This year ramadan holiday is happening at best possible days: Wednesday and Thursday, which force most company to give whole week off policy to its employees. Mom has been wanting to go to Bali and seeing what’s the hypes are, she has one particular request though: to stay in a hotel room with a direct ocean view. well, she got it! and i must say that Bali is not overhyped, it does resemblance paradise, and it should be in everyone bucket list.
7 July 2016, Flight ticket is insanely priced, we bought 4 AirAsia ticket for 12,5mil rupiah (extra fees for reserved seating at Emergency and First row). Same goes to Hotel price, not to mention that Hotel availability is very limited. But we went anyway..
Our AirAsia XT7526 took off slightly delayed due to queue when taxiing to the runway, at 08:20 from Jakarta. The weather was good and the flight was pleasant, it arrived at 11:00 at Bali. Pak Bagus Ade picked us up with an Innova and drove us straight to the hotel. Lucky we decided to rented car+driver+bbm for Rp. 800,000 (during off season, it would be Rp. 600,000), because we learned that UBER was very rare at Bali, because they are forbidden to operate (and deliberately intimidated by taxi driver or local people)
For one night we stayed at Citadines Kuta Beach Hotel. Its right across the Kuta Beach, but the view from our hotel room is pretty much blocked by trees. Its overall an okay aparthotel, i rated them 7 out of 10. their breakfast serve good varieties of food!
After resting a while at the hotel, we went out to Sukawati Traditional Market (about 1.5 hour drive from Kuta), Mom has been wanting to buy a good quality of Daster (house dresses), and she found it at the Market. Haggling skill is heavily required here, the vendor will ask for around Rp. 45,000 – Rp. 65,000 for a shirt, but it really can go down to Rp. 15,000 – Rp. 25,000. After spending a good one and half hour there, we drove back to Kuta, and visited Kresna Souvenir Shops. The shop is huge and it offers all things bali souvenirs! from shirts, snacks, fruits, toys and etc. Mom felt justified that she found most things they sell at Kresna are more expensive than what Sukawati sells. We bought some snack souvenirs (mostly nuts product).
Then we made another stop at the infamous Gusto Gelato. The ice cream shop is packed with people queueing for a very affordable gelato. The shop has outdoor and indoor seating, but all of them has human sit on it. Small Size has 2 scoops at Rp. 22,000 is very good value! I stood in line about 15 minutes before reaching the counter and start choosing my ice cream flavour. I ordered Red Guava and Apricot. Both taste really good. the Gelato has very smooth texture, not overly sweetened and doesn’t melt fast. Again, i’d like to point out that Rp. 22,000 for two scoops is too cheap for Bali standard, where random gelato shop cost you Rp. 20,000 for a scoop of syrup-based gelato, so this is a really good deal and worth every rupiahs. Mom wanted rum-raisin but it was sold out, so i chose Tiramisu and Lemongrass for her. She liked it too! She also managed to had little chat with the owner’s wife and requested a photo together
Then we drove back to our hotel, and traffic jam was insane that we arrived at around 8pm.
8 July 2016, We had breakfast at the hotel, the restaurant offer varieties of food, and the highlight was Beef Bacon (to replace Pork Bacon) and made-to-order egg waffle that taste surprisingly good. After breakfast we drove to Garuda Wisnu Kencana complex, but we refrained from getting in because the ticket cost Rp 75,000 for whole day activities which include some theatrical act, bali dances and shows. We don’t have that many time, plus art show is not our main interest.
So we continue our journey to Padang-Padang beach, its often featured as ‘hidden beaches in bali’ at several travel blogs, but apparently its professionally managed with entry cost of Rp. 10,000 (for local). To reach the beach, one should took about 40 steps down, another 30 steps up through a narrow stairs. The beach was very small and secluded, and it was very busy with people sunbathing when we came. Its actually very famous destination for surfing due to its big waves. The water has lovely color of green turquoise.
As Mom got tired, we decided to drop her first on our hotel at Ulu Segara (website | location). We’ve booked the presidential suite room for USD 550 per night. i found the price quite reasonable during this holiday season, especially when almost all hotels with good views in Bali are fully booked. Without a google map, the hotel is difficult to find! but its along the road of Jalan Nusa Dua Selatan, and it shares the same beach view with Mulia Resort, Ritz Carlton and Samabe.
After smooth and fast check-in process, our butler drove us to the suite using buggy. He said that the presidential suite has the best view and the most spacious suite compare to other hotels. And.. he didn’t lie. Its super spacious! with living room, kitchen, two bedrooms, two massive bathroom and direct and jaw-dropping view to the indian ocean!
Next stop on our beach trip is Geger Beach at Nusa Dua. Its a public beach with wide and far beach strip, good for sunbathing, jogging, and surfing lessons.
Then a short drive brought us to Waterblow, it is located at Nusa Dua peninsula, in an area surrounded by 5 stars hotels and resorts area. The name Water and Blow comes from the waves crashing into rocks and cliffs, ‘blowing’ the water up. (later i realised that i haven’t actually been at the Waterblow! )
Then into our last beach visit is Pandawa Beach, located at Southern Nusa Dua, a wide panoramic beach facing Indian Ocean. Going to the beach, we drove between a huge limestone cliff. The local artist created sculpture of characters from the Mahabaratha such as Dharmawangsa, Bima, Arjuna, Nakula and Sahadewa. The beach was dubbed ‘hidden beach’ until it was officially opened in 2012, then it became very touristy with small restaurants by the beach, parking area and etc. We waited until sunset, but the sunset view is nothing extraordinary. maybe we just came not at the right moment.
9 July 2016, woke up early at 6 to witness sun arise from our suite outdoor patio. Its so quiet and peaceful, the only sound making earth-nature melody is the lazy morning waves crashing. That morning we decided to go swim from the hotel beach. The beach lips is located directly below the hotel and i had to take 30 step stairs before reaching the beach. Its pretty much a private beach, the only downside is the beach is very rocky. I walked into the water, as further as i could, tried not to step on seaweed plant. The waves crashing far from the beach indicate that the sea is not shallow, i swam further as long as 50 meter away from the beach and i could still stand with my both leg touching the sand below. Being alone, in the middle of the sea, quiet.. too quiet perhaps, is an amazing feeling.. and often it gets scary as i felt very small compare to this massive water around me.
i lazily swam back to the hotel, dry up and going to the restaurant for breakfast.
Despite the amazing ocean view and friendly staff, breakfast selection is very poor and limited for a hotel of this class!. So we finished breakfast quickly, had quick sweat-breaking at a small gym, took bath and ready to check out. The hotel was being flexible with check-out time and let us depart at 12:30am. we took one of the frequent shuttle the hotel provided for free between the hotel and bali collection.
Me and mom stroll around the Bali Collection area which is actually a large outdoor shopping mall, with branded shops such as billabong, nike, sogo, starbucks and some touristy seafood or italian restaurant. After having enough sight-seeing, i tried to find UBER to go to the airport. It wasn’t easy as UBER cost was constantly at surge. Later the driver told us that local government don’t approve UBER and mark it as illegal, local authorities often intimidate UBER driver by swearing on them, tailing on their car, terrorising. If someone asks question like ‘are you waiting for someone sir?’, never indicate that you are waiting for your UBER.
On the way to the airport, we tried our luck at queue line at Pia Legong, the infamous cheese pies. Apparently the line moved very quickly ! there were about 25 people in front of me, but i got to the cashier desk just within 15 min or so. So don’t let the line scare you off! they limit maximum of two boxes of either chocolate-cheese flavour or just chocolate-flavour for one person. A box has 8 pies and it cost Rp. 95,000. The same box are sold for Rp. 130,000 – Rp .150,000 at souvenir shops such as Kresna. If you want cheese-only flavour, you either have to book in advance, or knows someone from the shops.
We ended up arriving too early at the Bali International Ngurah Rai airport at 16:30, our AirAsia flight will take off at 20:45. As expected on last weekend of long holiday, there were loooong queue everywhere at the airport, especially security inspection. After waiting for hours (me playing my Final Fantasy Brave Exvius), its finally our turn to say goodbye to Bali and flight back to Jakarta. Bye paradise, i’ll definitely come back.