Bali adventures, part 3 -beaches, butterflies, waterfalls, rice paddies, markets and Ubud! [Indonesia]
Now for the final instalment of our Bali adventures. In part 1, I shared plenty of photos from our stay at the Sofitel, Nusa Dua and in part 2, our trip to the Bali Marine and Safari Park. During our 8 days and nights away we also had some time at the beach, and shopping at the nearby ‘Bali collection’ shopping area. We also made another day trip, this time to Ubud in the mountains and saw some waterfalls, monkeys and butterflies on the way!
The Sofitel is a beachfront resort and the beach area, while not huge, was relatively well equipped, with plenty of shade huts, and a bar and grill (which we ate dinner at a few times) that you could order food and drinks from. The water was lovely and warm, although the kids weren’t hugely impressed with the corally sand, they did enjoy a paddle.
As we were generally blessed with really good weather during our Sofitel stay, the beach was rather bright and hot during the majority of the day! This meant we spent a lot more time swimming in the pools but the beach views were hard to beat……
For our second day trip from the resort we again booked Sanny from Sanny Bali Tours to drive us. Our plan for the day was to head to Ubud with a little bit of sight-seeing on the way. It was over an hour up to Ubud, but our first stop was at Tegenungan falls. As there had been a lot of rain the week before we arrived, the waterfall was expected to be a little bit brown from all the mud washing in, and brown it was! That didn’t deter us from down walking a lot of stairs (almost 300) to view the waterfall in the already hot and humid day.
Aside from the temporarily unappealing colour, the waterfall was indeed tropical looking. We are about to go and see a lot of waterfalls in Iceland, but I’ll bet they look a bit different to this one!
There were plenty of people swimming at the base as well as in the smaller falls off to the side. Today we were just here to look (and take some photos) so no swimming, although with the humidity I could see why the idea was appealing.
The bottom of the falls are a bit of a construction zone at the moment and not that attractive, so it was a hot hike back up to the top with some photos stops at vantage points on the way. The kids did really well with the very big concrete steps in the heat but were a bit tired by the top!
The next stop was the Kemenuh Butterfly park. We have actually been to a fair variety of butterfly parks around the world, including in Singapore, Malaysia and Vienna (that one was while it was snowing outside) and the Kemenuh park is up there with our favourites. It was relatively large, set in beautiful gardens, and had a really good selection of butterfly species.
We had no problems spotting a wide variety of colourful butterflies, eating and flying around and much to her delight, Astrid managed to get one to land on her head!
I did not bring my macro lens with me on this trip but still managed to get some great shots of a wide range of different butterfly species throughout the park. The kids enjoyed seeing how many different butterflies they could spot, but the best was yet to come!
The highlight of the visit was the pupa room. Thousands of butterflies were pupating, ready to hatch and you were allowed to have some of the butterflies sit on you as they dried their wings. There were the most enormous butterflies I have ever seen. The kids were rather impressed!
If holding giant butterflies wasn’t exciting enough they also had enormous stick insects. These things were huge! The kids are still talking about it, weeks later……….
The workers in the pupa room were hand pegging the cocoons onto the racks, which looked like a tedious business. The kids were fascinated and spent quite a long time watching and having visits from newly hatched butterflies!
We all enjoyed the butterfly park and can recommend a visit if you are in Bali. Next up, we headed into Ubud, and past the front of the Sacred Monkey Forest. Monkey’s were just hanging around in the street (and on power lines), which made the kids rather happy!
With rapidly fading kids in the heat, we decided to leave a visit to the monkey forest to another time and headed to some markets in Ubud. Anto had successfully avoided any real shopping on this trip to date, but figured he’d better let us loose in the markets for at least a short while.
Anto is knows to really dislike bargaining, so I got stuck doing most of it. A process that is made harder when the kids are with us as it’s usually really obvious when they want something……… somewhat weakening our bargaining position!!!
The markets were rather hot, humid and smelly, so after and hour or so of walking around, we stuck to a few small purchases. The kids each scored a couple of small souvenirs and we made a few purchases for friends. One thing Soren had been after all day was a dragon fruit, as he hadn’t found any at the resort! He did end up with a rather impressive dragon fruit!
Back in the air-conditioned car it was off for more sightseeing before returning to Nusa Dua. One of the things the kids had really wanted to see, while in Bali, were rice paddies. We’d been explaining how rice was grown and farmed and rice paddies are most certainly a distinctive sight in the Ubud area.
During our two day trips in Bali we’d spend a reasonable amount of time in the car and in traffic. Luckily the kids tended to nap on the return journeys, after a long day out in the heat. When not sleeping they were always rather impressed by the amount of produce and kids we saw being carted on motorbikes……..
We also had repeatedly driven past one of the most amazing roundabouts, complete with intricate statues. It was certainly a sight to behold!
One of our other favourite sights from the car was the Nusa Dua-Ngurah Rai-Benoa Toll Road, a toll road carried by a bridge stretching across the Gulf of Benoa that is 12.7 km in length. The bridge snakes and curves through the water and offers great views of planes both landing and taking-off. Our many crossings were a highlight for Soren who was a big fan of having giant aircraft not far from his head!
While we enjoyed our 2 day trips out of Nusa Dua, on the days we didn’t venture out with Sanny we often walked out of the resort and down to Bali Collection, the nearby shopping, dining and entertainment precinct. While the hotel offered a shuttle service a few times a day, we always walked the few kilometres as it was a pleasant way to work off some of the food we’d been eating!
Most of our visits were to pick up a few supplies of drinks and snacks to tide us over between our Sofitel meals, but we also did some shopping as there were an abundance of souvenir shops and no need to bargain (as fun as that can be at times).
Most days we walked back to the hotel along the beach. There is a never-ending stream of resorts along the beach between Bali Collection and the Sofitel. It gave us a chance to compare resorts and other resort restaurants, although we never had a need to dine at any of the other resorts due to having all of our meals included. There were certainly plenty of good options though if we had of wanted to venture out of the Sofitel.
The kids were also very quick to notice that some resorts along the beach sold ice creams! One day they lucked out and scored an ice cream on the way back to the Sofitel. We had of course been starving them by not giving them lunch any day as we were always so full from breakfast…….
Life is definitely tough, when on holiday in Bali!
Our very last day in Bali we had a late flight out, but needed to leave for the airport too early to have dinner at the resort. We spent the day enjoying our last swims in the resort pools, but thought we’d be wild and crazy and head into Bali Collection for some last minute shopping and a non-Sofitel lunch. Just so we could say we’d eaten somewhere else!
As Anto was leaving us that night to head to Jakarta for work, he thought he’d treat the kids to a mocktail each. They were quite impressed with their pretty coloured drinks to go with our satay and gado gado lunch, and it made for some energetic swimming that afternoon…….
That is a wrap for our Bali adventures. It was 8 days of fun, food and (mostly) relaxation. OK there wasn’t quite as much relaxing as I’d hoped, I didn’t even open one of the several books I took with me! But we did all thoroughly enjoy our time at the Sofitel and ate our body weight in delicious food, spend an awful lot of hours in the pool and generally had a fabulous time. We might even try this relaxing holiday thing again some time soon, but I’m not sure our next adventure will be either as warm, or involve very much relaxing at all………
We are off to Europe very soon, and I did promise quite awhile ago to share details of our 2018 European adventure. With only a couple of weeks to go until departure, most of the details are now sorted so I’ll be posting next about our Europe plans!