Thursday, August 22, 2019

3D2N Island Fun at El Nido, Palawan (June 2017)

One of the trips that was more impromptu compared to others, our 3D2N stay in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines was indeed short but sweet. It helped that the resort offered an all-inclusive package (full board plus activities) and we engaged the services of a local travel agent which booked the flights for us as well.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Basking in Bali: Day 4 Spectacular Sunset Atmosphere at Kuta Beach (Jan 2017)

sunset shot at Kuta Beach
Day 4: Stay at Puri Clinton and Visit to Kuta Beach

On our fourth day in Bali, I thought about booking an accommodation somewhere in Kuta (for the beach and sunset) or Jimbaran (for the seafood) but did not find the perfect match in terms of location and price. I decided to settle with the same area, Bali Benoa/Tanjung Beach, and found one near Holiday Inn Bali Benoa. It was within walking distance so we did not have to take a taxi. We just carried our bags along and strolled to the place where we would be spending our final night in Bali. How convenient is that!?

Address: Jalan Pratama No. 63, 80363 Nusa Dua, Indonesia

Puri Clinton has been given a whopping 9.3 review rating by guests, a very high rating given its location as well as facilities and staff. Upon reading very positive guest reviews considering the very affordable rate oft as low as SGD32 (IDR298,350) per room per night, I decided this was the perfect place for our last night in Bali. We were happy with the decision to stay nearby.

Puri Clinton is hidden behind famous hotels and resorts in the area but has its own allure with its garden setting and private pool. The guest reviews were really convincing you may thought it is too good to be true. Our experience that has proven to be positive as well. We were given welcome drinks upon our arrival, while waiting for our rooms to be ready. There was a special waiting area for guests facing the pool.

Our rooms were located on the second floor of the two-storey building. The rooms were basic - one double bed, small TV, small table with chair, mini fridge, a Balinese wooden wardrobe. The bathroom was simple - with toilet and shower facilities. The bed was comfortable enough, just right for a one night stay for our last day in Bali.

We asked if we could arrange a Balinese massage as we did not have a chance to do that yet. We were quoted IDR300,000 per couple for a 1-hr Balinese massage in our room. We would never be able to get this rate back in Singapore for a couple massage. While we were having our massage, the boys were settling in their room. After an hour of Balinese massage (tick on our list), we rested for about another hour or so before our planned visit to Kuta Beach.

We booked a cab via Uber as this was said to be the cheapest way around. Our host offered to book a taxi for us but we tried our like with Uber. We paid about 1.9 times the normal rate (IDR110,000) due to high demand during that time of the day but we found the rate to still be reasonable enough after comparing with fees found online and what our host quoted us.

Travel tip: The toll fee is added to the total fare when crossing the Bali Mandara Toll Road from Tanjung Area to Kuta Area. That’s IDR11,000.

We arrived in Kuta Beach area, as expected, the streets were packed with motorists. We asked to be dropped just along the road so we could walk around the vicinity. We looked around for a place to eat as it was already past lunch time. I was craving for babi guling but Ira spotted Pizza Hut first. So as per his request, we dined at Pizza Hut which was just across the entrance gate to Kuta Beach. It was the perfect spot as we only need to walk across in time for sunset.

at Pizza Hut waiting for our order:
2 pizzas for about IDR105,000 each,
a pitcher of 7-up for IDR71,000
and 1 large pepperoni beef lasagna for IDR24,545.

When we were done with our late lunch, we made our way to Kuta Beach, crossing the busy street criss crossing paths with cars and motorcycles. We entered the narrow gate into Kuta Beach. People were already flocking to the beach to get a good view of what this beach area was famous for. There were people putting up drinks stalls. Some were renting out lounge chairs, too. There were surfers riding the waves providing entertainment to onlookers.

Here were some of the photos we took during our visit to Kuta Beach:
our perfect spot - unblocked view of the sunset we were waiting for

We found a good spot, front and center, and sat down awaiting the sunset. But looking at the horizon, we knew the sunset would not be as glorious as seen in several photographs. It was cloudy and there was very little chance of the sun coming out. Still we waited and we were rewarded with the beautiful golden orange colors.

clouds covering the golden orange along the horizon
for a few seconds or minutes the sun came out


After witnessing the famous sunset at Kuta Beach, we decided to head straight back to Puri Clinton. We wanted to make use of the pool which we found quite inviting when we saw it during our check in. We were lucky, again, as we had the pool to ourselves that night. We stayed until our bodies were ready to hit the sack. Although hitting the sack was the last thing on our minds in this case as we found it quite relaxing to stay in the pool, doing our short laps and having simple family fun under the stars in the island of the gods.

Finally, when our feet and hands were all pruny, we decided to head back upstairs to our rooms and called it a night.

Day 5: Farewell, Bali…

The following day, our last day in Bali, we woke up early, packed our bags, hit the streets and flagged a cab to take us to the airport. We checked the taxi fares online the night before so we could ask the driver the rate before getting into the cab.
at the Puri Clinton saying our farewell....
Bali has been good to us. The food. The weather. The places. The people. This may not have been a holiday where I needed to do a lot of planning as what I usually do but it turned out to be more than we expected it to be. In five days we have only seen and experienced a part of Bali. There are still a variety of food to taste, several island hopping and snorkeling trips to make, much of the local culture to experience, and we have not even met Pak Ketut (of Eat, Pray, Love, that is)!

Hoping we could come back for more....

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Basking in Bali: Day 3 at Holiday Inn Bali Benoa (Jan 2017)

a giant sitting area, one of a few, at the hotel lobby. A must-have photo op after our check in.
Late check in at Holiday Inn Bali Benoa

From the cultural heart of the island we moved to Tanjung Beach area famous for its water sports activities. We arrived at Holiday In Bali Benoa at about 7pm with our bags and McDonald’s takeaway dinner. The resort was chosen by the company and was where we had our meeting and company gatherings for the next 2 days. Some of my colleagues from Singapore, Japan and Indonesia arrived earlier and have already checked in. We were among the last ones to check in for the day.

"Holiday Inn Bali Benoa offers travellers a fresh, modern, and family-friendly stay."
It is about 15 minutes drive from the Ngurah Rai International Airport. The resort has themed rooms for families with young children, a Kids Club, four pools, a gym, several chill out lounge zones, free wi-fi, and their signature Tea Tree Spa.

Address: Jl. Pratama No.86, Benoa, Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Contact details: +62 361 8947888

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Basking in Bali: Day 2 at the Island's Cultural Heart - Ubud (Jan 2017)

DAY 2: Farewell, Bali Culture Guesthouse... Hello, the rest of the island...

Check out day at Bali Culture Guesthouse and we were sad we only had to stay there for a night. We all agreed that we would want to come back and next time it's going to be for a few days.

We woke up early to a simple but filling breakfast of toast, juice, tea, coffee and a selection of fruits. 

We could get used to this food and service....
and this sight every morning, even noon or night!

Friday, July 7, 2017

Basking in Bali: Day 1 at Bali Culture Guesthouse (Jan 2017)

Selamat datang di Bali!
Although 2016 was a quiet year for us in terms of holidays/travelling because both our boys were having their national exams, waiting on results and applying for schools, we kick-started the new year 2017 with a short getaway to the Island of the Gods.