My first ever JBR but I feel like I owe it to bali to write this. Owe it to the hotels, the places we visited that made this trip so memorable.
I am a frequent traveller yet bali has always been one of those places that I am not fussed about but having been told it's a great place for famillies we thought it was be a nice detour on the way to KL.
Arrived about 8m and was overwhelmed by all the dodgy men waiting at arrivals with their sign cards but surprisingly, we spotted the guy from Novotel immediately. Made a quick stop at the Mini Mart to stock up of some essentials. The 1br apt at novotel Nusa Dua was just like the photos on the website...very clean, modern and spacious. They had no problems providing 2 baby cots for our 2y.o twins and our 6y.o comfortably slept in the king bed with us.
A wonderful relaxing day enjoying the hotel's huge pool. Very child friendly. My 6y.o had a snorkelling lesson through kids club. The hotel is fantastic for famillies and the kids club staff are great. Kids eat free at bfst is fantastic since my 3 eat a lot. After the kid's nap, took the shuttle to Bali Connection and were impressed by how lovely everything is..so nice and clean..we still had not seen the real bali yet. I think staying in Nusa Dua first gave us a great first impression and it only got better. As expected, food was pricey and wasn't very good. Oh well...
The driver came to pick us up at 9:30am for our 10 hr trip. Our romantic package included 1 bfst in bed and 1 romantic dinner so we opted for the bfst in bed today since we were in a rush.
First stop was Kuta but as it was raining, we decided not to get out. So glad we did not stay in Kuta. Stopped by a few touristy shopping places which I felt was a bit of a time waster. Took forever to reach Tanah Lot and at the worst time of the day when the afternoon sun is unbearable. Took some pics quickly and went in search for lunch. Next stop was Uluwutu, it was more enjoyable since it was late afternoon and cooler. The monkeys were quite aggressive and tried to grab my 2y.o daughter's crocs lol Took a quick detour to Jimbaran Bay on the way back to see the sunset which was lovely. The beach is dirty though. Decided not to have dinner there as it had been a long day and the kids wanted a quick dip in the pool before it got too dark. Had instant cup noodles for dinner! As we have young kids, we spent the nights in, just chilling out. Hubby and I took turns going to lobby for the free wifi.
Another relaxing do nothing day. Took the kids to the beach the quick 5 shuttle. It was a short scenic drive through the golf course. Hubby remarked that golfers even get caddies! Novotel's beach was beautiful and clean. More swimming in the pool and the kids spent the arvo in kids club whilst hubby and I went to the Spa. It was about $70 for both of us and lasted 2hrs which is cheap for the convenience and it was fantastic. We also wondered outside th ehotel to the markets which we found out was just a quick 10 mins walk away. Arranged for a babysitter from the kids club, my kids love her..her name is deanne. Our hotel packaged included a romantic dinner so we decided to have it tonight. Put the twins to bed, Deanne turned up at 7pm and my 6y.o was so excited to see her...Hubby and I went to dinner at the hotel...as we were lead to our table, I was just literally blown away by how beautiful the setting was...candles lit a short path into the gazebo overlooking the lagoon pool and a candlelit dinner set up inside the gazebo just for 2. The fillet mignon was cooked perfectly. The romantic package we booked with Novotel was such a bargain. Back in the room by 8pm! Time to pack
Left for Ubud after bfst. We had not booked accomoddation because our preferences were full. We decided to check our Sri Bungalows. Hubby and the kids waited whilst I was shown the rooms. Initial impression from outside was nothing special but when you walk into the gardens and the rice paddies, it's like a diff world. It's also half way between Tegal Sari and the Markets, so the location is a lot more ideal...it's a lovely stroll on flat ground to the palace, passing lots of quaint lil shops and restuarants...about 10mins. We negotiated a great price on the family room, 2 levels, 3 queen sized beds and views galore. Every window and balcony has picturesque views. Went for Babi Guling lunch, they do kids meals, non spicy for 15000 rupiah. Took some pics at the temple and wondered the markets. The 2y.o twins were hot and bothered to hubby took the kids back to the hotel in a taxi.I finally found time to do some shopping! I knew I wasn't going to get many chances to do shopping so I didn't hold back lol
I was too scared to go out for dinner as hubby said he saw a lot of frogs and crickets jumping around in the darkalong the path surrounded by rice paddy fields. So I sent hubby out to get take away. Bali Pesto's food was quite nice.
Took a tour to Kitamani volcano with a few detours to some temples. Disappointed that the drver took us to a buffet with views to the Volcano and Lake. We could not eat, nor enjoy the views, nor even talk to each other as there were so many flies. We had 5 plates of food and with 3 lil kids, it's just a nightmare shooing the flies constantly and the whinging from the kids. We decided to head back to the hotel after lunch..hardly ate anything. Kids slept in the car. Took a refreshing swim in the pool..
First time trying Jaffles and it's delish! as is the banana pancakes. Checked out after bfst and driver was waiting for us, stoppe dby the monkey forest and fed bananas to the monkeys. My 2y.o twins were petrified and sat on the lap of the ladies selling the bananas the entire time! So we just stayed at the entrance so my 6y.o can intract with the monkeys, he had a ball. We then left for the Mara River Safari Park.
Amazing place. Checked in the hotel but it was only 12 and we can't get a room until 2. So we went and got our free souvenir photo with baby tiger, did the safari tour, took pics with orangutans and had lunch. The room was very nice and we were lucky to get one close to the lobby. Views of the rhinos and zebras from our room. Went to watch the elephant show, swim in the edgeless
pool with a swim up bar and views over the savannah...amazing!
Bathed and changed the kids then went to the lobby for our private night safari tour! everyone got to hand feed the zebras!
After the safari, went back to the room for a toilet break then back to the lobby for the animal encounter. We were not expecting Theresa the Elephant! no on showed up so we had Theresa for 1/2 hr to ourselves. It was the most amazing experience. She planted a kidss on all of us, hugged the kids with her trunk, we fed her bananas, cuddles, and the trainers and staff took loads of pics for us and with us and they played with the kids. The hotel staff even carried boy twin back to the hotel room with us. As it was such a big day and getting late, we just decided to eat cup noodles in the room.
btw, we booked the standard room form agoda for $108 that inc entry to park, safari and bfst. We paid extra for an extra bed and bfst for my 6y.o. We were upgrade I think to the Twiga room. My twins, slept head/toe on single bed and my 6y.o slept with us on the king. It was fine. Personally, I prefer these rooms as it's close to the lobby. The family rooms are way too far.
Checkout at 12pm..so we had a leisurely morn, buffet bfst, watched the animal encounter show which was fantastic. Our drive was waiting for us at the entrance. Our next hotel was Novotel Tanjung Benoa. We stopped by an Oleh store, prices were cheaper than the market.
It's a lovely hotel, the delux rooms are very nice. We stayed on the other side of the road but it was fine and we preferred the swimming pool that side better. But Nusa Dua area is much river than Tanjung Benoa. But if you like water sports then it's fantastic.
WEnt to the beach fo a bit of a frolic....the water is calm so great for kids as the waves break on the coral reef about 500mtrs out. Had lunch at the hotel on the beach. Kids swam all day!
No buffet bfst so we stocked up at the mini mart. Went to check out the water sports on the beach and ended up going parasailing for $8 each...Also talked hubby into it. I have a fear of height and he has a fear of water! So it was a big deal for us and just a priceless experience. We then took a boat off the beach to view the corals, kids fed bread to the fish befor heading to our destination Turtle Island. We were told it would take 15 mins, but it took more like 5 mins! I likened the boat trip to the NZ shotover jet.
Turtle Island was amazing. Hubby was even more excited than the kids. Held turtles, fed the giant turtles and my brave lil 2y.o girl even sat on top of the largest turtle there. Lots of happy snaps! and finished off with fresh cocnut juice! Loved the fact that the boat took us directly back to the front of the hotel and we just walked straight back to our room within 5mins...it's so convenient when u have lil kids. The main reason I picked Tanjung benoa.
I really wanted to wtach a balinese traditional dance show so made enquiries at the hotel and it just so happens the timing could not have been more perfect as the hotel had a free dance show in the evening for 1 hour. We had dinner at the closest restaurant on the right (forgot name), bathed an dchanged the kids into pjs and all went to wtach the show. Hubby and the 2 boys had enough after 30 mins but I stayed back with my daughter to finish the show. She danced along the whole time. At the end, everyone was invited up to the stage to dance and we all got photos with the dancers in their beautiful traditional costumes. It was a wonderful finish to our final night in Bali.
The hotel kindly offered us late chek out at 2pm and a shower room...which we thought was just A1! But we decide to get a driver for half day to explore Kuta for some last minute shopping. I wasn't too impressed as prices started high and it was just time consuming to have to bargain for everything. We had lunch at Discovery Plaza. I know I said it before, but I'm so glad we did not stay in Kuta. On the way to the airport, we stopped off at Krishna Oleh where I shopped up a storm! All in all I bought over 20 dresses and countless kids clothes. As usual, more variety for girls than boys! Cost between $1 to $5 each A big top is to rinse
clothes first because the colour will run!
As u can see, we had an absolutely amazing time. The food was a hit and miss and everything else, more than made up for it 100x.
I wouldn't change anything on our itinerary. Our kids had an amazing time, even our very young 2 year old twins. We didn't even bring a pram. Lots of wonderful memories and some of which are priceless, possible once in a life time experiences.
Thank you Bali!
If u got to the end, thank u for taking the time to read it all. I planned to write a short report but this is the shortest I could do..oops