The day started out with a taxi ride out to the zoo, organised through the hotel as always. Mostly due to the convenience, but the staff were pretty awesome and even got to know our names by the end of the trip! The plan was to book another taxi back when the day out had finished, but we were told that we would not have much chance of getting anything organised by the time the zoo was closed. Not a great start to our day. Our driver told us not to worry about it and that he would meet us on the night with a return trip back to the hotel and even one of the people at the zoo agreed. Abbie was quite skeptical of this, but I went ahead and agreed with the driver, and told him to meet us on the night anyway. We had to hope for the best and hope he turned up on the evening, and me putting faith in a complete stranger half the way across the world may not have been a great decision. But we would have to wait and see.
We booked tickets for the elephant expedition with revitalizing spa online before the holiday even began so we knew we were heading straight for the elephant ride before the queues started to build up. We originally had an issue with the ticket booking process in the UK, as no email confirmation was given at the time of purchase, so the panic began to set in, thinking I had just paid for nothing. But the zoo staff member, who I had been contacting via email, assured me everything was going to be okay and actually served us the tickets for the entrance to the zoo! Strange how things work out in the end.
Bali zoo was impressive from the outset, split into two different sections, the main zoo, and the Kampung Sumatra, which ended up being a short bus ride away. Straight away we went for the Kampung Sumatra area where the elephant expedition was located. The experience of riding an elephant was so strange! One of the biggest highlights of the entire holiday for me without a doubt. You could feel how powerful these animals were and how not even a free-flowing river could break its stride. What a beast!! The ride was around 30 minutes long and ended with the elephant walking through a giant pool. I honestly thought we might have had to start swimming at one point!
Elephant ride complete, we headed around the zoo to the parts we skipped past. There were so many different animals compared to the normal zoos you would come across in the UK. We even had the chance to hold some amazing birds for a photo opportunity from the staff, I thought they were surprisingly heavy for how small they look. Another highlight was the Tigers, both Abbie and I had fed tigers in the past at our local zoo and we always check out these magnificent beasts!
Along with the elephant riding experience, we had a revitalizing spa treatment booked too, which was at the on-site Spa & Villa. The meeting point was the main restaurant on site where your own private golf buggy style cart came to pick you up and give you a trip to the Spa. It almost felt as if we were famous, being whisked away from the zoo to the spa, with a quick detour past all the Villas. They all looked amazing and it would be worth a look if we visited Bali again in the future. Never having been to a spa before, I honestly did not know what to expect, Abbie was the Spa veteran out the two of us. We were greeted at the reception of the spa, which looked like a treehouse straight out of Tarzan, with a drink of ginger and honey, which didn’t taste as bad as I expected. We were asked if we wanted to take advantage of any more treatments which the spa had to offer, we declined as we had a full day planned ahead of us and could not spare any extra time, so onto the massage treatment. The view from the treatment room was extraordinary, looking out onto the river and waterfall, it was so loud yet very calming. I have to be totally honest, I may have overestimated the strength of my masseuse, I asked for medium pressure and felt as if he was purposely trying to break me, I’m still grateful he could not see my face wincing every time he put pressure on me. In the end, I enjoyed the experience, but I still am not a fan of massages, and would not go out of my way to attend spa treatments. Sorry Bali, it’s not you. It’s me.
We stopped for a quick lunch break at the Wana restaurant which had a glass window looking out onto the lion enclosure. Along with the fantastic dining experience, the food was amazing too!
We also made the most of our day by booking the experience “Dinner with the great elephant” So the park closed for the occasion and everyone had to leave while behind the scenes they set up ready for the evening’s entertainment. A quick break at the cafe out of the park for a drink and a little bite to eat and we were back into the zoo making our way through the zoo to the bus which took us to the other section of the complex. The path to the main restaurant had some elephants and their keepers all dressed in traditional outfits for another photo opportunity. More animals were available for photos when we reached the restaurant, who could say no to more photo opportunities, right?
The evening’s festivities began with a little bit of a show from one of the elephants, showing everyone how well-trained elephants can be, from lying down and playing dead to crushing coconuts on command. All the guests were summoned to a performance area for a traditional Balinese dance, one of which was a dance where they all held cups or bowls. It was all very confusing for me. we were all directed back to the restaurant where the food was all ready to be served, the part i was most looking forward to.
The second half of the entertainment was filled with another show, but this time, involving fire! From our time here, you can really tell that the Balinese love their fire dances. This dance, another traditional one, showed a traditional Balinese story involving a Monkey God. Fitting for a show at a zoo.
After the fantastic action-packed day at the zoo, we were pleasantly greeted by a familiar face as soon as we went through the exit, our driver from the beginning of the day! He actually turned up, and in his own car. What a hero! We talked all the way back with our driver, while he blasted some Eric Clapton for the journey back home to our hotel, the live version of Layla will forever be in our memory as the song from Bali. He told us how he drove a taxi as an extra income from his cafe and barber shop that he owned and how all families in Bali tended to have at least one motor scooter per person in a household. Crazy lifestyle compared to ours in the UK which seemed relatively boring by comparison.
Thanks for reading!