Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Tips for a Holiday on a Shoestring

We like to holiday.  Specially when it's Hunker-Down Season in New Zealand - cold, blustery, wet 'n wild!  Tropical destinations tend to be our destination of choice.

We Love Bali!
5 weeks ago, we took such a respite.  Bali, Indonesia.    Once, connected to Java, the island of Bali was separated during the last glacial period when the seas rose and divided it.  The sea is apparently only 60m deep and 3km wide between Bali and Java!  
It is a veritable tropical playground for those (like us) wishing to escape our gloomy winter existences to experience balmy, sunny weather, day in, day out.  A royal solar indulgence!  A land of scooters, coconut palms, exotic temples, amazing handcrafts and leisure resorts!  A shopper's wonderland too, if that's your thang.

We divided our two weeks holiday in Sanur and Candidasa.  Both had their appealing points, and less appealing points but Sanur is a place we would venture back to.  Candidasa - been there, done it all in 4 days and no need to return in any hurry.

Parigata Resort and Spa, Sanur

Exterior Building Detail
Foyer at Parigata with Indoor Waterfall
Poolside, Parigata

Traditional Side Entry
Spa Room, Parigata
Dedicated Beach Club, Parigata, with
deck chairs and umbrellas
So how do we manage a tropical holiday every year?  Simple.  Timeshare Vouchers.  It first began when our work printer spat out a fax-attack flyer advertising cheap holidays.  So cheap, my colleagues said there must be a catch.  My curiosity was too piqued to ignore the flyer, so I took it home and dared my husband to purchase the deal - $99 each, for a week's accommodation at a 3-5 Star resort - in Aussie, Bali, Thailand or Fiji.  I reckoned it was worth the risk to lose $200, in order to possibly gain a week in sunshine at a very minimal cost!  Done!  Mike spared no time at all.  We took our first holiday in Fiji in July last year, at a 5 star resort in Denerau.  Okay, so they try to sell you timeshare and you have to attend their 1 hour presentation, but you are free to buy or not!  This year we went to Bali.  Of course, when you choose a resort, it is like dipping into the proverbial chocolate box, with your eyes shut - you never know what you'll get!  Our Parigata Resort was just what we needed - big room, slate and marble everywhere, clean, intimate small resort, great poolside with a waterfall to drown out any invasive sounds from the outside, albeit a little tired.  The next place, Bali Palms, was a bit of a let-down.  Without boring the pants off of readers, service, quality, location were all on the disappointing side, with the entire place literally crumbling to the sea or the termites!!  This despite doing our homework - Trip Advisor gave it some very, very positive feedback ratings!  The positive was that the view was stunning.

Recent Fax Attack Offer

Now believe me, the pictures you will see look idyllic.  Who would NOT want to stay here?  Me!  The place was built in a hurry, by an Englishman, and 8 years on, it is literally shabby and falling to ruin (the termites had eaten most of the posts on the stairwell!).  We had a great view, UNFORTUNATELY, the bar was just down to the left of our room, so at 5.30pm till 10pm each evening, the bar would belt out it's 80's music - not bad the first night, but every subsequent night thereafter was like groundhog day (or night!!).  Aaaargh!  There is only SO much of the old auditory stuff you can handle!  The stream bordering the hotel (which we would see each time we climbed the stairs to our room) was totally polluted with fallout (bottles, plastic, bits of old wooden crates, shoes etc.)!  Quite sad!  We even saw some hardy pollution-evolved crocodile-type creatures swimming in it (about 1.5m long).  If I were a resort owner or manager, I'd have a eco-policy in place to preserve the pristine qualities of the location!  Room was cramped, TV reception non-existent, shower was filthy - eek!  We stayed 4 days instead of the 7, and left straight after our presentation.  But then, I could have booked this resort online, and payed for accommodation - then I would have been seriously miffed!

View from our room at Bali Palms Resort, Candidasa

The company that promotes timeshare is called Dru Holidays.   They just net in the customers and onsend them to resorts, then the resort sales people do a 60-90minute presentation to sell you the idea of vacationing there for the next 25 years on a timeshare scheme (or such like idea).  In our 3 voucher holidays, we have had keen sales people, but thankfully, they don't bully you.  Rather they show you the benefits of TS, and crack some figures to show you the sums of owning TS.  Easy.  You buy, or you decline and walk away to continue enjoying your "try before you buy" holiday.  I can highly recommend these holidays.  In both Bali resorts, we were also given free half hour massages, for a couple.  One such massage was sheer bliss, might I say, the BEST massage I have ever experienced!  Indeed, my husband's groans of ecstasy during his massage were fit only for the bedroom, so good was the experience!

Beware:  There are special police out there
looking for tourists!

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