Monday, May 13, 2013

Itinerary: Bali, Indonesia

Travel Date: May 04-07, 2013

2013 May: Indonesia: Bali: Ngurah Rai International Airport

There is only one drop off point for Domestic and International for taxi cab from the city.  Don't take the porter service since you have to pay them. You have to walk a bit longer going to the International Check-in.  For those taking 5J 280 which is as early as 8:05am, you may want to see Rotiboy, Roti'O, Starbucks, Burger King for breakfast which are all on your way to the terminal-proper. 

Get inside the terminal. After the check-in counter process, proceed to the second floor.  Prepare 150,000Rp (600Php)/pax for the Passenger Service Charge (seems like Terminal Fee and Travel Tax in NAIA). Sticker will be pasted at the back of your boarding pass.

Pass by the validation counter so he can scan your sticker.  Fall in line on the Immigration counter; make sure that you have already filled-up the Departure Card.  After which, make sure that your passport and boarding pass has been stamped with the departure date.

From what I understand, it is hard or local banks in Manila are not accepting Rupiah, so better spend your excess money if you still have any.  Roam around the Duty Free area (check on cheaper watch, bags, clothes, batik).  Check books on sale at Periplus book store, you may want to buy a guide for your next destination.

City Collection: Bali, Indonesia

Added to my collection, I bought small city mugs for 200,000Rp.  (If I bought it on Starbucks near beach walk area, they are willing to give me a free coffee drink, how nice of them).

2013 May: Indonesia: Bali: Paroki St. Fransiskus Xaverius

St. Francis Xavier Church
Location: Jl Kartika Plaza, South Kuta

This Catholic Church in Kuta, also known as FX or St. Francis Xavier Church, is easy to find by cab.  There is one English mass for the week, which is scheduled on Sundays 6pm.

Travel Date: May 06, 2013

Sunday, May 12, 2013

2013 May: Indonesia: What Bali has to offer?

Bali has better cityhood than Boracay, but Stations 1, 2, 3 has better sand than Kuta-Legian-Seminyak.

Multitude fast motorcycles, flock of Blue Bird taxi cabs, few horse rides (known in Philippines as "kalesa") are what to expect in Kuta-Legian area.  The government has applied one-way street system, so taking cabs would mean longer travel before you reach your destination.  But don't worry fares in Bali is not as expensive as we have in Manila.  Their flat rate is just 5,000Rp (20Php, 2013), and their meter is not that high.  You might be stuck in traffic for more than 15 minutes, paying less than 25,000Rp (100Php, 2013).

In taking the road to Ubud, you'll recognize how green the island is.   Flower like bougainvillea and trees like Indian tree is all over aisle.   Going further, there are tall old trees on the both sides of the road, while passing by rice fields and traditional houses.

Their intersections and rotundas are with huge sculptures of their gods and goddesses.

2013 May: Indonesia: Bali's Makam and Restorants

More than the beach, Bali is a food paradise.  Not just good tasty food, but it is affordable (compared to Manila) with an unexpected ambiance and appearance.  Let me share to you our chow experience during our stay in Bali.

Crewey Fishing Tackle
Location: Poppies Lane 2 Gang Ronta No. 23 Kuta-Legian
Food: 8 out of 10
Value: Affordable (71,000Rp (290Php))
Atmosphere: 7 out of 10
Orders: Mie Goreng (fried noodles), chicken sate

We saw this restaurant while going to beach walk area.  Very simple, no fuss about it, decent and affordable, but the food is very tasty for the hungry.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

2013 May: Indonesia: Bali: Pura Taman Ayun

Last destination we have for the day is Pura Taman Ayun.  Too bad that the temple ground is actually not open to the public.  There are only high platforms where the tourists can see the featured structure inside the gates.

Pura Taman Ayun (Mengwi Water Temple) - This very pleasing temple was built in 1634 by the King of Mengwi as his family temple. The terraced courtyards of the temple are set in very well maintained grounds, surrounded by man-made waterways and entered over a bridge. Mengwi is about 8km east from the town of Tabanan. []

2013 May: Indonesia: Bali: Bali Botanic Garden

Bali Botanic Garden is a place for research, conservation, education and recreation. It provides a place where you can relax in beautiful and peaceful surroundings while learning about the use of plants in the daily lives of Balinese people as well as many interesting tropical rainforest plants and birdlife. []

We decided to walk around the area, instead of driving along the way.  It may be tiring but I decided to grab the opportunity that I can take photos of the area.

The aisle includes different species of plants and flowers.  Plus, statues of characters from Ramayana.

The Ramayana, is one of the great epics of India and Nepal, consists of 24,000 verses in seven books and 500, and tells the story of Rama (an avatar of the Hindu Supreme-God Vishnu), whose wife Sita is abducted by the king of Sri Lanka, Ravan. Thematically, the Ramayana explores human values and the concept of dharma. []

2013 May: Indonesia: Bali: Ulun Danu Beratan

Next stop, it took us around less than 2 hours before we reach Ulun Danu Beratan from Ubud.  I’m aware there are mountains in the area, but I did not know that the lake is actually at the top of the mountain.  Think of it as Baguio, we drove by the mountain side until we went higher and higher.  When we get out of the car, it is already windy and cold.  Bad that it is cloudy, cause it is giving a sad theme on the photos.    

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, or Pura Bratan, is a major Shivaite and water temple on Bali.  The temple complex is located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. Water temples serve the entire region in the outflow area; downstream there are many smaller water temples that are specific to each irrigation association.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

2013 May: Indonesia: Bali: Tirta Empul

After considering a list of agencies, I booked for rockybalitours because he is the only tour guide who would agree on my itinerary.  His friend Agung picked us up at the hotel as early as 8am.  

It took us around 1.5 hrs to reach our first stop (from Legian).  

Tirta Empul Temple (Indonesian: Pura Tirta Empul) is a Hindu temple in the middle of Bali Island, Indonesia, famous for its holy water where Hindu Bali people go for purification. [Reference]

This is also one of the featured destinations of Samantha Brown's Bali.  The same as one of Kris' and Zsa Zsa's destination too.

Entrance fee for an adult is 15,000Rp (60Php, 2013).  We roam around the area on our own.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Indonesia: Bali: The ONE Legian Hotel (The 101 Legian)

Travel Date: May 4-7, 2013

Bali (Denpasar), Cebu Pacific’s 20th international destination which debut last March 2013.

Before, most of the Filipino travelers would still go to Jakarta, Malaysia or Singapore first. Then take a connecting flight to Ngurah Rai International Airport to reach Bali.  Now you can reach Bali with direct flight from Manila, I bought this ticket (May 2013) last February 2013 during the online sale on behalf of the 20th Traveland Tour Expo. (Base Fare + Fuel Surcharge of 2671.50Php/way)

Blame it to Memories of Eat Pray Love?
Around 2004, Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) brought “Something Happened in Bali”, which was shown in abs-cbn (local channel in the Philippines) as “Memories of Bali”.  The first and last episodes of the series have done justice in promoting Bali as a tourist destination.

In 2010, Elizabeth Gilbert’s book “Eat, Pray, Love” has become more popular after Julia Robert gave life to it on film.  A story about a woman looking for herself and found love in Bali, after which meeting Ketut Liyer became a popular attraction in Ubud, Bali.

“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. 
You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes 
even travel around the world looking for it.”

“Smile with face, smile with mind, and good energy 
will come to you and clean away dirty energy.” 
- Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

Where to stay?
Most of my readings, travelers normally take half of their trip in Ubud (in the middle of the green fields to meet Ketut Liyer).  Then, on the second half, they stay by the beach.  Since I've been to the Philippine pride Banaue Rice Terraces, Bontoc, and Sagada, I decided to skip staying in Ubud.

In the beach area, after reading different blogs and trip reports, I would decide to stay on Seminyak area, posh and villa types of accommodation are offered there.  But after seeing and experiencing the area, I would love to stay in Kuta-Legian area, preferably near Jl. Raya Kuta (Beach Walk mall near Jl. Poppies II), Kuta Square, Kuta Center, and Discovery Kartika Plaza.

My choice is not bad at all, The 101 Legian.  There is a superior room originally with room rate of 488USD (19,976.00Php)/night, but with the flash deal at agoda (early booking saver rate), I got it at 2855Php/night.  Book The ONE Legian Hotel, Bali in Agoda

Check-in Experience: Average - For me their check-in schedule time of 3:00pm is too late this is normally 12:00nn to others.  But since there is no other choice and so as to make the time useful, we rested for a while at their lobby overlooking Jl. Raya, then we left our luggage at their Safety Room, used their very stylish washroom and finally left for the initial street walk at Legian.