FAQ - Things To Know
If you want to experience the essence of “Old Bali” while totally chilling out - you will find Villa Gils the perfect spot.
In no particular order, here is some information to help you enjoy your stay.
A 50% non-refundable deposit must be made with all bookings. Full payment must be made before arrival.
Breakfast is included as part of your package. Lunch and dinner can be prepared arranged upon request. The cost of these meals is not included, and will be billed just prior to your departure. There are two very good 5 star resorts within five minutes drive where you can dine. One hundred meters up the road is the Candi Beach Cottages. This hotel complex provides excellent meals as well. As well, there are a number of good restaurants in town that we can recommend. Most restaurants will provide a car to pick you up, and return you to the villa.
This can be tiresome but will be the key to your holiday. Wayan will meet with you in the morning and help you to plan your day. Ultimately, you need to make the decisions as to what you want to do. We are not a hotel so, if you suddenly want a massage at 2pm, you can’t call room service. The same is true of tours, shopping etc. Be specific with what you need and every effort will be made to organize it for you.
Most Balinese speak some English, however, take time to make sure you are truly understood and be gracious if the Balinese get it wrong. If in doubt, please ask again. It is rewarding to make some effort to speak Bahasa Indonesia (the national language of Indonesia).
Respect the Local Customs:
The Balinese are deeply religious people. Ceremonies are an integral part of their life. If there are only 3 staff members working due to a local ceremony, please understand. Always wear a sarong and sash if entering local temples. There are temples on the grounds, so that traditional Hindu beliefs can be adhered to by the staff. Please note that these temples are off limits to guests.
This can be a real issue. The national currency is Rupiah. There are money changers everywhere. They cash any type of foreign currency. The main bank is in Klungkung - about a 40 minute drive. There is NO ATM In Candi Dasa, plus even those at the main banks often don’t work, particularly if your credit card is not linked with another system like Star, Plus or The Exchange. All hotels accept credit cards, so if you eat out you can charge it. Cash will be needed only for minor purchases. I suggest bringing $1000 per week in cash with you, and change this as needed at the money changer. It is almost impossible to spend this much money on minor purchases. Major purchases, e.g. stone carvings or artwork can be made by credit card.
The floors in the villas are very beautiful, but deadly. With wet feet they are more slippery than an ice skating rink. Please take extreme care and make sure your feet are dry. Also I suggest kids do not run through the houses especially if they have just got out of the pool.
The easiest way for me to convert Rupiah is to remove four zeros from the amount. This changes it into US dollars. Therefore 50,000 rupiah becomes US$5 (which is approximately AUS$6). Pleases don’t leave money around, keep your wallet in a safe place. It is just too tempting for some Balinese, many of whom make less than a dollar a day. We do have a safety deposit box, and Wayan can organize to keep your valuables there.
The villas have 24 hour security. The Balinese are naturally inquisitive people. The security is not to keep marauding Muslims out, but rather to protect your privacy from cheeky children trying to get to know you by peaking over the fence.
If you do drugs, and get caught, you will go to jail. End of story. I have asked the staff, that if there is any hard evidence of drug use, to notify the police immediately.
There is a clinic in Candi Dasa. For anything else, try to get to a hospital in Denpasar. If this is not possible, there is a hospital in Klung Kung. At last resort use the hospital in Amlampura.
This can be arranged and is via private taxi. The cost is RP300,000. Please advise Wayan of your travel dates ahead of time.
There is a professional English speaking driver with an air-conditioned car. The car can seat up to seven people and is available for rent. Cost is RP 250,000 for ½ day and RP 400,000 for a full day. Please advise Wayan if you need to rent a car. Please note that this is remote Bali. You cannot walk out to the main road and hire a cab. Again, organization is the key to a great holiday.
To rent a car and drive in Bali you need an international driver’s licence which must be obtained prior to your arrival in Bali. There are a number of car and bike rentals in Candi Dasa.
The Alila Hotel and the Candi Beach Cottages have made their facilities available for your use. They offer a range of activities including all obligatory spa treatments (body scrubs, manicures etc), snorkelling trips, yoga and tai chi sessions, and the Alila presents an extremely good half day cooking school. Wayan will organize with the hotels if you would like to take advantage of any of these facilities. Costs will not include the plus/plus taxes. These will increase the printed price by about 21%.
Please feel free to sign this book when you leave. This way Wayan can know if there have been any problems and you can alert future visitors to what you really enjoyed about your stay.
The beach disappears at high tide. At low tide, it is very safe for swimming. However, if there are high seas (often around a full moon in July or August) please do not tempt fate. There is a life saving device at the Villas and if you are uneasy about swimming in the sea, please ask one of the staff to accompany you with the Tube. We are lucky in Candi Dasa that the sea is very clean and you can swim along the coast while looking at the coral.
While much is made of the Bali bombings, Candi Dasa is far from the major tourist areas and therefore I consider it to be completely safe. I do, however, lock my room from the inside at night. It just makes me feel better.
Coconuts grow on trees. We are in the middle of a coconut plantation. It’s not often that the coconuts fall but it does happen. I always walk around the trees on my way to the beach and I certainly never sit under one.
There are flies, mozzies and assorted other little bugs there. We do fog the bales on a regular basis to keep these under control. If you are highly stressed by
bugs, I suggest you also bring your own Aeroguard or something similar. All beds have mosquito nets. The worst time for flies is mango season - December - and all hotels struggle with this problem.
There is a daily laundry service available. It is very good but takes 24 hours to process. Please notify Wayan if you need this service and she will arrange it for you.
There is a TV, DVD player and mini stereo with a selection of DVD’s to watch at Villa Gils.
There are a number of villagers who can give a traditional Balinese massage. Please let Wayan know if you would like one. Alternatively, you may choose to see Nengah - the local healer. He will give you a massage that is totally different to any massage I have had in the world. It is not for the faint hearted, and has been known to put bruises on your bruises. However, if like me you have not been able to touch your toes for 40 years one session with Nengah will change that.
These dogs can be the scum of the earth. They are total scavengers and born cowards. I carry a big stick while I am walking and don’t mind using it. A loud “Shoooo” will scare them off. Having said that, I am now the proud owner of two of them. They normally wander the village by day, and sleep with me at night. I have come to rely on them to alert me to anything out of the normal at night. They are totally safe, but if you child is not a “dog” person, let us know. Please don’t feed them, they look skinny but that is just the way they are. They look dirty, because they probably are. They are fully vaccinated, de-sexed and are washed weekly, but - like naughty children - they like to roll in the dirt.
The cows graze around the house. Normally they will ignore you but do not tempt fate and try and feed one. They are very protective of their calves and have been know to charge at you if they feel threatened. They are tethered and they can’t go very far.
Alex and Marcia (from Adelaide) are our neighbours. They live there full time. While their house does overlook Villa Gils, they are not the nosey types. Feel free to introduce yourself, if you want to. They are very nice people and have many interesting stories to tell about living in Bali.
The house phone number is 62 (0) 36342095. Wayan’s number is (62) 08123879961. 62 is the country code for Bali and you may need to drop the first zero when calling from overseas.
There is an internet café in Candi Dasa. Candi Beach Cottages, 300 meters from the houses has a wi-fi zone. Internet speed is very slow in this part of Bali.
Bali time is a bit different to our time. The Balinese move much, much slower than the normal stressed out Westerner. You should feel yourself adjusting to this after a couple of days. It will no longer matter if lunch is served at 11am, 1pm or 3pm. If this is not the case for you please warn Wayan that you need to stay on Western time!
Length of Stay:
A week is probably the minimum you will need. It does take at least 3 or 4 days to un-wind. If it is your first stay here, then I recommend two weeks. There are more than enough activities and tours to enjoy. Too often have I heard at the end of 6 days, “I can’t believe I have to go home, I have just started to relax!”
I normally recommend doing tours early in the morning. If you leave at 9am, in most cases, you can be back by 1pm and then have the afternoon at your
leisure. If you take advantage of this part of the day, it is cooler and there will be less people. I highly recommend the following:
- The Alila half day cooking school. This is a fascinating visit to the markets that is a very entertaining and informative introduction to Balinese cooking (not to mention getting to eat the feast that you prepare when you return.)
- The drive along the east coast from Ujung to Amed. This trip could just be for the scenery alone. Should you want to make this a full day trip you can also go diving on the wreck of the USAT Liberty.
- Blue Lagoon trip. You will see the most beautiful coral. You can travel there by local outrigger boat and feed the fish. Even for Australians, something not to be missed.
- The Royal Palace and water gardens at Amlampura. Do have a swim in the main pool. It is quite safe, cool water but the steps are a bit slippery.
- Lunch or cocktails at the Alila bale high up in the mountains.
- Dinner at the Alila Hotel. A delightful evening and especially when they have the traditional orchestra and children dancing.
- Lunch at Seraya Shores. Bookings are necessary and need to be made in advance but this is a truly exceptional experience.
There are a number of good shops in Candi Dasa. I find the local supermarket is great for gifts. They have a fixed price, many sarongs, carvings and
other trinkets. For those of you who want to import some furniture, the shop across from Ida’s can’t be beaten. It is owned by a German who can be incredibly rude however it has some of the most beautiful antique furniture I have been able to find in Bali. If you want to go further afield, do a day trip to Ubud. In addition to the traditional market, there are many new, very up market shops and the area is well known for its art and crafts. From sarongs to Prada, it can all be found in Ubud.
Wine is a difficult commodity to source in Bali. There is a limited supply for sale at the villa. If you are a big wine drinker, it is probably best to stop at Makro on the way from the airport. They have a very limited selection and the cost is about US$12 per bottle. They take only cash or Diners Club card. When out dining in a restaurant, expect to pay about US $55 per bottle for a very ordinary wine. Spirits and beer, on the other hand, are easy to purchase in any supermarket and are cheap in comparison with Western prices.
Western Food - Again, if you can’t live without Tim Tams, Twisties and Camembert cheese then stop at Dijon in Kuta, on your way from the airport. They have a full range of goodies and are happy to pack it in ice for your trip to Candi Dasa. From
Candi Dasa, the closest decent supermarket for Western food is Hardies in Amalampura - about a 20 minutes drive away.
I highly recommend that you buy travel insurance. It is not expensive and is vital to any overseas trip. Ensure that you have medical evacuation coverage in case you need it. In this day and age, it is risky to travel anywhere in the world without insurance.
East Bali does have power black outs. They do not occur very often but they do happen. The villas have bore water, so if the power goes out, the pump goes off. If you are showering or washing your hair when the power goes out, you might need to rinse off in the pool! (This may sound dire but it is best to alert you of any small hiccup and how to deal with it while you are there.)
As mentioned before, we do have bore water. I don’t recommend drinking it. While it is much cleaner than down in the built up areas of Kuta and Seminyak,
why would you risk it? There is always bottled water in the bar fridge in the kitchen and in your rooms.
In case of fire you leave the buildings immediately.
East Bali Poverty Project:
Please take time to read the book they have just released called “The Art of Learning by Doing.” Should you wish to purchase a copy of this book, please see Wayan. There are also a series of postcards and prints that are available for purchase.
There are adaptors, please see Wayan and she will provide one.
Payment for extras such as meals, transport, massages etc. must be made to Wayan just prior to your departure. Credit cards are not accepted at this point in time.
Balinese remove their shoes when they enter a house. Don’t feel you need to follow suit. The floors are less slippery if you keep your shoes on.
You wish you could die, but you won’t. It normally lasts for 12 hours and there is nothing you can do, except keep yourself hydrated. If you eat out in a traditional restaurant, opt for what the locals eat. Ordering Chicken Cordon Bleu in a restaurant that only has two other guests is just inviting trouble.
Should you wish to transfer money to our account in Indonesia for your stay, contact Wayan and she will give you the account number. This saves having to travel with large amounts of cash.
Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements. Wayan and the staff are happy to adapt dishes to your tastes. For children, we can provide kids meals such as pizza, jaffles and plain food with no greens. Wayan is also happy to show you how to make such Balinese staples such as Sambal Matah, and Bali Bumbu.
Free Things to Do:
Yes there are some. There is an Arak factory and a soap factory near by. These two manufacturers are dedicated to providing sustainable income for Balinese that is not totally dependent on the tourist trade. Should you also wish to visit a local school, Wayan will arrange for you to visit her daughter’s school. You will be expected to stand up and say a few words.
East Bali Poverty Project:
There is a base camp about 40 minutes drive from the house. Here you can see first hand some of the incentives that have been initiated. However, this needs to be organized well in advance.
Finally, I do hope all this information does not put you off your stay. I am a firm believer, that the more information you have - particularly when arriving in a new place - the better off you will be. While I can rattle on about bugs and power failures, I cannot explain the spirituality, the calmness, the tranquillity and the beauty of Villa Gils. It is a very special place and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.