For those who do not know me, I am Claire-Marie’s brother (I’ll refer to her as CM) who just spent a week off at Uni to go visit my sister and Duncan, and to have a great time in Bali. I have never written a blog, so I hope this is still as interesting and informative to read as CM and Duncan’s blogs!
So after a 19 hour flight with a 2 hour layover in Qatar airport, we figured it would be a best to rest up in ‘The Sun Hotel & Spa‘ which is near Legian beach in Kuta where we will be staying for a week. They have a private swimming pool which is nice and warm, along with not many people around so we all were swimming, reading book, writing blogs, or enjoying the sun. I also picked up the skill of snorkelling thanks to Duncan, ready for the few days ahead.
Later in the afternoon we went out and explored Kuta and its markets. I was taught the night before that people will try to pull you into their shop and sell you items at a rip-off price. Fortunately I was armed with two experienced negotiators so I could get anything for a low price, however the markets are mainly filled with lady clothes and bits and bobs so I didn’t get anything that day.
To end the day we went to Mamma Mia – an Italian restaurant (there are wide variety of restaurants and fast-food places in Bali) where I had one of the best steaks ever for only 120k IDR (£7)! Along with couple of drinks which come to under 170k IDR (£10) for each person, which is a bargain for what it worth.
So we went to Sanur Beach located in east part of Bali after having a free breakfast at the hotel, we took a taxi there. We planned to find a company that does parasailing since we all never done it before, we started walking from the north part of the beach which lacks tourists (wasn’t tourist season) to the south part. During the time we must have seen 5 or 6 “businesses” that were offering parasailing, jet-skis or other activities until we found a genuine company with their own shop. While Duncan made a deal with the people and for them to be ready for us, we decided to rent beds on the beach and enjoy the sun while swimming in a warm sea.
We managed to get a deal of 500k IDR (£30) per person for one round of parasailing and 15 minutes of Jet Skiing, plus they picked us up from our beds to their boat to further south and back. They suited us up and taught us how to safely control the kite and respond to instructions, we felt safe with them. We all went one by one, Duncan went first, CM went second then I went last. It was short (good thing since the kit pushes towards the groin) but great experience! Afterwards we had to wait a bit for the Jet Skis to be available for all three of us, we had to sign a health and safety form before getting on one. Eventually we all set off to the sea and the power from the vehicle was astonishing, this is coming from a guy who has never really driven anything fast. We all skied the sea and had small races (Duncan always lost), until we got called back by a red flag signalling ‘out of time’.
The next day after much research (100% of effort is by CM and Duncan) we found a company that offered scuba diving and snorkelling around Bali and nearby islands, called Nico Dives Cool. The price per person is £47 and they will drive us from hotel to location and back, what the catch? Get up at 6 am.
Firstly, we went to their building to be given a kit needed for the dives then get taken to Padang Bai, where we had breakfast and ordered a free lunch for return. Our day trip contained two diving spots where we had to go by boat. We all got to flip backwards off the boat like a scuba diver. The first spot contained a variety of fishes and coral reef, included triggerfish, parrotfish, clownfish and many others in different shapes and colour.
We were given a snack and drink to refresh ourself before diving for the next spot, where we met a couple team of scuba divers. We all saw a sightly different variety of fishes compare to the last one, the best part came when we spotted a turtle swimming around then we spotted another one lying on the sea bottom.
After we had lunch we visited a temple called Goa Lawah (Bat Cave) where we had to wear a robe as a sign of respects, the temple is an interesting piece of architecture along with an actual bat cave with bats napping on the cave ceiling. It was a short visit so we went back to the hotel where we had a beer and watched the sunset on a Legian beach.
We booked a cab from our hotel receptionist to drive us to Ubud and back, it was a couple of hours drive due to lots of traffic around but first CM thought I must see the Tegalalang Rice Terraces before I flew back. So we stopped at the hilly jungle and decided to go in and explore. It is a good thing we weren’t planning to do some trekking as it was very hard to maintain balance as we navigate through the muddy, unstable paths. It was interesting to go through and is the must see feature of Bali. There are many rice terraces around to visit.
After we refreshed ourself with a drink, we visited the Monkey Forest. It only cost 30k IDR (£2) to go in and you can buy a banana to feed the monkeys. We didn’t feel like it was worth it as we saw many monkeys around and tourists were feeding them. It was a neat experience where we saw children, mothers, elders, alphas and other monkeys all interacting with each other. One time Duncan was filming a child monkey until the mother came and attacked the camera.
We return to Ubud for another drink and an ice-cream (salted caramel is now my favourite), we went to the ‘Royal Palace‘ that is meant to be a palace but as it turn out, is probably just a temple. We browsed around for a bit before going to the markets, I managed to buy a few gifts for a good price thanks to CM and Duncan!
Since I had promised to buy a meal for CM ever since her birthday, we agreed on going to Papa’s limoncello pizza restaurant, where they do a volcano pizza. Volcano pizza you say? I think the image here is pretty self-explanatory! The staff will cut the crust off for you so you can enjoy the pizza inside it and it is the best pizza I have ever had in my whole life. It is highly recommended that you visit this place if you go to Bali.
We were originally planning to go to a water park but Duncan wanted to scuba dive before Australia, so we made a decision to go with Nico Dives Cool again where CM and I went snorkelling again. This time we went to Tulamben the black beach in north-east of Bali, where we could just walk in the sea from the beach. The first spot we went in contained a WWII ship that was covered by a coral reef and fishes. It was an extraordinary location to snorkel, Duncan had the better view, as well as a selfie with a turtle.
We visited the next spot, where CM and I couldn’t go to where Duncan went so we swam in an area that was quite shallow compare to all other spots but we still saw many fish. Despite spending around 5 hours driving there and back, it was worth the experience.
Notes by CM and Duncan: We also visited the Gangga Water Palace on our way back from Tulamben, courtesy of Nico Dives Cool. It is apparently the king’s summer home and was absolutely stunning and gorgeous to walk around. A wonderful way to spend a day – it reminded me of Heaver Castle.
On our last day in Bali before I flew back to England as well as CM and Duncan flew to Australia, we hung around in Legian and explored the market. Then we went for a massage at Yes Spa, Duncan and I got a foot massage along with me also getting shoulders done. CM spoiled herself with a full Bali massage since it’ll be the last chance to get a great massage for low price.
So that had been my experience in Bali and a great one that is. So if you ever want to visit Bali it will be worth it but it’s recommended to do your research before travelling there, so you know what to do and what to expect!
From CM and Duncan
Ah a break from writing the blog – phew. We of course really loved having Robert join us, it was great to see a friendly face and share the experiences with him. Additionally, him coming gave us the push we needed to see and experience everything regardless of cost. (Ouch!) We are currently in Australia and after a bumpy start due to me having food poisioning and an infection we are on the road and doing quick stops from Cairns to Sydney. It might be a while till the next post, apologies. In the meantime…
Mum…. thanks for the tea!
Robert…. enjoy a little something Duncan has made for you!