Bali 2014 – Day 1 – Returning to our home away from home

Friday 7 November 2014 – Here we go again!

Welcome Home - to our home away from Home.  Join us as we spend 16 days exploring the familiar and enjoying the gentle spirit the Balinese people radiate

Welcome Home – to our home away from Home. Join us as we spend 16 days exploring the familiar and enjoying the gentle spirit the Balinese people radiate

Not content with just seeing Bali once this year we decided to return.  I mean can you ever get enough of this amazing little piece of paradise?  The side effect of a bad day at work = me jumping on Garuda Airlines website and booking a return trip to Bali for the wife and I.

In November we spent an amazing 16 days in Bali and had so many amazing experiences, proving that even returning to the familiar can give you a new experience and a new feeling.

Join with us over the next 16 days as I chronicle our journey – sorry if I get a little wordy…..

As a rare treat for this holiday we chose to fly “full-service” and booked with Garuda Indonesia Airlines for our flight from Brisbane to Bali.  Departed Brisbane airport at 9am and arrived safe and sound in Bali at about 2pm.

Never having flown Garuda before we were both a little nervous and excited to see what the service would be like.  Having flown Air Asia almost exclusively for the past 6 years we have all but forgotten what a full-service airline is like.  And I can honestly say that Garuda out of Brisbane was a refreshing treat.  We also haven’t eaten so much on a flight ever!

Garuda Inflight Meal service was quite good.  Lunch was a Chicken Curry, with a potato salad, cheese & crackers, with a chocolate cake for dessert. Who needs that much for lunch?

Garuda Inflight Meal service was quite good. Lunch was a Chicken Curry, with a potato salad, cheese & crackers, with a chocolate cake for dessert. Who needs that much for lunch?

Once we were all boarded we were given a nice cup of orange juice to enjoy while we taxied out to the runway.  After take-off was a packet of peanuts to enjoy with a drink service (alcohol included).  Then after a short while lunch was served.  I can’t speak highly enough of Garuda – the other tip: flying out of Brisbane the plane is never 100% full, due to some load restrictions.  Meaning you are usually guaranteed of getting a spare seat next to you allowing you room to stretch out.

Australia from above - the size of our little island can't really be comprehended until you see it from 35,000ft.

Australia from above – the size of our little island can’t really be comprehended until you see it from 35,000ft.

Flight was uneventful, no turbulence and good weather – having the window seat gave us the chance to enjoy the stunning vistas that Australia presents from the air.  Our country produces some truly spectacular scenery and you can’t help but marvel at the colours and patterns.

Our flight landed on time at 2:00pm, now to those who have landed in Bali before you will know that 2pm can be a seriously busy time to be in the arrivals hall.  We were well prepared for at least a 1-2 hour wait.  Breezed through the Visa-On-Arrival (VOA) counter and joined the queue for the immigration counter.  Surprisingly the line moved pretty quick, I know the Indonesian Government has been trying to improve their reputation and the arrivals experience for tourists and I can say it was pretty good.

Arrivals in Denpasar Airport - usually a source of frustration - but just remember - you are in Bali - relax.

Arrivals in Denpasar Airport – usually a source of frustration – but just remember – you are in Bali – relax.

Once past immigration we collected our bags and grabbed a taxi.  All up from arrivals to sitting in our taxi was 50minutes which is a pretty good time (and to be honest quicker than what you will experience coming into an Australian Airport).

Tip: If you are looking for the taxi counter when leaving the airport it is to the left as you exit the customs area, just a small table before you head through the DUFRY store.

It is a pretty amazing feeling pulling out of the Airport – you are back in Bali – and it is time to relax.  Don’t let the traffic get you down, don’t worry about anything, just start to shift into Bali-time.


Bali Holiday Part Deux – The Plan

Our plan over the next 16 days is to relax and enjoy our time, not a lot planned just going to take life as it comes:

  1. Legian – 4 nights
  2. Amed –  3 nights
  3. Ubud – 4 nights
  4. Sanur – 5 nights

LEGIAN

Taxi made good time and we pulled into our hotel in Legian – All Seasons Hotel – we have stayed here before and rate the hotel very highly.  For the price you can’t beat it, we booked a Deluxe Room – located on the ground floor with a nice sitting area and an outdoor shower.

When we arrived however our room wasn’t ready so they gave us the use of another room until our room was ready.  Nice enough room – it was the Family Room up on the 1st floor.  Nice room but we would still prefer the Deluxe Room for the nice outdoor shower.

By now it was time to head out for our customary sunset drink at Legian Beach and on the way to stock up on the essentials (Bali SIM Card for mobiles and make a reservation for a massage tomorrow).

Pre-Dinner Drinks: Crystal Beach Bar

Over the past few years we have enjoyed our sunset drinks at Crystal Palace Beach Bar so that was naturally the place we would head to get our holiday off to a good start.  Unfortunately it looks like it has changed hands since we were there last and the service has slipped a little, they also no longer offer “Happy-Hour” Cocktails which means that the drinks are a bit more expensive.  Nice enough place but probably not our new #1 sunset drink location.

We stayed for a couple of Cocktails, some Calamari and French Fries – and of course that sunset, even on a cloudy day there is usually a glimmer of that little disc of light as it drops below the horizon.

The beach area around Jalan Double Six is full of beach bars, each afternoon the beanbags come out and you can relax while watching the sunset.

The beach area around Jalan Double Six is full of beach bars, each afternoon the beanbags come out and you can relax while watching the sunset.

After drinks we hopped a taxi to Carrefour on Jl Sunset to stock up on the actual “essentials” – toiletries and snacks etc.  Afterwards we headed home to drop off our wares and move to our “proper” room.  By this time our room was ready.

Deluxe Room - Not huge but enough space to spread out.  Bed is quite firm but very comfortable

Deluxe Room – Not huge but enough space to spread out. Bed is quite firm but very comfortable

The bathroom bench/vanity is not massive - you will likely have to take turns getting ready.  Enough space for your toiletries etc.

The bathroom bench/vanity is not massive – you will likely have to take turns getting ready. Enough space for your toiletries etc.

The outdoor shower.  Don't worry there is a roof to protect your modesty.  Suitable water pressure and a lovely large area.  Plenty of room also to dry off your towel and beach towels etc.

The outdoor shower. Don’t worry there is a roof to protect your modesty. Suitable water pressure and a lovely large area. Plenty of room also to dry off your towel and beach towels etc.

We quickly popped down the road to Warung Yogya for a bite to eat before heading to bed.  If you have “travelled” with us on the blog before you will know we have a particular soft spot for Warung Yogya.  These ladies work their absolute backsides off and the quality of meals they produce from their small little kitchen is quite remarkable.  Simple fare and friendly service (although sometimes a little direct and to the point).   We had 2 Nasi Goreng Ayam as well as 2 drinks for the tidy sum of 60,000IDR ($6AUD).

The only thing is that unfortunately the internet has clued onto Warung Yogya, meaning it is often busy – you may have a wait for a table, given there are only about 5-6 tables in the Warung.  But I can assure you it is worth the wait.  This is not Haute Cuisine it is just real Balinese meals and probably the closest you will get to a nice home-cooked meal in Bali.


That wrapped it up for the day, thanks for following along and I hope you enjoyed the post.  Stick with us over the next few weeks as I continue to recap our fantastic journey through Bali (for the second time of 2014….).

Please feel free to leave a comment if you enjoyed the post and also if you want any more information about anything you have read today – or Bali in general.  Thanks again and see you tomorrow.

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