Monday, July 10, 2017

4 Days, 3 Nights Itinerary to Bali - The Island of the Gods @ Indonesia

Bali, known as the Island of Gods, is no stranger to many Singaporeans but weirdly, I had never felt a strong motivation to visit and only did so last week at my 37th year of age.

In a nutshell, if you feel that Thailand is spiritual, Bali wins hands-down in their massive display of devotion towards their religion; Hinduism. However, there are ample more to see and do on this small island and I think that's why it appeals to so many people! 

We spent a short 4 days on the island and I took a modest 2,318 photographs (including a few videos) which would be slowly dispersed in this blog over the next few months. Based on feedback from the Great Kon, I would give a list of postings to expect for each day so that you can click them when the individual posting is up.




Day Four
- Tanah Lot Temple
- Lunch at Made's Warung (Kuta)
- Walk along Shopping Street (Legian)
- Vegas Barbershop
- Memorial for the Bali 2002 Bombing
- Early Dinner at Black House Burger & Co (Kuta)

Summary
Knowing myself; it's impossible for me to share everything in this one, single post which is, honestly, just bite-sized information for each day. For the details (and a lot more photos), please click the respective day (i.e. Day One) when the link is made available.

(05 July 2017)
[2.00 pm] Left for the airport via cab as it's way more expensive if we were to use GRAB; no thanks to the bad weather Singapore was having that Wednesday afternoon. 

[2.45 pm] Reached Changi International Airport in one piece; wanted to have a meal in the staff canteen but it was closed for renovation until the end of the week. Hence, we quickly cleared the immigration and I decided to have a light snack instead - the curry puff from Tip Top! 

[4.30 pm] Entered the waiting room at Gate C22 and anticipating my first flight on the sky blue KLM airline plane! After a delay of 18 minutes, the aeroplane took off from the runway at 5.08 pm.

[7.21 pm] Successfully touched down at Denpasar International Airport. Sadly, I was assigned to a seat on the aisle which means I didn't manage to take any picture that could have been collectively placed under the label "the eyes in the sky". 

[9.05 pm] Transport was pre-arranged before our arrival and 17 of us had to traverse beyond the arrival hall and to another carpark to take the shuttle car / mini-bus. 

[10.08 pm] Finally checked into our hotel room at Grand Istana Rama Hotel; it's conveniently located next to Beachwalk shopping center and right behind the famous Kuta Beach!

[11.00 pm] Strolled out in search of a place to have supper and had a super unsatisfying meal at Kuta Sea Side Food Court. Given the pricing on the menu, its target is definitely the tourists, which would be okay if the food quality and taste are up to par.

[11.35 pm] Walked along Kuta Beach; despite the late timing, there were still people seated on the beach to chit chat over a few bottles of beer under the starry sky. I didn't have the energy as I barely slept 6 hours for the past few nights and hastened to return to the hotel room for a much-needed rest. 


(06 July 2017)
[7.00 am] Woke up after 6.5 hours of sleep; insufficient but four days in Bali are not long in my opinion and I wanted to check out the hotel surroundings before the start of the pre-booked tour that will bring us to a few places in Bali that day.

[8.10 am] Supposed to have breakfast at flapjaks but the restaurant wasn't open for business even though I had to check with the service staff the day before. Given the limited time, we had to consider the next best alternative that's just a few steps away; McDonald's breakfast!

[8.35 am] Chose to walk along Kuta Beach to get back to the hotel and surprised to see that there were already crazy beachgoers enjoying the sea breeze and/or surfing the waves!

[9.20 am] Left the hotel to tour the attractions in the northern part of Bali! As our group was rather large, we had to split into three cars with the following composition; 5, 6 and 6.

[10.39 am] First destination; the Sukawati Art Market at Ubud. For those who are looking into decorating their house with paintings, Balinese wood carvings, wind chimes etc, this would be a good place for you to bargain amidst the wider variety.

[11.37 am] We even checked out the nearby wet market for the locals known as pasar umum sukawati. A definite eye-opener, especially the trays of eggs with shit still smeared on them.

[12.00 pm] After a short 10-minute ride from Sukawati Art Market, we arrived at Tegenungan Waterfall. I tried to search online for the height for the waterfall without any success as it ranged from 4 meters to 50 meters. From the above photo, I thought it would be about 15 meters tall.

Spotted this strange phenomenon at the downstream of the waterfall; I asked our driver on our last day (a different driver by the way) and he said it didn't have any religious connection. However, I am unsure if his words are trustworthy as he confidently claimed that Bali didn't have any earthquake when the last one, in fact, struck only about four months ago!

[2.11 pm] Third item on our tour; a buffet lunch (chargeable at 153,000 rupiahs per person) at a restaurant that overlooked Mount Batur, an active volcano, and Lake Batur.

[3.40 pm] It's time to sample some tea and coffee at the nearby Cantik Agriculture Luwak Coffee after a pretty good and filling meal at the buffet restaurant! The purpose was, of course, to entice us to purchase the exorbitantly priced tea and coffee from the company.

[4.27 pm] Started drizzling after the car stopped at Tirta Empul (Holy Spring) Temple. We almost wanted to give this a miss but a few in our group had already purchased the admission tickets (15,000 rupiahs each). Since I dislike waiting, I bought the ticket too to step into my first Balinese temple.

[5.34 pm] 20 minutes after leaving Tirta Empul (Holy Spring) Temple, we alighted along the road that gave us a great view of the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. While the rest decided to eat ice cream and rest at one of the cafes overlooking the terrace, I made the decision to hike to the side of the terrace! Frankly, it wasn't too far a hike, unlike the one my dad and I undertook at Longji Rice Terrace in China's Guangxi province!

[8.49 pm] Remember, we only had lunch and by the time we got back to Grand Istana Rama Hotel, it was already 8 pm even though Tanah Lot temple was removed from the tour due to the persistent drizzling. Time to seek out dinner and we got to have our first taste of Bali's highly acclaimed Babi Guling at this roadside eatery known as Warung Babi Guling Bu Dayu (rating 4.4 on Google with over 200 reviews).

[10.26 pm] Massage is a must at Bali as it's even more affordable than Bangkok! Time to make Bali my preferred destination for the yearly relaxation! The one-hour traditional Balinese massage I had at Smart Spa only cost me 125,000 rupiahs.


(07 July 2017)
[9.00 am] New driver whom I found from TripAdvisor. My initial intention was to use back the same company for Day 2 but they hardly made an impression for me to engage them. My only hope was that this new one wouldn't turn out to be worse.

[9.50 am] Our instructions were clear; we would like to go for snorkeling, sea sports activities and visit Uluwatu Temple and Tanah Lot. For the first two, we were brought to PT Bali Apollo Dive & Water Sports at Nusa Dua; shock greeted Alex and me when we were given the price list!

Bargaining is required and thanks to Alex's colleague, prices were slashed 50%!  Although I was still quite pissed with the local business practice, I went ahead with parasailing at 300,000 rupiahs per person.

[12.47 pm] Mie Goreng at Apollo too as food/drink prices were unusually reasonable and we didn't want the driver to recommend (in case it would be another place that only serves the tourists).

[2.25 pm] Uluwatu; the temple on a cliff, after an hour drive from Nusa Dua- we thought it was well worth the visit as the scenery was breathtaking! If not for the light drizzle that evolved into heavy rain, we could have spent a lot more time taking picture after picture!

[4.46 pm] At this point, it was already an hour after we left Uluwatu Temple and we were not even halfway close to Tanah Lot Temple due to the rain Noting that nightfall will render the visitation useless, we removed the item and asked the driver to send us to Potato Head Beach Club instead, where the rest of our entourage had arranged to meet for dinner.

[6.16 pm] Potato Head Beach Club, with a rating of 4.4 with 1,407 reviews on Google, was indeed a nice place to chill out. The food was plated splendidly but the taste fell short of expectations. Pity we couldn't get reservations on the second floor which was said to serve delicious local food, albeit at premium pricing.

[8.00 pm] From Google Map, it appeared that taking the cab would mean encountering another dreadful jam which would take us almost an hour to reach the hotel. I suggested walking instead and the whole lot of them agreed! Unfortunately, Google Map wasn't exactly updated and we eventually surrendered and hailed a cab!

[9.40 pm] I was exhausted but decided to check out the supermarket at Beachwalk shopping center to see what interesting items can be purchased there. Personally, I have always enjoyed visiting the supermarkets in other countries!


Day Four 
(08 July 2017)
[7.00 am] I clocked in less than six hours of sleep once again and it didn't feel good to wake up so early to find that the weather was still bad with stormy clouds in the sky.

[7.30 am] Reason for such an early wake-up call - I had requested for the same driver to pick us up at 7.30 am to Tanah Lot as I couldn't imagine leaving Bali without a visit to the iconic temple! Furthermore, we had left our snorkeling gears in the car the previous day and there's no way I am going back to Singapore without them.

[8.12 am] Journey took us less than an hour without any jam and we finally got to behold the sight of Tanah Lot temple in front of us! As it was high tide, we couldn't walk across to explore the temple and I had already expected that since low tide would take place only in the late afternoon and I doubt there's sufficient time for us when we had to check in at about 6 plus in the evening.

[11.12 am] Spending close to two hours at Tanah Lot, we arrived at Grand Istana Rama Hotel slightly later than expected. Time was a luxury as we needed to check out of the hotel by noon. I tried to negotiate for late check-out and even offered to pay for half-day usage; all without success.

[12.34 pm] After checking out at noon and leaving our luggage with the concierge, lunch beckoned and I had Nasi Campur at the renowned Made's Warung; established in 1969 and had a rating of 4.0 with 623 reviews on Google.

[1.42 pm] Alex was hooked on foot massages in Bali and insisted he must go through his final round before returning to Singapore! As I am keener in exploring the shopping in the vicinity, we parted ways and agreed to meet up an hour later!

While I was rummaging through the wares at Matahari Department Store, I felt a nut in my mouth and attempted to break it. It was hard and I spat out the "nut" only to realize it was part of my premolar tooth! *dumbfounded momentarily*

[2.51 pm] There wasn't any pain and I gamely agreed to accompany Alex when he suggested having a haircut at Vegas Barbershop! Regretted as it took almost 45 minutes; precious time that I could make better use of.

[3.33 pm] Continuation of the shopping exploration along Legian Street; said to be the main street connecting Seminyak and Kuta, it's, in reality, a narrow one-way road with a capacity for at most two cars.

Legian Street was also the site of the terrible 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people and injured hundreds more. In memory of the devastating terrorist attack, a memorial was built at the site of the destroyed Paddy's Pub.

[4.06 pm] Needed a washroom to pee and I found it at a convenience shop! Things happened for a reason as we chanced upon this Point Cafe within the shop that served a delightful cup of Rum and Raisin Frappe that cost only 15,000 rupiahs after discount! You read right; it's less than S$2!

[4.32 pm] I always planned my route with a destination in mind and today's no exception as I wanted to have an early dinner at Black House Burger & Co (rating of 4.5 with 875 reviews on TripAdvisor)!

[4.56 pm] Cutting across Jalan Benesari which would bring us back to Grand Rama Istana Hotel. Time was running short as the transport sending us to the airport was scheduled to arrive at 6 pm! 

[5.12 pm] Last look of Kuta Beach before I proceeded to the supermarket at Beachwalk shopping center for last-minute shopping for garlic peanuts; they appeared to be quite popular on Airfrov.

[5.50 pm] Reached back the hotel with ample time for me to repack my luggage and squeezed in all the items that were just purchased! My strategy is always to bring a large piece of luggage with a smaller piece hidden inside. p.s. the strategy works better if you are staying put in one hotel. 

[6.37 pm] The first vehicle for 5 persons arrived on time but the mini-bus for the rest was late as traffic was incredibly heavy that evening due to a concert at Kuta Beach! It took the vehicles quite a while to even navigate out of the hotel. 

[8.10 pm] A normal 24-minute car journey took us almost 90 minutes and by the time we reached Ngurah Rai International Airport, it was 45 minutes to departure which means the KLM check-in counter had already closed. :( So we went with the next best alternative; bought a one-way ticket via Jetstar that would depart at 10.15 pm.

[10.11pm] Boarded the plane which left Bali at 10.42 pm and arrived safely in Singapore at about 1.00 am. No other picture as I was given an aisle seat again and spent most of my time watching Running Man

- Home Sweet Home - 

2 comments:

  1. What a detailed write up with sharing of nice photos, thanks for sharing, I enjoyed reading this post

    ReplyDelete

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