Thursday 8 December 2022

Bali II Day 1: Mara River Safari Lodge & Night Safari

The last time we went to Bali almost 10 years ago, I was pregnant with my boy and feeling nauseous the whole time! As a result, I did not have a good memory of Bali. This time, I hope to have a better experience and redeem my memory of Bali! 

After almost 3 years of not flying, the hubby suggested for us to spend 10D9N in Bali! We'll be covering the following itinerary: Bali Safari >> Kintamani >> Kuta >> Nusa Dua. Honestly, I don't know if 10 days would be too long... I'll let you know at the end of our trip.

We also decided that if we were to fly post-COVID, it must be via Singapore Airlines! We booked early and got our tickets at $374 per adult/child (inclusive of free seat selection as we were travelling with children). 

Our flight departed Terminal 2 punctually at 8.20am. The kids, especially Littlest Girl, were super excited.

Not long after take off, we were served our breakfast. The food was very good, though the new paper packaging wasn't easy for the Littlest Girl to eat from. 

Although the crew passed us some souvenirs for the kids, we didn't get the child headsets that they used to give out by default, despite me requesting for it. Perhaps the crew was busy with food service.

Other than that, it was a very smooth flight and we arrived at Ngurah Rai International Airport at around 11.05am. There is no time difference between Singapore and Bali.

We ignored all the private taxi drivers trying to get our attention and walked all the way to the Authorized Taxi booth to get a taxi from Ngurah Rai Taxi Bali. The drive to our first accommodation took about 55 minutes and cost us 550k rupiah. It may sound like a lot but the hotel quoted us 1.5 times more so it was still reasonable to us.

We arrived at Mara River Safari Lodge, located right in the heart of Bali Safari & Marine Park. Most theme park hotels we've stayed previously were usually near/next to the park but this resort was located within the park itself! This meant that we could explore the park anytime we liked without admission tickets (we just had to show them our hotel card)! It also meant that we were right next to the wildlife enclosures where we could observe the animals up, close and personal! 😊

At the gate, the security guard checked that we had a reservation and counted the number of guests before allowing us to drive into the premise. This is to ensure that non-guests will not be able to access the park without an admission ticket. 

The family relaxed at the open-air lobby and enjoyed their welcome drinks while we checked in. 

We were offered many activities that we could do during our stay.

We decided to book the Night Safari as we've read good reviews online. Our package cost 1100k rupiah per adult and 880k rupiah per child 3-12 years old and included buffet dinner. It's expensive for a reason, more details later!

After checking in, we boarded the resort buggy to our suite.

We knew we wanted to stay in the Safari "huts" when we last visited Bali Safari Park and now we have! πŸ˜ƒ

We had booked the 3-bedroom Tembo Family Suite via Agoda at S$468 per room per night (accommodates 6 adults). Our package included breakfast and entry to all the animal shows, Water Playzone and Safari Journey (once per day). If you think about it, park admission tickets alone cost about $350 for a family of 6, so the room package was very worth it! 😊

Each of the 3 bedrooms in our suite came with en-suite bathrooms (that's 3 bathrooms!), which was more than comfortable for our family!

The master bedroom, for the Hubby & Boy, had a 4-poster bed with mosquito nets and a view of the swimming pool and animals. 

The 2nd bedroom had 2 single beds, just nice for the Mum and Eldest Girl. 

The 3rd bedroom had a queen sized bed for the Littlest Girl and I.

Each room had its own bathrobes, room slippers and the usual toiletries.

Other features of the suite include a living and dining room, kitchenette, balcony and an empty room (for prayers or yoga maybe?). We used the spare room to hang some of our laundry!

Umbrellas were provided for loan in case of bad weather. There was also a basket of raw carrots in the kitchenette for us to feed the animals at the petting zoo or throw to the zebras beside the pool!

The highlight of the resort was its close proximity to the safari animals, which we could see from the master bedroom and balcony!

Video tour of our 3-bedroom suite:

The only downside of the suite was the inadequate amount of drinking water provided! It simply wasn't enough for so many of us! We also couldn't buy water easily as there was no convenience store nearby. I'd suggest buying bottled water before going to the resort if you don't want to use water from the tap for boiling. 

As we were all tired and famished, the hubby ordered room service so that we can have lunch in our suite and chill. 

The food was good and not that expensive (considering it was room service). It allowed us to get enough rest before we explored the Safari Park for the rest of the afternoon.

We walked from the resort directly into the park, to the Animal Education Show.

They've improved the seating area since the last time we were here. There are more benches and a canopy to shield you from the sun and rain! 

The show was quite interactive and we got to see some of the animals up close. 

The Eldest Girl managed to snag a photo with an owl πŸ¦‰ before the show! She was super thrilled!

After the show, we rode the Safari Journey, which we could do so once per day as part of our package!

The Safari Journey was a tram ride that takes you into the animal enclosure, which was different from most zoos where the trams typically go around the enclosure. The animals could come all the way up to the tram if they wanted! 

The kids pointed out the animals that they could identify while the onboard Safari Guide shared fun facts about the animals we saw.

One of the memorable sights we saw was of two hippos πŸ¦› playing with each other in the water right next to our window! 

We also passed the Tsavo Lion Restaurant, where we would be having our breakfast and dinner. You can see a lioness enjoying her afternoon nap next to the restaurant. 

At the end of the ride, we still had some time before dinner so we headed to the pool for a swim!

The pool wasn't big but it was warm and we could see the animals grazing while Safari Trams passed by with guests every now and then.

When it came time for our Night Safari experience, we headed to the hotel lobby where we got to take pictures with an iguana and a couple of parrots! 🦜 

When it was our turn, we boarded a caged Safari truck which brought us through the same route as the Safari Journey. However, we could feed the hungry animals from our truck!

We weren't allowed to feed the predators for safety reasons but we could take lots of selfies with them!

We were so close to the lion 🦁 that we could probably touch it if we wanted, but of course we were warned to keep our distance! However, curiosity probably got the better of my Littlest Girl, whom I caught stretching out her hand towards the lion's mouth! I stopped her in time but the experience freaked me out! She probably thought she could pet it! πŸ₯΄ 

We also got to interact with 2 tigers 🐯, who were brothers. The tigers were so close that at some point, I had some tiger saliva dripped on my shoulder! Gross πŸ˜…

This is not the first time we got close to tigers though! The Eldest Girl said the tiger spat its saliva on her when we fed it in A'famosa Safari Wonderland Malacca.

We also got to feed elephants 🐘, zebras πŸ¦“ and buffalos! 

It was such a great experience for our family! The kids had so much fun! πŸ˜ƒ

At the end of our journey, we were famished and had our dinner at Tsavo Lion Restaurant. The live music set the mood for a nice atmosphere.

Other than the pasta station where you could choose your preferred style of pasta, the variety and quality of the buffet wasn't great. We decided to pay additional for ala carte mocktails since they're much cheaper than Singapore! πŸ˜‹

After our meal, we joined all the resort guests at the outdoor arena just outside the lobby, where we were treated to a Fire Show

It's incredible that we managed to do soooo much in the 12 hours since we arrived in Bali! We all went to bed exhausted but fulfilled. It was a good day! 🀩

Continue to >> Bali Day 2: Bali Safari & Marine Park


Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Bali, Indonesia 
as well as other travel itineraries!

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