We flew American Airlines on September 11th, out of DFW on a late morning flight with only one stop in Narita, Japan where we changed planes to JAL. Perhaps the date was one reason the airfare was such a deal? It was 22 hours of travel time including the 3 hour layover in the Narita airport, not bad for such a long distance. We flew coach on a Boeing 777 with only two seats on the sides so we didn't have to worry about tripping over some random person during those dark of night bathroom trips. Flights were uneventful, as usual I read a whole book, watched a couple movies and even slept a bit. The food seemed worse than usual but basically what is expected on this kind of flight.
We arrived in Bali about 10:30PM on the 12th after all the time changes and got in the long line for our visa on arrival. Several planes seem to arrive at the same time and those visa lines can get crazy long. Luckily for us our plane was one of the first ones to deplane. We grabbed an airport taxi and headed out to Hotel Kamala Pantai on Legian beach where we stayed last year. The hotel had been added on and the new pool area is huge. We stayed in the same building as before and planned to get some rest, spend some time on the beach and walking around town the next day and take it easy before our domestic flight to Manado, N. Sulawesi on the 14th. The new areas of the hotel looked very nice but we didn't really spend any time at the hotel so I can't comment on the new pool bar or activities or new rooms. The included American breakfast was consistent with last year, all you can eat, bacon, sausage, Potatoes, pancakes, french toast, breads, cereals, fruit, etc along with a made to order omelet station and some Indonesian fare such as noodles and spicy rice dishes.
I had worked with a travel agent in Bali to procure our domestic flight to Manado as they could get better rates. For whatever reason purchasing the tickets outside of Indonesia was quite a bit more expensive. Putu from Trans Indo Mukti Tours and Travel was the agent Wakatobi recommended last year and she had been very helpful so I emailed her and got a quote. I did check with two other agencies as well as checking the Garuda Indonesia web site and no one came close to the price she had. The e-tickets were to be waiting at the hotel upon our arrival. I wasn't concerned when we checked in and they weren't there as it was midnight, but the next morning I got a little worried. No tickets to Manado and reservations for two weeks of diving. Not to worry, with a call to Putu the e-tickets were delivered to the hotel and we were set.
We walked a bit around the shops in Kuta where I bought a pair of sandals and Bill managed to sunburn the top of his feet. By 10AM we had cold Bintangs in hand and it was starting to feel like we were on vacation!
After lunch we walked the beach which was peppered with "Danger-no swimming" flags that no one seemed to be paying particular attention to.
We noticed the water toward Kuta had a bit of an oily film and opted not to swim ourselves. We found a vacant pair of beach chairs and settled in to people watch and enjoy the sunset. The last time we were here there were so few people and this time it was packed. Both Australia and the US had lifted all travel advisories for Bali and it looked as though people were flocking to the island.
Click below for a look at some photos around the beach and the Kamala Pantai Hotel.