|We Flew from Christchurch into Melbourne and then had to transfer to another flight to take us to Bali. About 8 hours flight time in total. Flying is proving a really good way to catch up on new movie releases. We arrived at 10pm, collected our bags and headed out, only to be met by a hotel representative holding a printed sign reading 'MR STEPHEN SIMMS'. This was to be the first of many occasions in which we were made to feel really important during our week in Bali.
We had found a bargin hotel called Tamukami in Sanur, costing twenty pounds a night including breakfast. The hotel is run by a Belgium couple who were really welcoming. We arrived in the dark to a welcome drink, it wasn't until the next morning that we realised what a real gem we had found. The pool was a good size and surrounded by a beautiful garden. We ate our breakfast in the open air restaurant with the view of the pool. The room was large with our own balcony overlooking the gardens, although it was far too hot and humid to sit out there, luckily our room had good air conditioning and boy was it needed!
We relaxed for the first couple of days, made the most of our pool and the feeling of complete tranquility. We had freshly squeezed juice every morning, fresh fruit and pancakes. We also made use of the spa room next to the pool offering facials, massages and manacures for a fraction of the cost at home. By the end of the week we felt healthy and re-energised.
We decided to get out and about to see the rest of the island. Our first tour was an introduction to the crafts and culture of Bali. We were met at our hotel reception by our tour guide, driver and own private car.. what luxury and for only 12 pounds per person! The day included a traditional dance, wood carvers, painters, silver smiths, a three course lunch, the rice terraces, a spring water temple, monkey forest and busy market. Bartering is the way to buy in Bali and Steve had fun in the market when Lucy spotted a sarong!
Next trip was to the Elephant Sanctury for a ride on one of the elephants that had been rescued from Sumatra. The ride was fun but the highlight was feeding our ele 'Adi' at the end of the trip.
Our third trip was a downhill cycle ride from Baktur crater in the North to Ubud, the craft centre in the centre of the island. We started with some breakfast and met our guide Marcel, who like everyone else we met in Bali was friendly and very humorous. It was great to get off the tourist tracks, we cycled through rural Bali, the best bit was all the local children along the way shouting out "Hello" and waving. It was great, a really memorable day.
We loved Bali.. all of the crafts .. everywhere you looked local people were busy carving, painting and smiling. There were also temples on every corner, apparently over 1,000 on the island. Religion and spirituality a big thing for the local people, everywhere people gave offerings (insence sticks, rice).
We were sad to leave Bali, the people are wonderful, the crafts amazing, the culture very warm and we actually came in under budget for once! The only draw back was the over enthusiasm of the market traders!
Next stop Singapore and on into Malaysia overland.