Day 1: Welcome to Bali – The Hotel and Surrounds
Needing to escape for a while, Bali was a strange choice – usually we shy away from places that are party Islands, or to touristy – but we thought on this occasion we would try out Bali.
Leaving Brisbane at the very considerate hour of 10:15am, we flew Virgin Australia airlines – now I was a little concerned about this flight, the general consensus is that the flight from Brisbane isn’t good with Poor In-Flight facilities. I guess having flown a few ‘questionable’ airlines around the world has pre-disposed me to accepting some small failings on an airline, or the Virgin flight just wasn’t that bad.
For those who are worried, basically there is no In-Flight Entertainment system, but let’s be honest – most travellers now are moving around this planet with more technology than what took Man to the moon (RIP Neil Armstrong) – just take your iPhone / iPad / Android Tablet / NetBook; or for those old traditionalists – take a book and a Magazine!
The flight from Brisbane is only about 6 hours so really you shouldn’t need that much food, they do have the usual in-flight meal snacks (I am convinced that every time I fly Virgin Australia the in-flight menu gets smaller and smaller). You can also just bring along your own snacks. Water / Coffee and Tea are all provided Free of charge.
The Arrival – Bali – Ngurah Rai International Airport
What a feeling stepping off the plane and hitting that wall of 28oC heat, such a nice feeling – quickly reminds you that you are back in Asia! Bali’s temperature is quite pleasant.
The first thing that will strike you is the sheer volume of Australian Travellers here, being so close to Australia means it is an obvious destination – also being so close to Perth, it is practically a domestic flight!
For those who haven’t been to Bali before, the procedure is that once you land you have to line up and purchase a Visa On Arrival (VOA) – which is $26 AUD. And then you move onwards and go through immigration. Some very enterprising people around who will help you “skip” the lines if you are prepared to grease their palms a little bit. Technically speaking this procedure is illegal – so we just took the slow line and waiting.
Having experienced the Kuala Lumpur Low Cost Carrier Terminal – this airport was the mark of efficiency.
Total time from Arrival to sitting in our hotel was only 1 hour 30 minutes so really it isn’t that much of an impasse. I can appreciate however if you have children that it might be easier to pay the extra to get through quicker.
Through Customs we exchanged some money
Just as a quick note on Money changing – google Money changing and Bali and every man has tips and advice. Just go to reputable looking places, don’t always hunt for the best price because chances are those offering amazing rates will grift a little bit through some amazing sleight of hand. If they are offering higher than the wholesale rate then it may not be the best!
Out of the airport we met our awaiting Driver and moved to our hotel.
The Hotel – All Seasons Legian, Jl Padma Utara
After a reasonably quick drive from the airport we arrived at our first hotel. Our plan is to spend 5 nights down in Legian and then 6 nights up in Ubud. Our hotel in Legian is the All Seasons – which I believe is due to change it’s name shortly to the Ibis Hotel. The hotel is located on a small (yet busy) street which runs along the western border of the Padma Hotel (a hotel which from the outside appears to be almost as big as Bali itself!).
We had originally booked a Superior room, however the hotel graciously upgraded us to one of their 29 Deluxe rooms. The deluxe rooms are located on Ground Floor and each has a Terrace/Porch that opens onto the pool area and features a lovely outdoor shower (which thankfully has laserlite roofing to ensure privacy whilst you are showering!).
The hotel has all the amenities you really need for your stay in Bali, it is clean and comfortable; an ample breakfast buffet and friendly attentive staff. It is also fantastic value.
So after dropping our bags and getting settled we jumped in a Taxi and headed out to find a supermarket to stock up on the essentials for our time in Bali. The popular destination for stocking up is Carrefour; located along Jl Sunset it is a great place to stock up on all the snacks and other “essentials” you will need for your stay. I use the word “essentials” lightly there as by the volume of product the wife was dropping into the shopping basket in each aisle I am pretty sure she was shopping for the apocalypse. That said it is great value and you can literally buy almost everything and anything in this massive place.
Just as a note on Taxi Cabs in Bali – the main company is Blue Bird Taxi they are all meter taxis and their fares are quite reasonable for the journey times. When you jump in just make sure the driver turns on the meter and if he doesn’t just jump out and tell the driver you will wait for someone with a meter (quite often their meters magically start working). All the drivers we struck on our holiday were lovely, very polite and knowledgable about where we needed to go. And from my limited navigational knowledge of Bali it seemed like we didn’t get taken on too many long out of the way drives. As a result for most of them we left a small tip to thank them. As a tip though make sure you keep hold of your small currency – most journeys will only be between 15,000 and 30,000 – most drivers wont be able to supply you with much change.
All stocked up on supplies we returned to the hotel. Now if you thought the pool area looked amazing by day wait till you see it lit up at night. It was such an amazing sight – the hotel really has a wonderful relaxing atmosphere about it.
The next order of business for the evening would be dinner – I can’t believe we spend 3 hours in Carrefour it is really quite worrying. For our first dinner in Bali we thought we would splurge a little bit, having read almost every review and forum post about Bali one place well recommended is Mozarrella Restaurant and Bar. They have 3 restaurants – one of Jl Padma in Legian, the other Mozzarella by the Sea located on Jl Padma Utara overlooking the beach and a third in the Magani Hotel (this is the newest of the three).
The service is impeccable, every waiter took the time to learn our names and to greet us with a genuine smile and interest. The restuarant was quite busy and we obviously did not have a reservation yet this was of no trouble for the staff who found us a lovely table. We ordered a couple of Cocktails to start (2 for 1 made the decision quite easy) – and then ordered three courses. The food was amazing and exceptionally well priced for the quality and the presentation.
- Long Island Iced Tea – 89k (2 for 1)
- Entree: Seafood Wontons – 35k
- Entree: Spring Rolls – 35k
- Mains: Creamy Garlic Prawns – 89k
- Mains: Surf & Turf (Steak and Prawns) – 89k
I must apologise for no pictures – in our haste to eat neither of us actually thought to bring along a camera to dinner! Total price for the meal and drinks was only approximately 500,000 IDR
Well that was the end of our first half-day in Bali. Tomorrow will be a day of exploring and discovery – getting our footing and bearings in this lovely part of the world.