My very first trip overseas and it was to Bali! We were lucky that a friend was an expat there….so bunked in his huge house for the 7 days we were there.
First impression of Denpasar…..hmmm…not too great…lots of cab drivers waiting to pounce on tourists……so was relieved dat P came to fetch us……went straight to his 5 bedroom semi-d……it was sooooo huge…….and guess how much it cost???? Like S$400 a month!!!!! And he had 2 maids to look after his son….cook, clean etc etc……….
My first drive to Kuta area was such an amazing experience…..there were bare-bodied Caucasian men and bikini-clad women everywhere along the streets. They were even barefooted as they paced in the sun, browsing the hundreds of shops along Kuta. Kuta at this time was definitely THE place to be, such a happening town and dirt cheap shopping! Most tourists hung out at Sari Club (yes, the one that was later bombed) to escape from the locals who would hassle them with their goods and services….(as de club only allows foreigners to enter)
A trip to Bali would not be complete without having seafood dinner at Jimbaran where a row of stalls operate by the beach….very romantic……….and dining there would leave you with a very unforgettable experience. Did quite a bit on this trip as we had a personal guide haha…so he took us to de mountains, lakes, strawberry farms etc etc…………so the seven days was well-spent….no time was wasted…………of course we ate from food peddlers along de streets, cheap & good! Like how we like it… I don’t have digital pics for dis trip to upload cos it was before digital camera came into de market! haha….only prints….lazy to scan lah. But here are some pictures from my more recent trips there. Once is never enough. More on what you can do there later.
Bali After the Sari Club Bombing
A few months after the Sari Club bombing, I went to Bali again. This was also just before the SARS breakout during the March school holidays.
I stayed at a cosy hotel with beautiful landscaping and pool called Kuta Paradiso…very nice place to stay, better than Hard Rock Hotel & cheaper too! As soon as I walked down Kuta beach…the difference was so striking as compared to the last time I was there. There were hardly any bare-bodied ang-moh tourists around and the whole stretch of beach was so much quieter and less buzz all round. Was there for only 3 days but it was enough for me to miss the ‘old Bali’.
On this trip, I went to Nusa Dua beach for a day trip. This is where you can find the luxury hotels like Hyatt & Sheraton and a more private beach but if you ask me….I’d choose to stay in Kuta or Seminyak anytime….at least in Kuta, u have the beach and the whole stretch of restaurants and shopping etc to pass your time. At Nusa Dua there is jus the beach……period.
Dinner was at Jimabaran again but this time, there was a group of musicians serenading diners with some great live music, it was awesome.
All in all…..while Bali has not lost her charm, I experienced a more sombre and quieter Bali this time not long after the bombing.