Our first trip to Asia was a couple of years ago. We went to the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. Bali offers so much to see and do and we truly felt welcomed there. To read our review of The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah click HERE. To read our restaurant reviews from Ubud click HERE.
Here are a couple of videos from our trip:
Our ride from Ubud to Denpasar Airport took us through lots of traffic and totaled two hours. When we arrived at the airport our hotel representative met us once again. To read about that experience visit here.
You first walk through an outdoor "mall." Shops, restaurants, and vendors. Next you have to go through a security check. Finally you make it to the airline check in counters ours was Malaysia Airlines. This is where we sat in line for 40 minutes. Once you are checked in you head through immigration (don't forget to have 150,000 rupiah's per person in cash). We found our gate (gate 1) and made a pit stop to the bathrooms. I have previously read horror stories about the bathrooms at this airport but the ones we used were clean, bright, had doors, and toilet seats. Luckily we noticed an airline representative talking to a few people. It became apparent that our gate had been changed (there wasn't an announcement). There are several screens for gate assignments throughout so just double check them.
4 hours from when we left The Chedi Club we boarded our flight to Kuala Lumpur. At first our plane didn't have any air conditioning. Apparently the generator wasn't working while the plane was parked. It took a while after take off for things to cool down. My dairy free meal was a roasted tomato and mixed vegetables, fruit, salted peanuts and a water.
We arrived in Kuala Lumpur and knew we had a 4 and 1/ hour layover. So we wandered around and looked through some of the shops. We then decided to try Dome restaurant for some dinner. Dome was very accommodating to my dairy allery. Greg and I both ordered sandwiches and they were good but very heavy. When we got back to our gate we found out (via monitors only no announcement) that our flight was going to be delayed an hour and 20 minutes. We asked at the customer service desk what the delay was and we were informed it was because of passengers who were delayed coming from Manilla. We were definitely frustrated by this but at least we had a long layover in London. We decided to get a coffee and tea at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. The drinks were good but upon looking at the ingredients when we got home they are definitely not too healthy.
Our 2nd Malaysia Airlines flight finally began boarding and we ventured up to the economy section of the 2nd level. The flight took off fine and then we went through several hours of very rough turbulence. The flight attendants were seated throughout the turbulence as well. My first dairy free meal was potatoes, tomatoes, and green beans with a salad, fruit, and a roll. The entire meal was awful. I slept through the snack and thankfully they didn't try to wake me. My morning meal was a potato cake, mushrooms, and a tomato with a soy coconut rice pudding, roll, fruit, and jam. The pudding, roll, and jam were okay but the potato cake and vegetables were awful.
After landing in London we headed to terminal 5 and the connections desk. Luckily this went a lot smoother than when flying to Bali. For breakfast we decided on Giraffe in terminal 5. Greg ordered scrambled eggs, ham, sausage, and a roasted tomato. I ordered Muesli with fruit and soy milk. We also both ordered smoothies. The service was fast, friendly, and food was nicely prepared. I then headed to Harrods for some goodies and gifts. With a new heavy bag we headed to our British Airways flight home.
Our flight to Boston was rather uneventful. However Greg and I will be avoiding the British Airways 747 -400 planes. There are no air vents on this plane. You are stuck in a hot environment, cramped seats, and zero air on you. Touching down in Boston we went through immigration, found our luggage, headed past customs, and called for our car through Boston North Limo. Luckily, we had an excellent driver who got us home in time for the Bruins game!!
For our last day in Bali we booked a half day tour (through the hotel) of a temple and a waterfall for the four of us.
Our driver was Tast, a very friendly and informative man. After breakfast we drove to the Four Seasons and picked up our friends. Tast was fully prepared for a very hot day with four passengers. Inside our car there was water for everyone, cool cloths, a cooler of more water, and cloths
As we drove from stop to stop we passed several houses that were beautifully decorated with flowers and flags. Tast told us these were weddings and to be married on this day it was said to be good luck.
Our first stop of the day was Pura Desa Puseh Temple. Before entering the temple we were given a sarong and scarf. Tast walked us through the various areas and explained as much as possible about the area to us. We had ample time to ask questions and take photographs.
Our 2nd stop was at a Silver Village. We were taken to Prapen Artisan. You are shown through the beautiful property and even given a small tour about the process of designing jewelry with silver. I found a unique piece (it's not for everyone). I purchased a silver ring with a large square piece of lava rock in the center.
Our 3rd stop was Tegenungan Waterfall. It's not the tallest or widest waterfall out there but it is breathtaking. Your view is first from above the waterfall (there is a seating area and small store). If you wish you can walk down a good amount of stairs however they are pretty wide and not too steep. You next have to walk across a grassy, muddy, and rocky area and you will end up down near the waterfall. Our friend Steve braved the water and found it to be refreshing but it did have a strong current.
Our 4th stop was at a typical Balinese house. We were shown how they cook, where the sleep, how the honor their elders, the animals they raise for money, and also the family temple. This was interesting to see but also felt a little strange to be gawking at someone's actual home.
On our way back up to the car we crossed paths with locals holding a ceremony. Just a final touch to end our vacation. Tast informed us we still had about an hour left for our tour but we were all incredibly hot and tired from the sun. We headed back to our hotel for some lunch a pool time! To read about our hotel and the hotel restaurant visit here.
For dinner we decided to meet up at Bridges. Unfortunately, this was our least favorite meal. You can read the full restaurant review here.
Below are a few more pictures of our last day!
After an early start to the day at The Chedi Club we headed into Ubud. Friends from Arizona were meeting up with us for a few days. Yay! We met outside of the Palace (such an easy meeting spot). It was extremely sunny and hot again this morning so we decided to head to a restaurant for some drinks. Right along the main street you will find multiple restaurants to enjoy drinks, juices, gelato, and meals throughout the day.
After some relaxation time and people watching (such a fun past time) we decided to do some shopping. Across the street is the Ubud Market. There are multiple shops within several buildings (two levels). You will be able to find something for yourself and anyone on your gift list.
Some of the fun items we found were a silk dress, sand sculptures, wood carvings, salt and pepper pots, elephants (cloth, wood, metal, and more), and paintings. The pricing of stuff is similar to Mexico - haggling. I hate to haggle but people were very friendly and very honest. In the end everyone was happy and we got a good price for "good luck."
Our friends headed over the Monkey Forest and we decided to head back to our hotel to get freshened up. This heat and humidity does a number on your body and hair!!
For dinner we met up at their hotel the Four Season's Sayan. The staff were very warm and welcoming. Tonight was their Romantic Couples Dinner. For a full review visit here.
Today was a day where we did nothing at all but enjoyed everything kind of day. We enjoyed our usual breakfast looking out over the rice fields (oh how I miss the view and fresh fruit plates).
After breakfast we realized just how hot and humid it was out. Even the staff were saying how oppressive it was. We decided to forgo going into town this morning and decided to hang out by our very own pool. One of the best decisions we made was booking a pool villa. This allowed us to have peace and quiet, grab a couple of books, and be able to hop in the water any time we wanted.
In the afternoon we decided to go into Ubud even though you could tell it was going to rain. It rained every afternoon between 1 and 3 but so far had only lasted 45 minutes or so. We had our driver drop us off at Kafe Batan Waru for some lunch and to wait out the rain. We ended up over eating while waiting for the rain which never ended. You can tell rain is coming by the clouds forming, the cooler air temperature, or all of the scooter riders putting on their ponchos. For a review of Kafe Batan Waru visit here.
After lunch we decided to try to walk around and do some shopping. Unfortunately, the rain just wouldn't let up. This was the day we were frustrated with The Chedi Club for not giving each villa a cell phone to call for a driver. We asked a couple locations to call and they either wouldn't or didn't have a phone. Finally, we went to the tourist information desk on the corner of main street and monkey forest road. They allowed us to use the phone and call the hotel. As it started to rain again we had to stay there for 20 minutes waiting for our driver. We finally noticed a guy up the street holding a sign for our hotel. He parked further down from the palace on main street. Every other driver had dropped us off and picked us up right next to the information desk but this driver seemed to think we were crazy for standing over there.
Oh well, back to the hotel to dry off. This evening the hotel was offering a Crispy Duck Dinner. We had previously made reservations for it however decided to cancel them as we were still very full from Kafe Batan Waru.
I'm sure it sounds strange to most that we enjoyed a day of doing nothing because of rain. It's true though. We enjoyed some great food, drinks, watched the streets flood quickly, saw a man driving a scooter with an infant in one arm and an umbrella in the other, and so much more.
For my full hotel review you can visit here. Below are pictures of some of the food prepared for by the hotel. All were dairy free and all were outstanding! I have also included pictures of the room service menus. Enjoy!
We decided to be adventurous for our 14th wedding anniversary so today we booked the Sunrise Trek of Mt Batur through our butler for $50 usd per person. 1 am wake up call after only 4 hours of sleep. At 2 am we meet our driver and hop into an SUV. We drive into Ubud where we have to make two other stops for four other passengers. The drive to Kintamani is about 45 minutes so we settle in for a quite ride.
We arrive at Pineh Colada Organic Farm for a quick breakfast. You are given a coffee and tea sampler (their own products) and banana pancakes. When I explained that I couldn't eat the pancakes because of my dairy allergy they surprised me with a special non-dairy batch. Very thoughtful. The owner came and talked about his farm and how the tours are booked through their farm and then showed us a selection of products for purchase. Unfortunately, we thought we were stopping their on the way back to our hotel (but didn't) so we didn't buy any.
Next we drove to Mt Batur and met our guides (three per group). To the summit of Mt Batur it is roughly 5500 feet. The hike up to the summit takes around an hour to two hours. The path starts is a simple dirt path rather large at first, then through some rows of tomato and pepper plants, finally you are on a very narrow loose rock path with boulders you need to climb over.
Sadly it took Greg and I two hours (we were one of the last to the top. Halfway up the mountain I had an asthma attack and didn't have my inhaler. I would continue on and just keep making several stops. Between my asthma, the warmth (remember in the middle of the night in Bali its still 80 degrees), the humidity (Boston in August), and the altitude (I live almost at sea level) this was an incredibly hard trek for me. At one point I was going to stay at the half way point and another guide offered to have one of his men walk me back down. Our guide to great offense to this and started a fight with the nice gentleman. At this point I got rather pissed off and said screw it, come on adrenaline and carried on!
Our guide didn't really understand that it wasn't the trek itself. While everyone else was complaining of aches and pains, or exhaustion I was completely fine. My lungs just didn't want to cooperate.
Finally we made it to the top! At this point you could see everyone in jackets or sweatshirts. Greg and I zipped up however it wasn't even cold! There was a slight breeze and it felt like spring in Boston. We met up with our group and waited for the sunrise. Did we see the amazing sunrise we were hoping for.....nope! Completely fogged in. Every now and then the fog would move and we could photograph the crater, or the lake, or the lava fields. During these times you are filled with happiness, peace, and in awe of your surroundings.
Our guide made us breakfast. We were provided hard boiled eggs, and white bread with cooked banana inside. The others weren't too thrilled with a banana sandwich. Personally I would have loved it (I'm weird and like to mash up a banana and put it on a rice cake) but I wasn't sure if the bread contained dairy or not so I abstained.
Before heading back down the mountain we walked around the crater, steam vents, and took as many photos as the fog allowed. Heading back down took us about an hour and a half. Again the guide thought I couldn't handle the trek so he took my hand, just about pulled my arm out of the socket and pulled me down the rocks. The views were beautiful and truly inspiring.
We met up with our driver again and started back into Ubud. The roads can be a bit high and have cliffs right next to your car so this was always interesting when scooters, trucks, and our suv tried to pass one another. We were fortunate enough to make a final stop before heading into Ubud. Photo op time at the Rice Terraces of Tegalalang. The terraces are beautiful and across the way are lovely little shops and restaurants.
Back at our hotel we were still high from our trek so we decided to order up some lunch. For the review of our hotel visit here.
After resting and cleaning up we had one of the most amazing dinners of our life at Mozaic in ubud. For the complete review with pictures visit here.
After breakfast at the hotel we called for our car into Ubud. Our driver dropped us off at the corner of Monkey Forest and Main Road. The palace was right in front of us. Our driver told us that the town was preparing for a cremation ceremony for a member of the Royal Family. The next day hundreds of men would carry the body and this statue and place the body into a statue of a bull. Then the bull would be lit on fire. Sadly we missed the ceremony as we would be just getting back to our hotel from our hike of Mt Batur.
We decided to take today and walk around to get a feel for the town. We ventured down the Main Road, down JL Goutama, up to JL Hanoman and back up Monkey Forest. It was amazing and completely different from what we have ever seen. There wasn't a need to shop yet, or hit all of the highlights. It's worth so much to just wander and enjoy. What really helped us during our trip was a map of Ubud from Mappery.com. I did take it a step further and wrote in all the other places I found interesting.
Throughout the day we tried drinks at Kafe, lunch at Ibu Oka, and eventually dinner at Clear Cafe. To read about these restaurants visit here.
Below are a few more pictures from Ubud
The things in life that are worth it never seem to come easy. A week before we were set to leave for Bali Bucket seemed to have an injury again. We took him back to the neurologist who couldn't really give us too much information. It could be a muscle pull, it could be fatigue, it could be another disc problem. We were given instructions for strict rest and medicine to help with inflammation. Naturally I began freaking out thinking how could we go through this again, how could we leave him within a week to travel half way around the world, etc. etc. Luckily I have an amazing support system. My family, friends, and love ones are always there for us in any way possible.
Now it's the day we are flying and I go to pick up my mother to doggy sit. I have been having some jaw and neck pain for a couple of days so she convinces me to go to a clinic real quick just to double check myself. Sure enough I have an ear infection. Antibiotics and ear drops for 10 days (my entire trip). The doctor suggested going home and taking 4 antibiotics today and filling my ear with the drops and resting for a half an hour. At this point we are way behind schedule. I still have to finish packing, get showered, changed, and get the house settled for my mom and the dogs.
It's 6:00 time for our pick up from Boston North Limo. Originally they suggested a 6:30 pick up for our 9:30 flight. I prefer to be at the airport at the suggested times (3 hours for international) because you just never know. At 6:05 we get a call saying that our car (a new towncar) broke down on the highway. The nearest car was at least a half hour away. We explained that that doesn't work for us and we're running late. Luckily Boston North Limo is a stand up company and has offered to reimburse us for the cost of the cab we had to call.
After a missed highway exit, and hitting traffic we finally get to the airport. We head to British Airways to check in and sure enough there is a long line of people ahead of us. The agent checks us in and informs us that we will have to gather our Malaysia Airlines boarding passes once we reach London Heathrow. At this point everything sounds normal - definitely wrong (read on to find out our troubles in London). Next was the very long line at security and finally the very long line to get a sandwich before running to our gate.
I asked my travel agent to reserve Vegan meals for my for all of my flights. I have found that no matter what I say; Vegan, Vegetarian, Dairy Free I somehow end up getting dairy products! How difficult is it to read ingredients and properly identify allergies. Needless to say I always bring Larabars, Pure Bars, and Simple Squares.
The British Airways flight was on a 747. This plane does not have any air vents. You are always hot, uncomfortable, and surrounded by others germs. The seats are very tight and do not give much leg room. You are provided with a personal tv and remote showing a variety of movies, tv, and games. My meal on this flight was Eggplant with Ratatouille but it also looked like it had a cream sauce. I was also given a fruit plate, salad with lemon olive oil, a roll, and dried fruit. I don't understand why but also on my plate was promise spread and creamer (both contained dairy).
We arrive in London and you have to take a bus from Terminal 5 to Terminal 4. Next you go through security. Finally you have to go to a connections ticket counter for your next Boarding Passes. This entire process took us about an hour and a half. The agent at the connections desk informed us that the British Airways agent checked us in through to Bali but then released us from the flight landing in Bali. In addition to this our seats on our next two flights were given up and we weren't seated together. The agent spoke to her supervisor who allowed us two seats together in an exit row for our flight to Kuala Lumpur. For our flight into Bali she was able to get us two seats together but in the last row and in the middle of the plane. We were very thankful to her for at least finding seats together for us.
Malaysia Airlines was very friendly and the flight (A380) was very smooth. My first meal was a fruit salad, a spicy stuffed pepper, rice, broccoli, crackers, and a mushroom dip that was awful. My snack was a tomato and cucumber sandwich. For Breakfast I was given Ravioli's in a tomato sauce.....ummm how is this Vegan Ravioli's have cheese. This was obviously a vegetarian meal not vegan. The flight attended offered me an Indian Vegetarian meal which I would have loved but they couldn't guarantee that it didn't contain dairy. In the end I just enjoyed the fruit.
At this point I was hot, tired, and sick of flying so I obvioulsy forgot to write down any details on our flight from Kuala Lumpur to Denpasar. I do remember that it was a bit rocky but felt fast.
We arrived in Bali and as you follow the masses you will find the Visa payment booths on your left hand side of the room. This is where you must stop first. After you receive your visa you head to Immigrations. This was the first immigrations booth where you do not go up as a family. It is per person. Finally we found our luggage - yay both pieces made it! You walk through another security check and past the money exchange booths and finally outside to meet your driver. We met with the hotel rep (holds a sign for the hotel but not your name for security). The representative walked us through the airport, stopped at the bathrooms for us, and then escorted us to our driver.
For my review of The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah visit here.
We have just returned from an amazing vacation in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Trip total: 4 Days of traveling, 6 flights, 22,100 miles, 3 continents, past the equator, and 6 amazing nights in Ubud!
I will definitely be writing a full review of our hotel, airlines, restaurants, activities, and more shortly! We did a lot so it's going so it might take me a bit to get through all of my notes lol. Here are some of our pictures from the trip and places we visited.
The North Shore Limo - definitely have some highs and lows with them.
British Airways - Completely screwed up our outgoing flights.
Malaysian Airlines - A pretty good airline however the food wasn't great and we ran into a problem on the way home.
The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah Hotel and Restaurant - Probably the most thoughtful hotel and staff we have ever had the pleasure of staying with.
Clear Cafe - Good food but the service wasn't great
Ibu Oka - Beyond casual atmosphere with delicious food
Bridges - Definitely a let down
Mozaic - One of the best meals of our lives!
Nomad - Briefly visited
Batan Waru - Terrific for people watching and good food
Four Season Restaurant - We dined here at the Couples dinner and I was thoroughly impressed
Ubud, Market, shops, temples, restaurants - Ubud is laid back, full of friendly people, terrific food, and great shopping.
Mt Batur Sunrise Trek - One of the best and hardest things I have ever done. Completely worth the 5500 foot climb!
Rice terraces of Tegalalang - Beautiful and serene
Tegenungan Waterfall - An amazing oasis
Pura Desa Puseh Batuan (Hindu Temple) - Full of beauty and wonder.