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Posted by - BT on April 10, 2006 at 6:57 pm:
Despite extreme government travel warnings, negativity from friends and work colleagues (“you’re crazy going” etc) and indeed negativity from this website (corrupt police official, shonky travel agents, hotels ripping off staff etc my wife and we have just returned from three and a half glorious weeks in Bali.
This was our third trip to Bali the last being in 2002 a few months prior to the first bombing.
We booked some accommodation through the Internet and used a local travel agent for other accommodation. We flew Qantas and Australian Airlines, and we were impressed with our first time with AA. I was however, unimpressed with the sanctimonious comments made by our local travel agent towards my wife’s apprehension in travelling to Bali and given a stuff up with hotel transfers and non delivery of a dinner and spa package at one of the hotels, they won’t get my business again.
We thought tourist numbers appeared down in most areas we visited and it was a rarity to come across an Aussie in the areas we stayed – mainly German, French and Dutch. Lovina (around Kalibukbuk in particular) was like a “ghost town”. Perhaps everyone was just staying in their hotel !?. We caught up with Gloria, the Director of Crisis Care (we brought over a suit case of clothes and medical supplies donated by two local pharmacies in Adelaide) who showed us around Lovina and environs and we were shocked to see the number of business closures and lack of tourists in the streets. Anyone going to Lovina should consider taking old clothes and other items for donation to Bali CCF. They really appreciate it.
The frequent questions from the locals were, “has Australia still got a travel warning”, “why?” “tell your friends Bali is safe”. Of course Bali is not safe, as like anywhere in the world, attacks can and do occur. Notwithstanding, we both felt very comfortable and safe travelling around but did noticed the high level of security at hotels and selected restaurants and in particular the Ngurah Rai Airport on departure for Australia – security included body checks prior to boarding our Qantas flight.
All in all a wonderful relaxing and enjoyable three weeks holiday.
Thank you to the people on this Forum for providing informative comments which helped greatly in planning the trip.
Agung Bali Nirwana Villa and Spa (Sambirenteng)
This accommodation came highly recommended and was one of two villas recommended on this website.
There were so many accolades given to this place by people on this Forum that I just had to try it. I didn’t let my wife know where we were going (it was my turn this year to arrange the anniversary), other than going to north Bali and I must say that the place lived up to all the “hype”.
It is truly a great place to relax and enjoy the “real” Bali. All the staff are genuinely friendly and professional. The walks through the village of Sambirenteng 300 metres or so up the road was always an interesting and enjoyable experience, talking to the locals and even visiting the local school on one occasion.
Our final night at the Villas was our anniversary and I organised a seafood dinner with the chef and I have to say that the effort all the staff went to in creating a memorable romantic evening surpassed anything I could have imagined.
If there is anything negative about the place it is that the beach would only really appeal to a Brit who is used to going to Brighton beach in Kent. But I guess being an Aussie and where I live I am spoilt with great white sandy beaches. However, don’t let this put you off going.
I also need to point out that the Villas are extensively tiled in beautiful marble. Be warned however that marble is very slippery when wet and bare feet as one fall on my back in the shower, my wife slipping on the patio (fractured thumb) and me a slip off the veranda into the fish pond, much to the interest of the fish, can attest to.
Puri Bagus (Lovina)
A very comfortable hotel with nice staff located in Pemeron between Kalibukbuk and Singaraja.
The hotel was less that half booked during our 6 day stay, which the hotel manager was pleased with. Most of the guests seemed to be Europeans.
The beach is grey sand and unfortunately swimming in the sea was not recommended due to broken coral and sea urchins. But with a great pool, swim up bar was not operating, why bother with the sea !
Tegal Sari (Ubud)
Another hotel with many Forum accolades and for the price I can see why. We had Room 10, and I would recommend booking rooms on the first floor to enjoy the rice field views from the balcony.
The small hotel rambles through rice fields and is located in Padang Tegal just out of Ubud near Monkey Forest (it’s about a 20 minute walk into the centre of Ubud)
The hotel has friendly and efficient staff, provides nice simple meals (an adequate breakfast is included in the room price) and free transport into the heart of Ubud. What more can you ask for for the price?
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED - for great value.
Puri Santrian (Sanur)
This was our first time in Sanur and we enjoyed the slower pace to the Kuta/Legian scene.
The hotel was reportedly 60% occupied and again Europeans were the major guests. The hotel is quite large with three swimming pools – a great swim up bar - with plenty of sun lounges for all, a great Spa (according to my wife), nice food and a great beach location.
We had an ocean view room which was very comfortable and well priced.
The hotel has absolute beach frontage with plenty of lounges both under shade and in the sun for guests.
We didn’t have breakfast in our package and ate locally on the beach (which we generally prefer)
RECOMMENDED – comfortable and very good value
Warung Bumbu – Lovina (Pemeron)
This little gem is about 50 metres up the road from the Puri Bagus. I don’t think I have ever had food presented so well. It is just magnificent. Price and quality are very good. If in Lovina, I would suggest you try it
Café Tegal – Padang Tegal Ubud
A very cheap and good quality café (our third time) not far from Tegal Sari.
Warung Enak - Padang Tegal Ubud
Just around the corner from Tegal Sari and very good food and moderately priced.
Dirty Duck - Padang Tegal Ubud
Only had drinks there but was most impressed with the setting
Casa Luna – Jalan Raya Ubud
Second time this time for lunch, which was very nice and reasonably priced. Had a great papaya and lime tart with meringue topping !
Lotus Pond – Jalan Raya Ubud
Fabulous setting – bit more upmarket price wise. Worth a visit just to sit and look at the lotus pond..
Donald’s – On the beach Sanur
Cheap and nice food – had breakfast there each day
Mezzanine - Jalan Danau Tamblingan Sanur
Expensive but nice Thai food.
The Village – Sanur
Upmarket Italian moderately price. Had a great pizza
THINGS WE LIKED
Meeting and talking to the locals, the food, the sense of relaxation, visiting new places, shopping, just being there.
THINGS WE DIDN’T LIKE
Seeing so few tourists, leaving to come home to work to save for the next visit!