After an uneventful flight, we arrived in Bali around 2:45pm. Apparently you need a visa to enter Indonesia (Frommers and the Lonely Planet both indicated that you didn't need a visa). Conveniently, there is already a system in place where you could get your visa at the airport. A 3 day visa is $10 US and 30 days is $25 US. We chose and paid for the 3 day visa, since we are only here for 72 hours (almost 3 days exactly)
. However, once we made it through the line, we were informed by an immigration agent that because we are here on 4 different days, we technically needed a 30 day visa and would have to pay for the extra $15 each. Feeling like criminals, he took us to the back room where another gentleman ammended our visas with a fine tipped marker and a stamp. It looked kind of suspicious to us, but who knows? Michelle gave him $40 US and we had to "remind" him that he owed us $10 back. Of course he didn't have any change, so he rummaged around and found 100,000 Rupiah (equivalent to $10 US). As you can see, it is quite an exchange rate. We then headed out to exchange the rest of our money at one of the airport kiosks. If you exchange US money using $100 bills, the exchange rate is 9,350 rupiah per US dollar, but if you exchange using $20 bills, then the exchange rate is 9,250. Weird! At the gate, we found our driver who drove us to Alam Sari Keliki Resort and Spa.
It was a crazy 1 1/2 hour ride, surrounded by scooters and motorcycles on streets barely able to accommodate 1 car in each direction. There were motorcycles passing between cars and people walking on the streets. We even rode the shoulder a few times. The streets went from about 6m wide to about 4m wide!
We finally arrived at Alam Sari
. What a beautiful place! Upon arrival, we were greeted with a mango and pineapple drink and were told that we were the only guests for the evening (they only have 10 rooms). The owners, Hugh and Aprile Collett are teachers from New Zealand and now live in Jakarta (Indonesia).
They showed us our hut, 1 of 2 suites here at Alam Sari. It was beautiful! White painted brick and dark wood. As you walk in, you find a canopy bed and a large bathroom suite (complete with a shower and soaking tub) with a partially exposed ceiling.
We settled in before making our way to the restaurant for what turned out to be one of the best meals we've had so far. Their menu is quite extensive, accommodating many tastes and preferences (Western, Asian, Indonesian, Vegetarian). We ordered chicken satay and Indonesian chicken curry. It was fabulous!
We headed off to the airport bright and early for a 10:05am flight to Bali. We took a free shuttle bus from our hotel to Kowloon Station, where we caught the airport shuttle train. We were able to check in at Cathay Pacific at Kowloon Station, so we didn't have to worry about our luggage. What a great system this is! You get your boarding pass right then and there, so all you need to do is take the train and once at the airport, find the gate. Wow! We certainly could learn a lot from them. Most people in these cities (Singapore, Beijing and Hong Kong), seem to use public transit.