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Garuda SYD-DPS in J

pgsdiver

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Hi All,
Thought, since there are precious few Garuda stories on here, that I'd post my experiences with a recent trip to Bali, flying Garuda in J.
Our route was SYD-DPS-CGK-SYD.

Flights were as follows:
RouteDep TimeArr TimeDurationAircraftClassSeat
SYD-DPS10:0514:5506:50A330-300J7K
DPS-CGK18:4019:4502:05B777-200J14E
CGK-SYD23:1009:3007:20A330-200J7A

We stayed at the Intercontinental Resort in Djimbaran - which was very nice. I was there on a conference and my wife came along as it was her birthday that week - more on that later.
I'll try to break this up and post the whole thing over the next few days. I only have photos from the first flight due to a phone glitch, but I'll try ot paint a picture with my words ;-).
Hope you enjoy,
Peter
 

pgsdiver

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Sydney to Denpasar - Airport pre-Departure
We arrived at the airport early, after having dropped our kids at their long-suffering grandfather's the night before. After enduring the worst uber ride ever, we marched into the terminal and proceeded to check in.
I'd convinced my wife that we needed only carry-on and this proved to be a wise choice as we'll see later in my little story.
After check-in, and breezing through security with minimum fuss and only a minor cavity search (of my bag, not me), we wandered through to the lounge.
The Sky Team lounge isn't bad, although not up to the standard of the other premium lounges I've experienced in Sydney and Singapore (in particular). The decor is modern and the food was plentiful.
Special kudos goes to the pastries on offer, which were fresh out of the oven and were crispy and delicious - and on this trip I was officially "allowed" to indulge - so I did.
Coffee was woeful, as it is in most lounges - but the caffeine did the trick and woke me up for the journey.
We wandered to the gate after a filling breakfast and had an easy boarding process on to our A330.
 

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Black Duck

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Aug 20, 2011
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Great to see a report on Garuda. I have flown them in J a couple of times from Perth but failed miserably in doing a report. Last trip a year ago and I thought they had gone down a bit from the previous flight so it will be good to hear all about your trip.
 

ALH

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Apr 22, 2012
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Jumping on board with this one. We are staying at Intercontinental with Exec Lounge Access in Jimbaran next month and also flying Garuda in J. I was told yesterday by another AFFer that Intercontinental Platinum Ambassador offer DPS transfers for free, so I need to chase this up.
 

pgsdiver

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Sydney to Denpasar - Flight
We boarded our aircraft and headed to our assigned seats in row 7.
The seats are slightly old-school business class (call it one generation behind SQ's recently refurbed seats) but I found them comfortable and spacious. The one downside is that there is no under seat storage for takeoff, taxi or landing, which meant a little shuffling of papers and work stuff prior to getting settled.
You are presented with an amenity kit, slippersheadphones and bottled water at your seat, receive a welcome drink of champagne, orange juice or water (and a few other options, IIRC).
Our orders for the meal were taken soon after and then we settled back with the provided headphones (average
Inflight entertainment is pretty good, depending on your tastes, and the screen is large enough to feel like you are in a premium seat.
We suffered a very slight delay after push-back, but it was only a few minutes and we were soon in the air.
Cabin service was efficient, friendly and courteous, and not too long after takeoff we received our meals. More on those in a subsequent post.
During the flight the IFE went on the fritz for about 15 minutes, but finally came back on. Although it forced us to all reset what we were watching, their system isn't too bad to navigate around and I had soon caught up on where I was up to in Bohemian Rhapsody (recommended if you haven't seen it).
The flight had a few periods of turbulence but they weren't prolonged.
Bathrooms are reasonable - certainly not up to the standard you'll find in SQ or on the middle eastern airlines. One thing I found odd is that they don't provide hand towels (either fabric or paper), but simply massive stashes of tissues. Not a problem, just unusual.
Landing into Denpasar was very smooth and all told I was pretty happy with our decision to try them.
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pgsdiver

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Jumping on board with this one. We are staying at Intercontinental with Exec Lounge Access in Jimbaran next month and also flying Garuda in J. I was told yesterday by another AFFer that Intercontinental Platinum Ambassador offer DPS transfers for free, so I need to chase this up.
We got the Mercedes transfer from the airport to Intercontinental, arranged by the hotel. Nicer than a minibus and free wifi and water.
Intercontinental is a great place. I'd go back again - this was my second visit.
 

pgsdiver

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Sydney to Denpasar - Meals - Entree
After takeoff we were presented with our meals (about an hour and a half into the flight).
For starters I got a selection of bread. Some multigrain bun and a "pizza roll" - anyway that's what the FA called it.
This was followed by my entree selection of scallops. Very nice, although very light in flavour - could be the cabin.
My wife had the chicken and enjoyed it, but said she wouldn't order it again - go figure......
 

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pgsdiver

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Sydney to Denpasar - Meals - Main
Our main courses arrived in good time and I had the beef tenderloin. My wife had the barramundi. She wasn't impressed - I was.
I had no complaints and would have eaten another one - even after the breakfast pastries!!
I don't drink on planes (yes I know I'm not extracting full value from the experience) so couldn't tell you about the wines, but in a later post I'll include the drinks menu for your reading pleasure.
The crockery is simply but elegant, and the cutlery was easy to use. (QF First lounge, take note!)
One other interesting tidbit - every time the table was set it was knife on the left and fork on the right. Is this some Indonesian convention that I was previously unaware of? I've only ever seen this before in the US (and even then in a southern state). Again - not complaining - just interesting to note.
For me it was a satisfying dish. My wife has many redeeming qualities, but being easy to please in the food department is not one of them. She only ate half her barra. I blame the pastries.
 

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pgsdiver

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Sydney to Denpasar - Meals - Dessert and Drinks
Dessert was the French apple tart. Not bad, and unfortunately I was such a greedy bugger that I forgot to take a picture. Therefore, picture if you will, a tart....with apple on it - yes, I am quite the wordsmith, aren't I?
Again, it was nice enough without being the sort of thing to send you into raptures.
I was once told by someone on these forums that the drinks menu is as important as the food. So, I'm attaching the drinks menu as well to complete the story.
 

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pgsdiver

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Sydney to Denpasar - Arrival and Hotel
We deplaned very early and made our way to immigration.
I'd been told by a colleague that I needed to get a Visa on arrival, so went to that desk. I was told I didn't need to get one, which was nice, and I then asked him where I should go next. We were vaguely waved in the direction of the immigration desks.
Now, for those of you who've been to Bali, immigration can be a "bit" of a wait, and I groaned when I saw the queue. However, I then spied a desk over on the left for "Visa on Arrival" people, with precisely nobody in the queue. I looked back the guy who'd served me and nodded in the direction of that desk, and he shrugged and nodded. Bingo! Through immigration in about 3 minutes.
With no bags to collect we made our way out through customs and looked for the Intercontinental rep, who we quickly found.
We had arranged a transfer in a Mercedes (did I mention it was my wife's birthday?), which was especially pleasant because it came with air con, free bottled water and wifi.
The traffic as usual was terrible, particularly along Uluwatu Street near the resort, where they are digging up the street to put the elcrtical cables under the road. you'll see why from the pictures.
The Intercontinental was a welcome oasis from the chaos of the street and we were soon checked in.
One thing to note about this resort is that depending on where your room is, you may be quite a walk from reception. Our room was in one of the far wings, but this didn't bother us at all.
Our room was comfortable and spacious enough for us, with a balcony overlooking one of the canals in the resort.
We were fully changed and ready for an afternoon/sunset stroll.
Intercontinental is perfectly positioned for sunsets, and we found ourselves, after a swim and a cocktail by the pool, enjoying the sunset after a fun day of travel.
We ate at the "Made Bagus" cafe along the beach from the hotel, where we had really beautiful fish dinner with a colleague. For future reference, the menu states a price per kg. When you order "one snapper" you'll get a kilo - at least I did. Massive. it may be a little hard to see from the photo, but the fish is cooked over open flames from coconut husks, imbuing it with a unique and delicious smoky flavour.
The next morning we enjoyed a lovely breakfast (included for us) on the beach, where we got to see how they sweep the beach each day.
If you are looking for an upmarket stay in Bali away from the "Kuta element", as my colleague calls it, but still on the beach, then the Intercon is worth it.
IHG members get a few perks, although being with a conference I was not able to take advantage, although we did get a fruit basket in the room.
The best part of our stay, though, was the birthday dinner I arranged for my wife. Read on.............
 

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pgsdiver

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Denpasar - The Birthday Dinner
As a special treat for my bride, I arranged a dinner the night before we departed (departure day was her birthday).
The Intercon offers a "Romantic Dining Under the Stars" dinner.
Now anyone who knows me would realise that I don't have a romantic bone in my body, but the thought of a) winning huge quantities of brownie points and b) avoiding a boring bunch of drunk conference attendees, really won me over.
One other benefit of the IHG membership, I assume, was that we were invited to cocktails on the beach with the management and other guests prior to our dinner. I only had one - luckily - it was a belter!
We were walked from the restaurant near the pool to our private dining cabana, which, as advertised, had been set up on the edge of the beach.
Once there we were escorted by our private butler to two chairs that had been set up on the beach proper, with a fire burning and lanterns lighting the entire area.
We were offered a glass of champagne and were serenaded by our own guitarist/singer with romantic (there's that word again) ballads from the 80s, 90s and beyond.
After champagne we were escorted to our table where we had our chosen menu.
The prawn entree was served on an ice sculpture, which was a surprise, and they were delicious. I don't even really like prawns, but these suckers were amazing. If I hadn't been trying to be romantic I would have stolen one of hers.
Main course was a selection of grilled fare, prepared about 20 feet behind our table by our private chef.
All the while our butler was ensuring we had plenty of photographs, and champagne.
And between every course, our guitarist struck up again to provide excellent music to cap off the ambiance.
Dessert was a chocolate thing, but by that stage I didn't care. It was delicious, too.
ABout thiws time the fireworks started - it's not what you think, my wife and I are well beyond that sort of nonsense. There was a wedding across the bay and the fireworks were perfectly timed. Of course, I told her I'd arranged it, and thankfully the champagne allowed her to believe me.
just as we were about to take our leave, we were surprised (well, my wife was - I had done a little bit of pre-organising) by a birthday cake for her.
She blew out the candles as the whole crew sang happy birthday to her, and then we were further surprised by the butler insisting we light a large lantern to release over the sea. We stood an watched as it drifted out over the water, with her eyes misting over, thinking what a wonderful night it had been, and my eyes straining to see how close it would get to the approach path for DPS. Fun all round!
Seriously, for about the cost of a fine dining experience in Sydney (roughly $600) this was a truly magical way to spend an evening. Highly recommended.
We flew home the following day after a swim and a walk along the "shopping" strip to buy some souvenirs.
 

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pgsdiver

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Denpasar to Jakarta then Sydney
The trip back to the airport was in the Intercontinental's Merc, which was on time and comfortable.
Denapasar domestic is, um, chaotic, but we found the premium check-in easily enough and made our way through security, without incident.
The lounge is pretty basic, but the food was OK if you like Asian food - which I do.
Boarding was chaotic. We got to the gate early (I am a stickler for this, I hate rushing) and were faced with a 30 minute delay with no reason at all. A polite enquiry by my wife was met with a steely stare and a "You will be called when boarding commences". Not what i would have expected from our experiences with Garuda Internationally.
Finally we got on board. As we boarded the sign above the gate still read "Go to waiting room", which was a bit confusing, but everyone else seemed to know what was going on and we left only about 30 minutes late. the Captain apologised, citing "operational reasons", which is of course completely meaningless.
As I mentioned earlier, due to a phone problem I have only a few snapshots from our 777 but the seats and service were all fine. We had a snack and settled back for the short flight to Jakarta. The food was not appetising to look at, but tasted ok to me. the 777 was obviously getting on a bit, but the seat was fine.
The lounge in Jakarta was packed, and with that much humanity is cramped conditions it's lucky they had these handy "Lounge Etiquette" cards, with a few of the rules even being followed.
The food was pretty lack-lustre, and was probably the most disappointing part of the whole experience for me. I just snacked on a couple of small things like popcorn and prawn crackers. I would have had more, but the stuff just wasn't being replenished fast enough to deal with the flock of seagulls around the food stations.
Boarding for the A330 home was chaotic (yes I keep using the word chaotic - to my very orderly brain it was thus, and oddly I found it fun). There were three gates all accessed from one queue, and three flights leaving in quick succession. What made it more fun was that the boarding calls were not able to be heard in the terminal. Thus the staff wandered through the throng of people with handheld loudspeakers trying to ensure the right people came to the front.
Thankfully our flight was last, so for us it was smooth sailing.
The A330 on the way home was very restful for me, and I don't remember much past getting on board and snapping a few shots.
Once at Sydney we hopped an Uber back to our (sometimes) lovely kids and rejoined the REAL chaos that is everyday life
As a final statement I'll share a couple of shots of quirky stuff in the next post.
 

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pgsdiver

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Quirky Stuff and final ratings
Apologies in advance if I offend anyone with this stuff, but for me travel is about experiencing the new, the different, the unusual, and sometimes, the outright scary.
Nothing scary on this trip (although I know some of you think flying Garuda is).
1. Finally got my hands on some "cat poo coffee" biscuits. Yum
2. Odd "shield" around the urinal in the Garuda lounge - thankfully I am a tall guy.
3. Who are you calling a cream puff?
4&5. Petrol by the litre, or by the bottle. I missed the shot of the parent refueling a motorbike with a kid still sitting on the petrol tank.
6. I love a business that diversifies.
OK that is my little report on Garuda and an all-too-short visit to Bali, which at 51 I've only just discovered in the last 5 years.
Beautiful place with beautiful people, and really affordable.
I highly recommend it.

Uber to airport: 1/5
Garuda International: 6/10 (stiff competition as I usually fly SQ)
Bali Intercontinental: 9/10
Garuda Domestic: 6/10 (Brought down by the surly gate attendant and unexplained late departure)
Uber from airport: 5/5
Reaction from kids when we got home: 1/5 (number 2 son to the others: "Hey guys! Bad news - they're back early")
 

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kpc

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Mar 11, 2003
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Enjoyed the TR...can i be rude to ask how much does GA J Syd-Dps return cost?
 

pgsdiver

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Thanks very much - your romantic meal looked like an excellent experience.
Highly recommend it. Don't recommend letting your wife enjoy half the champagne, though - she passed out within 30 seconds of returning to the room, ending the night's planned festivities. I checked emails and surfed payTV .............
Rgds,
peter
 

Andz

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Nov 16, 2016
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Nice write up, made me smile.

The IC Bali is awesome. We've been twice and have another family trip coming up in Oct. We stay in the club room/suite for 10 days and get great service. The people are friendly and the club benefits make the stay worthwhile. Can't recommend them enough.
 

LadyC

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Feb 21, 2012
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Thanks for the TR and the details on Garuda. We have flown with them from PER to DPS but not from the Eastern seaboard. QF ex SYD is pretty good in the A330 from my experience.
 

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