A new photo gallery, and our Bali photos are up!tsewei | June 4, 2009
It’s been over a month and we’ve finally sorted out the new gallery for the blog, and laboured through the 1000 photos that we took on our trip to Bali in early May. They’re all up so click here to view them!
Bali was really more of a getaway-from-it-all type of holiday. We just wanted somewhere to chill out, and the right opportunity came along when we found cheap tickets on Air Asia. I didn’t have much time to research and plan our trip — even on our flight over, I was still reading about the island from an old 2005 travel guide I found at Bedok Library — but it wasn’t too hard to fill up our itenerary because there’s actually quite a lot to do there!
Bali is a rather big island, so we decided to focus on Ubud, which turned out to be a truly enchanting place. We loved our stay at Tegal Sari Accomodation, where we got huge villas to stay in for real cheap (about $S90 for a big 2-storey duplex). Nestled amid paddy fields, it was calm and serene, just the sort of place you need to empty out your mind and completely relax. The staff was also super helpful, offering to deliver our bags and put it in our rooms before we even checked in all because we wanted to go eat babi guling at Ibu Oka before it closes. They also drove us everywhere for a small fee, recommended things to do and helped us with our dinner reservations at restaurants.
Beyond our villas, there was much to do:
- Pigging out, trying new food. We had all our targets down before we even arrived. First stop – Babi Guling (suckling pig) at Ibu Oka at central Ubud. We also made reservations for dinner at Mozaic, a lovely restaurant set in a tropical garden that Au Yong had been wanting to try for a while. We also tried Bebek Betutu (smoked duck), another local specialty, at another popular place called Dirty Duck at central Ubud.
- Day trip to the beach. Went to Kuta – too many touts, and no local food to eat whatsoever. The beach and the waves were nice, but it was too touristy. We went to Jimbaran beach in the late afternoon, watched fishermen coming and going at sea, and had freshly grilled seafood for dinner along the beach while watching the waves crash upon the shore and the sun set behind a huge tuff of cloud.
- Nature walk amidst paddy fields and fruit trees, followed by spa. It was meant to be a walk, but it turned out to be more of a trek. We also planted 2 trees on a hill somewhere, part of Tegal Sari’s conservation thingy. After 3 hours, our legs were like jello, and Au Yong had his first kiss from nature (leech bite). *wahaha* So it was a good thing we booked a 2.5-hour spa treatment in the afternoon (which was, btw, damn cheap. Only about S$25 per person!)
- Walking around town. Ubud may be the rustic part of Bali, but it is well-attuned to tourism and offers quite a relaxing shopping experience. Quirky little shops line the streets, offering artworks such as paintings, wood carvings, stone statues and local textile. The handiwork is pretty good quality, which is why it isn’t very cheap either. But the place makes for a good walk. We also passed by the Monkey Forest on our way back to Tegal Sari, but monkeys aren’t our thing.
- Cultural showcase. Part of Ubud’s way to draw in tourists is their nightly cultural dance performance. Bali has its own unique dances (Barong and Kecak), performed to mesmerising gamelan music. The best performances are all in Ubud. We went for one which featured an all-female gamelan musicians and children dancers at the Ubud Water Palace. While it would have been nicer if the spectators weren’t only tourists (no locals to be found except on stage), it was a fine show indeed – very captivating!
There was a lot more that I wanted to do – see the sunset at Uluwatu, spend more time on the beach, probably at Sanur, and visit the temple at Tanah Lot. But we just didn’t want to pack the itenerary and rush through everything. We’d rather enjoy everything at a relaxed pace, and make a trip again. Because we definitely will return to Bali – it’s hard not to after having enjoyed it so much.