A lot of people associate Bali with the 4 ‘B’s – Beach, Booze, Babes and sadly, Bombing. But a Safari in Bali is almost unheard of. During the June school vacations, we did exactly that. We spent a relaxing week in Bali using a 7-days ‘Bali for Kids’ itinerary which I had specially customised after hours of research. As a travel-addict, the first step of my trip planning is always to source for good quality, clean and cosy accommodation. After that, I would start to plan the family friendly attractions which would give our girl an enriching and memorable holiday experience.
|It’s fun to walk on the tarmac…|
|An overview of our round-island itinerary|
The Mara River Safari Lodge is an African themed hotel in Gianyar, central Bali. We booked a Tandala (Treehouse) Suite which is located on the second floor of the two storey lodging, giving us an elevated view of the scenery. It website promises that we will have a truly unique experience living in the authenticity of the African wilderness. Well, true that, but in air conditioned comfort.
|Dana holding the key to our suite…|
When we stepped into our room, there was a big four-poster bed located right in the middle. It was spacious enough for an additional single bed to be added for Dana (at USD20).
|African with a Balinese touch…|
|The spacious room…|
|Complete with an outdoor balcony with a view…|
To its right, there’s a rustic open-air bathroom (sort of). Dana was hoping for a bathtub but there wasn’t. The water pressure was much stronger at night than in the day, I wonder why…
|The open-air toilet…|
The beauty of this resort lies its unique architecture, lush greenery and wild African animals roaming freely. In the afternoons, we can spot Rhinos, Zebras and Wilder-beasts grazing on the grass from the comfort of our balcony. Occasionally, there would be elephants too. What’s fun was that we could throw the carrots (provided in a small basket in the room) to feed these animals. Granted, you really need to throw really hard and far but it’s still a cool experience for the entire family.
|Green compound and lovely signposts…|
|Rhinos and Zebras grazing freely…and yes they are real 🙂|
|First time seeing a Wilder-beast!|
|That’s a Rhino in-front of our room!|
|Overview of the Resort…|
Mara River Safari Lodge is situated inside the Bali Safari and Marine Park. Admission to the Park is included in your accommodation where you get to view many exhibits on foot and watch the animal conservation shows.
|The Elephant Conservation Show…|
|The Animal Education Show…|
However, if you want to take the Safari Journey (on an air-conditioned bus) or the Night Safari (inside a moving cage!), these are chargeable. We highly recommend both the Day and Night Safari Rides as they offer very unique experiences which made our trip even more memorable (more of this in our next post). There is also an Elephant Back Safari which we would love to try but it was way too exorbitant (at USD85 per adult; USD55 per child).
In the evening, after the Bali Safari and Marine Park is closed, you can retreat to the quiet resort pool for a dip before dinner. For those who are too lazy to walk, the resort provides a complimentary buggy to bring you from point to point (room to pool; room to lobby; room to restaurant, room to entrance of Safari Park etc). How convenient!
|Signages at the Resort…|
|We spotted a Zebra and a Safari bus from the pool!|
|Relatively low occupancy during the June hols…|
There is only ONE restaurant in the Mara River Safari Lodge – the Tsavo Lion Restaurant which serves our ala-carte breakfast (included in the room rate). It is the first African themed restaurant in Asia, located side by side with lion’s exhibition area which allows us to watch the lions at close range while we dine. We enjoyed our meals here though it was a bit pricey for Balinese standards (average of SGD60-80 for 2 pax for dinner). They serve a mix of local Indonesian cuisines and Western fares.
|The Tsavo Lion Restaurant…|
|These lions (Takashi and Ben) were staring at us as we dine…|
|Besides lions, the kids also had fun watching the Meerkats from the restaurant!|
|One of their signature desserts which was surprisingly good – The Banana Flambe!|
|A screen-grab from my Instagram – the delicious Balinese Mee Goreng breakfast!|
Overall, we enjoyed our stay at the Mara River Safari Lodge. Though it was a tad over-commercialized and expensive (like many parts of touristy Bali), we did bring home many fond memories of the resort and the Safari Park.
|Saying Bye to the Safari Animals…|
|Another screen-grab from Instagram – Our Family Pic at Mara River!|
This is Part 1 of a series of our Bali Travelogue Diaries. Do stay tuned for our next post on our fun day at the Bali Safari and Marine Park! If you’re visiting Bali and need contact for a safe and reliable driver, we highly recommend our Bali Friend, Esa. For more of my Bali snapshots, follow me on Instagram@mylollipopdays!