A February 2006 trip
to Bali by beautysan
Quote: This is an extreme trip, staying in an exclusive hill resort one day, and stay at the rock-bottom price guest house on the other. Both ways, Bali is full of fun and sun.
Balinese food - Babi guling (roasted pork rice) and Bebek Bengil (dirty duck). Very tasty! Most of all, Balinese smiles. People are very friendly and helpful there. They provide top-notch service with top of the world smiles. You'll love them and wonder why terrorism could ever happen to people as lovely as them?!
We were very lucky to be able to grab the great deal from Komaneka ; a 2-day, 1-night stay at Komaneka Tanggayuda that only cost $185 (this promotion is no longer valid now). For this great price, we got the best room of the resort (the valley pool villa), where we had a private villa with spectacular view of the valley from our plunge pool and gazebo—privacy guaranteed. The interior of the villa consists of typical Balinese furnishings; like the four-poster, king-size bed, and comfortable daybed. There is also a CD and DVD player, and we could borrow CD or DVD from the resort library. The washroom is huge, it can probably fit one and a half bedrooms in my apartment. There are two vanities, one dressing table, one shower, one toilet, separated into two more rooms.
The most attractive of all is the hand-carved volcanic stone bathtub for two, right beside the lotus pond (separated by a glass window to prevent mosquitoes from coming in). The water in the bathtub was delightfully scented with frangipani flower petals right when we checked into the room. Absolutely wonderful!! The resort also provide free shuttle service to and from Ubud at certain time, and free tickets to Neka museum and tour to white heron village. In the afternoon we just relaxed by the hotel infinity pool looking down at the valley, with free afternoon tea and local cakes. The flawless service and the perfect setting of this resort made our stay the most memorable and pampering one in this trip.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 29, 2006
Komaneka at Tanggayuda
Banjar Tanggayuda, Kedewatan, Ubud
+62 361 978123
Hotel | "Blue Point Bay Villa & Spa"
Room rates vary from a $120 standard studio, to a $680 presidential ocean view villa. The staff here is very friendly as well. We just visited the villa to spend the time gap before the ideal time for sunset at Uluwatu temple. However, the staff happily showed us around and showered us with more information than we need! For this, I must compliment their enthusiasm and we do appreciate their kindness very much.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 29, 2006
BluePoint Bay Villas & Spa
+62 361 769 888
The hotel provides free airport transfers, as well as free transport to the seafood restaurant at Jimbaran Beach. However, for the latter, the Bali Summer driver dropped us off at a designated restaurant in Jimbaran Bay and the restaurant charged us a commission for the driver, on top of the food price (this is just my guess, as it was not written anywhere on the bill). The driver got a free meal, and then he waited for us to finish dinner and drive us back to the hotel. For the convenience, I guess I shouldn't complain. It also saved us trouble on deciding which restaurant to go to because Jimbaran Bay has countless seafood restaurants by the beach offering exactly the same menu.
Overall, I would recommend Bali Summer hotel for the strategic location and good value.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 10, 2006
Bali Summer Hotel
Jalan Pantai Kuta No. 38
+62 361 751503
We stayed at Dewangga Homestay, the cheapest category of Dewangga Bungalows, which cost us only Rp140000 per night for a double room with ensuite facility and hot shower, breakfast included. There is only fan in the room and mosquito coils are provided. The room is basic but comfortable. What I like most is the patio outside the room, where we could relax and laze around on the bamboo arm chair. The only complaint I have was that we had to share the toilet with a huge army of black ants at night. However, they vanished on its own in the morning. Weird!
The friendly staff at Dewangga Bungalows also made the stay a true Balinese experience.
Jalan Dewi Sita
Hotel | "Sayang Maha Mertha"
I wouldn't recommend the Ratna room to anyone. However, they do have other types of room with higher prices that might be in better condition.
Member Rating 1 out of 5 on September 10, 2006
Sayang Maha Merta Beach Hotel
Jl Melasti, Lebak bene Legian Kelod Kuta
+62 361 751 249
Restaurant | "Bumbu Bali Restaurant"
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on May 24, 2006
Jl. Pratama, Matahari Terbit Bungalow
The specialty of this warung (hawker stall) is the nasi babi guling (roast suckling pig).This dish is an all-in-one platter of rice with pork meat, fried pork skin, pig intestines, gizzet, and vegetables. This dish is not recommended for people who do not eat pork.
For pork eaters, this is the mother of all pork dishes. The pork meat is nicely marinated and very tender. The fried pork skin is very crispy and delicious. Finger licking good!
This shop is loved by the locals and tourists alike. The atmosphere is very casual, everyone sits on the floor, sharing a long low table while Ibu Oka, the owner of the stall I presume, shaves the tender juicy meat off the pig hanging on the kitchen.
Highly recommended just for the experience of a local food stall, and also for the lovely pork dish! Most of all, the food and drinks combined will only set you back around Rp30000 or less.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 26, 2006
Babi Guling Ibu Oka
Jalan Suweta/Tegal Sari No. 2
Restaurant | "Bebek Bengil Restaurant"
This restaurant also prides itself on having the most unique ambience in the whole of Bali. It was built right next to a padi field, with open air huts spread out near the padi field and lotus ponds. The huts have low tables where we sat on the floor with many comfortable pillows to enjoy our meal, and the scenery. To get a place at the limited huts, reservation is highly recommended. Other than the sit-on-the-floor huts, there is also another section with cafe style decor, and another section with daybeds and sofas for pre-dinner cocktail. There is also live traditional music performances at one corner. This place looks amazing, especially during sunset, as the footpath around the restaurant to the padi field will be lit up with oil lamps. This restaurant has become a tourist attraction. Do pay a visit there, if not for the food, for the beautiful place.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 28, 2006
After our trekking, on the way back to our resort, we stopped at one high-end resort to check out the interior and spa. We picked Royal Pita Maha Resort and Kirana spa, which is right next to the resort. This resort was incredibly large, from the top of the hill all the way down to the Ayung River valley below. The view was splendid. The price per room was also magnificent—it'll burn a hole in your pocket. Maybe it was the low season for the resort and spa, the staff in both resort and spa was very friendly, courteously showed us around the resort and explained to us the facilities, hoping that we would come back to the resort one day as their guests. Especially worth a visit is Kirana Spa, the mother of all luxurious spas. The spa is as big as a small hotel, you have to see it to believe it! It is definitely a good place to splurge when you need a little bit of pampering.
From Royal Pita Maha, we cycled uphill all the way back to Tanggayuda, where we branched out from the main road to the padi field. We jumped down from our bicycle and took a leisurely walk around the padi field just to soak in the atmosphere of a Balinese village.
The whole journey took us around 4 hours, including the stops in between. If we had more time in our hands, we would love to cycle a little bit more and explore more resorts along the Ayung river, which are all the luxurious resorts and offering magnificent views of Ayung river valley.
Unlike my usual tight travel schedule, I decided to slow down to Balinese pace this time and only visit a couple of sights each day. We started out to visit the Four Seasons Resort in Jimbaran, en route to Uluwatu. There was a strict security check at the entrance to Four Seasons due to the recent bombing within the vicinity. We got in all right and had a look around the luxurious resort. The staff were all very friendly and made us feel really welcomed although they did realize we are not guests of the hotel. I even received a little souvenir flower from the little girl who dressed in traditional Balinese dance attire.
After Four Seasons, we drove to Tirtha Bali where my dream wedding location is. Tirtha Bali did look as good as what I've seen in magazines, if not better. It has a glass chapel overlooking the Indian Ocean below. It was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful.
We still had some time to kill before sunset and the Kecak Dance show in Uluwatu, so we visited some other small hotels around that area. We headed to Uluwatu around 5pm to stroll around the temple first. Do beware of monkeys when you go to Uluwatu as the monkeys are more cunning than snatch thieves! They snatch away whatever that can be removed from you, cabs, glasses, even cameras! Some of the monkeys are as big as a dog! No kidding!
Perched on top of a cliff with magnificent view of the open sea, Uluwatu has the perfect location to house the Kecak Dance performance. The show starts at 6pm everyday. If you only decide to watch one cultural performance in Bali, this should be it! I would recommend watching the show in Uluwatu because the open-air theatre here did really make the show even more interesting, especially when you can watch the beautiful sunset over Uluwatu while enjoying the show. It was cheaper too, as compared to Ubud.
After the Kecak dance show, we headed to Tanjung Benoa for a famous Balinese restaurant - Bumbu Bali. From my opinion, I think this restaurant is totally overrated. It was a complete waste of time to detour all the way to this part of the island for the overpriced yet disappointing food in Bumbu Bali.
Made brought us safely back to our guesthouse in Legian for the night, where our nightmarish accommodation experience was about to begin...
During low tide, visitors could walk to the island from the shore and receive a blessing ritual from the priest, of course, with a price.
From Tanah Lot, we continued our journey to Tegalallang to see the tiered padi fields on hills. It was not worth the trouble to go all the way to see this. I would recommend to skip this. Our next stop was Ubud, where we had one of our best meal in Bali - roasted pig rice. This humble shop was recommended to us by our driver Made.
Ubud is a relaxing village filled with artists. There are many world-class hill resorts around this area. Central Ubud which is bustling with handicraft market/shops, nice cafes/restaurants is best covered by foot. Souvenir shopping in Ubud is very rewarding. It is the cheapest in Bali and full of varieties, definitely a heaven for shopaholics. Ubud also boasts of many Balinese spas that fit every budget, from the very high end Kirana Spa to low key spas even backpackers can afford.
Of all the places I visited in Bali, I love Ubud the most. The unmistakably Balinese relaxed pace is felt here, even in bustling Central Ubud. Just 1 or 2km outside the town centre, lush green countryside welcomed us with open arms. I would definitely return to Bali again, not for the sights, but for the lovely people, the relaxing atmosphere, and for the love of Balinese handicraft!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia