Sunday, July 31, 2011

Bali trip - Day 3(03/06/2011)

Today we dint have much planned and got up late . Vacations are supposed to be relaxing right ?

We decided to do some shopping so we headed out straight to markets which was very near our hotel .On the way to market we went to legion beach . The waves seems big and I suppose it's a very famous spot for surfing .

As you walk down the street you will find many shops on both side of lane . Some of them sell very good accessories .

This is for the girls ....there was one shop which had nothing but belts ,earrings and bangles .It looked like a ancient cave filled with jewellery bc most of the items at the end of the shop were dusty but nevertheless a huge collection . I added below to my belt collection .

Then there were rows of shops selling bintang (beer ) t-shirts .Naveen decided to buy one and flaunt it too !!!

We had our lunch at this award winning Thai restaurant . Sounds strange ... when we went to Phuket we dint bother to taste Thai food and now in some other country we end up eating Thai ,all thanks to my discovery of amazing Thai food .

We boarded the plane at 5 and bid good bye to Amazing Bali in a hope to go back again to this place.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bali trip - Day 2(02/06/2011)

Today we decided to hire a car for whole day trip . The hotels will usually arrange for transport , if not there are many options available outside . Since the main income comes from tourism, every street here will have a small shop which will offer you diff tour packages .

Just keep in mind to compare prices in atleast two shops before deciding the final pick .We wanted to visited Kintamani mountains but it was all the way up in the north so we settled for south bali trip instead.

The first thing we saw was Barong dance. There is an entrance fee of 70000 rp(SGD 12) .And this dance I guess is arranged specially for tourist everday. The stage is small and we were given a pamphlet which describes the theme of the act .

Basically the act is divided into parts and the story is ... Ahh .., even I couldn't get it . But the theme is good versus evil I guess . Even if you follow the storyline, somewhere in between you are sure to loose the track . I wouldn't rate the show very high , it's just designed to give you a glimpse of Balinese culture .

The next stop is Batik center, it's basically a shop which sells batik souvenirs and outside the shop there will be some people who display us actually how the work is done .

It's comparable to kalamkari that can be found in India .I have to say the craftsmanship of Balinese people is admirable .

You can find many shops selling stone carved statues everywhere in Bali .

Our next stop was Bali bird park . The entrance fee is around SGD 30 . Now you cannot compare it with Singapore bird park which is way too huge and has many variety of birds for the same price . But the bird park in here is pretty decent and clean.

We roamed around for one hour and decided to have out lunch here .

The Nasi padang ( Indonesian fried rice ) was the best that I have tasted in Bali.

After lunch we stopped at Taman Ayun Temple.This is the Royal Temple of Mengwi Empire which literally translates as "beautiful garden.The temple is closed for tourist and we heard that the ceremony takes place here only twice a year which can last for few days.

I could not find any god statue in any of the temples that I have seen in Bali.Basically tourists are not allowed inside temples. The only statue that can be found everywhere in bali is something like below

Almost 90% of people here are Hindus. But the Hinduism is bit different here. Being a hindu myself I could not relate to their rituals. The temple constitutes rows of thatched roofs like below . Again this kind of structure is very common in Bali temples .

We then stopped by Monkey forest . The forest is not big but definitely has lots of monkeys , 150 to be precise .

As soon as we entered the gate there were rows of shops ,a lady accompanied us to show the monkeys . When you enter the main garden you will find monkeys everywhere so it's better to be with a local guide , even if you don't have, one of the shopkeepers will guide you .

But these monkeys were surprisingly well behaved ,they seemed more calm than those outrageous monkeys in uluwatu !!!!

We bought some peanuts and the lady helped us give them to the monkeys . Some of them even climb on naveen's shoulders . Even I gave them peanuts and they were very gentle .

Monkey forest is solely created for tourist , it's not their natural habitat . How do I know this ??? Well the lady told us they take care of monkeys and they feed them too ,daily thrice .There is no food available anywhere so it makes sense that monkeys stay here because they get fed and they get fed because tourist visit them . We even got to see the king ,the king is the biggest and you can easily recognize him .Our guide told us that there are two groups if monkeys and they often keep fighting .

After we finished our monkey tour the lady insisted that we visit her shop . She accompanied us to the so called forest so obviously she will expect something from us .

But she was very sweet and we were more then willing to visit her shop . Almost all the shops here sell crafts and wooden carved statues . We took the below statue of ram and Sita . I love the intricate details.

The last stop was very anticipated Tanah Lot temple
Before the temple there are rows and rows of shops . It almost looked like a mini market and the place is crowded , it seems to be favorite among localities and tourist alike .

This is beautiful and heavenly location . The temple formed completely of stones stands proudly on the rocks beside the sea shore . Like all the other temples we visited, this one was also closed .

But the surroundings view is amazing . And ofcourse the best time to come here is during sunset . I dint realize it but almost all the pic I took here turned out to be amazing .

The way back hotel again took quite a long tine because of traffic .

This time around we had dinner at a different place and were surprised to see that the hotel wad playing a movie ... So we watched the movie and finished the dinner by 11 .

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bali trip - Day 1(01/06/2011)

Bali is considered to be the romantic getaway for couples so we decided to spend our anniversary in Bali.
We booked the tickets around one month back through Garuda Indonesia. Tickets to bali are always costly,it was around SGD 400/person. This time around we spent some time doing some research about the places that we wanted to visit.

Bali offers a huge variety of places depending on your interest. So there is everything for everyone here.We reached Changi airport at 7 in the morning. I hate getting up early in morning during such traveling schedules. I did rather sleep and miss the flight.Well this feeling lasts only till I reach the destination !!!

Rows of ships waiting near Singapore port .

The flight to Bali took around 2 hrs. Around 15 min from landing we spotted this awesome mountains. As you can see they pierce straight through the clouds.

I am not sure which mountains are these but as seen from the map these are mountains in the north of Bali.

We arrived at Deepansar airport at around 11.On arrival visa can be obtained in Bali for SGD 30 /person.It took us 30 minutes to reach our hotel "Champlug mas hotel" . The hotel is conveniently situated just a walking distance from Legion beach.But we were thoroughly disappointed when we arrived here. The hotel had a construction going on in the new wing so the old wing was completely neglected,the reception lobby was dusty.

Although the hotel looked appeasing as a budget hotel but turned out to be
the worst hotel we have ever stayed.That's the risk you take while booking a budget hotel (I will be soon writing an article on traveling on budget).

Bad hotel experience aside let me directly get straight into our little trip to Bali.

Bali's official language is Malay . Well we were surprised to find that they speak the same language as spoken in Malaysia.Bali is called "city of Gods" . You will realize this once you take a tour of the city. Almost every street and house has a stone structure of god .Offerings like below can be found scattered at various places like shops,even restaurant tables,near god statue ..

Our first destination was Uluwatu Temple. We left hotel at 4 by transport arranged by hotel ,it costs us 180,000 rp(SGD 25 ) for a half day trip.

The streets in Bali are adorned with small temples,huge symbolic structures and ofcourse traffic.

The streets are small and our driver was so frustrated ,he kept on telling us traffic has become bad in Bali now. It was bad indeed- Slow moving traffic plus the heat. It dint bother us much because our surrounding was new.

There is a very small entrance( SGD 50 cents) fee for the temple. As soon as we started walking past the long path which leads to the temple we were greeted by none other than monkeys, that too very aggressive ones. They kept on snatching things from people.So its advised to leave any bright colored stuff like accessories , specs ,hairbands at home.

Monkey eating chocolate.

We moved along with the crowd as we dint wanted to be targeted by the monkeys .The temple is located on a cliff but we dint go till there as it would have been quite a long walk and it's hard to locate the temple that far. We were actually searching the temple .

The huge sea waves hitting the cliff bottom , the naughty monkeys waiting to snatch things from you , the small temple dome at the edge of cliff , huge crowds - these are some of the sights that you will find here .

Some pictures of sunset

Lastly how can the visit be complete without any of your things being snatched by monkeys . My hairband was pulled by one and Naveen's specs was swiftly removed by another and we had almost lost hope of getting back the specs when a man who was standing there feeding the monkeys made the monkey drop the specs by throwing food at it .

That's my hairband in the monkey's hand !!!!!!!!!

He ofcourse expected us to give him some money in return of the specs but I guess was bit hesitant to ask .We offered him 5000( around SGD 1 ) but he said he wanted 10000 . You sometimes start wondering whether these monkeys are being trained because they get food in return of the snatched items .But we might be wrong also . Maybe he was just a gentleman who helped us . We will never know.

The drive back to hotel took two hours because of the now famous traffic in Bali .

We ended day one with a nice heavy meal .