Bali - Apr 2003
I am sure everybody thought we are crazy to get on a stuffy aeroplane when SARS, the atypical pneumonia is a big problem in HK.
It was a very good deal because the whole tourism industry is desperate. The package includes direct flight to Bali from HK and guaranteed upgrade to Grand Hyatt's club room with breakfast included at a very low price.
It's not without problem though. We checked with Cathay Pacific a day before we left and our direct flight was cancelled. We had to fly to Jakarta then took a domestic flight to Bali. That's how we wasted the first day on airports. Despite Cathay Pacific joined different flights to the Jakarta flight, the plane is only about 20% full. When we came back to HK the flight was not cancelled. Probably because we left on Saturday and there are more people leaving HK to Bali on Saturday and so we got the plane to go back.
We were avoiding the transfer come with the package because the transfer is basically provided by local tour company which takes this golden chance to sell you tours. We took a taxi from the taxi service counter at the airport and it costs Rp55,000 to Nusa Dua. It takes about 15 minutes.
We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Resort in Nusa Dua.
There are many resort hotels built along the beach at Nusa Dua. I haven't visited Club Med but I did walk around the hotels along the beach. Grand Hyatt is the best!
[Take a look of Grand Hyatt Resort hotel here]
As I said there were lots of hotel along the beach in Nusa Dua. In fact, there is a Balinese stone gate before you go into the roads to all different hotels. Once you come into the 'hotel area', there is a place called Galleria which is full of expensive restaurants and shops. The restaurants are expensive. The list price on the menu is comparable to hotel restaurants although the waiters all hand out 50 - 60% off discount card to you. Bali is dead quiet! And everybody is desperate to get some business.
We ate in a small restaurants on the main street of Kuta and the price is more reasonable but not as cheap as Thailand. It's Rp35,000 (US$4.5) for a main course, say, Nasi Goreng, the Indonesian fried rice.
To my surprise, the price in the famous Cafe Lotus in Ubud is similar to the fair quality restaurant in Kuta. It has a much nicer view - right next to 2 lotus ponds and facing a Hindu temple. The food is good too.
It takes about 1 hour car ride to Ubud (depends if your driver still tries to drive you round all the silver smiths, wood carving workshops and batik shops after you said that you are not interested, then it will take another half an hour!) Ubud has changed enormously since I visited 8 years ago. It is so touristy now. It took me about 5 minutes on car to get to Cafe Lotus after I saw the tourist souvenir shop and the whole road is basically covered in shops! They are building more stages for the cultural dances too.
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