Beijing/Bali Trip 2013 Day 6: Water for Elephants

Waking up this morning was surreal. It was around 6AM and the sun was just poking through as rain clouds came crashing in. We opened the drapes to our massive wall to wall window that overlooks both the rainforest and the Ayung river. It's truly one of the most spectacular views I've ever had in a room. After laying around a bit this morning and taking in the tremendous sights we got ready for our day.

We went down to have breakfast at 7:30 AM which is included with the room. The spread cannot compare to the JW Marriott unfortunately, but its still pretty good. They have an omelette station, a bunch of Indonesian dishes (big on rice and noodles) and all sorts of different pastries and fruits. Right after we got our first plates of food the weather took a turn for the worse and started to pour buckets. It's not the type of rain we would see in Newport Beach that's for sure. 

 

From breakfast we made our way to the main lobby where we were to meet at 8 AM to get picked up to go to the nearby Elephant Park. Originally when we first were thinking of going to Bali it was on an Asian cruise and the excursion we were planning on doing was to go the Elephant Park. So when we decided to instead stay in Bali we still wanted to make sure we were able to go and experience the park for ourselves. 

The bus arrived and us along with another couple from the hotel and we were off to the elephant park. The bus ride took around forty five minutes and we went through countrysides, farms, and some small villages. When we arrived at the elephant park we purchased our tickets for an elephant ride, admission to the park, and a lunch. By this time the rain had subsided and it actually turned into a really nice overcast day, perfect for an elephant ride.

What's neat about the Elephant Park is that you pretty much have free access to pet the elephants and feed them at any time. You walk around this giant open area and are given different foods to feed them from bananas, to corn, to leaves and they just grab it right out of your hand. Amazingly Jenn went right up to one thirty seconds after buying the ticket and just started petting his trunk. I was super impressed.

A half hour later we were called for our turn for an elephant ride. We rode on Gigi or has her trainer called her lady Gigi who took us on a lengthy ride through the park. The ride itself was both a ton of fun and surreal at the same time. I mean who gets to ride an Elephant? We did and we had an incredible time doing it. The ride ended with us going through this giant pool where the elephant gets almost fully immersed in the water while you hover right over the top of the water and from there your dropped off and off to go explore the park more. 

After the elephant ride we went to go have lunch which was included in our package. With lunch I got another local beer, this time a Bintang which wasn't bad. For lunch it was a buffet which was pretty good. We both started with a goulash which was delicious and then Jenn had rice with beef, and I tried a little bit of everything ranging from chicken/lamb on a skewer, to chicken curry.

After lunch, the park holds an elephant talent show which was sort of gimmicky but fun to watch all the same. 

We left the elephant park a little after the talent show and were dropped back off at our hotel. When we got back to the hotel we went back to our room and took a video of the room and then went to tour the hotel.

Its sort of ironic we had been at the hotel almost a day at this point and had only seen the lobby and our room. What we found out within a couple of minutes was that the hotel is massive. There are maybe a hundred rooms here but it doesn't seem to even be half full, so while we walked we almost saw no one but the hotel staff. The grounds are impeccable, there are infinity pools at every turn, look out points to the Ayung river, and amazing walking paths that line up with the river. We spent close to two hours exploring the hotel and all of the nooks and crannies that it has to offer. It was quite the experience. 

After the walk we came back to the room and cooled off from the oppressive heat and humidity. From there we went to dinner at the hotels restaurant. Tonight Jenn went big and got a steak while I went with their highly recommended Balinese Duck. Jenn's steak was delicious but a bit small while my duck was interesting to say the least. They basically brought me a cooked duck with a few different Bali spices on the side. Not my favorite meal but it was nice to have something different all the same.

After dinner we walked around a bit more, looked through our photos and called it a night. Hard to imagine that this morning it was pouring rain and only a couple of hours later it was beautiful and sunny and we were riding elephants. What a wonderful day it turned out to be.