Bali & Singapore - September 2004

This was really the holiday of a lifetime. We flew to Bali via Singapore with a long middle-of-the-night layover, and eventually landed in Bali mid-afternoon. A transfer to the hotel, time to unpack and then time to enjoy the wonderful hotel pools while we acclimatised to the humid heat. There was a gala dinner that evening but I think, like us, most people were too tired to stay out very late. Fortunately, though, this routine meant that we got into the new time zone with no major jet lag.

It is amazing how safe we felt in Bali, even though they checked under the bus for bombs everytime we entered the hotel gates! Terry even said that he would not worry if I were to walk down the street to the shops in the dark. The people were also great - friendly and hospitable. We were amazed by their work ethic too. Everyone seemed to participate and get a slice of the pie. Although we were staying at an American hotel (Hyatt), we tended to wonder into Sanur and rather eat or procure services from there. Our full laundry cost the price of one and a half T-shirts at the hotel. And we had the most amazing massages at a local hairdressing salon on the main street for a fraction of the cost at the hotel. We fell in love with the Indonesian food although we did lunch on a pizza at the local Italian restaurant a few times.

We spent some time seeing parts of Bali too. We did a day trip into the forest, where we parked at the top on a road and had to climb down some steep stone steps to the forest floor. We had hoped to see plenty of birds but the canopy was so far above us that it was difficult to spot them. The walk through the forest was amazing though. We then rowed across a lake and made our way to a small camp where we had some refreshments. A short walk and we were reunited with our vehicle. We stopped for lunch on the way back and were treated to a buffet of local specialities including sticky black rice pudding. Our guide stopped at a market on the way back to prove to me that the rice was really black and not coloured when cooked!

We spent a glorious day on Nusa Lembongan island snorkelling, enjoying a trip in a glass-bottomed boat and having another wonderful local massage overlooking the beach.

We had a seafood supper one evening at a restaurant on Jimbaran beach. Ironically, a year or two later the restaurants in this area were bombed too. We also organised a shopping trip with the same group of people we had dinner with. We went to Kuta and Ubud. This allowed us to buy some local silver as gifts, some Nike shirts for Terry and some knock-off watches.

We really enjoyed our entire time in Bali and would willingly go back there on holiday anytime.

While many of the staff then made their way back home, we were lucky enough to qualify for the trip to Singapore. One of the highlights for me was a Singapore Sling in the Long Bar at Raffles Hotel. The drink was awful - too sweet, but the experience of being in a place that you always read about was very special. The hotel was also where we had our gala dinner. Another special evening was one were we had three courses for dinner in three different restaurants with different transport modes between each (rickshaw & boat). We also took a trip to an island and we walked through an orchid garden display which was really amazing. There were so many different types, colours and sizes of orchid to enjoy.

Before we were ready, it was time to go home...