We hired a friendly local driver, Pak Karya beforehand for about RP 1,500,000. I wouldn't call him a tour guide because we choose the places we want to go ourselves and he kindly plan them for us. Honestly, I use KampungBoyCityGirl blog as my guide - mostly.
We got this free ticket from AirAsia promotion sometime last year, well exclude those service charges of course but still cheap though. Well like many typical AirAsia story my flight got delayed an hour and we were greeted with a little inappropriate advert when we got onto the flight.
I wouldn't consider the day when we arrived Day 1 because it was already 9.30 at night and there isn't much activity we could do. Even then we manage to check out street across Kuta before we check into Tune Hotel and it is happening to be honest, pretty much like Batu Ferringhi on ecstasy. There isn't much to talk about the hotel, but I manage to grab a can of Bintang. And mind you, it taste better than any beer available in Malaysia. In fact, I like it so much that I even bought a T-shirt with their logo on it.
We were greeted by traditional Balinese dance, Tarian Barong narrating the eternal fight between good and evil. It started at 9am and lasted for an hour. It is entertaining and interesting although I may find it a little difficult to understand if it wasn't because of the guide they gave us.
After the dance, we off straight to Mount Batur in Kintamani. On the way, we took a detour to have a look at Denpasar, the capital of Bali. I have to be honest, before I came to Bali, I thought it is an over developed island with architecture which are very similar to our Malaysian ones - I was wrong. Almost every building, government building, offices, police station and every house are decorated with fine Balinese hand carving. Yes, EVERY HOUSE. And I ask the driver how could they afford such expensive design. He told me it is their custom to have such exotic architecture for their home and it used to be exclusive for those who are "berpunya" which mean "kaya" in Malaysian. But now they can "afford their dream home with help of Banks". Hmm....Nevertheless, it is an interesting culture. I was also told that every house in Bali has a "little temple".
Along the way, we stopped at a Batik factory/shop and manage to get few Batik made purse/bag (I still find it difficult to differentiate a purse and a bag).
We had our buffet lunch on Mount Batur. The food is ordinary but the sight...oohh....
We head to coffee plantation where I get the chance to taste the famous Balinese coffee (FOC) and Kopi Luwak (RP30,000). If you wonder what kopi Luwak is, it is the most expensive coffee in the world especially the wild ones. Wild? Yea, wild. Because the beans is processed via Luwak's (a kind of cat) "digestion" system. The coffee smells really really nice better than any beans I could get from Starbucks - maybe because of the "extra ingredient".
We had our dinner at Bebek Bengil (Dirty Duck). We ordered the "chiu pai" Bebek Bengil and pork ribs. Mind you, the pork ribs is the best I've ever tasted. The tenderness and the taste is unimaginable. Excellent. Guess what, it isn't even expensive, both are below RP60,000 each.
We checked in into Greenfield Bungalow, Ubud. I have to say, this is the most satisfying stay in Bali and I plan to stay here the next trip. This time Tegar Sari then Greenfield. Prices are reasonable, staff are friendly and the rooms are cleaned. We stay in Bale Bunga the first night and Bale Adat the second. Bale Adat is WAY WAY too huge for two person.
We start our tour by visiting Taman Ayun, a place where one of the Balinese king have his leisure in the olden days. We got off to Bedugul after. It is a one and a half hour drive and I wasn't bored thanks to the amazing architecture and scenery all along the way to the mountain. The aren't much historical value to the temple in Bedugul. It was build there because it is a nice place to rest.
We are then off to Tanah Lot where there is a temple build on the sea. According to Pak Karya, this is the first temple build before Hinduism reaches the island. So this is where it all started. We are suppose to watch the sunset in Tanah Lot but we have our spa appointment at 6pm. Nevertheless, it was a beautiful sight to behold.
The spa we had in Verona Spa is pretty good and reasonably priced if not cheap. We had Lulur which cost RP150000 each with 75 minutes of massage, body scrub and flower bath. It is a private room but it is open facing the paddy field. If I had knew this, I would have plan to have this spa in the broad daylight although I might want to pray that no one is actually working on the field that time.
To be continue....