>> Friday, February 19, 2010 – Stories from the suitcase
It's Friday, ladies and gentlemen and it's time for you guys to share your travel stories. We want to know the good, the bad, the ugly. Let others know if you found your dream destination or if your holiday turned into a nightmare. Just drop us an email to share your stories from the suitcase!
This week Hayden revisits his first trip to Bali.
Bali. We flew Jetstar from Darwin to Denpasar. It was a short flight. The airport in Denpasar is a bit overwhelming. Make sure you have some US dollars to pay for your visa (about $20). Our host at our Villa organised for us to skip the queues and got us past customs in about 2 minutes.
2. Where did you stay?
We stayed at a Luxury Private Villa called Villa Hening. It's in Jimbaran Bay and overlooks Benoa Harbour. It had a great pool, jacuzzies, a spa (which the wife took full advantage of), private theatre and fitness centre. It'd be a great place to take a bunch of friends there (which we plan to do).
We had a great time having drunken parties with some Japanese guests, surfing in the pool.
Our room was right next to that Bali hut and that's where we ate breakfast everyday, right next to an awesome infinity edge pool overlooking the whole valley.
Our room had its own outdoor tub and luxury shower.
No pokey hotel room here!
It was a bit strange to have staff at your beck and call 24 hours a day at first, but we got used to it pretty quickly. The villa was only 15 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes to Jimbaran Beach and Nusa Dua shopping complex. The good thing was the staff organised all our transport, recommended the best places to eat.
3. What time of year did you travel?
We went to Bali in February. The weather was pretty hot and occasionally there was a light shower (which was actually refreshing). Most days were spent in the pool.
4. Who did you travel with?
My wife. It was our wedding anniversary.
5. How did you get around?
We had a driver from the Villa drop us off if we wanted to get anywhere then made our way back in Taxis. Apparently you should only go in the blue taxis with birds on them because all the others are dodgy.
All the balinese get around on scooters. It's really freaky seeing 3 people piled onto a scooter. They're a bit mad with the road rules, but it all seems to work.
We decided to be rebels though and took a walk through the suburbs.
That's a cow in the bushes.
These poor dogs are everywhere.
We took full advantage of the restaurant at the Villa. I seriously nearly ate every single item on the menu.
We also tried a few restaurants on the beach in Bali. Our favourite was this outdoor restaurant with red furniture, weird food and a pool.
In between cocktails we'd have a swim. It was a bit expensive though. There were cheaper Asian style places to eat that had great food and cold beer.
Jimbaran Bay seafood restaurant was awesome as well. Really fresh fish.
It was weird to see rice on offer in their KFC and McDonalds.
7. Trip Highlights?
We visited the monkey forest and that was pretty cool.
Sitting in the private theatre and watching about 20 dodgy DVDs while getting room service was definitely a highlight.
We had fun shopping in the markets and bought a bunch of cheap knock offs like Billabong shirts and shorts, sunglasses and the wife bought a few hand bags.
The furniture and historical places are visually spectacular, too.
8. Trip low point?
The poverty. Outside of the rich area where we stayed you can see that people are really struggling. The open sewers in the streets were also gross. We saw an old lady just squat and pee into the gutter right in the tourist strip in Kuta.
Seeing all of the neglected dogs roaming the streets was pretty bad too. The wife just wanted to feed them all.
Getting hassled by every single local trying to sell you something got irritating after a while too. You try to be polite but they don't take no for a answer.
9. What would you like others to know about your destination?
We only explored a really small part of Bali. I know there are beautiful destinations all over the island but we just wanted a relaxing trip away.
It also really threw us how poor and dirty the country is.
If you want a really relaxing holiday rent a private villa. It's luxury accommodation but it's not expensive and the service is impeccable.
Next time we plan to stay there, explore other areas of the island and go surfing.