Owesome Bali! (Part 2.1: Sunsets, Swim Spots, Sights)

Excuse the forced alliteration, but hey! It works right?

Before I forget, this is our itinerary for the four-day getaway.

Day 1: Arrival, Nusa Dua
Day 2: Stay in hotel
Day 3: Ubud, Kintamani
Day 4: Taman Ayun, Tanah Lot
Day 0: Going home

For this part, let me breakdown all the places we went to, including our hotel.

Aidel arrived a little past midnight on 5 August.  Boy, were we relieved. We originally wanted to pick her up, but because of the round trip, the fare would cost twice as much. Good thing Dodi advised us how to direct her to the airport taxis. He insisted that those taxis are far more secure and affordable than the ones scouting right by the pickup zone.

Most of our time was spent by the amazing pool of our hotel, Terrace Hotel at Kuta. Located perpendicular to the popular Legian Street, this quaint hotel boasts of its hospitality, pristine amenities and affordable price.

Hotel Terrace 1

We originally intended to stay at a hostel for a more affordable trip. However, because of our mission to include relaxation and leisure in this trip, this hotel won hands down. It is also quite conveniently five minutes away from the famed Kuta Beach.

Hotel Terrace 4

Yes, their restaurant is adjacent to the pool and it is brilliant. After eating, you want to jump right in right away.

Our rooms were on the second floor. While this is a photo from the hotel's Facebook page, trust us when we say it looks exactly like this in real life.

Our rooms were on the second floor. While this is a photo from the hotel’s Facebook page, trust us when we say it looks exactly like this in real life.

Finally complete!

Finally complete!  Well, this is Day 2.  So there.

This is the hotel welcome area. They give you a welcome drink upon checkin and they have the nicest staff on board. (Photo from Facebook)

This is the hotel welcome area. They give you a welcome drink upon checkin and they have the nicest staff on board. (Photo from Facebook)

And this is why they call it Hotel Terrace.

And this is why they call it Hotel Terrace.

To know more about Terrace Hotel at Kuta, visit their website at www.terraceatkuta.com.

 

Tourist Spot 1: Dreamland, Nusa Dua

Dodi took us here early to avoid the throng of Chinese tourists that usually come around 11 in the morning. I have to first admit that I am not a beach person. I survived a good part of the last decade not being anywhere near a beach, and I’m sure I didn’t miss much. That was until I saw this:

Dreamland 1

There was something serene and scary about the waves in Nusa Dua that day. Of course, at the time, our mood was still quite somber, not having Aidel around. But this beautiful beach was given the perfect throne. In spite of the aging hotel and the seemingly perilous descent to the shore, the view was just breathtaking.

Dreamland has the most comfy lounge chairs.

Dreamland has the most comfy lounge chairs.

With an exchange rate of US$1:IDR13,400, we're millionaires in Bali. But then, everything starts at IDR10,000.

With an exchange rate of US$1:IDR13,400, we’re millionaires in Bali. But then, everything starts at IDR10,000.

This has to be the most expensive bottle of water we've ever had. This is also one of the prettiest. IDR35,000. You do the math.

This has to be the most expensive bottle of water we’ve ever had. This is also one of the prettiest. IDR35,000. You do the math.

Or maybe I’m just exaggerating. I don’t know really. But for someone who has not really fancied the beach, this was a very good introduction to what Bali has to offer.

 

Tourist Spot 2: Uluwatu Temple

One of the things that Dodi told us when we got to Uluwatu was to remove everything that can be snatched or grabbed, particularly those that are shiny like gems and plastic. After tucking in our sunglasses and watches, we trekked into the temple.

Hello, co-tourists. Photobombing today eh?

Hello, co-tourists. Photobombing today eh?

Upon paying the entrance fee, they will give you a mini sarong to cover your legs. While this is one of the more famous tourist spots, it is still a temple. We got lucky because there was a ceremony during our visit. Speaking with the locals, we found out that the ceremony is a celebration for the bountiful harvest they had the past full moon.

Us in our cutesy purple barong. We didn't get much assistance putting it on. We think they must have thought we're locals. No, we're not.

Us in our cutesy purple barong. We didn’t get much assistance putting it on. We think they must have thought we’re locals. No, we’re not.

It was oddly serene, even though the traffic of people was continuous. I still had a hard time grasping the offerings to the monkeys but hey! Tradition is tradition, and four days is hardly time to fully appreciate and comprehend them.

The beautiful cliffs of Uluwatu

The beautiful cliffs of Uluwatu

Oh look! So much room for activities!

Oh look! So much room for activities!

There was a steady stream of people coming to worship and offer at the Temple. Tourists were not allowed inside, but of course, some did not even take notice.

There was a steady stream of people coming to worship and offer at the Temple. Tourists were not allowed inside, but of course, some did not even take notice.

There are so many offerings to the monkeys. Or the gods. The local we spoke to wasn't that well versed in English, but he gave us a good idea why that day was ceremony day.

There are so many offerings to the monkeys. Or the gods. The local we spoke to wasn’t that well versed in English, but he gave us a good idea why that day was ceremony day.

The wonderfully accommodating locals.  <3

The wonderfully accommodating locals. <3

While we didn’t see any monkeys at the temple – apparently, they’re shy types when there are huge throngs of people – we did see a good number at the parking lot, where it was less crowded. One of them looked as big as a dog, while another tried to grab Marga’s bejeweled slipper. Talk about a close encounter!

He just walked up to this platform and started eating his sweet potatoes. Eh. Normal day.

He just walked up to this platform and started eating his sweet potatoes. Eh. Normal day.

The moment right before this little rascal grabbed Marga's slipper. You can tell he was on a mission.

The moment right before this little rascal grabbed Marga’s slipper. You can tell he was on a mission.

You can't not go to Uluwatu. You will miss this view.

You can’t not go to Uluwatu. You will miss this view.

 

Tourist Spot 3: Jinbaran Bay

After checking in the hotel, Dodi took us to Jinbaran Bay. He said, we should celebrate our first day on the island in spite of being incomplete. He reserved a table for us at his favorite restaurant, front and center to the view of Jinbaran Bay’s sunset.

The sun was behind us. We were right by the beach.

The sun was behind us. We were right by the beach.

This island is just so full of culture. While waiting for our food to arrive, a ceremony was being held. It was odd at first, as we were not really used to prayer and dance being part of a sunset. At the same time, it was enchanting. The locals gave their offerings to the sea in the end.

Each ceremony comes with music and dance.

Each ceremony comes with music and dance.

Marga found the sweetest corn on the beach! You can choose between butter garlic and spicy butter. Of course, I chose spicy butter.

Marga found the sweetest corn on the beach! You can choose between butter garlic and spicy butter. Of course, I chose spicy butter.

Now this is a better shot. It was kind of windy.

Now this is a better shot. It was kind of windy.

Hoy, Aidel, where are you na? Hahahaha.

Hoy, Aidel, where are you na? Hahahaha.

While I enjoyed our time by this beach, I still can’t help but compare the sunset to our very own in Boracay. I think the Jinbaran sunset was just underwhelming because of the presence of volcanic ashes on the horizon, so we never really saw the sun dip in the pool. True enough, the next day, the airport closed because of those ashes.

Jinbaran Bay 5

It was a great way to end the first day. When we got to the hotel, we received the good news that Aidel is arriving slightly past midnight. It was such a relief; we can enjoy Bali even more, now that we’re complete.

I hope you stay tuned for more Owesome Bali updates.  Are you on your way to Bali too?  And if not, when do you plan to go? :)  See you for the next part!

Owesome Bali! (Part 1: Getting Here, There, and Everywhere)

This is quite a delayed post but really, it is worth writing about because I don’t think we’ve ever had an event where each moment in itself is memorable.

We booked our flights to Bali, Indonesia at last year’s Cebu Pacific seat sale. At roughly PHP 24,000 (USD 530 at PHP45:USD1), Marga, Ate Ja, Aidel and I jetted off to Bali for five days and four nights last August 4-8.

Oh wait. We didn’t all get to go. Hahaha.

First hurdle: Aidel’s passport was less than six (6) months valid.

IMG_4009

As my new sister-in-law, the fact that Aidel didn’t get to fly with us is quite stressful. Not only did we plan this trip for the four of us, but among us, she was the most excited. It was such a pain when, after paying our travel taxes, I saw her still talking to the check in counter lady. Apparently, they won’t let her fly because of her passport validity.

Important note to traveler: read the fine print. The Cebu Pacific staff was very kind in explaining how the airline will be fined (and herself, in turn) should Aidel be given an airport-to-airport transfer. Your passport must at least be valid for six months at the time of travel. It should have been elementary for us to check the terms, but eh. We were too psyched for the entire trip to even notice.

Long story short, after a day-long hurdle shuttling back and forth to various DFA offices, she was able to have her passport stamped for a year-long extension just in time to catch the next flight out to Bali that same evening. We are lucky like that.

So, Marga, Ate Ja and I landed in beautiful Bali and already we’re quite blown away by the state of its international airport. Located in the city of Denpasar, Ngurah Rai International Airport is just brimming with Indonesian culture. It was soooo clean too! I swear, we could almost see our faces on the floor and the walls. At the exit gate, we were greeted by a huge stone deity.

https://instagram.com/p/5_nl1tNlmOruTY6H_yAZWuVriw9TuOEA7gSzM0/
It made us, once again, almost infuriated that our own airport is in a state of disarray. Why can’t the powers that be just move everything and anything to have a welcome platform as representative of our culture much like this? Seriously. As an ASEAN neighbor, we truly pale in comparison to Indonesia. And I’m just speaking of Indonesia alone.

Anyway, we headed for the pickup zone where our driver, Made Dodi, is waiting for us. After changing our dollars to rupiah, Dodi immediately assisted us and handled our luggage with ease.

https://instagram.com/p/5_n2RstlmavZnJeUmli4uCnAJA_GSX42C7lGc0/
While buses and taxis are available on the island, we have all decided for this trip to be a budget-relaxation-leisure trip. Transportation was the last thing we wanted to worry about so we’ve decided to hire a private driver instead. It was worth every penny spent.

Dodi is the highlight of this trip. After perusing Trip Advisor for months, I emailed him a couple of days before our arrival and bam! He replies within minutes, asking for our flight details and basically arranging our airport pickup time. He was prompt, punctual and absolutely the best of Bali. Nothing else would come close.

The thing with Dodi is, he makes sure your time is well spent. On our first day, we were still getting over the shock of not having Aidel with us, so Dodi just took us to a quick tour of the Nusa Dua beaches. He then took us to lunch and then to the hotel for check in. He must have sensed our stunned silence because he just proceeded to book us a table at Jinbaran Bay, overlooking the sunset, for our seafood dinner marking our first day on the island.

Dodi is filled with stories and tips. Each tourist spot is quite far from each other, so he makes sure each area trip is maximized. His English is very good; I think he learned from his tourists too, because he uses a lot of jargons already. He is kind and very sweet. When we craved for dessert (because Balinese cuisine doesn’t really involve sugary treats), he surprised us with jackfruit fritters. The sweetest thing really! We were just completely blown away.

One thing that we will never forget was when, during our Thursday tour, Marga asked if Dodi loves driving. Apparently, he has been touring guests for the last 15 years. To that question, he swiftly replied: “I love my job. Everything about my job. I love my job.” So it is not a sales tactic. His driving is not a means to an end. He truly enjoys what he does. You will never get the short end of the stick with Dodi. He loves Bali and he loves his job. It’s the perfect combination really.

To know more about Dodi’s tours, visit his website at www.madedodi.com. Bali will not be complete without Dodi.

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I know this post is amazingly late, given that our trip was at the beginning of August.  But please do stay tuned.  I have more to tell you about this beautiful Bali trip.