Monday, April 17, 2006

Back From Bali

We had 4 days to explore Bali and do all the tourisy things people do. The weather was unpredictable, it rained in the evenings and it was generally hot in the afternoons. So you're either drenched in rain or in sweat. Discovery Kartika is the hotel we stayed in Kuta, a five star hotel with no bathtub! To Nigel's utmost dismay. But service is overall excellent! We actually felt safe in this district, security is at a maximum - they do check your bags when you enter established malls and hotels. (No, you won't find a chinese suicide bomber, here! WE LOVE OUR PORK!!)

That's mom and Nigel on the first day. The baby stroller has come a long way and after this trip I admit it's gone out of alignment and is rather rickety. We arrived at around 3pm and had a short stroll of Kuta street.

2nd Day - Ubud

Woke up early and booked ourselves a driver for the whole day for only rp300,000 (that's a whole wad of money, but in actual fact only costed us less than RM150 for the whole day).

First stop was at one of those many art galleries you'll find in Ubud. Here, you'll just do a quick round at the gallery and pretend to be interested in their paintings. Nothing interesting as they're quite commercial. Nigel however is interested to paint with the artist.

Pasar Ubud was our next stop. With the rain, the roads are just mucky and the market was not quite a good place to be after rain. Still - Mom bought a couple of bags for her friends. Will be posting our buys next time. Things here are at Rock bottom prices, that is if you know how to HAGGLE.
We got sandals and a toy clown for less than RM15 each.

Nigel is asleep here. We had to try their local Warung and Warung Murni is one of the oldest restaurants in Ubud with an incredible view of the forest with a running river below. The warung is 4-storeys and is tiered along the banks of a small river.

The view from the 2nd tier of the warung. Beautiful setting and relaxing atmosphere. Lot's of antiques and carvings from all over Asia.

The food is excellent too, pricey but worth the experience. Mom and I shared Bali's famous Bebek Bertutu, which means smoked wild duck in herbs and a frog leg stir-fry dish. Nigel had the grilled chicken fillet with potatoes and bacon bits. As passion fruit is found in abundance here (so is avocado) we had each a passion fruit cocktail. The whole entire meal costs around RM150.oo. Our driver friend (Pak Ketut) also ate with us, he ordered the humble Balinese Fried Rice.

Nigel finally awoke to a sumptious meal!

Omigosh! I totally forgot about our last stop at Tanah Lot. It's 13 km from Tabanan in the village of Beraban. When the tide is low you can actually walk to the temple. It looks like a floating temple when the tide is high. There are many caves under the temple and apparently peaceful snakes live within these eerie walls.

It's located 16 kilometers west of International Airport Ngurah Rai, or a 20 minutes drive through Sunset Road. Coming in from Java Island through Gilimanuk, and arriving at the Kediri intersection, at the Wisnu Murthi statue, turn right. In front of the Kediri police Station, turn left, and keep following this smooth road. In less than 10 minutes you will be there. Admission is Rp 1,000.- per person.
Of course we stayed away from the temple, extremely scary looking structure but people still throng to go inside to see sea snakes and whatever that lurkes inside the cave. We were more interested in the adjacent market which offers more BAGS!

Dinner was at the Hotel's beachfront. It was a barbecue dinner with a special Kecak performance. Nigel can demonstrate the dance quite funnily. It tells a legendary story and it took almost 1 hour to complete. Shooosh! Well, the dinner was around rp 129,000. That's around RM60 for quite a good spread and a 1-hour traditional dance-show. They serve pork and more pork at every meal. Our favourite is the crispy bacon at the breakfast buffet! The Balinese do love pork!

Day 3 - Bedugul

We hired the driver for one more day and this time he gave us a discount. rp250,000.
On our way, we stopped at Mengwi...

In the town of Mengwi is the great royal temple of Pura Taman Ayun. Built in the 17th century, the temple served as the family temple of the Mengwi dynasty, whose kingdom survived until the late 1800s. The temple is famous for its exquisite wooden merus, or pagoda-like shrines.

At the temple gates, only worshippers are allowed in and there is a notice that says if you are menstruating or bleeding from cuts you are strictly prohibited from entering. It's quite eerie inside.

Taman Ayun. Located in Mengwi and was the area of royal temple which is built in the year 1634, the temple consists of a forecourt, a central court and a spacious inner court. A lake of lotus surrounds the area of the temple, about 300 meters in the side of Mengwi Palace.

Mom insisted that I take this picture of her with the Rusa parasite plant above her. The rich soil of this volcanic island has given Bali an incredible display of flora. Everything here is the colour of dark green, lush and are all fruitful trees. Even moss looks attractive here. The artisans actually leave their carvings outside to attain the aged look.

A small village in the
central highlands east of Gunung Batur, as near to paradise as you can get. Good road to get there. At 2500 m above sea level, Bedugal is even higher than Kintamani. Lake Bratan fills the crater of G. Bratan. Children fish for minnows, and canoes cross the lake carrying firewood to villages on the far side. Take lakeside walks through pine forests with shrines along the shore. Chilly swimming. On a small promotory above the lake is peaceful Uludanu temple. Just below Bedugal is the market of Bukit Mungsu; sells live and stuffed birds (parrots and cuckoos), wild orchids, vegetables, pomegranates, corn-on-thecob. Many species of orchids are seen in the area of Lila Graha.

A view of a resort on the hills on our way up to Lake Bratan. The view is breathtaking and the rice terraces chart the hills around us.

The weather today was moody, so we managed to just stand on a floating wooden pier and just look out to the lake and hillsides before it poured - like a waterfall! Sorry no pictures here, Meow will kill me if I took his camera out in this weather.

We got back in time to scale Legian street. The wholesalers and manufacturers of Bali is situated here. I bought some nice souvenirs and headed back to the hotel to one of the best Italian dinners ever!

Nigel had his usual Fettucini Carbonara, I ordered the Lamb cutlet with mashed potato and capers, Mom had this incredible ravioli stuffed with wild mushrooms and macadamia nut. So, good the price didn't matter. They even have home-made ice-cream RM8 bucks a scoop!
I think the whole meal was around rp350,000. That's around RM150!

4th Day - Kuta Street and HOME!

After spending our morning exploring the rest of Kuta street and buying some souvenirs from Hard Rock Cafe, we packed to check-out by 2pm. Left the luggage at the lobby and headed to the swimming pool for the whole afternoon. Mom tried the traditional massage at 4pm and left us all alone at the pool.

As you can see, Nigel had the pool all to himself. A fresh coconut was just too irrisistable (even at rp30,000, that's RM15), so with the rest of my foreign currency we ended our trip with one good drink! Look at the presentation, balinese people are very articulate in their presentation of food, clothing and appearances. There is a passion in everything they do. They'll go the extra mile, just to make you smile.

Hey, sounds like a good tagline for Bali!

1 comment:

Lolly said...

Hi! I very much enjoyed looking through all of your Bali pictures! Beautiful sights and lovely photographs. Looks like many memories were made!!

Thank you for joining Project Spectrum as well, it is great to have you in the group :)

Best wishes,