Having just completed two weeks in Bali, one week in Kuta and the second week in Nusa Dua, I thought I would provide a product review of all the different products that I used as part of the holiday. Originally I was going to holiday in Caloundra, but when I got prices for accommodation and flights, I worked out for only $1000 more, we can do the holiday in Bali.
Qantas Frequent Flyers. I have been saving up my points for about 6 years and finally had enough to fly the four of us ‘free’ to Bali. Unfortunately, having enough FF points doesn’t mean that the departure taxes and fuel levies are covered, so my free flights cost an additional $465 each. Still $1800 for four flights to Bali during the school holidays is pretty good. Availability of flights was pretty good although we had to fly via Melbourne.
Flight Centre. I use Flight Centre at Maroubra Junction. They provide good advice, competitively priced and if I have an issue with anything, I have someone to ring.
Covermore Travel Insurance. I would never travel without insurance as I have heard horror stories of people being injured OS and ending up with a $20,000 hospital bill. Medical issues are the main reason I have insurance. However last year when I was in India, my laptop got stolen at the airport and so I claimed through my travel insurance. They don’t do new for old replacement and so for my 18 month old laptop which cost me $2,000, they gave me $1,400 as they said that was what it was worth. I should have claimed it on my house contents insurance.
Jetstar. Even though I was flying with Qantas FF, I had to fly Jetstar as Qantas doesn’t fly to Bali. I always say a good flight is one that arrives on time and doesn’t crash on landing, so with that criteria in mind, it was a good flight. However I was unaware that you had to preorder entertainment iPads. I had assumed I could hire these once I got on the flight. This was not the case. I was also told that I can’t preorder them for the flight home as it needs to be done before the whole trip starts. This seems to be dumb.
Arrival into Bali. Typical process. Immigration. Get your bags. Customs. Go. In Bali though, as you arrive you need a visa, which is $25 Aussie dollars. Also as you leave you have to pay $15 departure tax.
Transfers. I have a rule that when I arrive into a country, I want to know that I have a transfer organized. The thinking behind this is that I don’t want to arrive after a 7 hour flight and have to run the gauntlet of 1000 taxi drivers and shuttle bus operators viaing for my business and me ultimately getting ripped off or ending up taking the long way around. Other transfers I can organize once I am in the country, but on arrival, I want it pre arranged. In Asia I always use Destination Asia and they have always been excellent. When I was use taxi’s in Kuta, none of them use meters, so always ask, how much to wherever you are going? And I always ask and agree on a price, before I get into the taxi. Otherwise, if you get in, you look like you are committed and so the power of the negotiation, rests with the cabbie.
Ramada Bintang Bali.
This is the motel where we stayed in Kuta for 5 nights. Staff were great. Pool was great. Breakfast was excellent. Thought the rooms were a little tired. For example, the mirror had come off the back of the bathroom door and so it had just been removed and the space where it had once been was left unpainted. Internet cost $20 for a 24 hour pass that allowed you to log on and off, so the cost wasn’t too bad. The location of the Ramada Bintang Bali, was at the end of the main strip in Kuta, so it was about. 20 minute walk up the strip to the main shopping area. We were happy with the location.
Nikko Bali Resort and Spa.
The Nikko was chosen by me for two reasons, I wanted to be away from Kuta for the second week and so I wanted something in a place called Nusa Dua. Secondly, it had an amazing pool. It was a fairly opulent 5 star motel and we spent 6 nights here. Got no negatives. It was a brilliant motel. Highly recommended.
WaterBom Park. This is the Bali equivalent of Queensland’s Wet and Wild. It was excellent. Well thought out and catered for all ages. They gave you a strip that you could wear around your wrist, that was water proof and at the start of the day, you could charge
it up with money and use it throughout the day. This way you didn’t have to carry your wallet around with you. The slides were outstanding, the staff were helpful, the food was excellent quality. It was a fantastic day.
Whitewater Rafting. Organized through Destination Asia, we went rafting in a place called Ebud. It was about 90 minutes from Kuta. It’s the dry season so the river wasn’t flowing massively, which suited my family’s skill levels. Having said that there was still significant white water and several drops over a metre high. We were on the river for about 2 hours plus a stop for a coke about half way through. A quality lunch was provided at the end of the expedition. To get to the river we had to go down a pathway with 529 steps and at the end go up 230 steps. Overall a very worthwhile trip. Cost $220 for the four of us and was excellent value for money.
Bali High. The only other trip we organized was a trip out to a pontoon anchored near an island about 75 mins boat trip out into the ocean. It is called Bali High. We actually had our days mixed up, so we were woken by the receptionist calling to say our pickup was in the lobby. 20 mins to get ready and we were in the bus. Appreciated the patience of the bus driver. On the pontoon you could snorkel, do a village tour, banana boat rides, use the water slide and ride in a
submarine. Lunch was provided. Overall it was a good day. Not sure I would recommend it. Whitewater rafting and Waterbom were the stand outs. Bali High cost $260 for the four of us, which was a tad on the expensive side.
Money. We were getting about 10,000 rupiah to the Dollar, which was excellent. I find when I travel, the best way to get local currency is to withdraw money direct from ATM’s. The worst thing you can do is change your money at Sydney Airport using the Travelex guys.
Water. You can’t drink the water anywhere in Bali and indeed Asia, so you have to use bottle water to brush your teeth and fill the kettle. Also when you are out and you order a drink, always ask if the ice is from mineral water – as then it is safe to drink. Most motels give you an allocation of bottled water each day, complimentary.
Power plugs. These days so many things have to be charged. iPhone, iPad, cameras, computers and anything else. Rather than buying conversion plugs for each one, I take one plug and a 6 point power pack with me. Plug the power pack in and you have as many Australian plug sockets as you need.
Hope that helps if you are ever planning a trip to Bali. Feel free to share this blog on Facebook or Twitter.