If you read my post last week - you will know that I had to split my honeymoon up to accommodate my partner's wishes - our thoughts on what makes a perfect holiday differ greatly. (Ha ha! Please note I am not that selfish and don't really think the honeymoon belongs to me!)
Wiping a tear from my eye, we depart from Nusa Dua... sniff.
Mr Kate leads us to Legian - Not his first choice. Originally the idea was to stay in one of his Indonesian friend's village and sleep in a hut. Being my first time in Bali, and travelling with our 2 year old, I decided to put my foot down and suggest we stay in an air conditioned hotel room. (Once again - please note I'm not a selfish person!) So to Legian we went.
We had a packed week full of adventures, surfing and of course shopping. First on our agenda was to visit the Bali Safari and Marine Park, which you will hear about everywhere you go in Bali. It is a relatively new zoo and is well worth the half hour drive to get there!
At the beautiful Bali Safari Park you can have a very reasonably priced meal whilst watching the Lions. The restaurant is surrounded by big glass windows and situated right inside the Lion enclosure. It is pretty incredible!
Reserve an entire day and night for the Bali Safari - the Bali Agung Show runs two shows a day at the Zoo theatre. I recommend going to at least one of them. The show I saw was a huge production of around 180 dancers and performers and more than a dozen live animals. It truly was a spectacular treat and one we weren't expecting... which makes it that much more special.
After the big day the day before it was off the beach for a bit of relaxation. My son and I played in the sand, drank plenty of fresh juices and explored the massive beach. Mr Kate dedicated the day to the surf.
Apparently the surf was pretty good:)
Next stop was Ubud, which is about 40 minutes north of Legian towards the central mountains. This town has become a second tourist hotspot for Bali mostly because of its rich Balinese culture in an array of forms. Ubud houses many of the countries finest artists and craftsmen, who's work is relatively inexpensive. Accommodation ranges from luxury resorts to family-run inns so the type of tourist that you will come across range from a honeymooning couple to backpackers.
If you venture outside the town you will find remarkably lush rice paddies, ancient temples and of course beautiful coconut trees.
You will also find the famous Monkey Forest in Ubud...
A word of warning - if you take bananas into the Monkey Forest with you (they sell them at the entrance for a small fee) don't hide them - the monkeys will sniff them out, jump on you and take them. Don't hold onto the bananas for too long if you don't want the monkeys to follow you. They live for those things and if have them they will keep their eye on you.
The monkeys are great to look at, but are a little game for my liking. In saying that, we had a blast!
Finally this week we shopped - we mixed it up between street stall shopping, where the real bargains live, and shopping centres (department store type), where things are a still cheaper than in Aus, but they are set prices so no bartering.
If you want to plan your out your shopping I suggest buying your arts and crafts from Ubud and your clothes, shoes and designer brand wear in Legian, Kuta and Seminyak.
The great department stores to head to are: The Matahari in Kuta Square, Kuta Square also has loads of big brand boutiques, Robinsons in Denpasar, Discovery Mall, Bali Mal Galeria in Kuta - just to name a few. Many of these places also sell fantastic souvenirs and crafts.
Great markets to visit are Sukawati markets, Sanur & Kuta markets, Sunrise Organic markets (only on Mon, Wed and Fri), Ubud markets and the markets in Denpasar.
The best way to get around if you are a couple is definitely by motorbike, but you need to both have helmets and the driver needs an international licence.
Blue taxis are great and cheap - just make sure when you get in that the driver is running the meter.
Private drivers (the ones that ask you if you need transport every 5 feet) are good if you are doing a big trip - make sure they have a good personality and can show you a few things along the way. These drivers are great for a bit of local info and sightseeing.
- Make sure you have $25 US dollars for the 30-day visa you will need to purchase when you land.
- Departure tax is 150,000 RP ( about $15 each) so when you get your money - put this aside for when you leave. Too often people spend every sent they have and then forget about the tax. It will be a big hassle to get it out at the airport.
- It is best to use ATM's - they can be found everywhere. Credit cards are also widely accepted.
- Depending on what costs your mobile phone provider charges for global roaming, it is almost always advisable to purchase a Sim card when you arrive to Bali. These are sold for about 55,000RP (about $5.50) outside the Matahari in Kuta Square. The sales girl will also insert it for you and activate it. You will need to bring your unlocked mobile with you.
- If you are travelling with a child/baby - you may be asked at the airport if you want to go through the VIP queue for 250,000 RP (about $25) and it may seem like a good idea as all the other queues are ridiculously long, but try to refrain as they will no doubt ask you over soon enough - especially if your baby is crying:) Let them whinge:)
It was a sensational honeymoon and travelling with our 2 year old was wonderful. The Balinese people are particularly family orientated and they outwardly adore children. Most family hotels offer great kids club services so you can sneak away for a romantic meal or a couple massage, restaurants have kids menus and everywhere you turn there is someone entertaining your children.
Let me know if there is something I missed that you were dying to know.
For more on Honeymooning - check out our Honeymoon page.
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