Trip report for October 6 to October 21 2013 Part 3
We (3 people) wanted to share our own personal itinerary to Bangkok (Part 1), Singapore (Part 2), Bali (Part 3), Hong Kong (Part 4) and Macau (Part 5). Descriptions of hotels and sights can be obtained elsewhere and in Tripadvisor. An (*) indicates a more detailed review at the end of the trip report.
Oct 12: Our arrival in Bali was hellish with an almost 2 hr wait to obtain an entry visa at a cost is $25 USD (payment with USD is OK) and then clear customs. The driver we had arranged for 100,000 IDR did not wait beyond 1.5 hrs. Called the driver after leaving immigration using Skype and were told to make our own arrangements. The standard rate from the airport to Sanur (location of our hotel, east of the airport) was 120,000 IDR. A new toll road just opened, going to Nusa Dua (south of the airport), but the driver claimed that using it would reduce travel time to our hotel and asked if we wanted to use it for an additional 10,000 IDR. We declined.
Checked in late at Sanur Beach Hotel*, the room was tight for three people. We pick the family area of Sanur area away from the party area of Kuta. Reportedly this hotel was a former Intercontinental, so we expected to have American standard resort amenities. Hotel was nice but the rooms were dated.
Oct 13: We pre-arranged a standard tour via Gus Ade* (www.melancongbali.blogspot.com, please read my review of this tour company; very poor business practices). We visited the following:
- Batubulan village (Barong and keris dance): 2 hrs of story-telling dancing. There was an entrance fee. A fair to good experience.
- Bali cloth factory store: A poor experience with limited information on the cloth designing process. Essentially taking you to get a commission.
- Celuk village (silver and gold processing/factory store): A poor experience; essentially taking you to get a commission.
- Kayuambe (Kopi plantation and store): There were free samples different coffees but you had to pay extra to try Luwak coffee. A poor-fair experience that involved a long drive out of the way.
-Kintamani (Volcano): There was an entrance fee but merely to view the volcano and forest across the valley from the side of the road. A poor to fair experience.
- Tampaksiring (Holy water temple): There was an entrance fee; interesting temple. A good experience.
- Tegalalang (Rice Terrace): Viewing from above from the side of the road. A fair experience.
- Monkey forest in Ubud: Entrance fee and a fee to get bananas to feed the monkeys. The people selling bananas will help pose you with bananas so that monkeys climb on you and you can get pictures with them. A good-very good experience.
We had dinner at a top Tripadvisor rated restaurant: KayuManis*. This restaurant is in a side street and Google map misdirected us so take a cab if possible to avoid a long search. Our error was thinking it was a restaurant serving Balinese food which we really wanted to have, but it served mostly western style food.
Oct 14: During our travel search, I ran across this deal from www.tripadeal.com.au, an Australian company that offered sea walking on the ocean floor walking at 40% off. Club Aqua Bali, the company that provide the walk, is an excellent outfit, very professional. There were lots of customers. Our deal included pickup and return from our hotel, the walk and a good lunch at the hotel. Seawalking was an excellent experience; no swimming capabilities required. They sold 3 pictures for $29 USD and a video for $20 USD. We had our own waterproof camera, but their pictures were better.
The remainder of the day was spent relaxing by our hotel’s 2 pools. Bali is a resort destination for Australians and this hotel attracts many of them.
In the evening we walked south along the beach walk to a beach side restaurant (do not remember the name) where we had grilled lobster, shrimps, fish & squid. The restaurant sat under a fixed covered structure. We had an excellent waitress with a wonderful demeanor and she gave us happy hour-priced drinks all night. The setting was very nice with a reasonable amount of customers but the seafood was not fresh as indicated by the texture of the lobster & shrimps. The cost was 510,000 IDR for a seafood grill platter for 2. We also had the Balinese fried duck (bebeck goreng) for 170,000 IDR which was dry from being overcooked; the accompanying sauce did not help much.
Oct 15: We had an early flight to Hong Kong. The hotel ordered a taxi for us at a cost of 150,000 IDR, more than the cost of the airport to hotel trip (commission to the hotel?). However, there were also multiple taxis outside the hotel just waiting for business at a much lower cost. Prior to departure, there is 150,000 IDR departure fee pp. You should have it in rupiah or you will get receive a poor exchange rate. The collector said we could pay $18 USD pp instead when the exchange rate for 150,000 IDR at the time would have been equivalent to $12.50 USD. I guess the $5.50 USD difference was pocketed by someone.