After the popularity of Jaxon’s last blog on Bali, we couldn’t wait to read his latest adventures. Jaxon recently returned and shares his tips and travels below.
More than Meets the Wheel by Jaxon
As I said in 2017, I’d be back in Bali sooner rather than later. Here we are now, in 2019, 16 months after my last visit. As would anyone who is travelling to a place where they have previously travelled, I decided to do things that I’d never done before, but I’ll get to that later.
The first thing that happens on a trip to Bali, is the flight. I might not be the best of help for those without a scoliosis, but for those who do, bring something to help make you more comfortable when you exit from the plane until you find your power chair. I struggled, because I had pins and needles in my upper thigh, all the way down to my toes, and my parents struggled to comfort me in this time. Once we collected my wheelchair, it was smooth sailing all the way to Legian Beach Hotel in Legian. I always use Bali Access Travel seeing it’s the most reliable disabled travel in Bali and should always be used for your electric wheelchair. They have a van conversion that accommodates heavier wheelchairs like mine.
Legian Beach Hotel is the place that I stay every time I travel to Bali, they have fully accessible disabled rooms, and though Mum and Dad still lift me into the resort pools, due to no pool hoist, I love the fact that I can buzz around the whole resort freely without any access issues.
Legian is located in the hustle and bustle area of Bali, with packed streets outside the resort, countless restaurants, shops, and beautiful beaches.
It may be expensive but we think it’s worth it due to the accessible rooms, the convenience to public locations, the stunning pools and the breakfast cafeteria (perfectly accessible with good food).
The first night we decided to eat at the Y-Bar as we were meeting the rest of our extended family, which is about a 10 minute stroll via the beach (traffic pending). The bar/restaurant has pretty good food and broadcasts sport 24/7. The ramp from the road to the restaurant is a little steep but is still doable if you drive up on an angle. Most Australian sports are broadcast as well as the Premier League and they have bands performing some nights too.
HIRING A BEACH WHEELCHAIR
We hired a Beach wheelchair from Bali Access Travel with inflated wheels which helped with driving on sand. We like to meet up with the rest of our family in the afternoons at the beach, and we always go to “Bayu’s Bar” situated on the beach in front of Bali Mandira Hotel. When you exit the hotel from the back (near the family pool, breakfast bar and dining area), you will come across a road that runs alongside the beach. There are many entrances to get on the beach, but the one I go to is the one furthest on the right, but still on the footpath. It’s such a beautiful spot which beholds a beautiful sunset, most nights, cold drinks, comfy chairs and beanbag chairs or you can hang in your beach wheelchair.
There are sellers on the beach so you can do some cheap shopping too if you want to pick up a bargain. At the beach bar there are massage ladies who are really good and really cheap. The drinks staff and ladies are always willing to help me out and its nice way to connect with people and learn about their amazing culture.
At Legian Beach Hotel they have two manual wheelchairs to help conquer steps that are just impossible for an electric wheelchair to reach (you will have to let staff know in advance that you plan on using the manual wheelchair). We took it out a few times to our day outings just in case, and it came in handy at times.
On our first day trip we went to a temple called Tirta Empul Temple, we got to wear sarongs (traditional wear), witness Balinese culture with a natural spring water pool, which is used for wish making, cleansing and praying. Although you can’t access the entire temple, you can access the majority of things. One hindrance at the temple is that the ramps are a little steep. These ramps are still manageable though.
After the temple we decided to head to lunch at Pangkon Bali Restaurant. This place was in the middle of some rice paddocks, which gives a serene environment which was a nice change from the hustle and bustle of Legian. Some food is spicy, so it would be a good idea to check whether there is any spice in your meal before eating it (I learnt the hard way).
Our last stop was the Cahaya Mutiara Foundation. This foundation is owned and run by disabled people. This is located at their home residence. These young adults mainly have physical disabilities. I would recommend bringing some things with you such as food, drink, or anything else that might benefit, as they really appreciate the support. The people we met here are absolutely amazing, they help children with disabilities through music and art therapy and they don’t receive any government funding at all. They try and sell their own art to fund their costs of living and do all their own caring, cooking etc without any outside help. I felt very inspired by their stories. They haven’t had any hot water for 3 months (last time I heard something like that I was watching Survivor) and yet they are willing to help others in similar situations before looking after themselves.
The three things we did on the first day were all quite a drive from Legian, so I would suggest asking your driver on the way back from the trip if you can get dropped off on Padma Road near the beach side. If you’re staying at Legian Hotel you can save 45 minutes of traffic time by doing this.
On our second travel day we visited (Sangeh) Monkey Forest, which is exactly what it sounds like. You get to be up close and personal with the monkeys, which can climb over you and can eat food out of your hand! It’s a stunning little spot and wonderful to see the Monkey’s in their natural habitat. I’ve never really gotten on well with animals, but this trip I’ve tried to be a bit adventurous. One thing to keep in mind is that the monkeys try to take things out of your open bags, so ensure that your bags are zipped shut at all times around the monkeys. As you can see, I got a great photo with a monkey, although I was scared, and it was hard not to go bananas when they climbed on me.
On the third of four travel days, we decided to have an afternoon trip to the Tanah Lot Temple. Although Tanah Lot was beautiful aesthetically, the fact that you can’t access the physical part near the temple was something that annoyed me, because I couldn’t go down and see the temple up close. There are multiple steps to get down to the temple. On the bright side, the view of the temple was spectacular and I got this awesome photo with a python. I did try to slither out of the photo but I did it in the end and just let my blood run cold.
Before the final day out, we decided to visit a pub with a theme, that theme being Harry Potter. As a massive fan of the franchise, this seemed like an awesome thing to do. It is not accessible with an electric wheelchair, so bring either your manual wheelchair or one of the wheelchairs supplied from Legian Beach Hotel. At the pub you can drink Butterbeer, watch a mediocre magic show and take photos. We disappeared out of the show, just like magic. The food was good but I think I laughed more at the show for being so corny.
On the last day out we got to go to a place called Turtle Convention Centre. I reckon that the sanctuary is one of Bali’s hidden gems, because even though I wasn’t looking forward to going at first, I quite enjoyed my time at the convention centre. It was fascinating to see all the different species of turtles, big and small and learn about their journey and how they were saved and now a protected species in the convention centre. The guides were volunteers and so knowledgeable and passionate about the turtles, I couldn’t access all in my electric chair, but enough to appreciate it all, and the work being accomplished to save these magnificent creatures.
Something that I didn’t mention that we did around the midway section of the holidays was a two day stay in Sanur. It’s a lot more peaceful compared to Legian. It felt like we were in a different country, it was so quiet and so much more accessible near the beach. We stayed at Gardenia Guesthouse, which was quite small but so serene. It had a bit of an Italian feel, a great little infinity pool (no hoist) and had a cute little café attached to the guesthouse too. There are seven rooms available, but only one of them is a specialized disabled room. At only $50.00 AUD a night, you are really getting a bargain. We had heard Sanur had better access on the roads, but the ramps were very steep. Because there are hardly any cars means that you can stick on the side of the road with your wheelchair and drive around freely.
Our first lunch in Sanur consisted of us eating on the beach in my electric wheelchair. No, you didn’t mishear, I drove onto the sand in my power chair. The reason that this was possible was because the sand was very compact, meaning that I could drive on it, which gives amazing views of the water. The cafe’s tropical feel was much more tranquil than Legian.
Our only dinner in Sanur was spent at a restaurant called Ari Putri. The restaurant had both good food and good entertainment with singers and guitarists. The restaurant is only accessible outdoors, and only has umbrellas for rain protection.
We had lunch at the Italian on the beachfront, The restaurant had a beautiful beach view but was quite expensive compared to the other restaurants in Bali. The food was amazing there though, and I would definitely consider eating there, despite the extra expense of your meals.
We found the people in the clothes shops at the end of Sanur Beach are a little bit pushier when it comes to business and selling products. Their products are more expensive compared to Legian but I presume this is because of the low levels of tourism compared to busy Legian.
Try avoiding using ATM’s.
Ensure there are lockable safes in your hotel rooms and ask your hotel for safe money transfer places, they usually provide a list.
Always brush your teeth with bottled water provided and use hand sanitizer frequently.
It’s best to do laundry in businesses outside the resort as you will save a lot of money. We did 23kg of washing by the end of our holiday (Douglas Laundry – alley way off Jalan Melasti) which is opposite the main entry of Legian Beach hotel and only cost $45.00 AUD where it can cost $40.00 AUD for only a couple of kilos in the resort.
Contact Bali Access Travel before you travel to Bali as you may find it difficult if you’re in an electric chair to get to your hotel from the airport otherwise, they hire out most disability equipment, including commodes, hoists, and ramps, and maybe try and book a few full or half day tours dates in with Bali Access Travel even if you don’t know where you want to go as yet, as you may be disappointed if someone else has already booked the bus out.
Congratulations for making it through the entire blog. I hope you enjoyed the blog and it helps you when traveling to Bali or with someone else in a wheelchair. Bali is not the easiest place to travel to in a wheelchair, but I think that the challenge is part of the fun. The people are very kind and are always willing to help conquer any challenges. The sights to see are more than just sights, but attractions with things to do inside. The food is quite unique from any other but is still one of the highlights when you travel to Bali.
JAXON’S BALI RESTAURANT & SIGHTSEEING TIPS
These are the places we visited that were electric wheelchair accessible :-.
Legian Beach Resort ( Has Teppanyaki Restaurant, Resort Restaurant can go to traditional Balinese night 2 nights a week in resort, can do Squirrel and Fish Feeding)
Uncle Norms – A great feed near Legian Beach Hotel is Uncle Norm’s Bistro. A relatively small bistro which has great food and a great atmosphere, Uncle Norm’s a great place which is close and has a takeaway option as well. It is on the opposite side of the Legian Beach hotel when exiting from the front side. Similar to the Y-Bar, the ramp to access the opposite side of the road is relatively steep. I always cross at the closest crossing section, which isn’t too far either side, the security from the Hotel usually stop traffic for us to make it a little easier.
Makan Restaurant – If you’re looking for a fancier restaurant check out Makan. It’s a short walk/wheel from the beachside, the restaurant feels more formal, with fairly lights and a unique ambience but without the price tag. A short but steep ramp comes from the road to the path that leads to the restaurant (the same type that you see throughout Bali), and a longer, ramp that isn’t too steep to get into the restaurant, we ate here a couple of times and all enjoyed our meals thoroughly.
Legian Bar – has good food and entertainment. The food and drinks are not the most important thing here; the karaoke is the main focus. Anyone can sing here. Find the song that you want to sing, ask a staff member for a microphone when your song goes on, and go ahead. There’s a small bump to get into the restaurant, but it is quite easily completed. I enjoyed singing a tune or two with my family and the staff were lots of fun.
The Warung – We found a great little spot on the beach (near Bali Mandira Hotel) called “The Warung” it is a small Indonesian kitchen which is run by the local people which serves both Indonesian and Western food. It was unbelievably cheap with Nasi Goreng only $2.50 AUD and a sensational Burger with chips for only $5.00 AUD. If you want a good view while you eat, go up the sloped part of the road and go left and there you will see a small drinks shop and some seating for a place called “On The Juice”: You can order drinks here and you can get your food from the Warung delivered to you. The Warung’s food is so great and cheap, we ate here often and the fact that you can get a beach view meal is awesome.
Gardenview Restaurant Sanur – held its own as a place to eat, and that was where we ate breakfast. The café is in front of the guest houses, and is quite peaceful. There you can find good food and a better area to get their free Wi-Fi.
Yanthis ( Jennys Place) – Fixed price shopping (no bartering) on Garlic Lane, Legian.
Tirta Empul Temple
Pangkon Bali Restaurant
Cahaya Mutiara Foundation
Sangeh Monkey Forest
Tanah Lot Temple
Turtle Convention Centre
Thanks Jaxon, I’m sure your detailed Bali access review will be helpful to many people wanting to travel to Bali. A big thanks to Jaxon’s Mum who sends me photos and helps Jaxon and I work together.