Testimonial

Dean is our friend!

The first time we went to Bali, we were lucky enough to hire Dean. Now we are Bali addicts. Even our teenage sons can't get enough of the place. Some of this addiction is due to Dean.

He has this innate ability to be able to make anyone comfortable around him. His enthusiasm and sense of humour are infectious. Add this to the fact that he is 100% honest and just an all-round nice guy, and you can't help having a great holiday.
Gary and I are now what most people would call "well travelled" but Dean is by far and away the best person we have ever hired the services of, while travelling. His service is world class.
He is probably one of only a few people I have ever met, who is doing the job he was meant to do. He really enjoys what he does and this transfers to his clients. I cannot recommend him highly enough.

Gary and Trudy Whinnett
Brisbane
Australia
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We met our Driver... Dean.. What a guy..We hired Dean for 5 days...We had read a lot about him so we booked him very early, now we see why... he was just the best Every single thing you read about him is true,FUN,PATIENT, KNOWLEDGIBLE, DO ANYTHING FOR YOU.. MONEY CHANGE, SHOPPING,HELP WITH MOBILE, THE LIST GOES ON AND ON. So if anyone is looking for a driver Dean is very highly recommended. on our first day we went to Tanah lot Temple that is a must it was just so beautiful. Jatiluwih,(sorry if any of my spelling wrong) the rice fields are just beautiful also, Lake Bratan, then driving along spotted all the monkeys stopped and fed them... loved it, this was a full day... we had a ball with Dean and he looked after us well with plenty of water & soft drinks on hand at any time. We had lots of laughs along the way which was great fun.

Dean took us to see the Volcano that was amazing the View was beautiful,went and saw how the wood carving is done, that was very interesting from generation to generation, telling us how they don't know what there making until they start carving into the tree and the tree determines what its going to be. Some beautiful pieces of work there. We also went to watch The Barong Dance performance that was great to watch also as they tell the story of good an evil.


we wanted to go and see about getting some work clothes made, went to Janoko's in poppies lane 11 I got 2 suits made (2 black pants & 2 jackets plus 2 shirts ) suits were $48.each and the shirts were $11each great value very happy with the whole lot. Hubby an I thought we deserved a massage so we went to the one across from Pub Bagus... (Great place to mingle)My Hubby must be the biggest sook (even though he had never had a foot massage before)he came out with me limping saying 'that ...... hurt I thought a massage was suppose to feel good' I couldn't stop laughing at him I'm saying I LOVED IT he whinged for the next 2 days cause he said he was still sore it was one of those things where you had to be there..... Did more shopping in poppies lane 11, then went to Kuta beach while there I was BUSTING to go to the loo took one look an said to my husband I'm not going in there...not a nice look... anyway after half an hr I had to go....lol held my breath and pretended I didn't see all the water on the floor etc,if you can hold off DON'T GO TO THE LOO THERE. After all that Dean took us back to our villa, had showers and took Dean to Dinner at Jimbaran Bay and we watched the sunset, that was just Awsome Got some great pictures food was beautiful Dean couldn't believe the size of hubby's Lobster the whole day an night was fantastic.. I can understand if any of you reading this have gone to sleep lol told you it was long.

Went Bali Safari & Marine park today, had an elephant ride $15 Au, got our photo taken with a Lion that was a doppy thing (eyes shut the whole time lol) also had photo with a tiger cost around $35 for each photo. Had lunch at the restaurant where you could see the Lions etc outside. Went to Sanur after and got some (245) photo's developed. Another great day.

Our last day with Dean, Boy are we going to miss him we wanted to go to discovery mall as hadn't had a chance to get there yet did HEAPS of shopping bought some beautiful things to bring home panicking if we could get them through customs... but all was ok, the 3 of us had lunch at Celsius on the 2nd floor out side so we could watch everyone oh and enjoy a smoke with our drinks that was really nice there. Dean even had Steak and chicken for a change, from there we went to Dreamland Beach, Beautiful... a lot of building going up there. walking back up to the car nearly killed us.... lol but we got there. Came back to our villa feeling really down as it was our last day with Dean but we can assure you we will be booking him again next year.

Our Trip to Bali was absolutely Fantastic we loved every bit of it, the people really are just beautiful, the Culture, I could just keep going but I have to stop sometime, there are places I have forgotten to put in here that we went to but thats ok i will another time maybe.

Our highlight was having Dean show us around Bali and meeting such wonderful people, ALWAYS smiling.


We will treasure our First trip to Bali forever.

Thank you to all you TA's who helped me so much with all your knowledge.

We can't wait until next year to go back with our family and friends.

Cheers -Barb

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Gostaríamos de ter um grande vocabulário para expressar tudo de maravilhoso que foi nossa convivência com Dean.Ele é uma pessoa muito agradável, simpático, de grande senso de humor e tornou nossa viagem um sonho, nunca iremos esquecer tudo o que ele nos proporcionou.Nossa estadia em Bali atingiu a perfeição graças ao seu profissionalismo e a sua generosidade. Nos sentimos como rei e rainha onde tudo que queríamos nos era oferecido. Ele não media esforços para nos agradar e tornar nossa viagem a melhor possível. Nunca conheci um profissional assim, atencioso, brincalhão e muito, muito, amigável.Vamos guardar no coração essa grande amizade que se formou entre nós e todas as grandes lembranças que ele nos proporcionou


We would like to have a great vocabulary in English to express how wonderful was our coexistence with Dean last january 2007He is a very pleasant, nice person, great sense of humor and he turned our trip a dream, we will never forget everything that he provided us.Our permanence in Bali reached the perfection thanks to his professionalism and generosity. We felt as king and queen where everything that we wanted we received. He didn't measure efforts to please us and to turn our trip the best as possible. I never met a professional like him, kindly, playful and a lot, a lot, friendly.We will keep in the heart that great friendship that was formed among us and all the great memories that he provided us
Thank you very much

Fernando & Luiza. Rio - Brasil

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This August, my family and I obtained the services of Bali's most popular Driver of Distinction DEAN. We spent 16 glorious days in beautiful Bali (from August 18-September 2, 2006), and every day Dean took us to different parts of the island. Since we were a large group of seven and August was still considered 'high season,' I wanted to make sure we booked a good and moderately priced hotel to base ourselves at. So, I booked out entire stay at the Bumi Ayu Bungalows in Sanur. Originally, even though I had already booked all 16 days at Bumi Ayu Bungalows, I did intend to later book other hotels in different parts of the island for a few days here and there, but it was never necessary. I guess since we had so many days at our disposal, we didn't have to try and squeeze too much driving in so little time. I actually was very pleased that we did not have to uproot ourselves, and Sanur ended up being the ideal place to commute to all the different parts of the Island. Ubud was not an option, since the kids wanted to be close to the ocean.


This was our first trip to Bali, and I just want to say that we couldn't have had a more enjoyable vacation. The Balinese are very friendly and warm people. Dean made our vacation extra special, and I strongly urge all future travelers who will be going to Bali to book his services. He is a very safe and excellent driver. Many of the rural roads are two-way lanes, and Dean handles the drive in a highly-skilled manner even when passing slow-moving vehicles. You cannot be in safer, more capable hands than when Dean is behind the wheel. His vehicle is an eight-passenger Toyota Kijang, and my family fit very comfortably. Dean keeps his vehicle in excellent condition; and during our visit, he installed four brand-new tires on his vehicle. The air conditioner works very well, and Dean has several ac/dc plugs so his customers can charge their many electronic gadgets. His vehicle is equipped with a DVD player, and the kids enjoyed watching many of the different movies he kept in his vehicle during the long drives.
We met Dean's lovely wife Putu, his now 8 year-old son Billy (his birthday is September 26), and his three-year-old daughter Yesha. They, too, were all very warm and welcoming. My seven-year-old son hit it off with Billy. Even though they didn't speak the same language, they still managed to enjoy playing with one another. That just goes to show that having fun is universal!
I want to take the opportunity and thank all TA members for their contributions to this forum. Because of this forum, I learned about Dean; and again because of this forum, I had the foresight to book Dean since back in March. At that time, Dean was already fully booked for June and July, so I was very pleased to have obtained his services during my travel dates. An extra special thanks to TA members jade_du, Catalyst, Ersano, Rob1, Bali4u, Joanna2, Whinnie, and Kacenka. Your contributions were very informative and beneficial to me. I especially enjoyed both Whinnie's & Kacenka's day-by-day itineraries, especially since Dean was their driver. Both readings were very delightfully entertaining, and made me wish that my turn to be in Bali would soon come! Whinnie, I just want to say that Dean is still clicking away at the digital camera you gave him. He actually is a pretty good photographer! That was a very nice gesture on your part, and it gave me the idea to take him several gifts of my own. By the way, I did notice that he did not have the camera in a case, so when we stopped at a Batik Store on the way to Tanah Lot, I bought him one. Prior to my trip, he had emailed me lots of lovely photos of the different places to visit, and the camera is definitely a plus for his business.
I encourage everybody who is considering a trip to Bali to take the plunge. Bali is very safe, the weather is awesome, the local people are very friendly and warm, the island has tons to offer, and Dean will definitely help make your vacation memories that much more memorable. Please look into booking Dean well in advance to secure his services, you will not be disappointed!
A super big thanks to Dean for going above and beyond his services. My family and I still miss spending all those extra long hours with him every day during our visit. I have never had the pleasure of meeting such a pleasing, patient, very accommodating and easy going individual as Dean. There is just so much positive feedback to share with all the readers in regards to Dean, that I plan to write a more in-depth review of Dean very soon.

I remember Dean mentioned his birthday was the day after Billy's, so on behalf of the Rodriguez/Acosta/Sepulveda family, we would like to wish him a very Happy Birthday!!!
All the best and happy travels to all of you!
Sandy R.
Riverside, CA. USA

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This was our first trip to Bali as a family. We were so lucky to have Dean as our driver & guide. He made our visit to Bali a memorable experience. With his broad knowledge of the entire island, he showed us the real Bali and was happy to to work around what we wanted to see & do also. He speaks great English and has a great sense of humour, is completely reliable and a very safe driver! We wholeheartedly recommend Dean and his services and look forward to using his services again very soon! Dean really is a ‘Driver with Distinction’.

Ahmed" & Kate, London, UK & Střelice, Czech Republic

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Thank you! Bali-Dean helped to make our trip to Bali absolutely amazing.

He has a detailed knowledge of the entire island, allowing him to help us decide what to see each day and to take alternate routes to and from each place so that we could see even more of the country. He has a great sense of what is “worth seeing” and what is not as well as fabulous suggestions for restaurants, hotels, and photo opportunities. Though he gave us great suggestions, he was also flexible, working around what we wanted to do and which days we wanted a driver.

Dean is completely reliable and a very safe driver. He was prepared to make sure we were comfortable and safe – bringing umbrellas, a cooler with drinks, and even hand sanitizer! Though he teased us a little bit for asking so many questions, one of the best things about traveling with Dean is that he was able to give us a deeper understanding of so many different aspects of Balinese culture.


He speaks English very well and has a great sense of humor. We wholeheartedly recommend Dean and his services. You will be in great hands.

Doug, Robin, Kinder & Hayley from California




We traveled to Bali in February 2006 and it was the best holiday we have had so far. We were so lucky to have Dean as our driver. Not only was he an excellent driver, he showed us the real Bali. He answered all of our questions and told us what it means to be from Bali. He took us to places that other drivers wouldn’t have. Our best experience was being able to walk through the rice fields and see how the people of Bali live. He also took us into the home of a Balinese family and explained to us the importance of family in Bali. Even after our trip to Bali, we still remain friends with Dean and we hope to return to Bali soon to see him. Dean truly is Bali’s best driver!!

The Gress Family – Alex, Stephani


So here's an update, and more info, regarding my month-long experience in October 2006, with Dean - Bali's Best Driver.

Perhaps it seems self-important to classify oneself as 'Bali's Best Driver', except Dean never did that. One of his previous clients', (Paul Taylor), thought so much of Dean, that he created, and continues to maintain/finance, Dean's website : http://baliwithdean.blogspot.com/

I booked Dean for the entire month of October 2006 SOLELY because of the content of his website, created by Paul Taylor..

After being driven for a month around Bali by Dean, I would have personally financed, and had my graphic designer friend create him a website, had he not already had one!
I spend my life in Maui, Hawaii, owning a business, and giving the benefit-of-the-doubt, a second chance, and helping ANYONE who tries to help themselves......regardless of the personal cost to myself, both emotionally, and monitarily.
I grew up in England, and traveled extensively in Europe in the 60's, to what were, and are still sometimes considered, as ''Third World Countries'; East Germany, Checkoslovakia, USSR, Bulgaria, Poland etc., and in the 70's to Haiti, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, Guadeloupe, La Martinique etc. In the 80's Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Seychelles, Mauritius etc.,

all of which were classified as 'THIRD WORLD COUNTRIES'.

Life in ALL those countries, MANY years' ago, was atrocious for most of the inhabitants, compared to western standards of living. Modernization, and air travel has changed some aspects of all those countries, whose economy is reliant today upon tourism. Nice hotels, and activities provided for tourists, tend to blind us from the reality of daily life most of these countries' inhabitant's lead.

Bali is no different. I always believed that Bali was the epitomy of 'Paradise on Earth', from everything I had heard during my lifetime....I imagined it to be gorgeous beaches, beautiful waters, with a very simplistic Island lifestyle, which I dreamed of, since I realized it had been lost here on Maui years ago due to the influx of tourism.
I have to admit that Bali was NOT what I expected when I arrived in October 2006. I was horrified at the amount of billboards and signs everywhere. I was particularly mortified to see the disposal of all kinds of trash in the rivers and streams that run alongside beautiful Villas, built next to simple local homes.
The morning after our arrival, when Dean, (our driver, picked us up at our Villa in Changgu, we were immediately subjected to the thousands of mopeds darting in front of Dean's car, with no thought whatsoever so ANY 'rules of the road' that we Westerners are so accustomed to. There ARE NO road rules in Bali. There is no such thing as a 'test' to obtain a driver's license. Driver's licences are 'bought' throughout Indonesia.

It was completely frightening, for a few days, to sit in a vehicle , trying not to be a 'back-seat'driver', and tell Dean how to drive, as I thought he should drive more conservatively so as not to hit any of the crazy moped drivers...

But, then I realized that it was just a matter of 'ebb and flow',and as long as you go along with the 'ebb and flow' of everything on the roadways, EVERYTHING works perfectly! During our entire month, we didn't see one accident, or near accident, so there must be some validity to this 'THIRD WORLD' concept of negotiating roadways!

After two weeks I felt confident that I could easily negotiate traffic in a vehicle myself, BUT, Dean was such a TOTAL 'Gem;' of a driver, AND a human being, I wouldn't trade him as my Bali driver to save all the money in the world!

Dean was ALWAYS prompt in picking us up, he ALWAYS knew where to go, no matter where I needed to go for business reasons. He was quick to correct me if he thought I was making a bad decision regarding a business, or trade purchase.

He ALWAYS paid attention to the slightest comments made by myself, or my elderly mother, (which neither of us realized until we had been there for a week). But, it resulted in Dean taking us to out-of the-way gorgeous restaurants and locations to eat that we would never have found without him...places he recommended based upon his previous clienteles' experience, and which he had learned from our previous comments, we would thoroughly enjoy.

We decided that Dean would benefit from PERSONALLY eating at all the restaurants we visited, INSTEAD of recommending them, based upon comments from previous clients. Dean had always considered himself to be 'the driver', destined to wait int he car for his clients' to return. He was VERY uncomfortable at the thought of accompanying us to lunch, or dinner....always thinking he was not worthy of dining with us, that it was not his place in life, and worrying about what the local restaurant personnel would think of him dining with us.

But, how best to recommend food, or a restaurant, until you have personally experienced it??!! We INSISTED he come with us. We told him that you 'are'what you project, and people will believe what you project to them'. We taught him Western table manners, and etiquitte, which he learnt with extreme enthusiasm. I assisted him achieving a welcomed new style of dress, and cutting a long story short, one day, aftter lunch, the waitress came and asked us all if she could 'call a taxi for us'.


It was at that moment that Dean realized he wasn't 'just a
Driver'. He could conduct himself accordingly to any given situation, and from that moment on, he gained a beautiful, new form of self-confidence, and self-worth.
None of us, living in the Western world, can IMAGINE what it is like to survive in a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY. We visit THIRD WORLD countries, and delight in the fact that we can purchase items cheaply, obtain services cheaply, and go home feeling we are happy 'to be home', but had a great vacation for a relatively cheap price.
The Balinese people are incredibly sweet, very humble, polite, and grateful, for the smallest of things. Tipping is not the norm in Bali. It is in Maui. So I tipped in Bali. The price of lunch or dinner to me was so inconsequential, compared to what it would cost me in Hawaii, so for me to tip the waitress or waiter for their incredibly gracious service ,which we ALWAYS experienced, was a total pleasure.

They earn NOTHING, compared to what we earn in the Western world, and they survive from month to month on so little it is pitiful, and yet they are always gracious and polite to visitors, expecting nothing in return.
I had waitresses cry because we gave them a tip, thanking us because it would allow them to buy milk for their baby, which they could not afford otherwise, or the waiter who tearfully told us he was going to use the money to get his father in to see a desperately needed surgeon for an infection on his leg.

Sometimes just the little things, or a couple of dollars, totally change people's lives. A few dollars, a UK pound, buys a lot for those living in a THIRD WORLD COUNTRY, and 'giving' to someone in need, is the BEST gift you can buy for YOURSELF on any vacation.

I bought a lot of items in Bali...a guilty Western purchaser, to be sure, but I also gave back........I gave back to all of those I came into contact with, and what I gave, insignificant in MY realm of life, changed ALL their lives, in one way or another.

None of us can help ALL those in need in Bali, but we can each do 'something' to help someone, while we are enjoying the rewards of being able to afford a trip to Bali from a far-away place of residence in our Western world. Help just ONE person during your trip. You will feel good for a long time to come.

Going back to our driver, Dean.........He IS, WITHOUT A DOUBT...Bali's Best Driver. I encourage all of you reading this post to hire him as your Driver, if you are visiting Bali. He is the epitomy of someone who does EVERYTHING in his power to keep his clients' happy, safe, and, you can trust his word, his advice, his opinion, AND his integrity, which is impecable.

He is an extremely safe, competent driver, with an immaculately clean SUV. His vehicle contains a DVD player to occupy children while parent's shop! And, he carries insurance on his vehicle, which is not the norm with most drivers in Bali!
Dean charges a NOMINAL US $65 per day for his services, which are NOT restricted to 8 hrs per day, as with most Bali drivers. Dean is worth EVERY cent, and I believe he should charge more! He cares MORE about his clients' happiness, and Bali experience, and their positive referrals, than he does about making profit. Perhaps that's not good business sense, but that is DEAN...Bali's Best Driver.

PLEASE visit Dean e-mail bali-dean@dps.centrin.net.id and book him for your next trip to Bali, or refer him to your friends. You will NOT regret it!!
Anyone who wants to email me for further info regarding Dean, can do so at: in2deep@allmaui.com

For those of you who are already keeping up-to-date with posts regarding Dean...here's the latest...

Dean's VERY ancient computer, and his recent problems are over! A brand new laptop, (with warranty!), was delivered to him by a friend of mine from Hong Kong, on December 24, complete with a 1.6GB CPU, 1GB RAM, and includes a CD/DVD recorder so he can backup all of his computer files. Also sent him a CD with Trend Micro Internet Security 2007, including a paid subscription for 3 years of service. Trend Micro is THE BEST anti-virus/anti-hacker/anti-spyware program available today, which has no conflicts with any Microsoft programs, or any other computer software.


He's also received a 2007 Daily Planner to backup all client information/reservations from his new laptop.

Thank you to all out there that have supported Dean. He is worth every bit of your support and help, in any way you find possible. He is a man DETERMINED to better himself, and provide a better life for his wife and two children, against all the odds, in a country that is still devastated by the lack of tourism since the Bali bombings, when 'tourism' is their country's MAIN source of income.

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our Adventure Begins!!!!

We had already emailed Dean (baliwithdean.blogspot.com) months in advanced and told him we are coming back, knowing how popular he is! He is lovely driver, and we've always used his services to go around Bali, knowing how expensive it can get with the one way metered cabs, hiring a driver for a few hours if much less costly and more relaxing. Dean was already at the Lobby punctually at 9 and greeted us like old friends. He has a brand new Toyota Innova MPV which was extremely clean and comfortable even on the bumpy roads and could easily seat 6 persons without any problems. We are usually too lazy to plan our itinerary, so we left everything to Dean's professional hands – he would suggest the sights and bring us there if we liked it. Unlike some of the horrid cheap drivers that we've met at Ubud last time that offered us Rp 200.000 a full day and would then try to con us into going to the shops/bad day spas and buying stuff unwillingly, then earning a huge commission from the shops; Dean and his drivers would never ever do such a thing. His rates were all negotiable and we have never been forced to visit something or buy something we didn't like just so the drivers could earn extra bucks from the shops/spas. In fact, Dean is a really sporting person – he would carefully inform us about the touts, where they hide, how they cheat and how to go around avoiding them (Besakih TOUTS ALARM – in a minutes!!). First stop was Bangli Wet Market, something really interesting. Its a pretty crowded but interesting market, we could see how it was at a typical bali wet market. There were pretty flowers everywhere, people making offering baskets, colorful fruits and vegetables and NO tourists!! People at the market were busy doing business, so we were happy no one came to push things on our faces. Dean happily bought us some cute bananas which we used a few days later at the monkey forest! We headed to Pura Kehen after that. On the way to Pura Kehen, Dean suddenly shouted out “Procession” Wanna take a look?” We looked right and left, back and front and couldn't see anything unusual. DH, wanting to take some good shot of locals jumped out of the car and surely, soon enough, a huge procession appeared out of nowhere and passed through right in front of us. Our compliments to Dean and his great eyesight!

Pura Kehen is a lovely and tranquil little temple with no tourists and no touts at sight (phew! Guys, keep it down & try not to head there in massive crowds or else the touts will move in!). The temple is the state temple of Bangli, the first courtyard has a huge banyan tree and It has three terraced courtyards that are connected by steps, and their balustrades are decorated with carvings and statues, and each are entered through towering, carved gateways. Just a note, there is an old man in the temple who is very knowledgeable and will explain everything to you- history of temple etc. In the end, he will ask for a small donation but he is pretty harmless, if you don't want to give, just make sure you don't follow him in. After Pura Kehen, we decided to head to Besakih Temple. On the way there, we saw a colorful village temple ceremony and we all jumped out for pictures (dean reminded us not to stand in front of the offering Table as it would be disrespectful according to their culture).
So, Besakih Part 1 Begins. We arrived there in the afternoon. Dean had already told us how the touts functioned at Besakih on the way there and we had worn our sarongs in the car. He brought us up the other way – he told us the bemos would drop the people off some road and they would be conned into hiring a motorbike up to the temple. Road block before Besakih – we had to pay for entry tickets at Rp 20000 each. Tour guides are not allowed within Besakih, so he was banned from coming to the place with us, but he told us he was waiting nearby and just give him call and dean comes to the rescue! As predicted and warned, the moment we showed the entrance tickets to the “tourism office”, we were approached by a man claiming he is a guide and he will bring us into the temple etc for $10. We said no repeatedly and declined his offer. He gave up for a few seconds and came running to us again now saying “I am the guardian of the temple, you must give me money to enter temple”. Right, great joke and I'm the Sultan of Borneo----- that guy finally gave up and walked away with a black face, but we were approached by more guys at the bottom of the stairs. Other touts to watch out for at Besakih: a) the temple GUARDIAN tout. Donate and he will allow you inside. b) the UMBRELLA TOUT, DH almost fell for this tricky one – once it starts raining, a lady will run to you with umbrellas. The moment you touch the umbrella, she will ask you for Rp 20,000. c) the CEREMONY TOUT: people claim there is ceremony today (and every 365 days) and you cannot enter the temple without a guide unless you pay him as a guide. d)The OFFERING Tout. Women will claim you cannot enter the temple without offering and she will coax you into buying offering baskets from her.

And many there are a few other touts, keep your eyes OPEN and stay PERSISTANT! We survived the first round fighting through the crowd until it started raining, so we decided to return the next day. Next stop – shopping and money changing at Kuta Square. We hated those cheap t-shirts that were sold everywhere, so we were delightful when we came across lovely high-quality thick cotton t-shirt with gold embroidery at Matahari kuta Square. Got a few other sarongs and clothing, matahari is definitely the cheapest place for such stuff. Kuta food market next door was a great and cheap place of Kopi Bali, Civet coffee, herbs, spices (I got a whole bunch of spices like cinnamon sticks, star anise, vanilla pods, cardamon etc), fruits and other stuff. Got a few cartons of Marlboro cigarettes priced at about RP 110.000 or € 8.50 for a box of 200 cigarettes. Dean recommended us a trustworthy Authorized money changer at kuta square and the guy gave us the best exchange rates we've seen so far. Dinner at Tropical later that night, which turned out disastrous this time so we never returned ever again!

Next morning – Dean turned up early with his Schick new tripadvisor Hat – unofficially DE Certified! :P


Off we go to besakih PART 2! this time we are really prepared. Same procedure today until the steps, then we quickly shoved ourselves into a group of locals and walked up to the top complex Pura Gelap. Once you pass the main entrance, there isn't anymore touts. Besakih is a huge complex with many many smaller temples and to really see each one, best allocate half a day for everything. The temple complexes are full of life and processions, ceremonies and people praying, everything is decorated colorfully. We spent about 4 hours there. After that we headed to

Kintamani but it started to rain unfortunately. By the time we made it to the Bas Agro tourism plantation, it stopped raining thankfully. Dean had recommended us this place when we told him we wanted to see the process of Civet aka SH IT Coffee or Kopi Luwak. The plantation has interesting plants on display including ginseng trees, vanilla orchids, passion fruit trees, cocoa trees, fruit tress and herbs as well a tobacco and of course – coffee trees of all sizes. A great educational experience esp for those with families. We could see how they roasted the civet coffee and right after that, we had a cup of civet coffee (tasted a bit like French roasted Mocha coffee without the acid), together with a whole lots of other drinks such as ginseng cocoa and lemongrass tea.

We went on for a long ride in Deans' comfortable car after the hot long morning at Besakih. He drove us through many small villages and explained to us about the local life and what each village survived on and how they learn the crafts of the respective village. We passed through a village called Garuda, and we saw garudas of all sizes along the way. We also passed through Pura Tirta Empul and picture from the top was good enough since we were terrified with the amount of tour buses and tourists parked outside the temple. After that, we headed to tegalalang Village, a beautiful otherwise tranquil little village if it had not been for the massive tour buses and the china/Taiwanese tourists. We had lunch at the beautiful and quiet Kampong Cafe with nasi campors and fresh coconut. But our quite lunch came to an end when a busload of chinese tourists barged into the cafe with their “free coupons” and starting screaming around and pushing tables together. So we decided to run out since we had the best table facing the rice terraces and the tourists were standing around us to claim our table.

Next stop was Ubud. We had stayed here in the past, but Ubud looks much more livelier and busier compared to our last stay. The nice little corner where we waited for the hotel cabs seems to have a few new buildings and shopping areas. We headed to Monkey Forest for some pictures, bought tickets and encountered a crying girl who was bitten by the monkey. Just a word of caution, the monkey are harmless unless you provoke them. We could feed the monkey quietly and took pictures, but some silly russian ladies were carrying bananas in their hands and refused to give them to the monkeys, so they were chased after by the group. Monkeys did not attack us or harm us in any way. We went down to the huge Banyan tree and the temple there before sunset. Dean had kindly arranged a special dinner for us a few days in advanced at the Bebek Bengil in ubud. He was kind enough to call the restaurant up and reserve their infamous duck for us up to 2 days in advanced. Great views of the rice fields and fat little ducks outside the restaurant, the food was good, we were very happy with the dinner Dean had arranged for us.

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g297701-d3263432-Reviews-Bali_with_Dean-Ubud_Bali.html

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