August 23rd, 2012

Last month we went to Bali for the second time! We were lucky enough to stay at a friends hotel/villa in Seminyak, sort of the same area that we stayed in last time. This time we came out with Lorraine, Fi, Ilissa and Greg. Lorraine lives in Manly but the others all came in from Hong Kong and are friends with Martin who part owns the place. Bali has undergone so much development since we last came that it was hard to see old locations we recognized as lots of new restaurants and buildings have appeared.

We flew into Tuban airport which is about 6km away from Seminyak but takes a good 1 hour to get to thanks to the infrastructure issues. We got through customs really quicky thanks to some pre-arranged meetup we had and headed to Seri Villas to meet up with the HK crowd, it was quite late when we arrived so we had a few drinks and then went to bed. I got myself re-acquainted with Bali and remembered all of its funny quirks, like not having pavements for pedestrians but instead just open holes and gutters and loose bricks that if you didn’t concentrate on where you were going results in injury. Sometimes I’d walk around annoyed at the westerners that take their children on motorbikes without wearing helmets as if because your on holiday it’s totally safe to do that!

Typical Bali Street (dangerous)

The shops are fun in Seminyak, you can’t really tell which ones are legitimate or not, for example one shop I found was called AVEDA, I visited the exact same shop in Japan and we have some of their shower gel and shampoo in the bathroom but this one didn’t sell anything like that, just dresses wrapped in plastic bags. I didn’t take a photo of this store but this guy did.

One of the first places we visited as a group was Ku De Ta, which is a well known beach hangout in Bali, it is really good to go to for a drink and something to eat. We had some day time cocktails on our first day which was really nice. The next day I did a marathon walk down the beach with Greg and Ilissa down to Kuta (which is a bit like Benidorm but for Australians) and they made me eat in a dodgy restaurant, luckily though I didn’t get food poisoning. That night we hit the W hotel, which was really cool. There was a wedding on the roof and so later in the evening they had some “throw safety out the window” fireworks display which was good because we got to be  really close.

Everyone at the W Hotel Seminyak

The next day was my birthday! The hotel staff knew because we gave them our passports and I also think Amy might have told them. They were really nice and got me a cake with a personalized message on top, it was very nice although the chocolate cake was so huge it lasted us the rest of the holiday!

Birthday in Bali with my Bali T-Shirt and the really nice staff

That night we went out to a restaurant called Living Room which was at the bottom of our street and really nice.

The next day we went out to meet up with Lorraine’s friends who live in her building, we ended up having some nice drinks at a bar looking over the beach with their other friends who was here with his brother, who turned out to be one of the guys from 4 Poofs and a Piano, a group that used to sing on the Jonathan Ross talk show when it was on the BBC!

We made a trip to Ubud and also Kintamani which I remember last time being truly an amazing site. Even though it takes hours to get there and you do the obligatory stops at temples along the way it really is amazing to see Mount Batur which last erupted in 1968 and as you can see from the picture the lava flow is still visible (black bits on the mountain).

Amy, me, Lorraine and Fi at Mount Batur

One of our favourite places we went to for dinner was a new restaurant at the bottom of our street called  Petitenget Restaurant,  Petitenget was the name of the area and this place had some of the best food. We went there for dinner on our second night and decided to go back a few times for breakfast.

Breakfast at Petitenget Restaurant

We could feel the end of the holiday getting closer, and the HK arrivals were leaving a couple of days before us. So before Fi left we went up to Bvlgari Hotel which is in Uluwata and a hour drive from Seminyak. It was a really nice hotel and although it wasn’t quite the same vibe as Ku De Ta or Potato Head it was a great place to have cocktails, enjoy the view out to see and have some amazing tapas food.

Here’s Amy and me enjoying ourselves there -

Amy and me at Bvlgari Uluwata

Bali was an awesome holiday once again, the food was great and it was sunny and warm the entire time. On our last night we went to a fantastic more family orientated restaurant where we had wine, starters, main courses and two deserts for $20 each which living in Australia is impossible!

Can’t wait for trip number three to Bali someday :)

August 12th, 2012

A few weeks ago Amy, Lorraine, Fi, Greg, Ilissa and I went to Bali for a couple of weeks. It was a really good fun to go back to some summer weather so quickly after visiting Japan. Here’s the video of some of the highlights of the trip –

Full post with pictures is coming soon!

November 17th, 2008

The video camera broke on our trip to Bali and I thought all the footage I had was of me filming Starbucks, which probably wouldn’t make the most interesting holiday video. Last night as I prepared the camera for its trip to the repair shop I noticed I had a few more clips of Bali so I made this little video of the first few days of our trip back in July this year –

July 31st, 2008

This winter/summer whatever you want to call it, Amy and me went to Bali for our holidays. Bali is a fairly small island which is part of Indonesia. It is really a tourist mecca but not in the bad way that most European holiday destinations suffer from – Kuta is probably the most effected by that with pubs that serve “ozzie grub” and show rugby based games in the evenings but its very localised so not a problem. We stayed in Seminyak, which is up the road from Kuta but much nicer and relaxed. We stayed in a villa, which had a walled garden and a swimming pool which was big enough to actually swim in on the first six days of our holiday (to clarify: we didn’t eat so much we couldn’t fit in the pool after six days, we just changed hotels).


Amy and me in our Pool in
our Garden

The bestest thing about having the pool in the garden was that the two pool beds were never taken. Whenever we wanted breakfast we picked up the phone and then a couple of villa chefs would come over, cook the breakfast for you. Here’s Amy with Chefs from the first day –


Amy with Villa Breakfast Chefs

The funny thing with the villa chefs is that the first day its a real novelty and you watch there every move in delight as they prepare the breakfast meals. After about 4 days of it you start to take it for granted and get a slight superiority complexity – we sooned dropped that after some women complaining at the front desk about a kite that was flying nearby being far too loud and if “something could be done about it”.


Eight Kites in this Picture over Seminyak (can you see them all?)

The Bali Kite Festival is an annual affair. The ATSB, FAA and CAA would go crazy if this happened anywhere else, it basically makes most of Bali unsafe to fly low as some of these kites got very high!

Our first day we headed into Kuta to see what all the fuss was about. Kuta is the main tourist town in Bali and has two starbucks. Being a man of the world our first stop was to get a ice caffe latte from starbucks. If there’s anyway to judge a country its by any suttle differences in a globalized coffee chain. Safe to say we left starbucks on first name basis with all the staff in there (seriously) and got recommendations on where to go in Bali. The people in Bali are probably the friendliest bunch I’ve ever met, even the hawkers with there sunglasses suitcases and various pieces of junk they try to sell are friendly after you tell them “no thanks” or “tiida marakachi” which is Balinese for the same thing.

One of the funniest shops in Bali are the DVD Hypermarkets. These places are like the Virgin Megastore of pirated videos. Every video was a copy and even films like the latest Batman, which isn’t even out in Australia was for sale (no doubt filmed from a seat in the cinema). Loads of tourists in these shops with shopping baskets full of illegal DVDs no doubt helping to fund terrorism. Talking of Terrorism, Bali tourism is still recovering from the 2002 and 2005 bombings (the 2002 accused are potentially about to be executed) – Indonesia and Bali is on the FCO‘s and Australia’s “SmartTraveller” “not recommended to visit” list, most drivers we had talked about it telling us they were very happy for us to come etc. the reality is most people are more likely to be killed by the driver crashing whilst he talks to you than in an actual terrorism related bombing.

On one of the days Amy and I got a driver, Mr Harry, recommended to us by Marcy and Chris – we didn’t really have a plan of where to go but that was ok as Mr Harry just took us all over the place. One of the places he took us was the elephant sanctuary, where we had a ride on an elephant called Phoebe. The “driver” of the elephant told us he (yes the elephant is a he and is called Phoebe) is from Sumatra and is on loan by the government and gets retired at 30 to breed. The driver/minder also told us he has to get up every 2 hours in the night to feed the elephant and that he has been with him since birth. That is a tough job!


Amy Me and Phoebe

Afterwards we went to Monkey Forest, which was as it name suggests, a forest full of monkeys. Mr Harry told us we should buy some bannanas to feed the monkeys as they were “friendly”. I had a monkey fully climbing on my face at one point which didn’t hurt but wasn’t exactly the safest I’d felt in a while. We’d managed to avoid “Bali Belly” up to then and I didn’t want to catch some disease from our second closest ancestors. Amy got off lightly with a bit of skirt pulling -


Amy vs. Monkey

Mr Harry also took us to a few tourist shops with stuff we didn’t need to buy but that seemed to be the same with all drivers. After the elephant tour we went to Uluwatu, via Dreamland. I wanted to see Dreamland for its marvellous beach and surf. I had read on Aquabumps that it recently had been ruined by overdevelopment and it wasn’t wrong -


Dreamland?

The only good thing about that building was that when you looked out to see you couldn’t see it – and what a beach that was -


Dreamland Shoulders Fishing Boat in the Background

The surf in Bali was relentless, I never actually got out as there was some serious waves. You look at to sea and it looks flat then 10 seconds later there are some 6-8ft bombs rolling in so a little bit unpredictable.

After that night we went to Pura Luhur Uluwatu which is a temple that had a show in the evening with traditional Bali music and people dressed as monkeys kicking straw on fire about, it was fantastic. In the evenings a few nights we met up with Amy’s work collegue and wife who were also over there at the same time for a few drinks at KU DE TA in Seminyak which is on the beach and fanstatic. We also went to Sarong restaurant which was one of my favourite food nights as it was delicious and we drank good champagne. For my birthday we went to a bar on the sixth floor of a building next door to the Sofitel in Seminyak, at six floors high it was one of the tallest buildings in Seminyak and had fantastic views of the surf, it was a great night!

The second part of our holiday was in Ubud, which was inland. We stayed at a resort called Maya which was huge and had swimming, golf and tennis. We played golf and Amy beat me. A lot of the time in Ubud was spent going around all the little shops which mostly all sell the same thing but every now and then there would be a few gems and a few t-shirts could be picked up for as little as $5 each. Amy was in her element at the market -


Amy and lots of bags at the Ubud Markets

Bali has a few volcanoes and I’d never seen one before so we took that opportunity to go and visit one. We got a great driver who took us (via some art and wood shops) to Mount Batur which is an active volcano at the centre of two concentric calderas – you can see the wall of the caldera on the picture below as the sort of cliff that surrounds the volcano and the lake on the right hand side. It looked absolutely fantastic, probably one of the best views I’ve ever seen, the pictures don’t really do it justice, you have to be there but here it is anyway -


Mount Batur – Active Volcano in a Caldera

Bali is mostly Hindu which means we visited a lot of temples and had to wear little robes when we got to them which was fun.


Amy and me at Temple in robes

My favourite photo that will remind me of Bali is the one below, an old lady working in a rice field who although probably has a very hard life is as happy as all the rest of the people in Bali are -


Happy Lady in Paddy Field in Ubud

If you ever get the chance to go to Bali I really recommend it. It rained for a total of 3 minutes for the 10 days we were there. The temperature was a consistent 30 degrees C every day which isn’t too hot and isn’t too cold. Everything is cheap (taxi costs $2 to go anywhere locally) the food is good (we didn’t get “Bali Belly”) and the people are super friendly. It also has fantastic surf for the brave and you can do anything you want (relax on the beach, relax at the pool, go shopping in Seminyak, visit a Volcano, ride a Elephant etc..) and the fact that it is so cheap means that the credit card bill doesn’t mean 3 months of poverty when you get home. Which is really good news because the car won’t start, the rego is due, the insurance is due and the video camera is broken.

We will definetly go back providing the words peak and oil aren’t used in the same sentence in news and financial circles in the next few years.

July 22nd, 2008

We are having a wonderful time in Bali so far we have been to some fantastic beaches and sights. Yesterday we had a ride on an elephant called Phoebe and I had a brush with Ebola as a monkey climbed onto my face at monkey forest in Ubud. Today we are at double six in Seminyak, Amy is helping to keep the Indonesian economy afloat by buying lots of nice dresses.



As I am writing these entries on the iPhone I will keep them short and do a proper story when we get back.



Cangu
Amy and me at Echo Beach Cangu

July 19th, 2008

We are having a fantastic time nice weather nice people and some seriously big waves! We are enjoying a cold drink in a little bar off the main beach right now.

Me in Bali