The famed Bali – how can anyone resist going on a holiday here?! I was ready, bags packed with essentials, clothes I ‘might’ wear, and ‘just in case’ clothes. I was prepared – at least two weeks in advance. There’s something about airports and airplanes that I just love, and I was excited for the trip from the second we booked our tickets. My partner on the other hand, was far less from being prepared, but we made it to the airport and was ready for our first flight together as a couple. Yikes!
Flying with Malindo
Speaking of, we didn’t get off on the right foot the morning of our flight. I for one, woke up on the wrong side of the bed and was just grumpy the entire ride to the airport which dampened the holiday spirit we were meant to be in. But thankfully, before boarding we managed to get it cleared up and was ready for take-off. We flew Malindo Air and frankly, after numerous horror stories from our friends about the airline and the group that owned it, we didn’t know what to expect, except the worst! The flight from Colombo to Malaysia was smooth sailing, the staff were friendly and helpful, the food was great (I also love airplane food) and the seats were comfortable enough with ample leg room. No complaints on the flight, except for multiple delays to and from Bali, but we were on vacation and were the least bothered by a couple of extra hours at the airport. We arrived in Malaysia and found out that our connecting flight to Bali was delayed by an hour or two, and after getting some ULTRA cheesy fries from a restaurant and aimless walking through the duty free, we made it to the gate in time for take-off. The flight to Bali from KL had T.V., so naturally I was hooked on, until we landed. I made my partner watch Madagascar for the first time – and he loved it! The food and service were as great as our first flight, which we were surprised about. Thanks, Malindo Air!
Arrival in Bali
We reached Bali around 10 p.m. thankful to have landed safely, without crash landing to any animals or the sea (ahem- don’t read Wikipedia).
Taxis in Bali Airport
First timers travelling to the island, when you’re approaching the customs line, remember to fill out the card even if you have nothing to declare. The sign boards requested the forms to be completed ONLY if you had something tod declare, but even if you didn’t the forms are essential. Once we got our bags and were headed out, our adventure began. We were immediately overwhelmed with the constant “taxi, taxi, taxi” calls, and sales ladies rushing towards us trying to sell a sim card, exchange money and book an overly priced airport taxi. Thanks to our research, we knew that airport taxis charge 3 times more than an Uber would, but we also knew the local taxi mafia were not a fan of Uber. So, first things first, we bought an overpriced sim card, changed a few dollars and started walking out, contemplating the best way and place to get our Uber. The swarm of taxi guys in blue shirts were a lot to deal with and we walked a full circle not knowing where to hail the cab from.
After walking back into the arrivals terminal, we proceeded towards the departure terminal in search of a bar or coffee shop to gather our heads and find our ground. We had our first Bintang there, until we managed to get an Uber. Uber drivers pick you from the departure terminal (which is right above the arrivals terminal), because the local taxi mafias do not allow them to pick up passengers from the arrivals side. Our hotel, Grandmas Plus Airport Hotel, was 20 minutes from the airport, and the driver was friendly and got there safely.
Grandmas Plus Airport Hotel
We got to Grandmas Plus Airport Hotel a little after midnight, my partner’s birthday. The hotel was one of the best, warmest, and nicest ones I’ve been to. The staff were friendly and attentive, and the hotel just looked amazing and it was super affordable! Our room was spacious with a large, comfortable bed, a table, mini bar and bathroom. We had all we needed. The hotel is almost under the flight path and gives you a great view of planes landing into Bali; something I missed from when I lived in Dubai.
The next day, we were ready for our adventures and my partner’s birthday celebrations. I had a surprise dinner planned, I now had to figure out where the restaurant was!
After a hearty breakfast at Grandmas’, which consisted of Mie Goreng and the world’s BEST kopi (a.k.a. coffee), which I had two cups of EACH morning we were here, we took an Uber to Discovery Shopping Mall in Kuta. It’s a good place for shopping, whether you’re looking for touristy souvenirs, traditional attire, food or some branded items. Lunch was my favourite part (since we arrived).
After restaurant browsing, we decided to dine at Coco Bistro. Our meals of choice? Nasi Goreng and Pineapple rice. The Nasi Goreng, my first dish in Bali was OUT OF THIS WORLD. I swear, I had mini-orgasms just by eating this dish. It has the right amount of spice and flavour and was accompanied with a giant king coconut.
Bellies stuffed we decided to head back to our hotel for some rest – damn you jet lag. Around 5, we were getting dressed for the surprise dinner when a staff member called in to check the A.C. in the room. When the doorbell rang, a team of about 7 hotel staff stood there with massive grins, a cake, a guitar and a cute crown-like thing and began to sing Happy Birthday to the birthday boy! Frankly, these guys ruined the special surprise I planned, because even I was taken aback by how nice it was! Pfft. Now I knew that would be hard to live up to! Ha Ha.
Kori Restaurant, Kuta
Special reservations for dinner were made at Kori Restaurant, Kuta. I had coordinated and planned the dinner about 3 weeks ahead with Jovita the Comms manager at Kori. She was super helpful, and everything turned out amazingly. The staff at Kori Restaurant seemed enthusiastic and happy- it’s a real great vibe in there. They’re friendly and attentive. The food was mouth-watering, I got a platter of satays which were burning over a charcoal burner! Kori Restaurant definitely went out of their way to make my partner’s birthday a special one. Thanks, Kori!
For the special cake, I pre-ordered a chocolate mouuse cake, and to my surprise – it was oh so heavenly!! The chocolate mousse cake was accompanied with a lively birthday song and performance by the staff. Our biggest regret? Not stuffing our faces with that cake, even though we were completely stuffed after dinner.
Once dinner was over, we decided to walk along the bustling streets of Kuta until we digested! The streets were crowded with tourists and vendors. The restaurants and clubs on the sidewalk were busy and played loud, dancey music.
Our tired bones were too exhausted to dance, so we booked an Uber and headed back to our hotel. However, if you’ve got energy left, definitely head into one of the street-side clubs and dance your night away. The clubs are lively and seem like a buzzing place to be at.
We survived Day 1 and we were happy – what more could we ask for?! The next two days were to be spent in Ubud.
Biggest regret thus far? Not taking enough photographs. =(
Here are the details of Bali – Day 1:
Rating: 9/10 and will go back there.
Must try: Their breakfast is to die for. The kopi (bali coffee) and mie goreng are a MUST.
Must try: Nasi Goreng and king coconut.
Rating: 9/10. Read my tripadvisor review.
Where to dine: The Cabana is ideal for romantic, special occasions. Plan ahead!
Contact details for special occasions: Jovita D. Pratiwi — firstname.lastname@example.org
What we loved: 25kg luggage allowance, food, friendly & attentive cabin crew and the lychee juice.
What we didn’t like: The frequent flight delays
Stay tuned for more!