We all have our traditions when it comes to New Year’s Eve. This year however we were forced to break ours, as our friends wouldn’t come over to Bali to celebrate it with us. No worries, next year everything will be back to normal. (Except for a few babies and new houses. We’re getting old.)
This was our first New Year’s Eve to be spent without family or friends, but just the two of us. Back home you have to book restaurants and buy tickets for parties weeks in advance. Not sure what the case was in Ubud, Bali, so we played it safe and decided to join the New Year’s Eve Dinner at our hotel. (Read about our stay at Anumana Ubud Hotel here.) There would be some Balinese dancing, which we wanted to check out anyway, so two birds with one stone.
We paid 1,113,200 IDR for two four-course meals (about $80) including free flow of water during dinner and Balinese dances before every course. We were expected in the restaurant at 18h30 for a cocktail party in the corner of the restaurant, complete with free cocktails and simple but delicious appetizers. After about 3 cocktails each we were starting to get a little tipsy, so it was time to take our assigned seats.
The host (just a staff member of the hotel) was nervous to say the least, but did his best to keep everyone entertained and informed. When everyone was seated, he announced the first dance, a welcome dance. Afterwards our first course was served: Brecht had a prawn salad, I choose the chicken salad. Both were OK, but nothing special. Luckily, the fish soup that followed was very good and the main course, a delicious steak, was even better. We weren’t sure what to expect from the dessert, “banana fritters”, but it turned out to be good as well.
All in all the dinner was a success. The food was very good and the Balinese dancing was something special. The dancers were beautifully dressed in rich colours and we had never seen someone dance with such emphasis on their eyes and fingers. The host urged us to get some pictures with the dancers, before sending us up for the “after party”. He had a hard time lighting the spark with the other guests, but we were excited for the lucky draw at 23h, where great prizes could be won.
As lots of people had decided to skip the lucky draw, everyone that did attend won a prize. Although our card was the last to be drawn, we walked away with a free tour: getting chauffeured to some sightseeings of our choosing. Not bad at all considering the hotel normally charges at least 600,000 IDR for that!
Although there was free peachy sparkling wine (not really good), party hats and party horns, the DJ couldn’t get anyone (but us) to dance. At midnight we watched the fireworks that were literally all around us. The staff had a great time themselves, blowing the party horns and wishing everyone a happy new year.
It was nice, but we were wearing our dancing shoes, so decided to head over to the one party we had found some information about online. It was a 100,000 IDR entrance fee per person, but we would get a free drink. Arriving in front of the party venue, we asked some people coming out if it was worth it. Turned out to be quite empty and there was more of a party at the bar right next to it: Chill Out Bar. It had no entrance fee and good music, so we were sold! A nice surprise: a beer was only 30,000 IDR. A bargain compared to NYE beer prices back home.
We had a great time and definitely got our money out of the seemingly expensive New Year’s Eve dinner at the hotel. We had a fair share of cocktails and appetizers (as we were the first guests on the cocktail party), they forgot to charge us a large Bintang beer, and we won a tour that ended us saving money for transport to Amed! Perfect start of 2016!
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