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​Bali Safari Trip 2014 - Part 1

We are back from our short trip to Bali! As we were too busy to go for longer vacation this year, we booked a 2 nights stay at Bali Safari & Marine Park instead.

Bali Safari is considered a zoo, but instead of locking up the animals in cages, they are allowed to roam freely in a natural but controlled environment, we like to call this a man-made Safari. Honestly, after reading mixed reviews about the place, we did not have very high expectations of the place, especially towards animal treatment and comfort of the hotel. This post shares our opinion as well as review of the whole trip to Bali Safari, we feel that this is related to animals and training hence it might be something fresh to add to the blog, hopefully we'll be able to review more places (animals related) from different parts of the world as time goes.

We took Garuda Airlines to Bali, the trip was smooth and reached Bali Airport (Denpasar) on time. Before leaving we had already placed a 1 way trip booking with Bali Safari (Bali airport to Bali Safari), this free 1 way trip was provided only if we booked from Agoda. By the time we arrived at Bali airport, we saw a guy holding a paper with our names on it, he was the driver, we were then guided to his vehicle, at this point of time we also saw many other drivers trying to get people to engage in their services, it wasn't very pleasant in our opinion. The vehicle was much more comfortable and newer than we expected, it seemed like we did the right thing by booking the ride from the hotel itself, journey was pretty okay except for how the people drive, they would honk at drivers who are slower, cut in whenever there is space even if it's dangerous, can't count how many times our vehicle almost brushed the others especially the motorcyclists, the trip took about an hour.

 Smooth flight

Streets of Bali (route to Safari)

Stray dog being chased out of food stalls, we are finally reaching!

Doesn't this reminds you of Jurassic park?

As we entered Bali Safari, the driver guided us to the entrance, we saw many people queuing up at the reception and walked towards that direction, however the driver stopped and lead us to proceed over the waiting line ahead, he then brought us to a VIP lounge to wait. We waited for about 15 minutes before a staff came to escort us, thinking that the hotel was just nearby, we were brought to a safari vehicle instead! The staff drove us further into the safari, on the way he showed us some animals - mainly owl, crocodiles, elephants, pigs, our vehicle did not have any window and we could see the animals from a relatively close distance, it's safe as there are canals to block larger/aggressive animals, upon arrival we then found out that the hotel was located very far away from the entrance. The hotel lobby was small but impressively designed, it was very African themed and we love it, on the wall we saw a zebra skin being hung as decoration, seems like the real thing and we wondered if it was taken out of a dead zebra from the safari itself. A guy attended to us at the lobby, so we took this chance to ask some questions about the hotel as well as programs, he was pretty reluctant to answer and told us to ask other management instead even when they are actually part of the whole safari, he even forgot to give us our room keys, luckily we remembered!

Journey to our hotel

Some animals on the way

Comfy Vip lounge

Beautiful lobby

Our room was 212, Tandala suite which was recommended to us through email, we asked for the cleanest room and they said that Tandala had more privacy. It took about 5 minutes to walk to our room, the nearest to the lobby was Twiga suite, we crossed over the wooden bridge and were able to find our room with ease, the door seemed slightly bent which caused the top corner to expose a small hole, it was a very traditional kind of door with no card access, just a simple locking mechanic. We entered the seemingly fragile door and were welcomed with a big and beautiful room, the roof was build like straw huts, wooden flooring, wall was made of stone with deep red paint, bed was covered with netting that looked like it was meant for a royal family, it was spacious and we loved everything about it! Upon checking out every corner of the room, we found a balcony that overlook the safari, we could see a pair of rhinos, a few zebras, bisons(similar) and cranes, the toilet was open concept, there were no air-conditioning in there, just a glass blocking the top and netting below the glass, you could hear the sound of insects and animals every now and then, there is also a window overlooking the safari, similar to the balcony except it's made of airtight glass, also a screen for us to pull down if we were not comfortable with it. On the other corner of the room, there is a dressing table with a window to the safari once again, one could just sit there and write stuff while taking a glimpse at the animals, the walls are also decorated with some animal paintings and masks, however on the other side of the wall there is a door which had a spare mattress in it, it looked dirty with dead insects, we shut the door tight and never open it for the rest of the trip. The air conditioning wasn't working well, though there were two sets in the room it didn't feel cooling at all, we made a call asking for a fan but they did not have it, instead the management sent over a technician, he simply took out the filters for a wash, surprisingly it felt much cooler so we didn't have any complains.

Room 212, for those who know us, this is a special number :)

Huge toilet with window overlooking the park (left), small resting corner (right)

Beautiful bed with television (left), another corner of the room with desk (right)

Welcomed by a pair of swan towels and flower petals on our bed (left), complimentary carrots for feeding (right)

Our room key (left), resting corner near the lobby (right)

View of the safari from our room balcony, love it!

As evening was near, surprisingly loud and disturbing cricket sounds started to surround our room, though we can't see them, we could hear hundreds of them, shortly sounds of lizards started to appear, and then frogs, honestly we found the experience rather unique but creepy, the sound of the crickets stopped within 15 minutes, we walked out to the balcony and saw bats flying around, it seemed that this was a cycle, the crickets appear then predator comes to feed on them, after awhile everything stops and then the same thing happens on the next day!

After the sound stopped we left the hotel for night safari, the concept for Bali safari is a cage on top of a vehicle, passengers will be locked inside the cage for safety, we went into the empty cage and hoped that it won't be packed but we were wrong, dozens of westerners rushed into the cage and we felt squashed throughout the ride, though we still managed to enjoy the experience, it would've been better if the management could limit the amount of people per ride. We were brought into the dark safari, feeding and looking at some herbivores, it was only during the end of the ride where we encountered sleepy lions, then onto a pair of tigers, they climbed onto the cage and the staff's started to feed them raw meat, it was a very different and unique experience, they were right in front of our face, you'd start wondering if the cage is actually safe! The staffs then asked if anyone want to try feeding the tigers, we remember that right before signing up for this package, it clearly stated that the park will not be reliable for any accidents and injuries caused by the animals, which is probably why they are so lenient about this, we simply watched while some people tried feeding them, it just wasn't worth it to risk our hands for this experience. For first timers like us, it was great, however for the price, which is $30 USD per person and duration of 15 minutes in a cage packed with so many people, once in a lifetime would be enough. After ending the ride, we enjoyed some fire show with dance, couple of guys (seemed to be from the same group during our Night Safari ride) started smoking, they were so inconsiderate, we then proceeded to the lobby where a python was available for photo taking, we enjoyed the session even though we were very tired!

Our ride for Night Safari (left), fire show (right)

Dinner at Tsavo Lion Restaurant was a pleasant experience to end the day, as the name suggest, this is a restaurant that allows you to dine while looking at the lions, the restaurant is located inside the safari, this is also the only air conditioned restaurant at Bali Safari. Being located at the end of the safari map, Tsavo Lion Restaurant might be inconvenient for visitors that are not staying over, nevertheless it is an experience not to be missed, the food is surprisingly good, though on the expensive side - main course is about SGD $20, appetizer $10 and cocktail at $20, the total bill was about $100 for 2 pax, we dined twice at this restaurant ordering different dishes each time, throughout the two nights we tried steak, salmon, duck, pork ribs and quite a number of cocktails, the cocktails were pretty normal but main course were great. We did not have much complains other than the air conditioning system, again! Tsavo Lion restaurant had dozens of air conditioning system on the ceiling but only a few were turned on, we felt pretty warm for an indoor restaurant, this is the decision of the management and we can't do anything about it. Anyways, the lions were exactly the ones we saw during our night safari ride, they were sleeping and vehicles were coming out every 15-20 minutes to wake them up, though it may sound cruel, we thought that it's actually not too bad considering the fact that they are always sleeping, the closing time for the safari is 9pm which is reasonable to let the animals rest, we felt that these lions needed some pushing to get up and exercise. There is a little bar in the restaurant, behind the bar was yet another glass showcasing the lion's den, we were lucky to see one of the lions pacing in the den.

Tsavo Lion Restaurant

Complimentary honeymoon cake, the staffs thought that we were on honeymoon, we were touched!

Going back to the hotel was a comfortable experience, bed was comfortable with a small television on the ceiling, there was cable and we enjoyed the programs, the day was tiring after the early flight but we thoroughly enjoyed it!

Click here to go to part 2


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