Lisa and family - Back from BaliJust back from a two week stay at Bali Dynasty with husband and two boys (10 & 7). On arrival at Dynasty we were overwhelmed with the amount of people there, being aussie school holidays. It was not a good start. Then decided to do a bit of a tour of hotel, checked out kids club (no supervision and it didn't improve for the two weeks), the activities outlined for kids alot of the times just didn't happen. I complained to the "motivators" about the age of kids using the kids club slide and pool, 16 & 17 year olds jumping off slide, walking up backwards etc etc, the "motivators , i.e. froggy, soni, were too interested in chatting to the young blonde aussies and we actually had to complain, as did other parents, a couple of times.
Having said that, the boys did have a fantastic time, our room was a family pool view and we literally stepped off our verandah onto our pool lounge by the pool. Yes, there were people that would come out of their rooms at 6am and lay about 8 towels down to "reserve" their sunbed. The dynasty put down little red flags if the sunbeds have been unattended for one hour but noone takes any notice.
The meals at the hotel could not be faulted and we took advantage of the poolside buffets where the children eat free with two paying adults. We also ate at a few other restaurants :-
Daddys - across the road from Dynasty - had great breakfasts there for approx $15-20 for the four of us. Every 50,000 spent you get a stamped card and after I think it's 5 stamps you get an american breakfast for free which was nice.
Copa - across the road from Dynasty - had breafkast there first morning - only about $12 for the four of us but not as good as Daddys.
All Stars - the boys loved the sumo wrestling and watching the band - great terriyaki burgers. Not as cheap as some places but still cheap enough. My youngest son spent most of the night downstairs with the huge python wrapped around his neck - loved it.
Kin Khao - Thai restaurant opposite Dynasty. Fantastic meal - beautiful Thai Beef Salad, spring rolls and red curry - very reasonable prices and the staff were great.
La Lucciola - Still very good, lots of bugs around flying into your meal which wasn't that great. Meals nice but I really don't go to Bali for pasta or european cuisine. Quite expensive for the four of us - I think about $80, that is only one san miguel, three waters and main meals - no dessert.
Kori - fantastic - can't fault it, it was about $60 which included main meals, garlic bread, San Miguel, and desserts. Very nicely presented, very enjoyable.
Green Garden - just down from Dynasty - very popular restaurant, turned away one night, too busy, next night had a nice meal, not fantastic but cheap and enjoyable. About $20 for the four of us. Complimentary hand, shoulder and neck massages while you wait for your meal.
Bird Park - we always go there and have a good time, children love it and they love having the birds on their hats or shoulders. Always have lunch in the restaurant, fantastic meals at great prices. The gift shop is great which is also reasonably priced. I had the best Gado Gado for lunch. Meal was only about $20 for the four of us. The cost to get in for the four of us was AUD$80 which incorporated the two parks, reptile as well.
Reptile Park - much smaller but still good, the area where you hold the turtles, iguanas, chameleons and other lizards is great.
Monkey Forest - pouring with rain the day we went so only saw a few monkeys. I bought a bag of bananas to feed the monkeys at the entrance, only to read a sign further on that it wasn't advisable. The monkeys are very smart and know when you are hiding food. As soon as one approached me, I panicked and ended up throwing the whole bag of bananas down for them to eat - much to my kids comments of being a "woos".
** Shopping **
Well after hearing so much about Tootsies I had to pay a visit - I just get so sick of bargaining. Tootsies as I was prepared, is just a regular shop but the items are all at bottom prices. It was such a nice change just to pick up a t-shirt and know it was 15,000. We bought heaps, t-shirts, bags, chess set, shoes, etc etc. I just wished they stocked alot more of wooden articles, etc. I cannot understand why more shops don't do this, all the market ladies got annoyed when, after approaching you to go to their shop, you tell them that you are going to Tootsies. Our driver had a hard time finding it at first but after a little asking we found it easy. Paid them two visits and recommended people at the Dynasty to go there, which they did, and were very happy.
I love to shop in Ubud, I had a few shops that the Forum mentioned, but my favourite is by far still Casa Lina. I love everything in this shop, even though it is a little pricy. Bought up big on silk cushions, tablecloths and matching napkins. The Ubud markets are also wonderful and we got some great bargains.
I bought heaps from markets near Dynasty - sequined shoes, boardies, t-shirts, heaps of wooden articles (love my father christmas statues), bowls, bags, paper flowers, etc etc etc.
Mataharis was bedlam - people everywhere - and the service is non-existant, don't you hate how they have to fill in a docket for every item before you go to the checkout. I got the boys a gameboy game (20 games in one) from upstairs which were AUD$40 and were great. I bought up big on Nivea and Ponds from downstairs in supermarket, facial wash AUD$2, Eyelift, Night Repair about AUD$5 and even stocked up on deodorants, shampoo etc etc much cheaper than Perth.
They have some fantastic shoes but I am size 42-3 and nothing over a 40. Just bought a couple of nice tops and some kids clothes.
Body and Soul in Legian is great, got some trendy gear from there but it is not cheap but still cheaper than Perth.
A great Art and Handicraft Shop is Jl. Clung Wanara, Kuta - heaps of wonderful wooden stuff, worth a visit.
Ramayana Dept. Store Denpasar - great shopping here for kids and I got myself some nice tops. The VCD's upstairs are not great, but okay, just watch a bit first. I bought a CDRom from there but it doesn't work (oh well) - got about 10 playstation games for friends - hope they work! Music CD's are around AUD15-18 each so didn't bother as Big W or KMart have good CD's for around this price sometimes and could not get the ones that I wanted anyway (So Fresh and latest Kylie).
** Driver **
We had a great driver who we met just outside Dynasty - Jams (pronounded James), his number is 08123952679 - we paid him 200,000 for a whole day which was 10am until 7pm. Just tell him Steve and Lisa sent you.
I don't know if we will stay at the Dynasty again, maybe if it is outside of school holidays. We would no way stay there in school holidays again. I am sure they didn't do alot of the activities because there was just too many kids. The poolside Warung never happened and frequently there were no towels available.
After staying at the Patra Jasa last holiday it just didn't measure up. However, the kids loved it, so maybe we will think about it.
We packed all our wooden stuff in one big bag so as to declare just this bag, They went through it quite thoroughly and the only things that were taken off us were those banana leaf photo albums, didn't realise banana leaf was forbidden. Otherwise no problems.
So that should do it, if I think of any more I will post, any questions, don't hesitate - this is our 20th time to Bali and we will definitely be going again next year. The people of Bali are just the nicest and most honest people that walk the earth, they have a wonderful rapport with children - the weather - the food - the lifestyle - who can resist!!