This trip took place in mid-April 2010. I only got about doing this report now (lazy bum yeah), in November 2011, 1.5 years on, so some details might be missing. Photos are not the best either, so pardon the quality.
I had just started serving the army, and soon, my BMT was ending after 9 weeks of hell. One of my soccer friends from secondary school happened to know one platoon mate of mine, and we decided on going on a ‘POP’ trip to somewhere near, maybe Phuket or Bali. We came to a decision to visit Bali after chancing upon a 4D3N (the timing of those flights made the trip shorter) free and easy tour to Bali (including some visits/discounts) for around SGD 300+ (excluding tax). I’m not too sure whether that’s cheap or expensive though at that time.
Initially, my parents were skeptical of me going to Indonesia without them, and taking Garuda since they knew of the safety record of this particular airline, even though the ‘re-branding’ of the airline was going on at that time. I managed to convince them otherwise, thankfully. I will be taking a new airline (for me of course), visiting a new country and city!
Running a search through this forum, I believe that this should be the first TR covering SIN-DPS (vv) on a GA classic.
Garuda Indonesia, is the flag carrier of Indonesia. It is named after the mystical giant bird Garuda of Hinduism and Buddhist mythology. It is headquartered at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang, near Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia. Garuda Indonesia is listed as a 4-star airline by Skytrax, and is also listed among Skytrax's Quality Approved Airlines. In May 2010, the airline was named as the World's Most Improved Airline by Skytrax during 2010 World Airline Awards in Hamburg.
Since my house is only a short distance away from the airport, I took SBS bus service 53 there. By the time I reached the Terminal 1 Departures, my two friends were already waiting at the check-in counter. There was no queue at the Garuda counters at that time for some reason, even though we weren’t particularly late or early. We then proceeded to check in.
Being the aviation freak, I asked the check-in staff some questions.
Me: “Hi, is it possible to get a window seat please?”
Staff: “Window seat? Sure, please hold on for awhile.”
“I’ve allocated you seat 16D, even though there’s no need to do so, as the flight is quite empty. You can actually seat almost anywhere you want.” she replied with a smile, and I reciprocated and thanked her for her efforts.
My friends and I collected the boarding passes and their carry-on luggage (I was the only one who checked in my luggage) and we proceeded to the 2nd storey for lunch at Popeye’s, where we each ordered a 2 piece chicken meal.
After a hearty meal, it was time for us to leave. We proceeded airside. I wanted to visit the FIFA store in Terminal 3. We walked all the way there, but I was disappointed as the products weren’t cheap and they did not stock up on DVDs and books that I was interested in. I went to spot some SQ birds while my friends made use of the free Internet that Changi provided. After awhile, with nearly ½ an hour to go before departure, we took the Skytrain back to Terminal 1 and our gate (D34) which was at the central apron.
Last Call for GA841
As my personal belongings were being scanned, the airport staff (uncles) struck a conversation with me. (I think it was because we were the only ‘botak’ people around and I had a camera with me). We talked about NS and army life in general and they recounted their experiences. Of course, they also commented that we were lucky to be born in this era as their NS life weren’t as good as us. (Hmm, we were trying to forget about NS, but somehow or rather, things happened such that we were reminded of NS constantly )
My flight for the day, PK-GWU. An SQ A345 behind at the remote bay
My friends went to seat down at the departure area, while I took my camera with me to the tinted windows. There it was, our B737-400 at the gate waiting for us. PK-GWU is the aircraft doing the SIN-DPS run today. Beside our aircraft was a company B737-800 (PK-GMF) awaiting departure to Jakarta. At that moment, I was cursing my luck about the absence of an equipment swap for our plane, as the Garuda 737NGs had AVOD PTVs installed behind every seat. (However, one year on, I was thankful that there was no equipment swap- you will find out the reason why ☺)
Neighboring PK-GMF to CGK. Notice the construction works going on behind at the (former) viewing gallery.
Date: 12th April 2010
Sector: Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) – Ngurah Rai International Airport, Bali (DPS)
Garuda Indonesia Flight: GA 841
Gate: D34 (T1)
Aircraft: PK-GWU, B737-4Q8
Delivered to GA: 28-10-2000
SDT (ADT): 1440 (1442)
SAT (AAT): 1715 (1715)
Flight Time: 2 hrs 33 mins
1st flight on PK-GWU
1st 737-400 flight
2nd 737 flight
Photo © Aldo Bidini
It was time to board. No one was in a particular rush to board, and everyone queued up in an orderly manner. I was the last among our group to board, and it proved to be a mistake. My friend dived straight to the window seat even though I pleaded with him not to. I made him promise to give up his window seat on the return flight though. I was stuck with an aisle seat for this flight, and I didn’t bother moving to the other window seats.
Due to the light load (30%), everyone settled down very fast, and soon we were towed away from the gate for our safety demonstration. We then made our way to Runway 02C for take-off where we were airborne after a short take-off roll.
It was an aging aircraft and it was quite obvious. The seats were quite comfortable though, but legroom was average, and as expected, there was no personal TV on board (why would anyone need it on such a short flight on board a classic 737 though).
The seat pitch. No doubt we are on a 734
Around 1 hour after take off, the stewardess came to the cabin for the meal service. We had only 1 choice, and to my surprise (or shock), it was hokkien prawn mee.
Hokkien mee on board
It instantly reminded me (yet again….) of my BMT as it looked exactly like the BMT version. Even though it tasted decent, I must admit that the army version tastes slightly better . We were also given some cold bread and OJ. Other than this meal service, the flight was uneventful besides another drink service. My time was spent talking and reading the in-flight magazine. Wanted to buy some 1:400 models, but they did not have them on board unfortunately much to my disappointment.
Drinks service on board
As we approached Ngurah Rai International, we could see dark clouds outside the window. Nonetheless, when we landed on Rwy27 right on time, there was no rain, even though the tarmac and the runway were wet. We taxied towards the international terminal, where we taxied towards a remote gate! I am going to walk on the tarmac!
As we made our way down the stairs, I saw Merpati’s B733 PK-MDQ parked beside us and some of Garuda’s B733/734s there.
Merpati B733 PK-MDQ
One last look at PK-GWU
Saw this Lion Air B734 PK-LIS on the bus
I took some time to photograph while my friends waited in the bus. As I was about to join them, the bus driver rejected me as the bus was full. I waited for the next bus and joined my friends in clearing immigration. It was a fast process as we had Singaporean passports. After we (me) collected our baggage (which took no more than a minute), we proceeded outside to find our driver waiting for us and some other people who were on the same flight and had booked the same F&E trip. As the hotel/resort that we were staying at was the closest to the airport (the Risata Bali Resort, Kuta region), we were dropped off first. We also opted for the free (it was inclusive actually) full day Ubud Kintamani Hot Spring Tour.
Except for the trip to the mountains/hot spring where we took a minivan, we walked for the rest of the trip. During these few days, we walked along Kuta Beach, went to the Discovery Mall, Kuta Mall, visited the Ubud (We were originally supposed to visit the rice terraces but it was raining so we could only drive past) and Kintamani regions to enjoy the “hot spring” (which in fact was just a Jacuzzi), some coffee farm and “art houses (not too sure what are they called lol) and last but not least, the WaterBom park. Had some discount coupons and vouchers that allowed us to eat for free (like at Hard Rock Café where my mother forbade me to go to due to the infamous Bali Bombing that happened not too long ago).
The Risata Bali Resort is quite a decent resort. It is located within walking distance of the major (Kuta) area in Bali. Walking allows us to get a lil' feel of the streets of Bali. I love their Western Breakfast Buffet. (But then again, I've always adored such breakfast). The resort is split into different blocks with only 2 floors each. Our room was quite clean, even though we happened to catch a cockroach running around on the FIRST day.
Will let some pictures do the talking…
On the way to Kintamani
Near the 'hot spring'- which frankly looks more like an outdoor swimming pool that is close to nature
Lake view, and where we had our disappointing lunch
Coffee beans at a famous coffee plantation
Rice terraces are quite common
WaterBom Park- My first attempt at a water theme park
WaterBom Park and Discovery Mall on the right- I had higher expectations of the mall
The crowded Kuta Beach. Tuban Beach on the other side nearer to the runway isn't as crowded due to the location
Our hotel lobby
Pathway to our block
To Be Continued...
[Edited 2011-11-03 13:11:41]
[Edited 2011-11-03 13:14:41]