Indonesia – Bali – 18th ~ 20th March 2015

I am honoured to be invited to Bali by my friends, Phili and 5cups. It has been quite a while since we last met and they invited me over because they are leaving Bali soon after 5 years.

It was a last minute trip so the airfare is pretty high in my opinion. I flew Jetstar to Bali and Air Asia Indonesia out.

However 7 hours before my flight, Jetstar rescheduled my flight twice within 3 hours and finally cancelled it. So I am stuck and I called Jetstar to rebook me into the remaining flight to Bali. I am glad that I called early and the flight to Bali is almost full.

18th March 

I took a taxi to the airport.

Upon reaching the check-in counter, it is a scene of chaos. Passengers are lost about where to check-in. There are at least 6 flights from Jetstar that is almost departing at the same time. The Jetstar staff are rude too to passengers. I always view Jetstar as one of the best budget airline here but today’s incident proof otherwise.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 001

I am fortunate that I do not have any bags to check-in. So I do a self-check-in and quickly get my boarding pass.

The flight leaves on time and it reaches Bali without any incident.

My last visit to Bali is 2007. I remembered the airport then is an old building that is like situated just by the roadside. The old airport is also messy and it looks like a building during the Vietnam War era.

When I first step into the airport, I was like “Wow!”.

The floor is carpeted, the ceilings are high and everything is new.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 005 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 006 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 009

I remembered the Indonesian Government has built a new airport in Bali for some diplomatic event but I never expect it to be this nice.

It is about a 7 mins slow walk to the immigration counter. The immigration area is really wide and spacious.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 010 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 011

Immigration clearance is fast and I am out of the terminal in 20 mins.

Now this is the strange part.

The airport will require you to walk pass the duty free shop before you can exit the terminal.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 013

There is also no clear signage to direct visitors on where is the exit. I am actually lost and have to ask for directions.

Before you enter the duty free shop, there is a SIM card booth by Telekom Indonesia on your right. The cost of getting a SIM card is IDR200,000 for voice only. IDR250,000 for 3GB of data and IDR350,000 for 8GB of data.

To me this is very expensive. I was told later that getting outside the airport will be much cheaper even in touristy places like Kuta. Places in Ubud will be even cheaper.

Once you exit the duty free shop, there will be many drivers (or “touts”) that will offer you their service. They are not aggressive but friendly. If you do not need their service, just a simple “no” will do.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 015

Phili and 5cups came and we quickly left the airport and we head to Beachwalk in Kuta.

We have lunch Nanny’s Pavilion. We ordered some chickens, pastas and some bake rice. It is delicious and the price is reasonable.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 017 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 019 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 020 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 021 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 022 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 023 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 024 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 025After lunch, I took a stroll along Kuta beach.

In 2007, I remembered the beach is pretty nice place to take a stroll. The beach is wide and clean.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 031 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 032 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 035 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 037 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 042 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 045However when I visited the beach this time, I was shock at the state.

It is dirty and unsightly. I can’t imagine the beach has decayed to this state. It is sad. I wonder why the local government is not doing anything to improve it.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 033 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 039 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 043

I went back to Beachwalk for some window shopping.

Beachwalk is a non-air-conditioned mall however the place is still very cooling. It is a typical mall which you have all the major labels there.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 027 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 049

After some time, we left and proceed to our next destination; Uluwatu.

One thing I noticed about Bali is sights is that they are usually far from each other.  It usually will take at least an hour drive from one place to another.

The entrance to Uluwatu is IDR20,000 for each adult. In all temples in Bali, you will need to be appropriately dress. So the counter will provide you with a sarong to wrap yourself up if you are exposing too much.

Uluwatu usually has many monkeys but today, there are very few. This may be due to the hot and humid weather. The temple is located by the cliff and you can have a good view of the ocean.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 108 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 112 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 115

If you are game enough, you can walk all the way up to the cliff. However do be careful. If you fall down the cliff, I guess your survival rate is as close as zero.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 059 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 062 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 071 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 075 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 077 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 083 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 096

After enjoying a cool coconut juice, we go to our next destination, Dreamland Beach.

On our way there, we witness a procession. I have forgotten the name. As it is approaching Nyepi which means Day of Silence, Balinese from all walks of life come to celebrate it.

According to Wiki,

Nyepi is a Balinese “Day of Silence” that is commemorated every Isakawarsa (Saka new year) according to the Balinese calendar (in 2015, it falls on March 21). It is a Hindu celebration mainly celebrated in Bali, Indonesia. Nyepi, a public holiday in Indonesia, is a day of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese. The day following Nyepi is also celebrated as New Year’s Day.[1][2] On this day, the youth of Bali practice the ceremony of Omed-omedan or ‘The Kissing Ritual’ to celebrate the new year. The same day celebrated in India as ugadi.

Observed from 6 a.m. until 6 a.m. the next morning, Nyepi is a day reserved for self-reflection, and as such, anything that might interfere with that purpose is restricted. The main restrictions are no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low); no working; no entertainment or pleasure; no traveling; and, for some, no talking or eating at all. The effect of these prohibitions is that Bali’s usually bustling streets and roads are empty, there is little or no noise from TVs and radios, and few signs of activity are seen even inside homes. The only people to be seen outdoors are the Pecalang, traditional security men who patrol the streets to ensure the prohibitions are being followed.

Although Nyepi is primarily a Hindu holiday, non-Hindu residents of Bali observe the day of silence as well, out of respect for their fellow citizens[citation needed]. Even tourists are not exempt; although free to do as they wish inside their hotels, no one is allowed onto the beaches or streets, and the only airport in Bali remains closed for the entire day. The only exceptions granted are for emergency vehicles carrying those with life-threatening conditions and women about to give birth.

On the day after Nyepi, known as Ngembak Geni, social activity picks up again quickly, as families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another, and to perform certain religious rituals together.

Balinese carry their offerings and also the things needed for the ritual or celebration and march their way to the temple. I am quite impressed that they can walk such journey in such hot and humid day.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 118 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 122

After the procession passed us, we proceed to Dreamland Beach.

To access to Dreamland beach, we have to park our car in a parking lot and take a complimentary shuttle to the entrance of the beach.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 140

After walking pass the row of shops, we finally reach the beach.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 124

The beach is not impressive but it is much better than Kuta. At the least there isn’t too much trash. The beach is not wide but deep enough. Beach umbrella and sun deck is readily available.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 130 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 137

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 131 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 133 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 135

After staying for 10 mins, we left the beach using the same complimentary shuttle. The ride is about 3 mins only.

We decided to go to another beach; Pandawa beach.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 141

It is like another 30 min drive before we reach.

Pandawa beach also do not impress me but it is long and wide which is good. However there are just too many beach umbrellas and sun decks. It make the whole beach look very cramp and crowded.

The sun decks are put shoulder to shoulder and there is no way that the people walking behind the sun deck to have access to the beach easily.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 143 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 144 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 145 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 153

After taking a few snaps, we left.

Phili and 5cups put me up in a place called Villa Vinayaga in Ubud. It is a different from the website. It is not as classy as shown in the website and I suspect they are both different villas!

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 206

The villa looks alright. The kitchen is in the open. I mean there is no lock for it but all the rooms can be lock.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 160 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 161 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 397 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 398 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 401

There is a guard during night time and there is a rice field just in front of the villa.

There are 3 other villas around it and only one has a pool.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 176

The room is spacious but there are ants and insects in the room. I wonder is this normal for a villa. The shower place is in the open where you literally shower (or do your business) under the stars.

The sunset looks pretty nice too!

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 158

Phili and 5cups brought me to Warung Bintang for dinner. I was recommended to try the pork ribs. I also ordered satay.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 162 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 166 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 167 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 168 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 169

The pork ribs is indeed good but as for the satay, the peanut sauce is a little bland. I am expecting the sauce to be spicy but overall, it is still nice. I would say the satay meat is well grilled.

There is also a live band singing.

The staff are friendly and they try to communicate with you using their limited English.

After dinner, we head our way to a supermarket. I just bought some local stuff and went back to get some sleep.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 171

19th March

A beautiful morning.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 172

I thought it would rain as it is the raining season.

I saw farmers tending to their rice fields and I decided to walk up the road to see what is around.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 179

There are many rice fields but I heard due to development of more properties, the number of rice fields available is dwindling. This is sad.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 185 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 191 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 199

There are also some villas along the way. I noticed about something Bali transportation. In Bali, you either hire a driver and a car, a taxi is available in your area or you rent a motorcycle to go around.

The walk up the road is very refreshing; rice fields, farmers and the cool weather.

After 15 mins of walk, I return to the villa.

5cups have work to do and Phili has her fitness regime.

So Phili rode her scooter and drop me off at Monkey forest.

There are several entrances to Monkey forest actually. I paid IDR30,000 for the entrance fee.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 286

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 210

As the name implies, it is a forest with lots of monkeys.

The monkeys roam freely in the forest and you can buy bananas to feed them.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 213 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 215 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 218 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 226

Some visitors tempt the monkeys and allow them to crawl up to their body (like up to the shoulder) to take the food.

I personally find this dangerous as the monkeys are not vaccinated. So if you got scratch by the monkeys, you have a very real chance of getting disease like rabies.

Some monkeys can get aggressive so do not be too close to them or provoke them.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 236 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 253 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 257 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 269 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 281

You can often see monkeys fighting and chasing each other which is pretty amusing.

There is a temple in the compound but it is off limits to visitors.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 244 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 245 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 247 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 249

I find the Monkey forest is worth visiting and I can easily spend a few hours there. It is a good place to escape the heat too.

Soon it is time to leave and meet up with Phili.

Phili brought me to a place called Bisma.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 294

We have lunch at a place called Umah Pizza.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 293

We ordered two Nasi Georeng, 2 fruit juice, a bottle of water and banana caramel.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 289

I would say the food is delicious and priced reasonably. The spiciness of the Nasi Georeng is just nice. It is simply yummy.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 290 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 291 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 292

After lunch, we took a stroll along the road. The street is filled with restaurants and hotels. I felt this street is a little hippie; very cozy and intimate.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 297 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 298

5cups comes to join us and we visited Goa Garjah.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 300

Go Garjah is an elephant temple and it received very few visitors.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 303 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 305 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 307 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 310 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 313

At the top of the hill, a priest offer to bless us and after the blessing, he lift up the mat that is laid on the altar and showed some cash. He wants us to give him money for the blessing but we just ignore him and walk away.

We wanted to watch sunset so we went to Indus Restaurant. We ordered some beverage and have a chat.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 319

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 323

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 324However after some time, we still did not see the sunset. Then we ask the waitress and she told us we are at the wrong direction! Bugger!

By then it is just too late. So we went to Toro Sushi for dinner.

This place seems to be popular and though their menu is quite limited but the food is decent. I heard that the main chef is has worked Florida.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 329 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 331 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 332 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 333

After dinner, we went back to rest.

20th March

My last day in Bali. How time flies.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 340

5cups is kind enough to drive me up to Kintamani to see Mount Batur.

We leave our place at 0620hrs and since it is still early, there is very little traffic. The weather is cool and we just wind down our window to enjoy the breeze.

After passing by rice fields after rice fields, we reach Tegallalang Rice Terrace. It is not the biggest rice terrace in Bali but it will give you an idea how it looks like.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 346 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 347 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 348

After an hour and a half, we finally reach the crater rim of Mount Batur.

The sight is awesome.

This is truly a highlight of this trip.

We went to several viewpoints but unfortunately my camera sensor is tainted so the pictures appear to have many dirt on it. What a let down.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 352 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 366 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 377 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 385

After staying for about 30 mins, we make our way back to Ubud.

Along the way, we saw several Ogoh-ogoh where the Balinese use it as part of the procession. You can see that they are pretty good at it. They can paint the sculpture very life like and the design they have is astonishing.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 396

After taking a break, Phili and 5cups brought me to see a villa in another side of Ubud.

It is a very lovely villa.

It has two rooms and a pool. There is even a cabana. Again, you shower under the stars.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 404 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 405 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 408 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 409 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 411 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 413 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 414

We then travel to Sanur to have lunch and it is nearer to the airport.

We have lunch at Luthu’s Coffee Shop. I again ordered Nasi Georeng but it is not as good as the one I have in Umah Pizza.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 443 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 444

The restaurant is just by the beach but strange is that it has dogs in it and sometimes the dogs fight!

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 427 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 429 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 430 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 434 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 437

Overall the food is still good and value for money.

Phili and 5cups brought me to view a guest house. They recommended this guest house if I will to bring my family to Bali.

There are about 9 rooms in this guest house and the rooms I have visited is very nicely decorated. It has a common kitchen where you can cook your meals if you want to.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 446 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 447 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 448 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 451 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 453 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 455 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 456

I was told that breakfast is provided.

The whole place looks very intimate and cozy. As it is Nyepi, the guest house is closed but I am fortunate and honoured to be able to visit it.

It is a place worth considering.

After the visit, we called for a cab to bring me to the airport. It is a blue bird taxi and I am surprised that the driver agree to go by the meter.

There isn’t any traffic jam so I reach the airport within 30 mins and the fare comes up to IDR94,000.

Again I am impressed by the airport and the departure hall is very spacious and offer good variety of food.

Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 461 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 462 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 463 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 464 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 473 Indonesia - Bali - 18th ~ 20th March 2015 476

One strange thing is that there are no trolleys at the alighting point but they are inside the departure hall!

Check-in is fast with Air Asia Indonesia and the boarding gate is very spacious too. It feel relaxing and not confined.

After Thoughts

Bali is a nice place to visit. However I must say that beaches that I saw are not impressive and I have not visited many places in Bali. I was told that there is one beach that is very nice but you will need to pay an entrance fee to get in.

In terms of nature, Bali has a lot to offer. You can trek, view mountains or volcanoes or go river rafting.

However you must prepare to shell a lot of money if you will to take part in any of the activities. I personally do not understand why it cost so much. It is just like milking every single tourist dollar they can find.

Almost every part of Bali seems to have tourist or at the least the place I have been to.

Therefore you will never feel alone in Bali but whether does it suit you will depends on your preference.

I will not come to Bali for the beaches but for nature and relaxation. I will just book a room in a resort, do some day trips and spend my time in the resort to chill out.

So maybe next time, Bali!

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s