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Trip Report Bali: Saved the Best for Last

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This report covers 2 nights in Seminyak at the Legian and 6 nights in Ubud at Komaneka at Bisma. It is a continuation of the previous reports I posted for Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam under the title "SE Asia....It's so Hot!"

We were happy to leave Vietnam and flew Malaysia Air from Saigon to Bali,via Kuala Lumpur. The plane was just OK, older, but I was impressed with the modern Kuala Lumpur airport.

We had seats at the front of the plane so could run to immigration when we landed (well, at least as fast as my very heavy carry on bag allowed). First, we had to pay $25 for the Visa on Arrival and get a receipt. Then, we could get in the immigration line. Judging by how far back we were in line, it seemed as if people had somehow paid for their visa ahead of time. Yet, they were holding receipts. It was very slow since they were taking pictures of everyone and having problem with the equipment. Luckily, they weren’t fingerprinting at this time.

By the time we got to the luggage carousel, two porters had laid claim to our bags and were pretty aggressive about helping us. We were caught off guard because this hadn’t happened anywhere else in SE Asia. I wanted to take a prepaid taxi, to avoid the hassle, so they helped us to that window….Tip.
Then, after paying about $7 for a prepaid taxi to Seminyak…The Legian…the taxi rep handed us off to two more guys who pushed our luggage trolley to the parking lot where our taxi was waiting. Tip, again. When we arrived at The Legian, two security guys checked our taxi inside, outside and underside before allowing us to proceed.

After a welcome drink in the lobby, we were escorted to our studio suite (the least expensive rate) on the top floor, #134. At first, I thought it was the specific room I had requested (which I stupidly didn’t have a copy of at the time) but the next day I saw that we were on the south side of the resort, near the massive construction project, exactly opposite of where I had wanted to be. However, we only had two nights here, didn’t want to move, and couldn’t see or hear the project from our room or balconies.

Right after we got into the room, I got a telephone call from the front desk saying they had a guy on the line who was our reserved driver and somehow he missed us at the airport. Damn! I screwed up. When I had booked the Legian through Bali Discovery Tours (who gave us a great rate compared to going through the hotel directly), apparently I had booked the airport transfer at $24 (compared to the $7 for the prepaid taxi, and the $40 that the Legian was going to charge). Somehow, I missed that detail and thought I remembered canceling this because I found out how cheap the taxis were. So, a guy gets on the phone and said he had a sign up with our name but that he had missed us. Frankly, I hadn’t even looked because I wasn’t expecting anyone to meet us. I apologized for the misunderstanding. Now, he was pushing to meet us and take us around Bali. I explained we had already booked a tour guide, and he was pretty insistent but finally accepted that we didn’t want any more guiding.

I looked at my invoice and saw that we’d already paid the $24. So, I called Bali Discovery the next day and asked if they couldn’t instead take us back to the airport from Ubud, in light of our miscommunication. By all rights, they should have charged us more since Ubud is at least twice as far as Seminyak. To their credit, they said they would substitute the return trip at no additional charge.

Our room was as big as a small apartment. The living area jutted out so there were walls of glass on three walls with beautiful sea views, including from the large bathroom area. The décor was simple and elegant, with a welcoming fruit bowl and freshly baked cookies that were changed every day. We had two balconies that overlooked the lovely landscaping, lily ponds, flowering trees and the ocean.

We walked down to La Lucciola restaurant, about a ten minute walk along a dark and rutted road. The restaurant was charmingly sited right above the beach, with open terraces and hanging lit lanterns. As we watched the illuminated breaking surf in the foreground, we enjoyed excellent food and service. It was very hot and still that night, so the frozen lychee martini was a cool comfort.

Afterwards, we walked along the beach back to the hotel. My husband claimed there was smoke in the air and was having trouble breathing, which was strange. I think there must have been a thermal inversion because being in the beach area we weren’t near any rice paddies. I have asthma and it didn’t bother me. Since we had just arrived, we weren’t sure which property was the Legian. Luckily, we happened to ask the security guide for our resort and were happy to find out we’d arrived. Soundly slept in a very comfy bed.

(to be continued)

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