We were lucky enough to enjoy our 3rd family holiday to Bali from the 7th until the 17th of January, tried a different route and flew Air North from Townsville to Darwin, then Jet* from Darwin to Bali. Flights connected well, and we will definitely fly this way again rather than have to go via Brisbane! Arriving in Denpasar at 6pm and we went straight through VOA & customs within 20 mins....only to be greeted with torrential rain outside....it was horrible :(
Our driver was waiting for us, but even just transferring from the terminal to his van we got saturated - we could barely see in front of our faces as the rain was so heavy. The streets were all flooded and it was quite scary watching the locals trying to navigate the water on their scooters.
We had booked again to stay at Jayakarta in the private apartments which are managed through Putu @ Tic Bali, he is so great to deal with and always responds to your queries straight away.
We booked all of our tours through Putu as well as our accommodation - he would always give us a great discount and made sure that he would come to us for payment when it suited us...was so great to be able to use credit card too as he now has a wireless eftpos machine!
Our apartment was excellent, a well equipped kitchen, was spotlessly clean, the most comfortable king size bed - and the Owner even supplies western power adaptors, pool towels & umbrellas - which were all extras we were very grateful to have!
Our Driver is Wayan Wardana, we have used him every time we have visited Bali so he has become a special friend to us and came highly recommended from other friends here in Townsville.
He is very trustworthy, reliable & always ready to ensure we are well looked after, and we always get to any destination we request. He is very knowledgeable about Bali & it's history, and is also a qualified Tour Guide & speaks fluent Danish as well!
Putu also arranged our visit to the YKPA orphanage, we had taken over 3 suitcases full of toys, books & clothes between us and another family, so he arranged the visit and drove us there himself.
This was a wonderful experience, Mike & his wife Putu who founded the orphanage are doing an amazing job..they take in orphans & street kids & are so passionate about providing these kids an education, food, shelter & clothing. It was a privilege to meet them both, the world needs more people like these two :)
So here is a run down of the rest of the holiday in point form:
*Bali Hai Dinner Cruise - Booked through Tic Bali - highly recommend it!!! There was a party of eight of us and we all had a fantastic evening. The food was delicious, the shows were all very entertaining and we had a free transfer included in the price.
*Bali Safari & Marine Park - Booked through Tic Bali - also thoroughly enjoyed this day trip. We have been to many zoos & animal parks but there was such a great variety here to see, no rush to get through the park at any given time - we could just amble along at our own pace. It was an added bonus to get free rides at the fun park - my Son had a ball! Although we had our snacks taken off us at the gate, they were returned to us when we left, and there were plenty of places within the park to buy food & cold drinks.
*Sim Cards & mobile phones etc - as you walk out of the back entrance straight across the road is Prima mobiles. Prima and Nyoman own the business and they are both great, they helped me sort a sim card out for my galaxy S2, and also loaded a data package so I could access internet & set it all up for me within minutes. They do iphone sims, have mobile phones for sale and also do repairs.
*Briella Spa - as you come out of the back entrance of Jayakarta they are just to the left. I enjoyed facials, massages, pedicures & manicures and was very happy every time. Pays to book in advance, they do get quite busy
*Trusted Kodak money changer at the back of Jayakarta - has now moved. He used to be next to the corner store to the right as you come out of Jayakarta, but all of the shops there are being pulled down to make way for a new hotel. If you turn left and head down about 200 metres you will see his sign to the right now, still trustworthy and the exchange rate at the moment is great!
*DVDS - if you are staying at Jayakarta or nearby, the best DVD store we have found is DMC Media, directly opposite the Sang Ria Restaurant, before you get to the 66 corner. The guys name is Andy and he is very honest, if it isn't a good quality copy he will tell you...also buy 10 and he gives you 5 for free!
*Bintang supermarket in Seminyak - we love going there for our supplies and I always stock up on the kispray concentrate satchets, lavender mozzie coils, panadol red,pineapple jam, biokos facial products & silver elasoplast bandaids to bring back home.
*Brasco - This is the first time I have been here on our Driver's recommendation....and I am in love with the place!! There is very good quality imitation brand name handbags, wallets, luggage, shoes & clothing. There is also a cafe in the entrance, and a spa if you feel like getting a treatment afterwards! This store is located on Sunset Road Kuta.
*Fixed price stores - we went to Ketuk's several times, this is my 3rd visit and we always end up getting most of our shopping with her, but we also went across the road to Miss Debbys, and while we were in Sanur we went to visit Miss Tootsies store as well.
*Hardys - Still a great supermarket, and we love the cafe out the front Iamsterdam...they serve great coffee! The top level is under construction at Hardys but the lower level and ground floor still have great bargains,especially for clothing.
*Places to eat & drink close to Jayakarta: Tommys Cafe for breakfast, short walk down Rum Jungle rd, their homemade fresh muffins are just devine! Champs Sports Bar in Rum Jungle road, nice variety on the menu, excellent service and they have free entertainment most nights.
Sang Ria Bar & Grill - great food, great atmosphere...service not so great this time round but hopefully that will improve!
Blue Ocean Restaurant - Legian beach, Meals are yummy and free fast wifi connection is always a great bonus!
Mugshots Cafe - definately one of the best cafes in Bali....prices are a bit high but you get good quality coffee, yummy savouries & cakes and the service is always great too!
Ok enough of my raving...please do not hesitate to pm me if you need any further info on any of my comments - time to count down until our next holiday in Bali!