Hey guys, it’s Dad. I’m sure you’ve noticed that BoardingArea experienced some downtime yesterday. To make it fun, Angelina asked via Twitter for followers to help her pick the next post. Well, I guess I have more fans than her because 2 out of the 4 responses were in my favor, yeah another Dad Post!
Two months ago my wife and I traveled to Asia for the first time and spent a few days in Bali (you might remember the post about me missing my first class flight…) Anyway, when I booked this trip, I had no idea I would be traveling to Bali during Galungan Day. Galungan Day is a major Balinese feast commemorating victory of good over evil. If you’re interested in learning more about Galungan Day, you may do so here in this link.
The flight from Hong Kong to DSP was about 4 hours. When you land at airport, you have to pay a $25 Visa per person. After paying your Visa fee, getting your new passport stamp, and claiming your luggage, you then walk outside to the pre-paid taxi line. I believe the prepaid fee to the Bali Hyatt in Sanur (where we stayed) is about 150,000 rupiah ($15). Here’s a tip: to figure out the exchange-rate conversion to USD, simply drop the zeros; so 30,000 rupiah is about $3.
While we were waiting in line for a pre-paid taxi, we were approached by a taxi driver who offered to take us to Sanur for 200,000 rupiah. I smiled at him and said, “why would I pay you more than the fixed price?” After that statement, I was able to bring him down to 100,000 rupiah instead. The trip to the Bali Hyatt was about a 30 minute ride.
The Bali Hyatt
When we arrived at Hyatt, we were given a lei, and they sounded a bell to announce our visit. I felt like we were on fantasy island. We were given drinks, and a manager checked us in because I am a Platinum GoldPassport member. To be honest, I don’t really remember how I became Platinum, but it was probably through a status match, or the Signature Visa cardholder free Platinum status promotion in the past… or maybe they had mistaken me for Angelina. We were given a room upgrade in the Regency Club area. Our room had a big patio and the most tranquil setting. The room was a little dated… at 52, so am I, but the service was exceptional, and we were lucky enough to run into a couple of Angelina’s blog readers – Stacey and friends who were also staying here at the resort.
If you’re considering this hotel while, I’d recommend using Hyatt points – 7,000 a night, and you get free breakfast and free snacks and drinks between 5pm and 7pm. I found a blog post by Brad from Regional First that does a great job of highlighting the Bali Hyatt in Sanur.
Sanur is geared more towards families and middle aged travelers. The beach is a few hundred feet away, and the pools and gardens are really pretty. The good news here is that you can lay on beach without being bothered by touts looking to sell you something. We did not get a chance to check out any local restaurants because we were booked solid with our many tours. However, we ran into an Australian friend who was vacationing for 30 days, and he said that the local restaurants are really good and cheap. If you are the party type stay in Kuta.
For our second day, we booked a bicycle tour with Bali Bike-Baik Cycling Tours. The cost was about $90 for 2. They pick you up at 7:30 am right in Sanur, and then drive you to a village in Laplapan, Ubud. You then have a nice breakfast overlooking the active volcano, Mount Batur. The breakfast was very tasty, and the rice was out of this world. Then, you visit a coffee plantation, and there’s a truck is waiting there with the bikes. Luckily for an old man, the bike ride was easy – mostly downhill. You also visit rice paddies and a temple along the bike ride.
Driving and riding through the villages on Galungan Day was special. Villages are decorated for a celebration, and locals are waving hello. After the bike ride, you are driven to the owner’s house and given the most delicious Balinese lunch. The owner also give you a presentation about typical Balinese life. You are driven back to hotel around 3:30 pm.
After a great first half of the day bike-riding, at 6pm, we were promptly picked up for our massages, which was a great way to fix tired muscles. We pre-booked a massage special online from Bali Green Spa. I found this company on TripAdvisor and was sold by the reviews. Our correspondence with the spa was very smooth. I set up a 6 pm appointment and received instant confirmation. The big plus is that they offer free hotel pick up and drop off. We opted for the 2 and a half hour special for $28 each. The massage was great and the staff was extremely professional, and we like it so much that we scheduled another appointment for our last day. This time we opted for the 3 hour special for $75 for the 2 of us. As a bonus, if you travel light, they will pick you up at hotel and drop you off right at airport for no extra charge.
On our third day, we stayed by the beach and pool and later arranged for a 5-hour Uluwatu Temple sunset tour and Kekac dance with Driver Wayan Lia. The cost was only about $30 for a full 5 hours. Wayan arrived exactly as promised at 3 pm. He speaks good English, and the van was comfortable. He first drove us to Jimbaran Bay, a location with many outdoor seafood restaurants. Then, we continued to Balangan beach- a surfer paradise where we took many great pictures. We then proceeded to Uluwatu Temple, where he escorted us to the best picture taking possiblities, and most of all protected us from the wild monkeys that guard the temple. We were lucky because most of the monkeys weren’t too mischievous as they were happily eating the Galugan Day leftovers. We watched the Kekac dance, and Wayan waited for us as promised, and took us back to hotel.
In all honesty, the Bali trip was one of the best trips I’ve taken to date. If I could make it any better, my only wish would be to spend additional 4 nights in the land of the Gods. Can’t wait to go back!