Our Bali trip couldn’t have been planned at a better time (school holidays aside) – just 1 week before we were due to leave, I received my letter of offer from the new company and after settling all the admin stuff at my previous employers, I was able to look forward to a nice holiday with the family.
Our flights were booked about 2 months back on Malaysian Airlines and it’s worth mentioning that i also checked AirAsia to compare their fares to Bali. Turned out their cheaper options were all scheduled at kid-unfriendly hours like the crack of dawn and would have entailed us arriving back in KL late at night! Wholly unsuitable for families!
Anyway, when we reached the airport, both the kids were already hungry and Nic made light work of his nasi lemak.
Most of the food at KLIA is exorbitantly priced, even the stuff at McD’s & Burger King. If I were travelling alone, I would usually pop over to Starbucks, where prices are at least closer to city rates. Since the kids were with us, we opted for the Asian Cafe in the Main Terminal building which has a decent range of local food and is especially well known for its nasi lemak. The flies were a nuisance though & KLIA had better do something about it as it must be a terrible sight for foreign visitors to see so many flies hovering around in our flagship airport!
Just before boarding, we decided to check out the new Jungle Boardwalk at the Satellite Terminal. I half expected it to be a hangout for smokers taking advantage of the outdoor environment but was pleasantly surprised by how nice it actually was. Complete with artificial waterfall and tropical foliage, it was a nice little oasis from the airport hubbub.
The flight to Bali was a wonderful surprise. Even though it was printed on our itinerary that we would be flying on a 737, it turned out to be a new Airbus. Complete with inflight entertainment and topped off with wonderful Haagen Daz ice cream! For MAS, this was nothing short of a miracle as all of us know they tend to fly the crappiest, oldest 737’s on their ASEAN routes. Thank you God for that little surprise 😉 !
We landed at Bali’s Ngurah Hai airport in Denpasar in the early evening. So happened it was the first day of the 2010 World Cup as well so we were quite surprised by the amount of tourists streaming in at the immigration counter. Our guide-cum-driver was there to meet us punctually and it turned out that he wasn’t the original one we’d been recommended but one of his friends. No matter – he seemed like quite a nice guy albeit sporting a Steven Seagal like ponytail and a ‘don’t mess with me’ kind of face. The car he rented for us though was a bit on the small side – something akin to an old Suzuki Swift so you can imagine with our luggage it became a bit of a squeeze. Mercifully the ride to our hotel was a mere 20 minutes away and not the epic journey that KLIA is from the city centre.
It being the first trip to Bali for Liz & the kids, I decided we should stay near the tourist hub of Kuta so that they could experience the buzz for themselves. We picked the Ramayana and booked via Asiarooms (my review here which is curiously dated as January 1970!). It’s a nice 4 star hotel located in the heart of Kuta and just a walk away from the shopping area. We were upgraded to one of the chalets, which was nice although I think they need to invest in new towels & renovate their oldish bathrooms.