Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Bali, Indonesia

Bali was the third of five beach weeks we're spending during this year. Bali was a place I knew little about before we planned the trip, other than that it was a beach destination popular with Australians, and that there was a terrorist attack there several years ago. When we were choosing the exotic beach locales for the trip, Bali was a place we both mentioned almost immediately (along with Tahiti and Fiji, both of which are coming up soon).

We thought it might be a bit quick to go back to a beach resort so soon after Koh Samui, and in retrospect, I think it was. It was going to be hard to top Koh Samui, and it might have been better to have a few more weeks between the two. But of course, that doesn't mean we didn't enjoy it!

Bali is an island belonging to Indonesia, and it's just south of the equator at eight degrees latitude. The flight in from Singapore was easy, and the island was larger and more heavily populated than I'd expected.

We stayed at the Conrad, the same chain as the hotels in both Koh Samui and Singapore.

The resort is very beautiful.  There were multiple pools, including a lagoon pool that wrapped around the resort, under bridges, and even around several of the buildings. Many of the first floor rooms had porches with steps right down into the pool!

Here is a video I took on the first day.

One of the features I really loved was that there were two sections of the pool with sandy beaches, and the sand extended down into the shallow "kiddie" pool. It was a great alternative to playing on the beach. Even though the beach was just steps away, the water was rough and, when the tide went out, the beach became a marsh, so it wasn't the most inviting of beaches to hang out on.

The beach was beautiful when the tide was in.

But when the tide was out, there weren't even waves! Locals would appear with fishing nets, towing floating coolers behind them, to fish in the marshy grass.

There were a couple of days when the tide was extremely high, and the waves even tore down part of a wall along the beach. After that there were bricks and bits of rock all in the sand, and it didn't feel like a very safe place to swim.

But we really enjoyed the pool and hanging out. We decided to rent a cabana for a few days, and that was nice. It was only $20 for the entire day, which seemed incredibly reasonable for a comfy, shady place to hang out. We even ate our lunch in the cabana, since the waiters would come around and take orders.

How's this for a view?

We were there during the rainy season, and though the mornings were always lovely, rain rolled in nearly every afternoon. One day we stayed in a cabana to watch it for a while before we realized it wasn't going to let up anytime soon.

Conrad is a Hilton property, and so we were upgraded on arrival to a very nice suite.

 It even had a large deck with a plunge pool, to our surprise.

Overall, we had a lovely time. The property was beautiful and the pools were fun. The food wasn't as stellar as it had been at the Hyatt in Goa, but I'm starting to understand that the Park Hyatt Goa is a very special kind of resort.

When the tide was in, there were all sorts of beach activities going on. There was parasailing, ski-doo rentals, banana boat rides, and several other things. We didn't end up doing any of those, but maybe we will in another place.

Carter made some friends and played with them over several days. I think he was happy to have someone other than Mommy and Daddy to talk to!

He had lots of time to play in the sand.

He's also becoming quite the connoisseur of non-alcoholic fruity drinks in hotel bars.

On one of the last mornings, we were up in time to watch the sun rise over the ocean.

Overall, we enjoyed our time there. I still think it was too soon after Koh Samui for us to be able to press reset on our expectations, but the Conrad is a gorgeous property in its own right. We'd heard that Bali can be a dangerous place, and so we only ventured off the property once to go out to dinner. Otherwise we enjoyed the pools and the beach and the room. The kids' club was being renovated, and it looks like it will be a very cool play area in the future. Carter went to the temporary kids' club one day and didn't ask to go back, which was fine, honestly. He had more fun digging in the sand than anything else.

From Bali we flew directly to Perth, Australia, where we were transported from summer to winter. In the next post, I'll talk about our ten days in Australia and the fantastic driving trip we just finished.  

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