sit out on. D was panicking a bit that we were so far ‘out in the sticks’ but it was exactly what I was hoping for, great views, quiet and away from the masses!
I must say a huge thank you to Ursie for all the great information that she sent through to us, it was really helpful and without her enthusiasm for Amed we might not have gone and would have missed out on a brilliant couple of days – so many thanks Ursie.
We didn’t have anything planned for the rest of the day so went to sit out at the little bar/breakfast/cafe area. Great prices for drinks and without lots of added tax and service charge, this certainly cheered D up, lol!
After reading lots of good things about Sails restaurant we had already decided to book this, asked them to come and pick us up, we didn’t realise quite how far it was, way too far to walk so we were very thankful of the free pick-up and drop-off service. Sails is in a great location, I only wished we had gone there for lunch one day so we could appreciate the views more, it was already dark when we arrived….its not a very big restaurant and most of the table were filled and we soon realised why it always gets good reviews. The food and drinks were lovely and excellent value (250,000 for 2 starters, 2 mains, 1 desert and 6 small beers). One other things to mention is the toilets, I always dread venturing to them in new places, I’ve certainly come across some quite unpleasant ones in Bali but rest assumed these are some of the nicest toilets out of everywhere we visited! This was one of our favourite restaurants and I can’t wait til we get the chance to go back again.
And that’s it for part 2…..