Bali Daze.

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I decided to make use of the long weekend (thanks to Good Friday) to revisit Bali having been there last, in 2013. I’ve been always been wanting to explore Uluwatu and Ubud so decided that I’d do just that over this trip instead of visiting the usual tourist spots of Kuta and Seminyak.

I did 2 1-way flights each on Jetstar and Tiger which allowed me to score tickets for around SGD 200 for a Friday (early) morning flight out with a Monday night return. Seemed like a pretty sweet deal so I grabbed the tickets last August itself.

Accommodation

There are plenty of villa options that greet you when you are deciding on where to stay in Bali. I had initially planned to stay at Nusa Dua for 1 night, Uluwatu for 1 night and then spend the last night winding down in Ubud. However, 4 days before my flight out there were some changes that I had to make to my¬†Airbnb booking due to a system glitch that booked me into a villa that had already been booked. Am glad I managed to sort it out with the Airbnb host and everything worked to my advantage to be honest! ūüôā

Moral of story: If you book way in advance for your hotels, try to get those which allow for free cancellation. You never know when it comes in handy.

So, we ended up staying near Nusa Dua for 1 night and then at our Airbnb accommodation (near Uluwatu) for 2 nights.

Our accommodation at Nusa Dua was at Tjendana Villas 1 BR Private Pool Villa ($138/night). Facilities were slightly above average only but the environment of the villa within a beautiful private compound made up for a slightly small pool and poor breakfast spread. After a night there, I moved to Villa Seratus (Airbnb) which ended up being the bomb! Highly recommend staying there if you are looking for a place near Uluwatu. I managed to get a really good rate for 2 nights due to the system hiccup so no complains at all! The villa is slightly on the steep side (SGD 180 onwards) due to the spaciousness as well as private pool/jacuzzi area. On top of that, there is a 50m lap pool shared between the 5 villas in the compound. There is breakfast option for an add on of about SGD 10 as well as in-house massage option. My 2-night stay there was pure bliss!

Transport

The previous time I travelled to Bali I realised I spent quite a fair bit on transport. As such, I decided to rent a motorbike this time round. I rented a Honda F1 (150cc) via Bali Big Bike for USD 10/day. It worked out to USD 40 for my 4 day stay in Bali. I decided to add on a mobile phone holder to the bike for USD 2.50, which ended up being really helpful in navigating us through Bali.

There are plenty of transport companies you can rent from. Hence, this table comparison would be really helpful in helping you pick the better and more trustworthy rental companies.

Petrol, if you get it from the gas station, is around IDR 7k¬†per litre. Anywhere else, it’s about IDR 10k per litre. We topped up about 5-6 litres throughout the 4 days. It’s really economical to rent a scooter¬†and saves you a lot of money to indulge on good food.

Tip: Do wear helmets even if they are slightly uncomfortable. On our last day, while heading to the airport, we got stopped by the police for not wearing our helmets. We are told to pay IDR 500k but negotiated our way out with just IDR 150k.

Dine and Wine

      1. Sisterfields Cafe, Seminyak

IMG_4350.JPGft. Breakfast Burrito (IDR 100k) and Pash Me Smoothie (IDR 47k)

I have been looking stalking the brunch scene in Bali for quite a while and decided on my first meal (brunch/lunch) to be at Sisterfields Cafe in Seminyak (next to Seminyak Square) upon my arrival in Bali. It took us nearly an hour to reach Sisterfields from the airport navigating through the traffic with our backpacks in the sweltering heat. Plus, I forgot to pin the location on the maps so clearly finding our way was a real struggle. But, the food and the smoothie (freaking awesome!) made everything so worth it. We tried the Banoffee dessert (IDR 60k) which was extremely sweet and delectable.

      2. Rock Bar, AYANA Resort, Jimbaran 

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Visiting Rock Bar has been on my bucket list since FOREVER. So, what better way then to spend my Friday evening watching sunset and lazing over drinks. Don’t expect much food wise here. You are essentially just paying for view. There was a minimum spend of IDR 600k for 2 if you were to occupy the arm cushion. Hence, we got 2 appetisers and 2 drinks between us, which costed us IDR 550k in total. They didn’t actually need us to hit IDR 600k so that was good.

Tip: The good seats get filled up really quick so be sure to head about 5pm (or even earlier) to get yourself a good view of the sunset. 

¬† ¬† ¬† 3. Made’s Warung, Seminyak

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For good old Indonesian food, Made’s Warung would be your best bet. Both the dishes we tried – Nasi Campur and Nasi Goreng Udang (Shrimps) were very authentic. Each dish is roughly around IDR 50k to 60k. During our meal, there was a local band playing Balinese music which completed our dining experience really well. One of our friends, recommended us their Cheese Cake and it was surprisingly good. There is another outlet in Kuta, so depending on where you are, be sure to swing by either of their outlets for at least a meal.

¬† ¬† ¬† 4. Kat’s Kitchen, Uluwatu

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T0 be honest, I had low expectations for Kat’s Kitchen as it was recommended¬†by Airbnb host. I reckoned since it was near the villa it was the most convenient place to suggest for average food. In the 48 hours I spent in the villa, I visited Kat’s Kitchen for 3 meals so enough said I’m guessing. I’m drooling just thinking about their Tom Yam Goong. Yes, who doesn’t love Thai food! I’d recommend their Thai Fish Cake, Laap Kai (Spicy minced chicken served with rice), Tom Yam Goong and Khao Phat Talay (Seafood Fried Rice). Average meal for 2 costs about IDR 200k.

      5. Bumbu Bali 1, Tanjung Benoa 

IMG_4757.JPGft. Nasi Goreng Seafood (IDR 140k) and Tahu Isi Ikan (stuffed crispy tofu) (IDR 92.5k)

Thanks to my effort in googling to find something to eat near Nusa Dua, I found Bumbu Bali. After our jetskiing in Nusa Dua Beach we headed to Bumbu Bali for a late lunch. I didn’t have high expectations for this place as it seemed to be slightly commercialised with their many awards and certifications that greeted me at the door as well as their in-house cooking classes. The presentation of the food already blew me away when it was served, in addition to the presentation style of the staff in explaining each dish to us. Definitely worth a visit if you are in South Bali. There is another outlet (Bumbu Bali 2) just stone’s throw away from this so if this gets filled up guests are sent over by the private cars.

¬† ¬† ¬† 6. Finn’s Beach Club, Ungasan

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Finn’s Beach Club is literally heaven on earth! The entrance of IDR 300k is worth it, trust me! For the private beach you get the enjoy, the beanbags that lie on the sand you can sprawl on along with rental of kayaks, snorkel equipment and stand up paddle board (when tide is high) makes the experience worth it. In addition, you get a F&B credit of IDR 150k. There was a 50% off happy hour from 6-7pm which was perfect timing for us to have a dip before settling in the beanbags for some drinks and a bite.

To be honest, having visited both the Rock Bar and Finn’s Beach Club, I’d recommend the latter if you are looking to splurge on just one. The privacy of the beach access you get to enjoy is unparalleled.

Other Activities 

We were contemplating doing flyboarding at Nusa Dua but decided against it as it was roughly around USD 85 per person. Instead, we did jetski which costed us IDR 175 per jetski for 15 minutes (we rode solo). We had also planned on doing paragliding (for USD 85) but somehow got delayed so gave it a miss.

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Uluwatu, is another highlight to visit when heading to South Bali. Entrance fee for an adult is IDR 300k and child is IDR 200k. It’s quite a long stretch around the temple that you can walk along to watch the magnificent sunset. Every evening there is an hour long Balinese dance performed in Uluwatu (tickets cost IDR 100k).

Tip: The monkeys are real and aggressive! Be sure to safeguard your belongings and carry minimum items when visiting Uluwatu. I’m glad we didn’t watch the dance as it would have meant getting out of Uluwatu post sunset (in darkness).

All in all, this trip got me falling deeper in love with Bali. I got to explore South Bali pretty well given my 4D3N there and also checked off – pillioning on a scooter in Indonesia. My only pity was I didn’t not have time to make a day trip out to Ubud. I guess that just means another trip to Bali beckons. ūüėČ

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.

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Yogyakarta: Survival 101.

BhudSilhouette of Buddha from the steps of Borobudur 

1. Getting around is the hardest part of travelling when you are in developing countries. So, the only way to survive is get a driver throughout your stay there or, alternatively, when you hop on to a taxi make sure it is 2-way. Because, except for Malioboro Street, it is virtually impossible for you to get a taxi anywhere in Jogja. You can trust me on that, as I was literally stranded on Parangtritis beach with just 5 hours between me and my flight back home.

IMG_1777Malioboro Street

2. Jogja people are generally helpful and forthcoming in being your tour guide and/or your driver. That also means, they rely heavily on tip from foreigners as their primary source of income. So, a general rule of thumb would be tip anywhere between IDR 10,000 – 20,000 and you are safe.

IMG_1752Mee Bakso stall outside the vicinity of Taman Seri

3. Street food is really cheap. You can easily have a bowl of Soto Ayam for IDR 7,000. Popular desserts would be Es Teler, for example, which is basically a concoction of fruits served in coconut milk. With the sweltering heat, a ice-cold dessert after a meal would be refreshing.

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Sunset at Prambanan Temples

4. Like most Asian countries, haggling is a MUST. You generally can make a purchase for half of the initial price or even less, at times. So, you really have to master the art to survive.

IMG_2597  Parangtritis beach

5. People are persistent when they want you to buy something from them. You have to be a bit thick-skinned to get them off your back. Or, alternatively, you can shove them with a pack of cigarettes and they will leave you alone. That trick worked for me inspite of the fact that bribing my way into Borobudur to catch sunrise didn’t.

All images belong to Solosingaporean unless otherwise credited for. Please give credit where it’s due.