Nina, Azrin & Khalil’s May 2004 Bali trip

  Who’s travelling? A 30-year-old homemaker, her 32-year-old husband and a 17-month-old toddler from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

How long? 9 nights (30th April – 9th May)

 ************Planes, trains and automobiles…. Hotels too****************

 Got off to a rocky start…. Thank God my husband is a director of the travel agency from which our Malaysia Airlines plane tickets were booked. We were told early on the morning of our departure that our plane was delayed by a couple of hours. Then my car wouldn’t start… then the in-laws’ car radiator went on the fritz…. And they were supposed to send us to the airport in it!

 In the end, it worked out well…baby was able to have a nice siesta before the mad rush to the airport and we decided to try out the new KL Central….we were able to check in our luggage and get our boarding passes at Central; then we took a train (trip-time 25 mins) to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport… usually it’s a 45 min drive to the airport from KL City Centre.

 Arrived in Bali to the wonderful aromas of incense …no need for VOA so we left the airport as soon as we collected the luggage… 

Got to the Hard Rock Hotel 45 mins after the plane landed… it was a lengthy wait at the reception though – apparently the Friday evening we arrived was a long weekend for Indonesia (and Malaysia actually)… 2nd May was the Prophet Mohamed’s b’day… needless to say, it seemed like all of Java were in town and most hotels were FULLY BOOKED.

 Stayed at Hard Rock for the first night – overall I would have to say the grounds are magnificent… it has a 4 ½ star rating… and I thought it was well worth the money… the pools are fantastic. We were allocated a ground floor superior room which had a door opening out onto the courtyard…our bathroom was quite spacious and the bath tub was big enough for two… . Service was not great though… perhaps because it was running at max capacity?! We had to ask Guest Relations officer where our rooms are… I reckon they should hand out a map when you check in… Although we had made a booking FAR in advance for a baby cot (in B&W fax), we still had to remind reception about it during check-in and after we got to our room, we realised after a while that we had to call housekeeping ourselves! We asked for a baby cot and they brought a collapsible portable playpen… I used my handy Dettol anti-bacterial wet wipes on it before putting on baby’s own bed sheets from home…


Thank God the little one was soooo tired, he crashed out the whole night without ever waking up! So my worries about his sleeping were laid to rest (even so, thanks for all the parental advice from forumites before I left!)….

 Sat, 1st May

 Woke up and had a great buffet breakfast at the Gamelan resto on property… spent much of the afternoon in the beautiful pool…. We checked out of the Hard Rock and moved on to the Club Bali at the Jayakarta Hotel… 

We got a one-bedroom unit (with fully-equipped kitchen) and were happy with everything. There was no “stale air” smells and the plumbing was good… in fact, we like the marble bathroom and the flooring was all marble too…. If you ever need a cot at this property – the exact same one as at the Hard Rock Hotel was provided! Made me think that perhaps the same supplier made a killing at supplying baby playpens to most of the resorts in Bali!

 We stayed at the Jayakarta for 7 nights and moved back to the Hard Rock on our last night in Bali…. This was all pre-planned as our timeshare week allocation was from the 1st - 8th only…. And we wanted to stay a bit longer in Bali….

 For anyone who’s interested, there were a lot of Asian faces at the Hard Rock – mostly Indonesians, Taiwanese, Malaysian, Singaporean etc…. however, there was an eclectic mix at the Jayakarta - lots of Germans, Italians, Indonesians, Japanese, and Australians.

 During our stay at Jayakarta, we rented 2 different vehicles – a Suzuki Jimny jeep for 4 days and a Daihatsu Taruna for 3 days…. We got a great deal this time with the same car rental agency as we’ve been going there for many years… The minute the sales rep saw my husband’s face walking through the door, he raised his hand up in the air and screamed “Bapak, sudah lama saya tunggu!” (Sir, I have been waiting to see you again for a long time!)

With a car at our disposal, it was much easier on us travelling everywhere with our baby…if he needed to be changed, we changed him in the car… if he was too impatient or too hot from the afternoon sun while waiting for his mum to do her shopping, we’d turn the A/C on and let him play at the steering wheel (he wants to be a race car driver when he grows up!) We figured we actually saved us the bother of looking for a taksi every time we needed one and with the many places we went to, we paid less for the car rental than we would have paid taxi drivers! It also gave us the freedom to go where we wanted to eat (mostly Legian & Seminyak)…

 Road works on Kuta – YIKES – we kept getting stuck in traffic a lot. Quite dampened our spirits some days (when it was especially hot and when baby was screaming his head off for being in the car too long)… We avoided that area of Kuta most days… or we would go at around 9 am… anytime after 9:30am and the traffic gets pretty bad….

During the last night of our Bali trip, we stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel again… this time, service was much, much better…. We much preferred our second stay…. Didn’t seem like everyone was as frantic and busy like the start of our Bali trip.

 Bad news when we reached the airport to depart for Kuala Lumpur. Our flight was delayed for 5 hours… you can imagine how upsetting this was for us. Our kid is quite active and quite impatient… there was NO WAY we were going to be able to handle him at the airport for 5 hours (added to that, the additional 3 hrs on the plane home)… so we opted to leave our boarding passes with the airline rep and trudged back into town to get a room for 4 hours…. Tried out the Bali Garden Hotel on Jalan Kartika Plaza in Tuban (located directly across from Waterbom Park)… we paid the full daily rate for the four hours we were there… but at least we managed to feed the baby and he had an hour’s nap – poor little bugger was NOT HAPPY to woken up to head back to Ngurah Rai Int’l…

 Our thoughts on our Bali Garden room 321 :

 From this point on, I won’t go into a blow-by-blow account of our entire stay in Bali… I will however like to mention some of the highlights…. And some low points too…

 Let’s go with FOOD first, shall we?

 ***********RESTAURANTS we tried out during this trip (in random order):


Glory Restoran Enak – will never go back here… service was bad (even though we were the only ones there for brekky at 9:00am), décor and furnishings were yucky and rather dirty… they had a rickety baby highchair. To top it all off, the breakfast was nothing to shout about. s

 Warung Taste (Taste Restaurant) – our best culinary find this trip! Will definitely return there for a meal next time we go back to Bali… we went twice for dinner…. Was going to return for a third meal, but baby was being a tad fussy that night so we ate in instead…. The local chef previously worked at Kafe Warisan…. And so now, at his own resto, he offers up the same quality type French cuisine but at 1/3 the price!!!! Really really cheap and really really delicious! We recommend the escargot & the prawn pesto…

 Warung 96…. Great food and especially friendly service… this place is full of smiles… and we quite enjoyed the food…

 Minang Saiyo Nasi Padang Restaurant – rather disappointed this trip… food quality has gone a bit downhill IMHO and the prices have risen!

 Made’s Warung (Seminyak & Kuta) – sampled the culinary fare at both outlets this trip… have to say that the Kuta outlet does a better Nasi Goreng!

 Poppies Restaurant – fantastic set-up…. Dining in the Garden of Eden…. Love eating here day or night….

 Café Moka – splendid brekky menu – more of a local / expat hangout and meeting place…. They also have an area with toys for their kiddy customers…. It was one place we knew our son would be happy while we ate…

 Ku De Ta – same impeccable, friendly, efficient service. Food wasn’t so great though – not for the prices we paid.

 Bali Bakery – wow! We were sad to have stumbled on this place towards the end of our holiday… very yummy!

 Khaima – the restaurant really took us to Morocco! Great food, great service, fantastic ambiance and reasonable prices..

 Hard Rock Café – same as most other HRCs around the world (similar menu)…. Nothing different – only at this particular prices have risen a considerable amount since our last trip in 2002.

 Let’s move on to my FAVE – SHOPPING…. It was a bit difficult this time around with a toddler to do very much shopping (not quite fair on the little tyke as it was his holiday too!) … but we managed some…


Was very selective about which shops I walked into this time… was not interested in anything but modern / contemporary wear (for me) and toddler clothes …

 Kid’s clothes… Found “Indigo Kids” rather pricey and most of the fabrics in their range were a thick, scratchy cotton or were man made fibres… did find a place called “Do Re Mi Kids” on Jln Legian and bought quite a bit from them. Was not very impressed with the Matahari’s selection of children’s clothes – possibly because I found them to be similarly priced to home (Malaysia) and of lesser quality.

 Our best shopping find this trip was the Millenia on Jln Teuku Umar / Jln Diponegoro in Denpasar… a two-storey warehouse factory outlet… my baby fell in love with the security guard so we were able to shop in peace while he babysat! They have GREAT BARGAINS for the entire family! Some lovely dresses, blouses, shirts, pants etc… Can’t rave about this place ENOUGH! If we had found the place earlier, we would have gone back a few times! But we found it only on the last day we had the car…

 Other places I would recommend are :

 the Body & Soul Factory Outlets (Kuta & Legian) – go upstairs – some great finds at great prices!

 Anita’s Collection on Jln Legian - found some great pants here

Ceinora on Jln Arjuna (Double Six) - for pretty resort wear and home furnishings

 Yuki Fashion on Jln Seminyak (near Bintang Supermarket & Heboh) – if you like dressy, beaded / embroidered tops & dresses

 Tirus – a lovely little shop on Jalan Laksmana, Kerobokan

Geneva Handicraft (Jln Raya Kerobokan 100) – for all your souvenirs! 


Sicilia Spa – went back for a haircut, cream bath & pedicure ONLY – due to not being able to be away from baby for too long – could only manage a couple of hours while he slept… was quite disappointed with the cream bath – it seemed like he was more interested in chatting to this colleague than giving a proper head massage to a client! On a scale of 1-10, I would rate this visit a 5 on the satisfactory scale this time around. The haircut was superb though and so was the pedicure.

Well, that’s all I can remember from our trip – all we did was EAT, SHOP & SWIM ! We did what we could as we had to work around the baby’s naptimes & feeding schedule! I was grateful that we decided to bring the stroller with us… it really helped when it got too hot to carry the baby… and if he preferred to walk, it carried our shopping!