Friday, October 29, 2010

Choosing a Holiday in Bali

Before leaving for your holiday in Bali, you must decide the type of holiday you want. If you just want to relax by the beach and get away from it all, just book yourself into a beach hotel and spent all your time there. There are several popular beach areas, all in southern Bali, around the Airport. Kuta is the most popular and thus crowded and has plenty of nightlife. Nearby, Jimbaran is less crowded and famous for sea-food restaurants. Sanur is less popular and is less hectic. Nusa Dua is more exclusive with plenty of luxurious hotels and hence the most expensive area. Then there are those who go for mainly sight seeing in Bali or for the art scene and culture and I suppose the majority of the tourists are somewhere in-between, combining both sand and sight seeing.

For doing this, there are 3 main choices. 1. Take an all-inclusive package tour where everything is arranged for you but you have no choice in what to see. 2. Hire a car and self-drive around Bali where you are in complete control but may have to endure some chaotic traffic. 3. Lastly, get a car with a local driver where you can decide where you want to go and without all the stress of driving in a strange land. But you'll need to do some planning for the last two options to minimise the driving time and maximise the numbers of sights to take in.

For my holiday, I opted for the last choice. (Actually my daughter decided for me since this trip was arranged by her, I just tagged along and enjoyed the free ride!) She has booked rooms in the Puri Sindhu Mertha Suite in Sanur that comes with a free use of a car and driver for a day for each room booked and you can pay for any extra days to extend this service. Also, this is only for day use and night use is extra. I cannot remember the price but it is best to check on their
website here and I believe there are many hotels that have this kind of arrangement. (This hotel is differenct from the Puri Sindhu Mertha Guesthouse further down the road that has more rooms and less exclusive, same management though.)

This is a smallish boutique hotel in a quiet part of Sanur (near a scuba driving centre) with only 9 rooms and a family suite and all are facing a swimming pool right in the middle. No crowd and great for relaxing.

The included breakfast is very simple and basic but location is good for exploring the major tourist sights in Bali. The NPV provided was fairly new and thus very comfortable and good for sleeping in between sights!

OK enough about the hotel, so back to my travel story. The driver was waiting for us at the airport when we arrived and we went straight to Jimbaran for dinner before checking into the hotel. Since we did not specify any restaurant, the driver took us to Aroma Cafe, so probably not the cheapest in Jimbaran Bay. Nevertheless, the food was fresh and good but we could not sit out on the beach as it was drizzling and the wind was very strong. Liked the orange juice (the green skin type) since it has a tinge of lemongrass. After dinner we headed for the hotel and rested for tomorrow's full day outing.

Ronald Kwok

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Introduction to Bali

Look like the island of Bali is a very popular destination with local travellers here so I guess it is time that I start a Blog to share my experience on this enchanting island which I visited during February this year. This will give an idea of the main sights to those planning for a holiday there.

This is just a summary of the main places that I visited; more details in my forthcoming posts. This trip was partly sponsored by my daughter (she did all the arrangement) and I travelled with her, her bf and my wife. This is a self-arranged (3 nights stay) shopping and sight seeing holiday minus the beaches and clubbing, just a relaxing get away with a driver and MPV that came with the hotel package. You tell the driver where you want to go for the day and he does the rest with some of his suggestions added in.

Here is the summary. Arrival in Bali in late evening by Air Asia (who else?) and seafood dinner in Jimbaran.

Checked into hotel (Puri Sindhu Mertha Suite) in relatively quiet Sanur for the night.

Day 1
Visit woodcarving factory in Mas, coffee and spice plantation in Tampaksiring en route to Penelokan for volcano view.

Visit rice paddy terrace at Tegalalang, shopping in Ubud followed by temple (still trying to recall the name of the temple) visit near Ubud. Back to hotel via Denpasar to experience the chaotic traffic there.

Day 2
Shopping in Sukawati followed by crispy duck lunch amidst paddy fields in Ubud.

Long drive to hill resort of Bedugul before returning to Tanah Lot for sunset.

Day 3
Ladies visited spa while I visited temple and beach at Sanur.

More shopping en route to Uluwatu and sampled the beach at Kuta before leaving for airport.

I will give more details in my later posts. On the whole, Bali is a very interesting island for a holiday that you can tailor-make to suit your taste.

Ronald Kwok