Kym and families .. just back - Garden View cottages/ Melasti Beach resort

Well, this was about our 14th trip. We started going in 1986 when there was just 2 of us. Now thereís' 4 of us. Daughter almost 8 and son almost 6, both have been to Bali before. We wanted accommodation around Legian so we stayed for a week at Garden View in a Family Bungalow and another week in the big rooms at Melasti beach Resort. Both were recommends from the forum. We liked both, though they were quite different.

Garden View was super friendly and in a great location. We stayed in bungalow 203, which is behind the reception and kitchen areas. The bungalows are large and are surrounded by their own brick wall courtyards. Lots of privacy and room. They have a large open area downstairs with the bathroom and toilet and 1 bedroom. Upstairs is the main bedroom. Our kids decided they wouldnít sleep downstairs by themselves so we all ended up in the big room upstairs. (That turned out ok, as they were not well) They had lovely big windows in the bedroom, but we actually kept them closed during the day, as our 5 year old would have probably leant over the edge and fallen out! There were quite a few mossies but with spraying and using coils it kept them under control. The downstairs area had lots of room for the kids to play in which was a big plus.The rooms were a bit old and the hotel looked like it needed a bit of TLC, some said refurbishment was happening next year. Garden view had a good tourist desk in that you could book a reasonably priced driver and car to take you places without the hassle of haggling on the street. Breakfast was included, though it seemed to take ages to come and the kids got a bit fidgety. The pool was ok, nothing flash though. It was a really friendly place to sit and learn more about what to do and see. The food and drink prices were very reasonable and so we and many others were eating and drinking around the pool.

MBR rooms were spacious, the grounds well maintained with loads of trees and there were lots of other kids around for ours to play with. They are always happier when they make a few friends. We would probably opt for MBR next time, as the rooms were that bit nicer and it was very enjoyable being able to sit out on the balcony and watch what was happening.

 The suites are a big room with a sitting room that you can turn into a little room for the children to sleep in with a bit of furniture rearranged. A glass/rattan partition separates the 2. We found it ideal with our kids. The location of these rooms in the hotel is excellent, close to the pool, beach and restaurant.

Our kids didn't use the MBR Kids Club whilst we were there. I didn't know it existed till near the end of our stay. I do not know if others were using it or not. When I looked during the day it was deserted. There were lots of kids at MBR so I really do not know if it was "open". I did see the room they had set up. It was near the pool, about as big as a classroom and set up for kids. A quick look and they had toys inside for 2-5 year olds. It looked quite reasonable in side and if it had been staffed I would have probably felt comfortable leaving the children there-looked child friendly!!! They probably had stuff for older kids but I didn't notice it.

The children liked MBR the best.

The breakfasts at MBR were much nicer with a wider choice of food. It was a buffet so the kids could select what they wanted themselves as soon as they arrived. They always enjoyed breakfast; noodles, croissants, pastries, cornflakes, little burgers were really popular. The other plus was there was a playground opposite the restaurant so they could go and play whilst you finished at a more leisurely pace. The restaurant overlooked the ocean. After breakfast the children enjoyed a walk along the new beach road or along the beach itself.
It was about a 10-minute walk to Melasti Street with our kids. We sometimes cheated and caught a taxi there if they were tired-6,000rp at the most. We usually caught one home at night after dinner for the same reason-4,000rp. The children like Blue Bird Taxis the most, I believe it was because many had electric windows. They also tended to have seatbelts.

We frequented the Loji supermarket opposite Garden view. We bought all our water, soft drinks, beer and snacks here. Loji have a good selection of chips, Indonesian style snacks foods, lollies and biscuits. A few times we gave each child 5,000 rupiah to spend by themselves. Half an hour later they would come out with their purchases. There are lots of cheap lollies, lollipops and chewing gum!!. We sat outside and had a drink or ice cream whilst they made their selection. It really developed their counting skills and appreciation of large numbers. They only really liked the Australian potato chips, which were expensive33,000. Next time I may pack a few packets from home.

We used local laundry services whilst we were there. Both hotels had them nearby and easy to find. About 25,000 for a basket of washing.


 
For almost the first time ever we had some Bali Belly and my husband and son had the flu. We just took things rather quietly for quite a few days. We got some medicine from an Apotik that really helped my daughters Bali belly. The Pharmacist was exceptionally helpful (Garlic Lane). He has drug manuals with all about the medications described in English, which he got out for us to read.


We usually go to the beach most mornings. We tend to sit outside the area near Legian Beach Hotel. Which also happens to be where Sammi and Suzie are located. Well, the interesting thing was that when I first came on to the forum and heard about S and S it sounded familiar. I checked the site where the big photo of Sammi is and guess what...we had been buying our drinks from Sammi since about 1986!!! Back in those days Suzie sold us pineapples too, and they only had 3 daughters. I've been trying to find a photo from back then of Sammi, but havenít been able to locate it.
As usual Sammi looked after us, we sat up under the tree each time we went. You can't fit 4 people under one of the beach umbrellas with lounges anyway. S and S have moved to the right of the lifeguard tower, as construction seems fully underway for a new tower.

The kids loved going to the beach and sitting under the tree. We took a boogie board across, (Garuda allow you to take it for free) that they used each time we were at the beach. The waves were really not that great this time for boogie boards but they still had a ball with it. It gave us lots of exercise as we went in with them all the time. We always swam between the flags. On our last day the beach was closed, as the surf was too dangerous. We took across our own shovels and a bucket and they built numerous sandcastles. They thought they were pretty important when Sammi fussed over them and gave them a little stool to sit on and a soft drink. We found the beach quite tidy and clean; when we walked along the beach towards seminyak we found that section of beach much dirtier.


The other great thing about being back to the beach was seeing if the same faces were still theyíre selling and massaging. It has been three years since our last visit and last time many of the sellers had been concerned that they wouldn't still be able to work at the beach for a number of reasons. I was delighted to find them all there and they were delighted to see the children and amazed at how much they had all grown. Our daughter was 12 months old the first time they met her. I have been going back to the same ladies for over ten years. Well I had my daily massages with No1-Amy, bought lots of beads with Lisa and had mine and daughterís fingernails and toenails painted by Karen. Karen also plaited my daughterís hair before coming home and its still in 12 days later!! (I paid 40,000 massage 70,000Hair 20,000 Nails). We took some of our childrenís old clothes over for them as they have children the same age, but smaller in size. They were really pleased with this. I also bought a few little toys for their children and grandkids. If any body is talking to these ladies whilst at S and S please say hello from Kym and Peter.

 


We did the usual whilst in Bali. We went to Waterbom Park early in our stay, which was lucky as it was then closed for eight days. We bought a 2nd day pass and used it the first day it reopened, which was only the day before we were due to come home. Second day passes are great value, about $28AU for the 4 of us. You can purchase these passes from the cafť inside on your first visit. If you already have a discounted entry fee they are not available Ėor so they said. We always got there at 9am when it opened and managed the cabanas on both days. They are great for lazing around in as the kids go on rides. Itís worth the effort of getting there early. It really surprised me on the second visit that when the park had been shut they obviously had had no water and many of the smaller more fragile plants had browned off quite a bit, they must have sent the entire staff home too. We liked the Food court; there was a great selection of reasonably priced meals (15,000 chips to 35,000 for Papas pizza, aqua 3,000 small bottle). We actually took a few little snacks in with us, as the kids got very hungry, most families around seemed to do the same. The other thing the kids really loved was Euro Bungy (50,000). Both thought themselves pretty clever to bounce so high on the trampoline with all the safety gear etc attached. My kids absolutely love waterbom duck that walks around during the middle of the day. My daughter thinks he is the best thing there. So much so that I paid55,000 for special T-shirt for her of the duck to give her for her birthday next week. When we went 3 years ago we thought the kids would be too small for the big rides, we were wrong then. Little ones seem to love them as well. My husband and I enjoyed all the rides as well. Iím sure I was one of those people that screamed all the way down the Macaroni. Overall a great 2 days that the kids still are talking about.

 Early in our stay we decided to once again visit the Bird and Reptile Park. The Tour Desk at Garden View tried to get us to change our minds and visit the zoo, but as we had previously visited the Bird Park and were impressed and as most on the forum had recommended the Park we stuck with our plans. The Bird Park is as beautiful as ever. Wonderful displays of birds. The kids went through the walk in aviaries numerous times and fell in love with many of the birds. The photo opportunity where you and the kids get to hold colourful big parrots is amazing. I loved sitting having a drink watching the flamingos. We went through the reptile park afterwards, we all enjoyed seeing the range of snakes they have but wonder if it was actually worth the entrance price. 3 years ago they had a huge python in the handling area. We were disappointed to see it no longer there. A lady at the hotel was telling us the parks are not making money and may have to close, I have no idea if this correct or not.

After the bird park we went across to Ubud. We did the usual visit to the Monkey Forest. It was around lunchtime and there were big crowds of tourists. A lot of the monkeys were rather cranky. People still tried to touch them and got scratched. We certainly had to keep an eye on the children. They absolutely loved the antics of the monkeys and their babies.
Afterwards we had lunch at Cahawa Dewata overlooking the Ayung River. We got there about 2pm so it wasn't at all crowded. We had a table overlooking the river. Ordered a glass of wine and sat back and took in this amazing view once more. We stayed at this hotel many years ago and loved the spectacular views. My husband has made a photo of the view into our desktop picture. The meal was delicious and reasonably priced. We didn't have the buffet meal. We almost didn't get to this restaurant as the driver took us to another that was near some rice paddies, but we decided to venture on and locate Cahawa Dewata, which was quite easy despite it being over 10years since we were last there. There are shops all along the road from Ubud to the hotel where once it had been just rice fields. The hotel is about ten minutes drive from the center of Ubud.
I was amazed at how much construction is happening and has happened over the past three years. There seems to be more building going on than ever before.


We made our first ever venture out to Jimbaran Bay for dinner and loved it so much we went again 2 nights later. We were really unsure about going, as like so many others I've read so many varying reports.
Well, we arrived early, walked along the beach, watched the boats go out, talked to the waiters trying to get you to eat in there rest then walked along the road and looked at what they all had on offer and at what prices. We ended up eating at "White Sands" which Slab recommended ages ago on the forum (a big thank you for this Slab). We found the fish fresh, reasonably priced etc etc, and they had 1/2 bottles of wine from "Wine of The Gods" A totally relaxing spot to eat, the kids wandered around near the restaurant, talked to the waitresses, helped light candles and had the best 2 nights out they had in Bali. We did too!! (We got a driver from near the hotel on both occasions 55,000). The restaurant also had sand toys for little ones to play with, ours didnít on this occasion, as they were so busy doing other things. The children were not into fish when we went so the owner suggested chicken breast, chips and veges for them. It tasted good. They really liked the fruit at the end of the meal, especially the watermelon and the staff went and got them extra great big slices. They were impressed.


A driver I had taking me to Denpasar talked to me about Jimbaran Bay etc and said that if he or other drivers take their tourists to Sharkies they get 35% of the meal cost given to them as commission. I don't know if this is 100% true or not.


Another find from the forum was "Annies" on Double 6. I went looking along this road for sarongs and found her shop. She is the last sarong shop.She has large batik sarongs in the most beautiful designs I have seen, 20,000. I didn't see the same sarongs elsewhere. If you like sarongs this is the place to go. She also sold the parachute silk hammocks for 90,000. My daughter fell in love with the idea of a hammock and so we have one strung up here at home.

DVDS, I bought about 15 DVDs for the kids, mainly the Disney classics and new release ones. They all work. Most are excellent. The Croc Hunter and Power puff girls are not the best copies as they are too new, but the kids havenít noticed. Croc Huntersí English subtitles are absolutely hilarious, they make no sense.   The kids are having a ball sitting back and watching all the movies. Probably should have got more.

Our son just got a Play station, so we stocked up on games,4,000 to5,000. Husband needs to install the chip (50,000) we purchased in Bali first. He is not looking forward to doing it and said we probably would have been best to take the machine with us and had it done there. The kids could have played it as well at the hotel a few times. We got a second controller for 50,000. I thought that a bargain as I had been looking at $50 here for the same one.

Every day my son wanted a laser light and every second day a BB gun. We didnít get either. Instead we bought him a dragon kite (40,000) and some Spiderman things. Spiderman t-shirt 20,00, Spiderman suit50,000, plastic Spidermanís and digimons (cheaper than Australia).

Our daughter just wanted beads and decided a she wants to open a bead shop when she grows up. We purchased lots of girl things. Beautiful dream catchers, bead belts, imitation Oakley sunglasses and clothes, silver jewelry, tiny Lombok pearls earrings, incense, cute wooden things, candles. Xmas shopping for 3 nieces was also easily completed.

Before we went we did a little bit of preparation with the kids. Instead of pocket money in Australian Dollars they earned it in rupiah. They each had about 150,00 rupiah to spend, (They bought soft toys from Matahari!!!!) It kept them on their toes trying to convert the money to Australian dollars and back again.

We made a scrapbook for them each to take. It was to draw pictures in, stick photos in, write in, stick leaflets in etc. We took connector pens and some fancy pens for them to use. They were also allowed to take lots of photos with a cheap old camera we have. They loved taking the photos. We got them processed over there. We also wrote out the Indonesian words for greetings, food and numbers. They had a go at using the words a few times.

Other bits-We used the sanitizing hand gel before eating, the kids liked using it. We went to Timezone quite a few times. We like the Legian Matahari one the best. The Kuta Matahari Timezone is smaller. The one at Tiara Dewatu in Denpasar is large but didnít look too clean .Timezone is a great spot to take the kids whilst the other partner relaxes, or gets over the flu as in our case. They loved the cakes and dessert at both Kopi Pot and Aromas. They liked the crispy chicken at McDonalds and the Happy Meal toys, which are always a bit flasher than the ones we get here. They also liked that we could order McDonalds at the airport after we were all checked in. They really loved Dolphin restaurant in Garlic Lane, they sat upstairs  and  always ordered chicken satay which came on the little ceramic pigs. It is also a cheap restaurant. We ate at Goshas a few times. They liked watching the cooking happening and we really loved the food. They certainly cook great food at Gosha. We went to Jonis in Padma street for a meal and they watched the dancing . They took cushions of the seats and went up the front and watched for an hour enthralled, before they started dozing off. They have dancers on Monday and Friday nights from 7.30pm