Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Best Bali Trip - Part 1


Bali oh bali here I come. I have been dreaming of visiting Bali for a long time. Many times I have heard stories of how beautiful Bali is. Finally I had my chance to visit this beautiful exotic island. 



This visit to Bali was actually a last minute plan. Our original holiday plan was to Bangkok only but we extended it to include Bali. So can you imagine how hectic our itinerary turn out to be. We hop from one airport to another just like an Amazing Race contestant.

As you landed in Ngurah Rai International Airport, the first thing you will notice is long line of passengers queing up at the immigration counter. Take note, look out for the sign that says ASEAN countries queue up here. Boy oh boy was that line so much shorter! 


After my failure of getting the right taxi counter at the airport in Bangkok, I was determined by hook or crook to find the right counter here in Bali. So we went in circle twice with all the haggling from taxi drivers crowding around us hounding like a pack of wolves before we were finally found the counter. In the picture below is the insignificant counter hidden at the right corner. You cannot believe how many illegal and legal taxi drivers that tried their best to get you to go with them. It cost twice the amount if you go without the taxi coupon so beware and do not get con for that.


Sidoi Hotel by far gave me the best experience in terms of hospitality and going out to make us as comfortable possible. It does not have a five star facilities but definitely a six star service. The first thing that I was impressed with was the room they gave us which turned out to be a chalet by itself with balcony facing the swimming pool. However the first night was horrendous as they was work being done on the road behind our room. It was sleepless night for me. The next morning I complaint and this was immediately rectified by the manager who offered me an option of a room on the top floor with discount to my original booking price. There was even a letter of apology from them. So on our second night we stayed on the second floor. Although slightly away from the road but it was still in hearing distant for a light sleeper like me. Without hesitant and still going out to please dear ole me, the hotel offered us another room for our third night and this time it is guaranteed the most quiet. This room is by far the most biggest I have ever seen. You can fit a least four more king size bed inside and yes it was the most quiet! :)


On arrival at Bali and after checking into Sidoi Hotel, we head down to Warung Totemo restaurant which was just a stone throw away. The food was delicious and the portion very generous. We ordered the famous Bali satay and some salad. The satay was good but cannot beat our Malaysian satay in my opinion.


The next morning we had our delicious breakfast at the hotel. You can choose either a set of American breakfast or Asian Breakfast. Asian is nasi goreng and American is the usual bacon and eggs.


In the morning the view of the hotel surrounding was better than at night. I love the old school surrounding which gave me that warm feeling of home.



After our breakfast we made a quick walk to Kuta Beach which is not too far away from the hotel. We did not stay long. Just a quick photo to show the folks back home that we were there at the all famous Kuta beach then we headed back to our hotel to meet our driver cum tour guide.


At 8:30 am our driver cum tour guide was already waiting for us. His name is Made. You can click his website HERE. I found him online and considered his pricing the lowest among all. Made turn out to be the most humble, helpful and honest tour guide ever. He threw in unexpected stops along the way which was not even in the itinerary. He comes highly recommended and do not hesitate to book him anytime.

Our first stop was to watch the Barong and kris dance. You will have to pay an entrance fee but I thought the show was well worth it.


Handcraft all along the way up. So many variety. If you love handicraft then you can spend days trying to cover all.


Our second stop for the day was a rice field terrace at Tegalalang Rice Terrace, Ubud. Rice terrace is not uncommon from where I came from but this one was nice. It had a peaceful quality to it. 



We headed further up the mountain until we reached a stretch of road where restaurants dotted the roadside. Made picked out Sari Restaurant for us and told us to grab a seat by the balcony which faces the volcano. They served buffet here so we got to taste all types of Bali and Java dishes.



Heading down we went to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, Ubud. During our Bali holiday planning my hubby was not so keen to come here as we also have monkeys back home. However, we did not regret coming to this sanctuary. The stone cravings and the temple itself is so amazing and its interesting to see how monkeys are regarded as sacred here.



We mistook the monkey grave which turn out to be human according to one of the caretaker there. Now why is there a human grave in a monkey conservation compound? Duh.


We were way ahead of time so we stopped by at the Udud market to have a look see. We did not buy much but there were many unique crafts there. We did end up buying some small size penis keychains. :)


Feeling hot after our stroll at the market, we stopped by for some gelato ice cream and watched kids flesh feeding some fishes.


In the evening we took a stroll down a few stretch of road to find Kori restaurant. Its bali style fine dinning. I loved it. The ambience and decor makes a good end to our first day in Bali.


After our very filling dinner, we continued to walk along the narrow streets of Bali. We ended up at Hard Rock for some dessert and music before we headed back tired but happy.


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