- ANA First Class SFO-NRT
- Thai Airways First Class NRT-BKK
- Exploring Bangkok, Royal Orchid Sheraton
- Thai Airways Business Class BKK-DPS
- Bali Part I: Kuta, Padangbai
- Bali Part II: Gili Trawangan, Seminyak
- Thai Airways BKK First Class Lounge and Spa
- Thai Airways First Class BKK-NRT, UA First Class NRT-SFO
After arriving in Bali we caught a cab over to our hotel which was the Sheraton Kuta. Even though it's not very long in terms of distance, it took about 30 minutes since the traffic was quite bad during that time of the day. After arriving, we checked-in and were upgraded to a suite with an ocean view. We quickly settled in and then met up with the rest of our friends that had arrived the previous night. The room was quite nice and spacious and it was clear that it had recently been remodeled. The location is great as its right along the beach and next to a huge shopping mall so there was plenty to see and do. It's also just a 5-10 minute walk from many of the restaurants and bars in Kuta. The beach area around the hotel actually is quite crowded and honestly wasn't that great which is certainly a drawback. But overall we found the hotel great for our quick 1-night stay in Kuta before heading out to other parts of Bali.
|suite living room|
|champagne welcome gift - must have thought we were on honeymoon|
|Naughty Nuri's - a must stop for ribs in Seminyak|
After arriving at Anika, my fears were alleviated as they had a proper storefront with many quality suit samples in the window. We were shown to a private room where we were able to look through the library of fabrics and then settled on a price. As is the case with most things in Asia, don't be afraid to haggle and in the end I think that we were able to negotiate a fair price. The process from here was very easy as everyone got measured for the initial fitting, and then we came back in two more times for fittings before picking up with finished product. I will admit that my expectations were relatively low in that I wasn't sure if we'd get something as good as what we could have gotten in Thailand or Vietnam, but after seeing the finished product I will admit that I'm extremely pleased with the end result. I would highly recommend Anika Tailor to anyone that is looking to get clothes made in Bali.
|initial fitting - is my waist really that big!?|
While we had booked a chain hotel for the first night of the trip, for the rest of the trip we decided to try out private rentals through a combination of private websites and airbnb.com. Overall this worked out very well and I would highly recommend this approach for anyone traveling in a group to Bali. The next stop for us was Padangbai which is a small town about an hour drive from Kuta. It is an extremely laid back place that's known for its fishing and scuba diving. It's also one of the main ports to catch the fast boat to Gili.
We stayed two nights here and primarily spent our time diving during the day, and just relaxing at night. The first two dives we did were just a few minutes off the shore and were great refresher dives for me since it had been a while since I'd gone. There is a ton to see when diving here and the reefs were full of bright and colorful tropical fish. The next two dives we took were an hour and a half car ride from Padangbai at the site of the USS Liberty shipwreck at Tulamben. It was my first shipwreck dive and found it to be pretty cool, especially since the marine life here was great and we were able to see some interesting things including turtles, lion fish, and stingrays.
|dock at Padangbai|
|quick boat ride for first two refresher dives|
|diving through the USS Liberty shipwreck at Tulamben|
|gangnam style lives on|
|post-diving meal - fresh tuna steak|
|still hungry - grilled chicken|
The night life here primarily consists of grabbing drinks and listening to live music at the local bars where it's not crowded at all and a nice breath of fresh air from the scene at Kuta. One of the popular drinks here is Arak which is a local home-brewed liquor and actually tastes quite good and sweet. However, be a little cautious and make sure you get it from a reputable place as there have been some recent deaths/injuries from people consuming bad Arak. Overall, we really enjoyed the laid-back beach party scene here and a relaxing stop compared to the hectic Kuta.
|rocking out with the local bands|