Sunday, April 3, 2011

Been There Done That Travelogue: Beautiful Bali

Uluwatu Temple
(note to readers: Our trip to bali was actually a lot of weeks before.. So, forgive me if I cant recall all the details..)

Day 01
After the almost crazy hectic day of super effing rush, we arrived at about 9pm at Ngurah Rai Airport.. There,   the four of us (my parents, my sister, and obviously, me) were picked up by the hotel van to our lovely prebooked hotel; Bali Ayu Hotel and Villa.. The hotel is quite out of the way, if you compare it with the hotels in Kuta, Seminyak, or Legian.. There's not much attraction here but the good thing is, its 100% family oriented, the opposite to Kuta which is famous for its notoriousness.. 
However, still, (as usual), my dad doesn't really like it here.. He thought that the hotel is too far separated from civilisation.. Ask me, its just perfect.. Considering that we're here as a family, I dont think spending the night with drunk teenagers banging each other off next door is anymore preferable.. 

To tell you the truth, if you come to Bali and decide to stay in the Kuta town, just gambling without any proper plan or booking, you might either (a) have to pay an unreasonable expensive price for your nights or (b) you'll end up snuggling with cockroaches under the crappy shitholed duvet.. If thats not quite enough, there's still a possibility that you'll get (c) all of the above..

Day 02

You might reckon that Bali is just the exact carbon print of the other part of Indonesia; cheap shopping, dirty streets and crappy foods, but blimmey, Bali is not even close.. Its like the Beverly Hills of Indonesia.. The living standard here is much higher than those in Jakarta or Bandung.. Shopping here, is like hundred times more costly that at my hometown..The only cheap stuffs here are the imitation DC or Ed Hardy jeans (still, its still far more expensive than the 'real' ordinary Mustang/Levi's).. So, for today's activity, we decided to spend the whole day strolling around Kuta and Seminyak.. Mind you, just strolling, not buying.. ANYTHING..  Notes: be careful not to step on the tiny small box of flowers in front of the shops.. The balinese do make it every morning at night for their Gods.. 

Then we took the taxi (oh, just so you know, the taxis here in Bali is as much as the air particles itself.. Theres soo many of them that its actually hard to tell one of another.. Fine, I exaggerated, but honestly, getting around Bali is a not-to-worry matter..) to several shops to buy souvenirs and more girls stuffs.. Overall, Hawaii Bali is the best place to shop.. The prices are very cheap and the quality are superb.. But yeah, only if you're looking for souvenirs.. Some people might prefer Krishna, but personally, I like Hawaii Bali more.. 
Hawaii Bali

Day 03
Bali is a good place if you're the culture vulture type.. Aside from the rich cultural material, this Island of Gods is also well known for its unique architecture and the serene natural beauty of the island itself..  So, today, we decided to go both ways.. I know, I mentioned before that getting around Bali is nothing to worry about, but honestly, I really think that tour guide is quite needed here.. Because, there's just too many things to see here that is not worth to be missed.. Lets say, you prefer to go to those attraction spots by taxi, there's still a big chance that you wont get to experience all of them to the fullest.. That's because, you can't really be sure of what time is the best for which place and so on.. In the end, you'll enjoy only one part of the day because you're too busy rescheduling and planning on the other parts.. My advise, there's many tour options here - your hotels, by the roadsides, everywhere - and if you dont come here by package, you can always pick which tour to have for the day.. 

So, back to the day, early in the morning, after having some toasts at the hotel, the tour driver arrived at our hotel and took us to see the Barong Dance.. The ticket is around 80000 rupiahs (9.2 USD) per person.. The dance is about monkey, boars, gods and something else which I cant recall but you'll have no problem to understand the storyline because everyone would be given the summary of the dance, act by act (although I must admit, the story doesnt make any sense at all.. I always hate the part when they did the penis joke.. I mean, whats so funny about a man's dick?! I cat believe that there's still people who found it hillarious.. Its just too immature and stupid! Its a major humiliation to the male and yet, its the guys who love the stupid joke most..)..
The Barong Dance

Then, the driver took us to the batik house.. and the silversmith afterward.. After that, he drove us up the Mt. Batur.. I dont know if I should write this, but I guess, the truth always win, right? Okay, the thing is, halfway up the Mount Batur, our vehicle was stopped by the local police who guarded the entrance.. The driver get out and get behind the car, have a little chat with the police guy and hand him 10000 rupiahs.. Yes, public bribery.. Our driver told us that his vehicle (Toyota MPV) is not permitted to continue to the peak of Mt. Batur.. So, he said, like USUAL, to pass through, he was supposed to pay 10000 rupiahs.. Or, if we're white people, he would be charged 50000 rupiahs to pass.. Aside from the bribery, their policemen is also somewhat annoyingly racist! 

Coffee anyone?

At Mt. Batur, we stopped at a coffee shop.. After some free testing, we bought some hand-grind coffee, chocolate drink, lemon tea powder, and ginger tea powder (yuck!).. Long story short, on our way to Kintamani, we stopped by at Tegalalang to see the beautiful rice terrace.. Then, at Kintamani, we have our lunch there while enjoying the miraculously amazing view of the Kintamani Volcano right before our very eyes.. I love it.. However, we were supposed to have our dinner later that night at Jimbaran Bay, but since all of us had lost the ability to stand properly out of tiredness, we decided to call the trip off and have dinner in our room instead.. And we literally slept like a baby that night.. minus the midnight crying..
Kintamani Volcano.. Beautiful, right?

Day 04

Today, we took taxi from our hotel to go to the Discovery Mall, Kuta.. This mall is so far, the most mouth-watering mall I have ever seen in my whole life.. I mean, its huge, comfortable, beautiful, and have all the international labels you could have imagine.. What could you ask more of a mall?! The most interesting part here is the DVD store.. I'm not promoting pirated DVDs here, but honestly, its scattered all over Bali.. at the unbelievable same freaking super LOW PRICE! Each DVD is only 10000 rupiahs (1.15 USD) and if you buy 10, you'll get 4 free.. and if you buy 20, you'll get 9 FREE! how cool is that! they even have dvd sets so that you could check on the quality yourself.. Blimmey, most of them are high quality.. If I dont know better I would have thought that its the original DVD.. 
DVD mania!

Later that night, we went to Seminyak Square for dinner at Betawi Cafe.. The food is great and its not that pricey either if we consider the fanciness of the restaurant.. Talking bout food, if you're looking for halal food, there are plenty of them in Bali.. Most of the nasi padang restaurants are halal.. However, be warned that eventhough most of the restaurants are claimed to be halal, they might still serve their famous Bintang Beer alongside.. Just informing.. 

Day 05

Its snorkeling day.. We booked the snorkeling tour from the hotel which cost 25 USD per head (dont even bother to try to look for others with cheaper price, its already the cheapest tour ever existed in Bali).. It include the glass bottom boat, snorkelling (complete with equipment), and trip to the Turtle Island.. The snorkeling was the worst I ever had! Its nothing! of course, there's some fishes, but mind you, only SOME.. To get it even more hideous, theres only ONE snorkeling spot.. and its the spot where theres only some fishes.. You know, I was expecting something more, and to get this, is a total let down.. My advise, dont even bother to throw away your money here, save it for something more worthy.. or, should I say, do not snorkel at Tanjung Benoa, Nusa Dua? I dont know bout Nusa Penida, but Nusa Dua is the worst nightmare for snorkelers.. 

Then, using the 'Glass Bottom Boat' (which makes me wonder whats the actual purpose of the glass bottom when you can't see anything at all) we went to the Turtle Island.. Well, I must admit, this is the best part of the tour.. Although I felt bad for the old turtles being kept captive to take photos with visitors.. However, in the same time its cool that you get to lift an adolescent turtle (well, its not that big and old, so I reckon its like the teenage turtle).. Theres also other animals here such as bats, owls, iguanas, and eagles..
I (heart) Iguana
Then, to make up for the disappointing  snorkeling experience, as soon as we reach the beach, my mum let us do the parasailing..  Well, its fun but it was too short that everything seems like it has been fast-forwarded!
I'm walking on sunshine! whoa oh!

For dinner, again, we went to Cafe Betawi for the last time in Bali.. Then, I bought a novel (The Curious Case of Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon.. Already finished reading, wait for the upcoming book review) there as my personal memento of being here.. 

Day 06

5.00am at the hotel lobby
Our flight home was at 6.30 am.. Slept all the way.. boring.. Nothing to share..

In a nutshell:

Aside from the richness of cultural extravaganza, my favourite part of Bali is their people.. The people are the most friendly human being I had ever witness in my entire life.. Rudeness is never to be seen here amongst the locals.. They respect foreigners as much as they respect their culture.. Its a true vacation.. Theres nothing not to love bout Bali (except the snorkeling, and shopping)..

the lovely teen turtle from Bali 

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