On AirI went to the island of Bali in June this year (29th June - 2nd July 2006). Heard of it a lot especially after the bombings, and many are reluctant to travel there due to this. However I would like to assure you, regardless of what happened, the beauty of the place remains untouched. Balinese culture is rich, unique and authentic despite the tourist invasion. It is a worthwhile journey to me since it's also the first holiday I had since I started work, with all the expenses from my own pocket! Yeap! My own money!! hehehe...
See the beautiful coastline of Bali Island?
Day 1 : 29th June 2006
My day begun at 5.30am as I tried to catch the earliest LRT (Light Rail Transit) before switching to the coach which will take me to LCC Terminal. After meeting my friends at LCCT, our flight departed at 11am. The flight to Bali from Kuala Lumpur took us 2 ½ hours, although Air Asia stated that the actual flying time required was 3 hours. We arrived at Ngurah Rai airport, Bali at 1.35pm. When the airplane hovered low upon reaching the Bali island, we got spectacular view along the coastline. It was beautiful! At the airport our
Excited excited! Adrenalin flowing!
tour guide, Mika (and he speaks very good English!) was waiting with the driver Wayan, and they later drove us to our hotel (Bounty Hotel)
located at the heart of Kuta
. Bounty Hotel
is 15 minutes away from the airport and within a short walking distance to Kuta Beach and the famous shopping and entertainment spots on Legian Street. Along the way, the excitement was overflowing. As u passed by the Kuta streets, you can see the cluttered, traffic-packed tinsel town with a cosmopolitan feel.
Bounty Hotel is gradded 3 stars, and I like it very much. It has a mixture of the modern accommodation with a hint of Balinese culture. Why I say this, you get wood and stone carvings as part of the architecture at the hotel, or even for display, and the hotel staffs were dressed in their uniforms which were similar to Balinese batik design. The main lobby has a staircase going up from the car porch, and wooden chairs and tables with exotic carvings greeted us as we waited for check-ins. There're 2 hotel pools, with a pool bar. Everything seemed to be in the right mode, the feel, the look, the taste (even!),
The names engraved on the memorial
the people, the place....endless.......!!! I didn't make the wrong decision to come!!!
The same afternoon, we walked around our hotel, looking for local tours and packages.
Along the way, we came across the monument set up by the government for the victims that died in the Bali bombing in 2002. Names were engraved on the stone palette and many tourists stopped by to have a look, a moment of silent in paying their respect as well as taking photos.
We’ve agreed to visit Tanah Lot
that evening to watch the sunset there. Found a local tour that provide trips to Tanah Lot at a reasonable price. RP 300,000 for the car and a English-speaking driver that will send us to and fro. As there were 4 of us (RP300,000 / 4 = RP75,000), that was about RM35, and we took the Jeep. The price stated was not inclusive of entrance fees though. Along the way we dropped by Pura Taman Ayun, Alas Kedaton and later Pura Tanah Lot. "Pura"
here means temple
· Pura Taman Ayun
is an impressive temple. Surrounded by moat, this is a grand example of Balinese architecture at its best. It was built
for King Mengwi, ruler of the last ancient Kingdom of Mengwi which was powerful in the 17th century.
· Alas Kedaton
is the Holy Monkey Forest and Fruit Bat heaven
· Pura Tanah Lot
is the famous and most recognizable Hindu Temple on Bali known for spectacular sunsets. Perched on a large rock just offshore and founded by the proselytizing Hindu saint, Naratha, during his wanderings, the temple can only be reached during low tide. On the other side of the beach along the cliffs, you get a spectacular view of an arch in the rocks. Breath-taking!
We went back to Kuta after spending about 3 hours on this trip. Reached Kuta at 7.45pm and had our dinner at a local seafood restaurant. After dinner, we had a swim at the hotel pool and a welcome drink at the pool bar before calling it a day!
Day 2 : 30th June 2006
Today, we had a whole day tour package which was included in our trip. This whole day tour was part of our package deal together with the accommodation and transportation. We were given a few selection of tourists' attraction, and we chose Kintamani
as it had
Batuan Village Temple
View of the inner court
the longest journey and we felt that thus the trip would be more worthy. The same tour guide Mika and the driver Wayan were our company for that day.
Our journey begun from Kuta at 8.45am, and consisted of stop bys at Batu Bulan, Celuk, Mas, Ubud, Gunung Kawi, Tampak Siring and Penelokan.
All these were along the way to Kintamani. Kintamani is a district, according to Mika, because I was confused as whether Kintamani is the name of the volcano or what? That wasn't stated in the map though. What I learnt was, Kintamani is the district, and the main attraction of this trip is the Batur volcano - a sleeping volcano which last errupted in 1997, or otherwise known as Mount Batur
· Batu Bulan
is famous for stone carvings and traditional Bali dances. We witnessed the Barong & Kris Dance - depicting the story of an eternal fight between the good and the evil spirit. Barong (a mythological animal) represents a good spirit and Rangda (a mythological monster) represents an evil one.
: the village famous for making colourful batik fabrics as well as a
· Batuan Village Temple
The sleeping volcano is on the left, and the lake is on the right.
temple along the way
- famous for woodcarving.
- the highlight of this tour. Kintamani is actually a district, and the volcano Mount Batur and Lake Batur is located in Penelokan which is next to Kintamani. Usually tourists will relate this volcano trip to Kintamani trip. The view of this sleeping volcano is magnificent. Lying next to it is the volcanic Lake Batur.
· Tampak Siring
- the holy spring. I didn’t remember this place, maybe we just passed by.
· Gunung Kawi
- We did stop by at a nursery on our way down, where they grow their own cocoa or coffee trees, with other fruits and vegetables as well.
is famous for its farmed rice terrace. There are 2 types of rice there, the Balinese rice and the Thai-Balinese rice. Spectacular panorama views.
- famous for its painters community, it is an arts and crafts village.
Around lunch time we reached the peak in Penelokan which overlook the magnificent view of Mount Batur and Lake Batur. We had our lunch at a restaurant up here - serving buffet style Indonesian food.The restaurant had surrounding glass panels as walls which
enable diners great views as they dined. There was outdoor dining area as well with strawberries grown around the balcony. The air was cool and fresh like Cameron highland.
After lunch we took photos of the volcanic lake and the volcano. There were many local traders selling things ranging from T-shirts, chess sets, souvenirs, batiks, accessories, etc. But Mika advised us to be alert of such traders as sometimes they might ‘cheat’ you into buying unnecessary things. These traders were really desperate for tourists to buy their products. They would tag along you and pulled your sleeves so as to get your attention.
At Gunung Kawi, we visited a botanical garden cum nursery where there were plants such as cinnamon tree, vanilla tree, snake-skin fruit (buah salak), Balinese coffee tree, cocoa tree, and many other fruit trees and vegetables plant. There was an old man sitting in a shed with a burning fireplace made specially to roast coffee beans. He demonstrated to the tourists the methods of roasting coffee beans, and we managed to take some photos with him. Next we were brought to another shed where we got to sample the original Balinese coffee which was pure
Coffee machine of the past, hahaha
with no preservatives or artificial addition. We got to choose from varieties of Balinese coffee, hot cocoa, or even ginger tea. I sampled hot cocoa though, and it didn’t taste much different from any others that I’ve had, maybe the coffee would have made more difference. This place was beautiful as well, with a backdrop overlooking the green hills and rice terraces below.
The next stop was Tegalalang. It took quit a while to drive up here. Surprisingly I didn’t feel dizzy or bored with the winding journey that went uphill and downhill a lot, because there were so many things to see on the way. Temples were definite, the locals with their daily activities, shops selling beautiful carvings and handicrafts, kites, or even small food carts along the road pushed or paddled by a seller. There were little kids running around, enjoying their days without a worry in their life. Another thing I noticed was there were dogs everywhere, and they seemed to be the kings on the road as the cars and other vehicles needed to avoid them. All along the way, there were padi fields as well, some just harvested, some just planted with small young
padi, and some even near harvest season. As we neared Tegalalang, more rice terraces came into view. Another thing I realized about the locals there, their houses were simple, but they got their fair supply of electricity and water from the cables and piping system. However, the water was the help from Mother Nature up the mountain. Despite that, the water was safe for them to use in their daily necessities. We stopped by at a lookout point facing hilly slopes with rice terraces. According to Mika, there were 2 types of rice planted in Bali. One was the original Balinese rice, while the other one was Thai-Balinese rice - a mixture of the both. The later is preferred because it can be harvested in 4 months time where as the other needs 8 months. The villagers get their other daily food supply from the padi fields as well. They grow other vegetations and catch fish here, which explain why these terraces are very important to them.
Our last stop was Ubud - famous for its cultural community, where we dropped by a painting museum. Here we saw young kids showing their talents and painting at the entrance of
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
From left: Anson, Mika (our tourguide) and Addie. Thx to Mika for such a wonderful trip!
the hall. Not only young kids were involved, adults as well but I was more impressed with younger talents. Some were as young as 9 years old and their work was fantastic. I talked to a senior there and was impressed with his English! Most of them spoke fluent English and I overheard another spoke Japanese as well! These people were really multilingual - very impressive indeed!!! Photographs were allowed outside the hall, but once you stepped inside, no photographs could be taken. I didn’t get to see all the paintings, but those few that I saw were beautiful. I love it. I am not a person that admires painting a lot, but that afternoon in Ubud just did magic to me!!!
Around 5.30pm we went back to Kuta. On the way back, we decided to get Bali spa and massage. Mika introduced us to Galuh Bali Spa
which he claimed offers international services at a reasonable price. I was quite excited and looked forward to it because it was my first time getting a massage. Galuh Bali Spa is located at Jln By Pass Ngurah Rai, only 5 minutes away from the airport. Situated next to the Plaza
Painters at work
Bali, this place has an exotic feel. Its interior and architectural features an oriental Balinese feel. It has 20 beds, meditation room, swimming pool, body steam, Jacuzzi, locker room and also a nice garden prepared just for you. We took the spa package “Nature Inspiration” which lasted 2 hours. It featured aromatic footbath, body wash, Balinese massage, body scrub, tropical fruit body polish, aromatic flower bath and body lotion, as well as two herbal drinks. Each one got to choose their preferable scrub : there were Green tea, Rose, Vanilla, Strawberry, Black Sand, etc… My whole body felt relaxed and eased after the whole session. A good try for me!
After the massage, we proceeded to Jimbaran
for a seafood dinner. Transportation was provided and we arrived at Jimbaran around 8.45pm. At Jimbaran there were many seafood restaurants. We were brought to one that was slightly more ‘high class’ I would say, since the price was more expensive as well! All the guests were seated outdoor at the beach facing the sea. I couldn’t get used to it earlier as my chair kept sinking into the sand, hahahaha…. but started to relax after a while. Candles lighted our table
Galuh Bali Spa
as we browsed through the menu and made our orders. J and I shared a set for two - inclusive of fish, crab, mussels, prawns, vege, fries, rice, soup and a bottle of beer each. At first I was quite reluctant because I felt that it was very expensive for a meal of seafood at the price of RM100 per person. Coming from where I was from, you don’t have to pay that much to enjoy a good seafood meal. However, half way into the food, we’ve started to feel that it was worth it after all. The food was of huge portion, and the seafood was fresh and delicious too, especially our steamed chilli crab recommended by the waiter. Anson and Hong Lee had the same set, but they had lobster instead of crab and their meal cost them RM200 per person. Towards the end of the night, all of us were so full that we were literally stuffing ourselves, trying to finish whatever that were left on the table!! Anson was busy donating her food as well, hahaha. I couldn’t finish my beer, because the boss of the restaurant treated us a glass of cocktail each made from
local Balinese rice wine. I must admit, the cocktail tasted great! To sum up that seafood dinner in Jimbaran - Although it crushed my purse dearly, but it was worthwhile and I would say well-spent, based on the quality of the seafood being served and the environment and service provided at the beach - No regrets!!! I forgot to add that there was this local band that performed in front of your table as you enjoyed your dinner. They could sing English, Balinese, Japanese, French, etc songs! Another multilingual group! For the first time in my life I felt so pampered and treated like a king! Hahahaha... Transport was provided to send us back to our hotel in Kuta as well. You see what I meant when I said everything was worth it?
Day 3 : 1st July 2006
Our third day in Bali was kinda relaxing. After breakfast, we went to Kuta Beach
. J wanted to go surfing, so Anson stayed with J in Kuta Beach, where as Hong Lee and I took a taxi to Tanjung Benoa
and Nusa Dua.
For your information, there were a few beaches in Bali that you could choose from, either you
See all the sport acitivities going on at the back?
want to surf, do water sports, snorkelling and scuba diving; or just sunbathing or relaxing swim.
The beach in Tanjung Benoa is famous for sport activities such as water skiing, snorkeling, scuba diving, parasailing, jet ski, banana boat, or even fishing, etc…Hong Lee and I were looking forward to snorkel, but once we got to Tanjung Benoa, we figured that it was very expensive - the price the local charged! We were given the so-called offer of RM70 per hour
for the equipment and boat trips! That was too much! In Malaysia, you get to rent your equipment for merely RM35 for a whole day!!! We were reluctant, and in the end we didnt take the snorkelling package.
I wanted to try flying fish, it was a floatable piece like the shape of a stingray pulled by the speedboat. The person will either lie or stand on it, and as the boat pulls, the whole piece will ‘fly’ in the air (like a kite). I guess it feels like you’re flying above the water? However, Hong Lee wasn’t interested in that, and it was quite expensive as well. In the end I opted for parasailing. It was a
Parasailing - that's me up there!
scary thought, but I desperately wanted to try it as I've never done it before. It was RP60 000 for a round, around RM30. I was nervous at first - to think that I would be flying high up there, hanging from a parachute pulled by a speedboat... WHAT IF the strings come off? WHAT IF the speedboat wasn't fast enough and I drop (gravity wat!) WHAT IF...WHAT IF... the list was endless... but I went ahead anyway in the end. There were many guys at the beach that worked as your guards. They would help you to fasten the belts, held the parachute for you as you got on, and guided you with the red and blue flags to teach you how to land. The wind was very strong and I was really nervous, but as I went up, I heard shouts behind me asking me to relax and to let go… to feel at ease. And I did just that! Oh I tell you, the feeling was just great!! You feel youself ‘flying’ up to the clear blue sky, above the vast coral sea. I almost stopped breathing for a moment as I looked around me. Saw the
Nusa Dua Beach
The view of Nusa Dua private beach
speedboat far below that was pulling me, seemed so small, to my left were some sand bars jutting out to the sea, no idea what was that, turtle farms perhaps? Feeling so close to the puffy clouds as if I could grab them…I was really letting go of everything in my mind, enjoying every moment… but then it was time to come down. DAMN! The speedboat turned around back to the shore, and I remembered thinking “Oh no! Not yet! I just started to enjoy all these…”, but yes, it was coming to an end. As I looked ahead, I was now facing the shore and I saw the hotels and tall palm trees surrounding them lining along the shore, with nice swimming pools in the backyard. SIGH!!! Another nice view! And my sweet dream was again disturbed by shouts coming from the shore “Tarik! Tarik!” (Pull! Pull!) Ok, this was the part I dreaded. I had to see which colour flag they held up to me. Red was left and blue was right. In my case I got a blue flag, so I had to pull hard the strings on my right to control the landing of the parachute.
Nusa Dua Beach
Beautiful beach! White sand! Blue sea!
Slowly I came down to the shore where all these men greeted me. Fast work for them when they took off the straps and belts that hooked me to the parachute. I was grinning from ear to ear, and one of the guy actually said, “See? It wasn’t that scary right?” yeah, but DARN!!! I wish I could stay up there longer!!!, and it was another "First time" recorded in my life. Satisfaction achieved as well...hehehe.
Next we got the taxi driver to send us to Nusa Dua ( a private beach) as we would like to do some swimming and sunbathing instead. Nusa Dua was a high class area with all the 5 and 6 stars hotels lining the beach. There was a big gate like an entrance to a theme park. Inside, everything was made so beautifully, and you can see golf courses as well, nice roundabouts with artistic sculptures as decorations, and those guests staying here could cycle around the area. Nusa Dua was the place for rich people, for tourists that were willing to splurge on their stay in Bali. Everything was international standard! However, we didn’t really enjoyed the beach there. The waves were
Kuta town area
This row of hotels are 5 or 6 stars hotels facing the beach
strong and big, and the sea was quite deep to ‘play’ save water, with lots of seaweed floating everywhere. The sand was big and coarse too - really not our ideal beach. But since we were there, might as well made full use of our time. We stayed at Nusa Dua for about 2 hours, and at about 3.00pm, we left, back to Kuta Beach.
At Kuta Beach, Hong Lee went for a dip again, and I just walked along the beach, observing things happening around. The beach was crowded and every one was busy in their own world; surfing, swimming, sunbathing, playing Frisbee, or just strolling like I did. The locals were busy doing business as well, looking for people to do temporary tattoo, manicure and pedicure, hair extensions and plaits, some renting beach mats and chairs…unheard of to me, interesting! There were groups of school children doing their assignment at the beach, and they were looking for people to answer their survey and took photographs with. Here, we got to know two girls from Singapore, they were on mission trip to Bali, and I felt so encouraged by their willingness and love to share the gospel and
This is my hotel in Kuta
good news. Praise God for bumping me into them. We exchanged contact details, and took photos.
After dinner, we went shopping. As we didn’t really have a proper chance to walk around the shops and really shop for the things we like, we did it that night, and enjoying the nightlife there as well. Anson went back to the hotel first as she was tired, so the 3 of us went ahead along Kuta. We walked into many shops, and did a few bargaining. J was good in bargaining! Have to learn from her…
I bought 2 surf pants for myself at the price of RP60,000. Around RM15 for one - CHEAP CHEAP!*
Day 4 : 2nd July 2006
After breakfast at the hotel, we decided that there's not much time left so we walked around Kuta for one last time, and did some last minute shopping. I bought myself some apparel. Took some photos as well. Around 11am, we got back to the hotel to check out. The van was punctual and we got to the airport around 12.30pm. My heart was heavy to leave Bali! What to do? SIGH... all of a sudden, my job
Bounty Hotel Pool
Second swimming pool at Bounty Hotel
and my life in KL came back to me, after forgetting them for 4 days! Anyway, we really enjoyed ourselves very much, and I left Bali with wonderful memories. I've decided to go back again one day, seriously...
Keeping my fingers crossed! TIPS:
- I don't mean to put the tour agencies down, but it is ok to take a Free & Easy Package
if you plan to go to Bali. Just get your accommodations and tickets arranged, the rest can be done on your own once you get there because it will be cheaper. Do it the backpackers way, unless you are not interested in backpacking or don't mind to spend more (and I mean much more!)
- Be early if you want to get good bargain. All the shops expect customers for the whole day, so if you are the first one for that day, you can always get a good price for the things you bargain for. They will give it to you because they believe it brings them good luck for the whole day, and you being the lucky (first) customer, get good price for the products you want!
- And be
The bombing memorial was set up in Kuta by the government to remember those perished in the bombing in October 2002.
daring to bargain! Some merchandise at the price of RP150 000 can go as low as RP30 000. But it's kinda similar to Petaling Street - don't bargain too much if you don't have the intention to buy the thing(s). This goes for trips package as well. Don't settle for the first price they offer, BARGAIN!
-If you speak English, it is advisable to get a English-speaking guide when you go for trips, or you might miss out on many things! * However, not all shops are into bargaining. Use your common sense! Those by the roads are ok, but not the shopping malls or boutiqes!
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