Saturday, November 1, 2008

30 in Bali

Bali is beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeautiful! Thank you for your wonderful birthday wishes! Muaks! ~PO

Since I’m so backlogged with postings I have consolidated my entire Bali trip into this one post.

Initially, I planned this as an all-girls trip but all my girls backed out because apparently they either just got back from Phuket or Bangkok or had promised their boyfriends or husbands that they would do Bali with them, hence, just like any other weekend trips I have been taking in India, I went with two dudes. Madhu and Iqbal are people I’ve known since I was eight, lost touch and then reconnected recently. This also means that at some point in our lives, I was taller than them.

We split the trip into two locations; Seminyak and Ubud.

Hotels we stayed
It’s quite obvious that Bali is marketed to couples because I reserved rooms beforehand and wanted to add an extra bed but both hotels said it was against their policies and insisted we get another room for the 3rd adult guest. Eventually, they put us up in suites, which means more expensive but sickeningly sexy.

The Kayana in Seminyak

Our private garden and heated pool.


Bathroom and outdoor private heated pool, separated by a sliding door.

Warwick Ibah in Ubud

Our singles honeymoon suite

Outdoor shower.

Fun activities

1. Trekking in Ubud - There’s a path right behind the Ibah hotel that will lead you to a small temple and as you walk farther, you will get to a valley overlooking beautiful honeymoon suites on your left and miles and miles of lalang fields on your right. The locals know this hill as “bukit cinta” (love hill).

The hills are alive...

Lalang fields

2. White Water Rafting – Highly recommended. The rapids may look intimidating but this is so much fun! Along the 2.5 hours ride, you hardly have to peddle at all because the current is pretty strong. Towards the end of the ride, we had a four-meter free fall.

If you decide to do this, book directly with the rafting organizers and not through the hotel because with a bit of haggling and flirting, you should be able to get 50% discount. Madhu did for us.

This is the hike we have to take to get to our starting point.

We made a quick stop at a waterfall.

Intense rapids.

This woman climbed about 1000 steps balancing our deflated rafts on her head.

Stephanie, our raft-mate at the complimentary lunch that came after rafting.

Scenery on our way back to Ubud.

3. Surf in Kuta – If you have never surf before, this would be a good place to start. First of all, the water is nice and warm so you don’t have to rent or invest in a wet suit. Secondly, the water is shallow but the waves can go as high as 5 ft. At some point, someone’s surfboard hit my head but it was fine because I was surfing in Bali. The sunset in Kuta beach is very pretty.

Surfing at Kuta.

Sunset in Kuta beach.

4. Watch a show – any show. We went to a kecak dance call Fire, Trance and Monkey in Uluwatu.

5. Visit a temple – You are required to wear a sarong over your bottoms regardless if you have long pants or skirt on. We borrowed ours from the hotel.

6. Beach Massage – If an old lady asks if you want a massage while you are reading by the beach, say yes! This is one of the best massages I’ve had and being a massage whore, I have to say her strokes and strength was at least a hundred times better than the massages I've had at hotel spas. A 45-minutes full body massage costs US$6.

7. Clubbing in Seminyak – There’s a stretch of bars/clubs by Seminyak beach, which name escapes me but we heard this area is hopping and boy, were we disappointed. It was a Thursday night and I guess mid October wasn’t a peak season, I again find myself dancing in an enormous club with two drunk dudes. The advantage of this is that we get to club-hop without paying cover charge. We went to a lounge call Dejavu and Iqbal got hit on by a white man.

Absolutely must eat:

1. Dinner Mosaic in Ubud. The exec chef here used to work at French Laundry in . We had the Chef’s Surprise menu with wine pairing. The meal was out of this world and I was stuffed and trashed by the end of it.

2. Kudeta in Seminyak. The food is delicious and desserts were scrumptious! When you are done with dinner, head to the bar and chill out with a glass of flavored mojitos and watch moonlit Balinese waves.

Starters at Kudeta

Yummy watermelon vodka mojito

3. Babi Guling at Ibu Oka in Ubud. Mmmmmmmm… I can still taste the moist pork and crispy pig skin in my mouth. Get here by noon because we were told they sell out by 2pm and only open for lunch.

4. Nasi goreng anywhere. The one at Kayana hotel was super delicious maybe because we were pissed drunk and wanted a late night snack and the nasi goreng was super fragrant and flavorful.

5. Terang Bulan on the streets of Kota and Seminyak. This is an Indonesian delicacy and a walking heart attack. A similar pancake can be found in Malaysia with peanut, sugar and sweet corn filling call “Mang Chang Kueh” (literally translated “Frustrated Cake”). Terang Bulan is filled with sugar, chocolate rice and freshly grated cheddar cheese and if you ask for a “special” one, the chef will add about 5 large scoops of butter. We finished the medium-sized pancake in one sitting accompanied by a bottle of Moet at midnight.

6. Bebek Bengkel in Ubud. This place has yummy Balinese food but their specialty is deep-fried duck. I like this place because you are surrounded by paddy fields, so try to go before sunset and don’t forget to bring mosquito repellent spray.

1. Balinese painting – Iqbal and I were trekking in Ubud and we stumbled upon a random painter. Turned out that his youngest daughter has the same birth date as I do so I bought a couple of paintings from him.

2. Balinese Furniture – On our way from Seminyak to Ubud, we passed by at least a hundred wholesale furniture stores and most of them very affordable. The question is how to ship it home (in my case, wasn’t sure whether to ship it to NYC or to KL), so I didn’t get any, yet.
P/S: If you tell the salesperson to ship it to a foreign country, they can make the cost appear lower for the customs.

After furniture-shopping, we drove for another 30 minutes and stopped at a jewelry store and I suddenly realized I had left my precious D40 camera in one of the furniture store. Without wasting any time, our super duper driver I Gede Suartana called up his friend, borrowed his motorcycle and rode it back to the furniture store (in heavy traffic, motorcycles is faster than cars). I just had to give him a big tip.

Our driver I Gede Suartana (His handphone #081 338 619 467)

I love everything Bali.

Thank you Oi Yen and Nick for excellent restaurant recommendations and Madhu and Iqbal for being 30 and single.

More Bali pictures


Anonymous said...

:) i cant wait to see pics!!!

magik_ink said...

wow ... a super blog post. happy 30th!

~PO~ said...

Thank you, thank you...