My husband and I have just returned from the most fantastic week in Bali. We stayed for three nights with Wayan in their new family Homestay Villa and are already planning to stay longer on our next visit. The villa is very comfortable and well appointed with a brand new queen size bed, fresh towels everyday, western toilet, private shower, timber floors and the best part of all THE FOOD. It was amazing. Ayu’s banana pancakes for breakfast one day and spicy Mei Goreng noodles the next. Locally grown roasted and ground coffee , abundance of fresh fruit from right outside your villa door UNBEATABLE
As the day of our arrival was the day after the Galungan celebrations, we were able to join with the other families in the village and follow the procession along the village streets lead by the dancing Barong. That evening we had Satay lilith ( ground chicken, garlic, lemon grass and spices) and the best peanut sauce we have ever tasted, prepared for us by Wayan and his family and friends.
Every morning of our stay started with a walk escorted by Wayans two sons through the rice terraces, rain forest and farmers tracks. Just perfect in the cool morning air, enjoying watching the rice farmers go about their daily chores and taking time to just enjoy the beauty and peace of this magical place.
On our second night we enjoyed more wonderful satays, this time made with pork. Ayu also prepared an excellent spicy fried rice and a large bowl of beautiful fresh vegetables brought down that day from the mountains in Bedagul.
We so much enjoyed being a part of family life and have met so many local people we look so forward to meeting again on our next visit. The beauty of this yet unspoilt and traditional part of Bali must be the most beautiful anywhere on the island. We so recommend you spend at least one or two nights (more if time permits ) in the new Home stay Villa in Wayan’s family compound in Taman Village, we had the most memorable time we have ever experienced in Bali.
Julie and Mark
Our trip could be called Bali without Beaches – and it just goes to show that this small island has something for everybody. Our focus was on scenery, wildlife and, most importantly, the people of Bali and their way of life. We designed our own itinerary, with the benefit of lots of help and advice from Julie; her expertise was invaluable.
We had a day out from Ubud with Wayan, then a two-day tour with him from Ubud to Amed and then on to the far north-west, then a final day’s journey/tour with Gusti from Banyuwedang in the north-west down to Sanur. It’s no over-statement to say that Wayan and Gusti made this holiday memorable. Without them, we would not have understood so much of what we saw. They are both delightful company, endlessly helpful and hugely informative.
It’s hard to pick out highlights when everything was so special, but here goes. We spent a lot of time marvelling at the famous rice terraces; arguably the most beautiful man-made landscapes in the world. We saw the famous terraces at Jatiluwih, and the well-known view from Busungbiu. Both were gorgeous, but by far the best terraced scenery we saw was near Pupuan. Gusti helped us to clamber down a steep, muddy path, and after ten minutes’ walk we saw unbelievably beautiful views. A place we would never have found on our own, and a very special memory.
On the road out of Singaraja, Wayan pointed out house with an extra top storey, and explained that these are used for “swallow-farming”: small holes are left in the hope that edible-nest swiftlets will nest there, so that the house owner can sell the nests (a delicacy in China). Again, something we would never have discovered without him.
The Klungkung market was a fabulous experience: so colourful and bustling. The flower stalls were very busy, as everyone was buying flower-heads to make offerings for the Gulangan festival. We were the only non-Balinese people there; this visit was a great tip from Julie.
We’d recommend the Victor Mason Bird Walk in Ubud to anyone with even a passing interest in bird-watching. It’s a beautiful walk through the paddyfields, and a good antidote to the more urban charms of Ubud itself.
The Botanical Gardens near Bedugul are stunning, and fantastically well maintained. We’d like to go back on a day when it’s not raining … We also loved seeing the spectacular temples, notably Pura Maduwe Karang and Pura Taman Ayun. Again, the explanation from Wayan of the differences between northern and southern temples gave us a better insight into these wonderful places.
Anyone interested in wildlife and birds should definitely go to the Bali Barat National Park in the north-west. Fabulous snorkelling off Menjangan Island, amazing bird-watching and great jungle trekking. We stayed at the small, luxurious Novus Gawana Resort in Banyuwedang, and loved it – especially the jacuzzi fed from a natural hot spring!
In Sanur, we loved Le Resto Ming: a wonderful menu, half Indonesian, half French. Gorgeous food and excellent service; a top tip.
We would definitely say that we saw more and understood more of Bali thanks to Julie, Wayan and Gusti. We’d recommend Travel About Bali with no hesitation at all.
Alison and John
I am writing to you to say thank you for our tours. We booked three tours with you during November 2005 as I told you when we enquired my traveling companion and I are not young (in fact 70 yrs and my friend is 75yrs). We booked the half day Fruits of Bali Walk, Mountains Butterflies and Gardens and the Candi Dasa Eastern Bali tour. When booking we gave you very specific requests to take into consideration our age and the fact that we could not walk very long distances. Our guide for all 3 tours was Gusti; well what a character he had us charmed from the first hour we meet him. Nothing was too much trouble; he helped us in and out of the four wheel drive, bargained with the farmers for us to buy fresh mangos, rambutans, and mango steins straight from the tree. Gusti even took us to his home in the village of Taman to meet his wife and beautiful little girl. He showed us his pig, chickens and cow even climbed a coconut tree to cut us down a fresh coconut to drink. All three tours where wonderful and both Shirley and I can not thank you for making our holiday so memorable and enjoyable. Please pass on our sincere thanks to Gusti for making us feel so very special. We will have no hesitation in recommending Travel About Bali to anyone who wants to see a side of Bali that not many people are privileged enough to visit. Hopefully we will be back again next year
Many thanks to you all
Shirley and Joan
Perth – Western Australia
The Fruits of Bali Walk Half Day, Mountains, Butterflies and Gardens, Candi Dasa / East Bali Tour (Nov 2005).
Mark and I have just got back from our two week holiday and just wanted to pass on our thanks to you and also to Wayan for a wonderful tour … We undertook the Mountain, Butterflies and Gardens tour with a modification to be dropped off at La Lucciola’s … We both had a wonderful time and found Wayan to be a very knowledgeable person who was willing to share his knowledge and experience of the Balinese way of life with us … As I am sure that you are well aware Mark and I held significant reservations prior to our travel to Bali in light of the events of early October … During our trip we felt completely safe whilst with Wayan on our tour – so much so that we will definitely be booking to trave again to Bali … The people continue to amaze me with their resilience and determination to not let terrorism beat them and we are honoured to be able to assist them in even a small way through our travels.
We do not have contact details for Wayan other than his mobile number so would appreciate it if you could pass on our thanks to him.
KARIN and MARK
Mountains, Butterflies and Gardens Full Day (Nov 2005).
Just to say how much I enjoyed the tours I booked. The guides Gusti and Wayan were excellent. Made sure I had assistance to get to the sights, in and out of the car etc. They were very pleasant and considerate. Wayan was a walking encyclopedia. Fantastic. Will recommend and use again if ever I get that way again.
Dear Julie and Mark,
Our recent holiday to Bali (our first visit) was made even more enjoyable thanks to the two Travel About Bali tours we undertook. Both of them, (Beauty, Birds and Bargains, and Mountains, Butterflies and Gardens) were even better than we expected. Our guide Wayan was excellent and we were moved and impressed with his passion for his country and its people and his in depth knowledge of the history, culture, religion and natural history of Bali. We enjoyed his relaxed and friendly attitude, always attentive but not intrusive.
We especially enjoyed traveling the side roads where possible with introductions to and talking with local farmers as they ploughed their land or tended their cows ? made possible by Wayan. Also the meal in a family compound and the warmth and humour that went with it.
Walking the spectacular Agung River Valley and the timelessness of the rice terraces at Jatiluwih are special memories.
As first time shoppers to Bali, the Bargains tour to Denpasar was an excellent introduction.
We feel fortunate that we chose these personalized tours, especially when we saw the group tours whizzing by on the odd occasion we were on the main roads. I doubt they saw much of the real Bali. We certainly did!
Thank you for your assistance with our holiday, we will certainly return to Bali and just as certainly choose more Travel About Bali tours.
Gail and Terry Powell (Perth, Western Australia).
Beauty, Birds and Bargains Full Day, Mountains, Butterflies and Gardens Full Day (May 2005).
Dear Travel About Bali
Thankyou for your services during our stay in Bali, our eyes were opened widely during our time spent in Bali with tour guide Wayan. Our two days were filled with amazing culture and sights. A great highlight was our visit to Jimbaran Bay and eating seafood on the beach with music and the setting sun.
The religion and the way of life is so different in comparison and we were in awe of their landscape such as the rice paddies and Mt Batur, the volcano inside the volcano.
We absolutely loved meeting the friendly monkeys in the forest and the sneaky ones living in the temples by the ocean – even though one did jump on my head!.
We were impressed by Wayan’s vast knowledge of his country, his willingness to make our holiday the best adventure ever, his generosity with his time, and the best ice cold bottled water we have ever tasted from the esky.
See you next holiday -
Cally and Matt (Perth, Western Australia)
Scenery, Sunset, Seafood Twilight Tour and Plan your Own Tour (March 2005)
Hi Mark at Travel About Bali
Thanks so much for your help in organizing our tours, we really appreciate it. We found Wayan to be a great tour guide, he explained to us his culture and the way that the Balinese live as well as providing us with information and history about the places we visited. Wayan was always very flexible and accommodating. We will be in touch with you again next time when we go back as we would like to see more of the North side of the Island when we return to Bali. Please past on our thanks to Wayan when you next speak to him, he enabled us to bring just a little bit of Bali back with us. Thanks again for everything
Catherine and John (Melbourne, Australia)
Beauty, Birds and Bargains Full Day, Plan your own Itinerary – Full Day – Monkey Forrest, Tabanan, Tanah Lot and Plan your own Itinerary – Half Day – Elephant Park, Ubud, Sanur (March 2005)