|After a frantic race to win the femail.com.au - Free
Womens E-mail Centre and online lifestyle magazine competition, I
finally got the call to tell me I had won!! A trip to Bali was mine!
A mad rush to organise passports and childcare and then we were ready
to go. My husband and I had researched the internet for any information
we could find on Bali. We found a great resource at BALI travel FORUM --
Bali, Indonesia which helped us prepare.
We left Brisbane on 20th November and were looked after extremely
well by Garuda Airlines and when we arrived in Denpassar I was very
excited. It was a huge shock to step into the hot, muggy air at customs!
There was quite a wait at customs but once through, the site to see
outside was worth it! There were hundreds of drivers all holding cards
up looking for their customers. By a stroke of luck our driver from Bali
Tours was waiting for us and immediately took our bags and led us to the
To experience the traffic in Bali is something else! It is absolute
chaos! Although it is the 'norm' for the Balinese, so we just sat back
and sunk in the sights. It was quite a culture shock to see the poorly
made roads and we had to remind ourselves that we were in a third world
country. The contrasts were obvious though, passing littered streets and
then being faced with beautiful temples.
Straight to Hard Rock Hotel-Bali and we were amazed by it's size! We
were promptly signed in and walked into our air conditioned room. The
room was quite pleasant with french doors leading out to the VIP pool.
We decided to dump our bags and get straight into it. :)
We headed to the local supermarket (Matahari's) to stock up on a few
supplies and exchange some money. The going rate was around $1AU -
4900Rph. My first thought while trying to walk through the streets was
that the hawkers were really bad. But looking back on it, it was simply
that we had never before encountered hawkers in our lives. After a day
or two these hawkers did not hassle us at all. In fact we enjoyed many
joke filled chats with the locals just sitting in the streets with them
or over a drink.
We explored the shops and decided that we were ready for a swim! It
doesn't take long to be soaked in sweat in Bali. :) The pool was divine
and very private. It became one of our favourite places to be after a
night out with a belly full of Jam Jars or Bintangs. Mind you we were
quiet, it was after all, morning! :)
We hired a driver for a day and went to Celuk to a silver making
factory which was quite interesting but I was more interested in the
local markets. So off to Ubud markets to do some shopping. Ubud was much
cheaper than Kuta and we enjoyed walking the streets. I also found the
bartering easier and prices cheaper than Kuta. Although no matter where
you went,things were cheap!
We continued on to see the famous Kintamani volcano where we had
lunch. We had decided against the Monkey forest simply because we were
feeling a tad under the weather from the night before! Then we were off
through a maze of countryside to see the wonderful terraced rice fields.
I got several photos of these. I have never seen such greenery and the
patterns were just amazing.
We passed through so many small villages and it was just a great
experience. On the way back to Kuta we got caught up in a traffic jam.
Everyone just got out of their cars to chat in the middle of the road!
The hold up was a truck unloading building supplies for roadworks. It
was women unloading the truck by hand and to see the rocks and things
they carried on their heads was unbelievable.
We did a lot of wandering the streets at night just soaking in the
atmosphere. We visited the Bounty Restaurant several nights because we
liked the staff and the surroundings. The $2 (1 litre!!) cocktails were
unreal. Our dinner was fantastic and the service was even better. The
whole night only cost us approx $25AU and that was a three course meal,
garlic bread and a couple of cocktails each. We had breakfast at the
Bali Aussie and for only $3AU we both had eggs, bacon, sausage, tomato,
toast, juice and coffee!
We found that the Hard Rock Deli made fantastic cappuccinos and
croissants to die for. Also the most delectable cakes. :) I thought it
was quite cheap too. ( $2AU for cappucino and $2.50AU for huge
We were not hassled by hawkers on the beach, if anything they were
very friendly and accepted very quickly when we said no. We only used
the blue metered taxis and the cost was next to nothing to get around
town. I think we paid approx $1AU.
We purchased heaps of Playstation games and are pleased to say that
they work perfectly. :) The games ranged from 5000Rph - 8000Rph ($1-$2).
We got ours from Mataharis. On advice from the Bali Forum we took two
empty suitcases and yes they were bulging on our return!
The Hard Rock Hotel offered plenty to do but was very expensive. So
we only drank at their bar twice and the band playing was pretty good.
We dined at the Hard Rock Cafe on the first night and I thought it was
quite reasonably priced (although expensive for Bali) . The service was
good as was the atmosphere. I made frequent use of the hotel's internet
service to contact the kids back home and it was cheap for what I wanted
Before we knew it, it was time to leave and I admit that I was looking
forward to getting home and seeing the kids. :) Bali is a wonderful
place to experience and see the things you are always hearing about, but
for us it's not our 'paradise'. I think we may have felt different if we
took the kids with us though. :) Also we didn't get to see as much of
Bali as we would have liked but we were simply a bit strapped for cash.
:) If we went again I'd like to stay in a traditional hotel and
experience more of the culture.
Before we left I decide to get one film developed. I took a photo of
my hubby on the hotel bed covered in money. For a couple of days we were
actually millionaires!! (thanks to the Rph!!)
I agree that for people who want to party then Kuta is the place!
Thanks to the Bali Forum for all the advice and thanks to
Femail.com.au for letting us experience Bali.