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Bali -2007


Our flight to Bali, by Singapore Airlines, was absolutely first rate and arrival and formalities in Bali (including visa on arrival) was relatively painless, compared with the security queues at Heathrow! We had pre-arranged transport to our hotel and were met and transported to the Puri Santrian without problems.

As this was very much a DIY holiday we took details of the guy doing the transfer, which was to prove a great benefit later in our stay.

Sea View from Puri Santrian Bali
Bali - Paddy Fields

Sea View from Puri Santrian Bali

Bali - Paddy Fields

On checking in at the Puri Santrian we tried to arrange a Spa package for two days later, on SWMBO's birthday. We were told, in no uncertain terms, that we were not going to receive the Singapore Airlines 50% discount on Spa treatments as we had obtained a discount on our room rate, rather than pay the rack rate. This was of course nonsense - the Spa discount was for SIA boarding pass privileges and nothing to do with where we were staying or how much we had paid! Unfortunately we found that this money making attitude seemed to prevail at this hotel. We had pre-paid (to obtain our discounted price), so moving was not an option. We did, however, book a Spa package later in our holiday and we could not fault this Spa. Massage is also available, near to the hotel, on the beach at good prices, so we had a massage almost every day.

We had booked club rooms which give access to the private pool, free afternoon tea, with cake, cake and breakfast. Whilst we enjoyed Sanur and the Puri Santrian (and would, perhaps stay there in future) we were dissatisfied with the "Club" setup. Our room was "tired" needing a good coat of paint. The club pool had no pool bar or drinks service, was surrounded by high buildings and therefore had little cooling breeze (or afternoon sun). Continental breakfast was provided in the main beach restaurant (a short trek from the club rooms and pool) as was the afternoon tea. Hardly the anticipated club facilities as far as we were concerned.

This was our first visit to Sanur, although we had been to Bali before. We were impressed by the village and the restaurants, but the main restaurants were quite a way from the Puri Santrian's location. That being said, the hotel's public a la carte restaurant, The Mezzanine, was excellent and highly recommended.

Restaurants in Sanur village were very good. We particularly enjoyed Ming's (where we had SWMBO's birthday meal), Double Dutch (we had a rib-eye steak here that can only be described as excellent), Casa Luna, Jepun and several others, whose names escape us.

Sanur stretches a good way down a coastal road and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Some beach vendors (and village stall holders) can be a bit of a nuisance with their persistence (especially along the coastal path), but a firm "No, thank you", eventually does the trick.

Ananda Cottages - Room and Small Pool
Painting with Bamboo - Ubud

Ananda Cottages, Ubud - Room and Small Pool

Painting with Bamboo - Ubud

We decided that we would go to Ubud for a couple of days and take a break from the Puri Santrian. We anticipated that we would have little problem with accommodation. Never take anything for granted! Fortunately, we had telephoned the guy who did our airport transfer, asking him to take us on a short tour, dropping us off in Ubud and collecting us a couple of days later. We had a great tour especially as he was from the area. We stopped and chatted to some rice field harvesters, who he knew, and took some great snaps. We toured the outlying areas of Ubud visiting the usual craft workshops and headed off, early afternoon, to find a hotel. We were unable to get into our first choice hotel, Alam Shanti (I blame the good reviews on the internet) or sister hotels Alam Indah or Alam Jiwa.

We stayed, instead at the Ananda Cottages
, recommended by our driver / guide, which turned out to be an excellent choice. There are 26 cottages / suites and 3 pools! We had a double aspect upstairs room with views over paddy fields (behind) and one of the small pools (side). The Ananda also has its own Spa (aptly named "Bliss"). This was once again excellent and phenomenal value. 2 hour treatment for a couple worked out at less than GBP 25 plus 10% tax and service!

We looked at temples, dances, carvers, painters, silversmiths etc., and had a most relaxing couple of days. We will certainly go back to Ubud for 2 or 3 nights (and probably to Ananda) on our next visit.

Rather than return directly from Ubud to Sanur, we were taken to Lake Batur and the volcano, visiting the temple of the water god and a spice garden (free entry, free Balinese coffee to drink and no hard sell of anything). A thoroughly great day out, getting back to Sanur at dusk. The price was remarkably low, less than half of the price of similar trips advertised by the tour companies.

Rice Harvest - Bali
Balinese Dancer

Rice Harvest - Bali

Balinese Dancer

All too soon our holiday was over. We used the internet to check in for our flights 48 hours before we left the hotel. This was an excellent move as there was no queuing at all at the airport, despite there being a long tail back for normal check-in.

We had a great flight from Bali to Singapore; a bit of rush to get our connecting flight (50 minutes, with a long hike between gates) and then 13 further hours of travel to Heathrow, landing approx. 10 minutes early.

Will we return to Bali - Yes, all being well!
Will we fly SIA? - Probably
Will we stopover en-route in Singapore? - Possibly, but Singapore is changing!
Will we stay at the Puri Santrian? - Probably not!

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