After 6 months organising our trip we're finally off - May 2016 couldn't get here quick enough! It had been 3 yrs since our last "no kids" Bali Golf getaway and we've just returned vowing not to leave it any more than 12 months until our next visit......
Started off with 4 nights at Villa Amani Golf at Nirwana Golf Course, Tanah Lot - ahhhh heaven! We were the only couple that had stayed here before so we knew what to expect but the others all confirmed it with plenty of ahhhs and wows when we got there. This villa is in the perfect position, overlooking the 13th (?) and the ocean, it's within the resort complex so all amenities are available but with our own two pools, chef and cleaner - why leave??? ($500USD per night for 4 aircon rooms with ensuites, laundry done for you, pool upstairs, byo snacks, Bintangs & mixers - pick up from the Bintang Supermarket on the way, spectacular view and great location)
The men couldn't wait to get on the course so spent a couple of hours checking it out in our Villa golf buggy the first day and then had booked for a round the following day - there's only one thing for the ladies to do while they are out walking around in the hot & humid Balinese sun and that's get spa treatments right in the villa.
Once again I had booked the the Casa Day Spa ladies and they were on time, professional and totally awesome - luckily we had booked them for 2 days in a row and could get all the treatments we wanted. Hot stone massages, facials, body scrubs, pedicures for a total of about 6hours each over the 2 days and a total cost of around $70 each (a little more expensive than in Legian but they do come to the Villa with 4 therapists). It was a little surreal having our treatments in the open area overlooking the ocean, listening to the waves, beautiful sea breeze and Balinese music playing in the background.
The men couldn't resist the golf course so played again on day 3, we ladies went off to Sanur for a shop at Tootsies (gives a great idea for prices when having to barter), coffee & lunch on the beach and hopefully a massage at Koa Spa but they were all booked for the day - our first day without a massage (had to resort to Mojitos instead).
The villa is only a short walk through the resort to the Tanah Lot temple area with beautiful views and shopping and money exchange (authorised bank style) available. We managed to find an aircon coffee stop at the Nirwana Resort's Gastro Deli (funny name to be using in Bali we thought) and some lovely fresh baguettes for lunch.
Dinner and breakfast were at the Villa prepared by our chef Ketut and delicious and very reasonable - they go and buy everything fresh, cook it, clean up and add 20% to the dockets. I even organised a Bubi Guling one night and it was delicious. I wish it was this easy at home!
Echo Beach, Canguu was our one night out from the Villa and I was a little disappointed this time (here 3 yrs ago) and then a walk to the Echo Beach Sports Bar to try and catch the NRL but they couldn't get it - even though the sign outside said they did - but that's Bali!!!! :)
We then moved down to Legian to the Legian Beach Hotel (normally would stay at the Puri Raja Hotel but couldn't get deluxe rooms) so paid twice the price to stay at LBH - it was nice but too big for my liking and I don't think worth double the price. It's in a good position as are all the beach front hotels are but I wouldn't go any further south towards Kuta as it is great having the beach walk path in front to avoid the traffic and shops if you want to. (Around $600 in Bungalows for 3 nights including breakfast on an Expedia deal). There's nothing wrong with the resort or rooms we had just not my style and better value at the Puri Raja (bigger room closer to the beach so a little cooler).
Men played golf the afternoon of the move, this time at Bali National Golf course so it was a walk for the ladies to get familiar with the area and head up to Wina Optical (after about a 2 hr walk via many shops to not finding it and being told they are closed on Sundays) - so a taksi all the way up to Mugshots for an iced coffee, check out beanbags, buy dvds and cds (I just waited in Mugshots) then a walk home via the beachfront back to the LBH and a swim to cool down. A quick look on TripAdvisor while having some sunset cocktails and we find that Sheppy's is the winner for dinner - and a winner it was! Prices very reasonable (around $30 per couple for lotsa food & drinks) and food that made everyone give the thumbs up - Green Curry (6,000) was the absolute winner and the seafood plate (9,500) came in second. A quick call in at Uncle Norm's on the way home for Espresso Martinis and a dance and then home.
Lazy day to do what ever ... For some this was laying around the pool, others a walk on the beach, ordering bean bags, leather bag from Tommys and some of us met up for lunch and tried the Azul (huge bamboo structure next door to LBH) and it is a beautiful setting however meals are small and not cheap but Bintangs were cold.
Dinner was booked for KResto on the beach at Double 6 - lovely walk via a couple of BeanBag bars on the beach and it did not disappoint when we finally got there. Very reasonable and great service, good food and even complimentary small desserts for everyone. (Around $80 per couple but that did include a bottle of Australian wine for about $60 - she couldn't go without any longer!)
It's golf again the next day at New Kuta Golf Course so luckily we ladies found the Yes Spa (very clean and professional - huge area out the back for massages in a quiet, peaceful and clean environment) just up the road from the LBH so a couple of hours in here will help pass the time (and a little shopping on the way). Dinner tonight was another walk along the beach path - tried to get into Mozzarella by the Sea but fully booked so kept walking and ended up at the Italian restaurant a little further up towards Seminyak at Hotel Kumala Pantai - was OK for the price but wouldn't bother again (Around $60 per couple - again we don't mind a feed and drink, including cocktails).
It's now our last day in Bali and fly out at midnight so everyone feeling a little exhausted and ready to chill for the day - not my thing so I'm off and walking around and finally get husband to come along to the shops for a look - 20minutes and he's got 4 shorts and 4 Tshirts so goes back to the aircon room to get over the heat (funny how he can handle 5hours on a golf course but only 20minutes shopping - we women really are the tougher ones!) Oh look, there's the Yes Spa just across the road so happy for hubby to go home and I'll just duck in for a quick body scrub and hot stone massage for just over 2 hours - everyone's happy!!!
I had heard about Fat Bowl (near entrance to Padma resort and just down the road towards the beach from Tommy's leather shop) so a couple of us head off here for lunch to check it out and then decide to bring all 8 of us back for dinner - great food, nice atmosphere and good prices! Luckily we booked when were there for dinner while we were here having lunch as people were getting knocked back from 6pm onwards and even still no space when we left at 7:30pm. We wouldn't normally go the same restaurant twice but when it's this good and close we broke the rule.(Around $40 per couple here).
Unfortunately, it was now time to head back and pack up for the long overnight flight home to Brisbane.
The weather for the last seven days was sunny, hot and humid with a couple of quick storms during the night. Thankfully we had great aircon a the Villa and in our Garden Bungalows at the Legian Beach Hotel to escape the heat and enjoy a great night's sleep.
The exchange rate for AUD is around 9,600 with the dodgey operators offering around 10,000 - DO NOT USE THEM.
Things we found to buy ... Biokos facial products @ Bintang Supermarket (about a third to quarter of the price in Aus), Gingerbon lollies - just love them but also good for an upset stomach (7,800 a packet), Sandals (100,000 a pair), Bintangs on the beach and Minimarts (25,000), Bali bag (#2 size is great for carryon size 45,000), TShirts (30,000 - 50,000), Happy pants (40,000 to 50,000), Neck pillow (30,000), Caps - Nike, Ralph (20,000), Raybans (25,000 - 35,000), Cosmetics & cosmetic brushes (on the beach but not sure of prices however the ladies with daughters were certainly buying up big).
I had a driver organised that could take 8 of us with luggage and golf clubs easily in a 12 seater - happy to refer his number to anyone. He was prompt at the airport, villa and again leaving. He is part of a group that organises golf tours and they provided great prices on the New Kuta and Bali National courses but as we were staying at Nirwana in the Villa we got a better price here direct. Golf in Bali is not cheap - approximately $200 per round and yes they played 4 times!!!
Winners : Sheppys, Fat Bowl, any beanbag on the beach, KResto, Villa Amani Golf and Bali itself.
One of the men (Bali virgin) has been saying for years that Thailand is his pick of where to holiday - by the end of our holiday he's now changed to Bali and looking forward to doing it all again next year (as long as I organise it again!). One couple love going to Koh Samui (Bali virgins) and have put their hand up to do it again, one couple are returning in October with another group but no golf and we'd return any time we could!
Gottaluvaholiday - especially to Bali!