Bali/Java trip report...

Nov 27th, 2005, 04:11 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Bali/Java trip report...

First off, I have to thank all of you for all your input on hotels/restaurants/sights. Your suggestions were great. We have been back 2 weeks now.

Flight: We flew from Chicago to Newark, then Newark to Singapore on Singapore airlines in Executive Ecomony class. This is the second time we have flow on Singapore airlines (first time in Executive Economy class) and for anyone trying to decide whether to spend the money to fly in executive economy class, it is worth it. More leg room, movies on demand (you can stop, start, pause and fastforward/rewind the movies--great on long flights if you fall asleep you can still see the end of the movie) Also, there is a little area where you can stand and get snacks/drinks the entire flight. And as usual, the best service you can possibly imagine. So after an uneventful 22 hour flight from Chicago-SIN-Bali we finally arrived.

Bali: We had arranged for the hotel to pick us up at the airport because we really didn't want the hastle of finding transportation after flying for 22 hours. Although knowing what we know now, we probably didn't need to prearange transportation as there are an over abundance of taxi's everywhere. The hotel charged $30.00 for transport.

Clearing customs/immigration was a breeze. We purchased our visa's on arrival for $25 US each (credit card or cash are accepted).

We chose The Legian as our first hotel based on recommendations on this board and couldn't have been happier. We requested a corner room on the 3rd floor and were granted our request. The room was huge with 2 bathrooms (one was a powder room), dining area,living room, and 2 balconies. Each room was also equipped with 2 ipods with music already loaded on them for the guests to use. It was a really nice feature for taking to the beach/pool.

We ordered room service the first night there and the food was great. The service was excellent (they came in and set up the table as if we were dining in the restaurant).

Breakfast was included in the rate and was excellent also. The nasi goreng and mee goreng was the best we had in Bali.

We spent most of our days walking around Kuta or laying at the pool or beach. We tried buggy boarding at the hotel-which is free. That was really fun, thank goodness we are good swimmers though.

We ate dinner at a few restaurants in Seminyak. We ate at KuDeTa first. Excellent food, really cool atmosphere are really good food. Then we tried La Luccocia which had great food also (I prefer the atmosphere at KuDeTa though) and lastly we tried The Living Room which was my favorite. Very romantic, beautiful gardens, excellent food.

We took a day trip to Kintimani/Monkey forest in Ubud/Barong dance/shopping from Kuta. We found a driver while walking down the street (Wayan) and he took us on the tour for the day. His charge was $40 US. I absolutely loved the Monkey forest. It was so cool to just watch the monkeys. They are really funny. Kintimani was okay, probably wouldn't go again. The Barong dance was nice but later in the trip we went to the Kecak and fire dance and really enjoyed that.

We went to a few clubs and bars in Kuta with a guy and his wife that we met. He was from Australia and she was from Kalimantan and the got married and moved to Bali so it was very interesting talking to them. He took us to a couple of his favorite places. It was really fun.

I just want to say that despite the fact that we were in Bali less than 1 month after the bombings, we couldn't have felt more safe. Security was really good at the hotels/airport. But the people are so peaceful,welcoming, and kind that you never feel nervous or in danger when walking down the street at night etc.

Well now that I have rambled on, I'll continue my post a little later..next we leave Bali for Java.
24Lisa is offline  
Nov 27th, 2005, 06:20 PM
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great report and looking forward to reading more
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 27th, 2005, 07:54 PM
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Lisa, after so much anticipation and planning I'm glad to hear that Bali didn't disappoint. Look forward to the next installment.
marmot is offline  
Nov 28th, 2005, 04:20 AM
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Thanks for reporting back. Sounds wonderful. We're looking forward to your second installment!
Ericka is offline  
Nov 28th, 2005, 02:49 PM
  #5  
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Okay, I think my hands are ready to type again. I forgot to mention in the last post that we ate at Made's Warung and Ketupat in Kuta and were very happy. Cheap prices and really good food. I would recommend both.

Now to continue on... Java: We left Bali on a 6:20am flight on Garuda to Jogya. We had no problems with Garuda and would fly with them again in the future. I had read some negative comments about Garuda before leaving and was a little apprehensive but everything was fine. Keep in mind that we left Bali on Nov 2. which is the last day of Ramadan so there were alot of local tourists.

Our guide picked us up at the airport at 6:30am (Java is 1 hour behind Bali). We were supposed to go directly to our hotel (Amanjiwo) but our guide asked us if we wanted to go on our tour right away since the next day was Idul Firti and everything would be closed, so we did. We got to Prambanan at about 7:00am and we were the only people there, it was really nice to have the place to ourselves. This is a Hindu temple and was very interesting to see. It was very well preserved. Not the grand scale of Angkor, but still worth seeing.

Next, he took us to see the Sultans Palace, Water Palace, and the underground Mosque. Very interesting to see the Muslim culture and very different from Bali. After here he took us to see a shadow puppet show and some shopping at a local gallery. He took us to a local restaurant for lunch (sorry I didn't get the name) but it was excellent.

Then to the hotel. Amanjiwo is about 1 hour drive from the airport on a normal day, but since it was a holiday and traffic pretty heavy, it took about 1.5 hours. I was suprised to see how developed Java is and I know I was warned but my goodness is it HOT!!!
Much warmer that Bali.

Amanjiwo was beautiful, unbelievable service (we never had to sign for anything or tell anyone our room number or names, they already knew, it was pretty amazing. Now, remember I said we were arriving on the last day of Ramadan and Idul Fitri was the next day? I knew this ahead of time but wasn't really sure what this would mean. Beginning at sundown the celebrations start. Firecrackers and chanting. I'm not talking about a little chanting here and there, were talking chanting from all 5 Mosques that surround Amanjiwo over loud speakers all nights until sunrise. WOW, that was an experience. It was a good thing we didn't have anythign planned for the next day because we didn't sleep much that night. It was a unique experience to say the least. Knowing this we still would have gone though. That being said, the resort was really nice. We were upgraded to a Borobudur view room. This was a nice supprise since it would have cost $150 more per night. The food was good but not the best we had.

The next day we just relaxed by the pool. Then, the following day, our guide picked us back up and we toured Borobudur before going to the airport. This was the HOTTEST day yet. Borobudur was crowded with tourists from Jakarta. But the temple was amazing. Beautiful location with volcanoes surrounding. Still not blown away like I was when we went to Angkor though.

Apparently it is an honor for an Indonesian to have a picture taken with themselves and a westerner so we were asked to have our pictures taken. It was pretty cool, now our pictures are hanging in someones home in Jakarta.

On the way to the airport he took us to a salak plantation (small fruit with scaly brown skin, my favorite fruit)where we bought 1kg for .50 to take with us.

Then our uneventful flight back to Bali. I forgot to mention the departure tax. Each time you leave an island in Indonesia you have to pay a departure tax in Rupee. I think it was 30,000 when we left Bali for Java and 25,000 when we left Java to return to Bali. When we left Bali for Singapore it was 100,000. The conversion between US dollar and Rupee was 1:10,000.

I'll finish the rest of the post later, our last stop before 2 nights in Singapore, FS Sayan.
24Lisa is offline  
Nov 28th, 2005, 04:38 PM
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Sounds awesome. Please keep the details coming! And thanks for the warning about having your pictures taken. That would have caught us off guard. I don't think they do that so much in Bali.

P.S. I'm surprised Amanjiwo did not offer you the private sunrise tour of Borobudur. It would have been cooler and you could have avoided the crowds. Hopefully you still enjoyed it.
Ericka is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 07:01 AM
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I'll finish the rest of the post later as I do not have the time right not but to comment on the sunrise tour of Amanjiwo, we could have done the tour but each morning we were there, there was so much fog that we could barely see the room next to us so we opted not to spend the money on the tour. We figured the views wouldn't have been to great. I wish we could have though.
24Lisa is offline  
Nov 29th, 2005, 07:17 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
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When exaxctly were you in Bali? I ask because my husband and I honeymooned there 11/7-11/16 (trip report coming). We stayed four nights at the Legian resort 11-12-11/16. We also flew to Bali from Chicago on Singapore Airlines thru Newark, NJ. Were we there at the same time? That would have been wild.



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