An October 2002 trip
to Bali by kimca
Quote: Bali-how can you describe it? The sights, the smells, the culture--it has a unique feeling all its own. The minute you step off the plane, you get chills.. because you have landed on the Isle of Smiles.
We had booked a garden view room to cut down on costs but were happily surprised to see we had been put in a beach view room. The room was spacious and clean, with a good size balcony. Our room overlooked the pool as well as the beach, which made for a gorgeous view. (The hotel is beach front.)
The bathroom was marble with a shower and separate bathtub, with an extendable washing line if you wanted to hang up wet bathing suits etc. One odd thing was that there were shutters on one side of the bathroom, in case you wanted to be able to see the rest of the room while you were in there.
The pool was actually a series of small pools connected. One had a swim up bar and you could swim under a bridge to get to the others. Lots of lounge chairs both at the pool area, on the grass and on the beach for guests to use.
A buffet breakfast was included with our package and it was wonderful. It changed daily and offered both hot and cold food, an egg or waffle station, fresh fruit and drinks. You could tell an effort had been made to include items that would appeal to all nationalities.
The inside of the hotel itself was very beautiful. A waterfall ran down the middle of the hotel and it must have been 3-4 stories tall. Everything was very airy and light.
The staff were always friendly and helpful, we changed rooms after our first night as we could hear construction near by and it was no problem at all. Each night, someone will turn your bed down for you and leave a flower on your pillow.
There are many little restaurants across the street that offer a combination of Indonesian and Western food. The food in the hotel, while good, is expensive and it's worth the little walk across the street. There is a little store as well where you can buy snacks and drinks across the street as well. Further down is a 7-11 type store that has an ATM inside.
A taxi from Tuban, where the hotel is located, will take about 20-25 minutes to reach the Kuta area and will cost you about 40,000 rupiah, including tip. It's not a hassle at all, as you can flag down a taxi on the street in about 2 seconds. Taxis are very inexpensive, however always make sure the meter is on. If you aren't sure, ask.
We loved our first experience in Bali and the Grand Mirage only helped to enhance the experience. Can't wait to go back!
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on December 27, 2002
Jl. Pratama 74
The first time we went, we didn't even realize it was a vegetarian restaurant-and me being vegetarian! My boyfriend is a big meat eater and loved it as well.
We ended up eating at Aromas 3 times during our stay as we loved it so much. We tried many things including the vegetarian tacos and everything was so delicious. The chocolate cake was wonderful, not too sweet.
Also incredible were the juices. This being my first time to Bali, I had never tried watermelon juice. One glass and I was hooked! They also made a wide range of mixed juices, all came with piece of fruit or decorative touches, which was very pretty.
The best thing about Aromas was the atmosphere. In the front was a small cafe style room but in the back was this gorgeous room with water surrounding it. Lots of greenery and flowers, with everything being open air. You felt like you were in a mini tropical island!
Dress was anything goes, it's not a formal place. Bathrooms were also up to par, which is a definate bonus!
Jalan Legian Kelod
Bali, Indonesia 80361
+62 361 751 003; 761
As I don't eat seafood, so we weren't much into going for dinner, but we decided to take a walk along the beach anyway.
The beach is clean, with fishing boats strung all along it. Boats are constantly heading out to pick up the catch of the day for the restaurants that dot the beach.
It's hard to tell where one restaurant starts and one stops! They consist of plastic tables and chairs set up on the beach where you can feast on all sorts of seafood and overlook the water as well.
We decided to have a few drinks at one place and watch the sunset. It was slightly cloudy that day though so the sunset wasn't all that impressive.
Nice atmosphere on Jimbaran bay, quiet and serene and if I ate seafood, I would have enjoyed it even more. It wasn't cheap though, from the looks of the prices but you did get to choose your meal, fresh from the tanks.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on December 27, 2002
We were picked up and before we knew it, we were dropped off to see the Barong dancing--dancers in traditional costumes tell stories using singing and movement. It wasn't something I would have chosen to see, and at CND$20, it was pretty over priced, but it was interesting nonetheless. It was very touristy, which ruins it a bit. I was happy they gave you a little pamphlet on what was happening in each act of the show or it would have been extremely confusing!
Next we were on to the silver village of Celuk and the wood carving village of Mas. We weren't that interested in the jewelery, but my boyfriend has a thing for wood carvings, so he thought he had hit the jackpot! He bought a beautiful carved elephant (and later bought a buffalo, lion, rhino and alligator--it's a zoo at our house!) Make sure that your guide lets you walk around on your own--they like to try to take you to overpriced places where they get commission.
We paid between CND$15-$40 for large animals.
Our next stop was Mount Batur, but on the way we wanted to see the rice terraces. We stopped at this one area to take photos, as it's really quite amazing how the terraces are set up. I'd never seen anything like it before and took a ton of pictures!
We then headed off to see Mount Batur. It was a bit out of the way, but had a beautiful view. There were lots of nice little fruit stands on the way as well, where the fruit is stacked so perfectly. I regret not taking a picture of them! We had lunch at a restaurant looking out over the view--my boyfriend had the buffet, I just had a sandwich.
We then headed into Ubud, where we went to the Monkey Forest. The Monkey Forest is what it sounds like--a forest of wild monkeys! You can buy food to feed them but make sure to hide it or they will be all over you. They can be quite aggressive, so you do want to be careful and never try to touch them. Our guide was good about shooing them away from us when we had too many around us.
After a long day, we headed back to our hotel for a quick swim before bed.
Things you might want to plan for:
A small bus came to pick us up at our hotel at around 2pm and we continued on to pick up other people, then headed to the company headquarters where we boarded a larger bus.
Our first stop was Taman Ayun Temple, the water temple. (No sarong and sash needed for this temple, unlike most others.) This temple symbolizes the union between the sea and the mountains.
We had just started to go in, when we were approached by about 10 children, around the age of 10 wearing shirts that said "English School." They wanted to ask us questions like, "What is your job?", "What is your name?" to practice their English. They were so cute--even though you knew they didn't have a clue what you were saying!
Inside, the guide walked us around the temple. It wasn't all that impressive really, but the grounds were nice as they were beside a river. The guide told us a bit about the temple and then we all reboarded the bus.
Our next stop, after more driving, was Alas Kedaton Temple, a monkey and bat forest. Having been to the Ubud Monkey Forest, we knew what to expect but still really enjoyed it. When you got off the bus, guides greeted you and if you came to look at their stall afterwards, they would take you around. (You have no obligation to buy anything but it's nice to do so.) The girl that took us around was very nice and kept the monkeys away from me (I'm not a huge fan!), but got them to sit on my boyfriend's shoulder and hold his hand. Got some great photos from it!
She also showed us the bats in the trees--actually, I didn't ever see them but after about 5 minutes of her trying to point them out for me, I just lied and said I did!
When you first go into the forest, you can buy yams and tiny bananas to feed the monkeys. They're worth buying even if you just give them to your guide to feed them, it's cute to watch them eat. I highly recommend bringing some sort of antibacterial hand sanitizer (like Purel) for after this sort of thing!
Our last stop was Tanah Lot Temple. Now, had there not been construction and repairs going on at the temple, it would have been a stunning sight. Unfortunately, it was surrounded by cranes and it was hard to get a decent photo. It is only temporary though, as they are reinforcing the cliff the temple is on.
The sunset at Tanah Lot was beautiful though, even if it wasn't the really red ones they are famous for. There are lots of stalls for shopping around it as well, while you are waiting for the sunset and a couple restaurants, which I imagine aren't cheap with a view like that!
Well, if that was a half-day tour, we would have never made it through the full day. If you get even remotely car sick, you may want to try the half-day tour first. Or, as we did later, hire a car and driver. The sights were great but the bus on the bumpy roads is just too much to handle! We were glad we did the tour, but never did any of the other four.
Victoria, British Columbia