Sunday, February 24, 2008

A long post about "Bali in 3.5 days..."

After weeks of planning and excitement, I finally landed in Bali, safely. It was 8pm local time and the queue at the immigration counter was horrendously long and I had to wait 45 minutes for my turn, in the airport with only 1 queue for foreigners. And no air con. *sweat* Clearly, that was not the best way to feel welcomed, but I was patient. I knew the best was yet to come. And I was right!

Getting around the foreign airport was not difficult, since the size is very much smaller than our own KLIA. Upon reaching the entrance, I saw the hotel bellboy with Saucer's and my names on a banner, looking for us. The ride to the hotel took us approximately 15 minutes, but the warm and bubbly Budi kept us company. However, great company and excitement aside, I was famished! Budi recommended a famous seafood restaurant in Jimbaran, Bali, that provided free transport from the hotel, to us. Yes, please! Anything to cure me of my starvation!

We reached the recommended restaurant, called Ganesha, which was located just by the seaside. How fabulous!
Candle lightCandle light

It was already 9.45pm when our food finally arrived, and I thanked God for saving me from hunger. *LOL* Ganesha was not exactly cheap but the seafood was definitely fresh!
Ganesha menu

I especially loved the humongous grouper (2kg!) that was grilled deliciously. The fish was indeed too huge for only 2 persons, but it was the smallest available fish that night, since we went there late. We stuffed ourselves silly with the fleshy fish. I swear to you, there was indeed one point that I told myself I wouldn't want to eat fish for the next one month. But that vow only lasted me barely one day :P
Ganesha, Jimbaran - Grouper 2kg
2kg grouper
Ganesha, Jimbaran - Grouper 2kg
Look at how each piece of fish comes off as a slice! And oh by the way, the 2 kg fish only cost RM66. Isn't that cheap?

Another dish we ordered was the King prawns. In my humble opinion, this dish was rather costly and shouldn't have been ordered. The prawns were succulent all right, but very far from being 'king', if you know what I mean. The sizes were only slightly larger than the normal prawns that you would find in a plate of Char Kuey Teow, go figure.
King prawns
King prawns

The squids, however, were more delectable. They were also fresh and very chewy. And I've never tasted grilled squids before, so it was a rather new experience.
Ganesha, Jimbaran - squids
Grilled squids

The traditional Balinese sauces that came with the seafood:
Ganesha, Jimbaran - sauces

Complimentary Kangkung with any seafood dish ordered...

Fresh fruit juices that washed down food perfectly!
Fruit juices
Fresh fruit juices

Needless to say, that was indeed one satiating meal for me and I left Ganesha feeling contented. :)

The next morning, I took the free shuttle service from the hotel to the nearest town called Kuta. The sun was shining glaringly and the weather was extremely hot. However, that did not deter me from exploring Kuta with an umbrella! *grin* The streets of Kuta were regularly filled with peddlers approaching tourists with 'free' coupons or 'Scratch and Win cards'. The hotel driver warned us about this beforehand and told me not to be conned.

The town of Kuta was located just next to the sea. The beach was relatively deserted at my time of arrival, possibly due to the scorching heat. I know I wouldn't want to get burn under the sun. :P
The pictures of the following beach were taken just in front of the Discovery Shopping Mall in Kuta, also known as the central point of Kuta.
Kuta beachKuta beach
Kuta beachKuta beach

Discovery shopping mall Kuta
Witch @ Discovery Shopping Mall, Kuta

After admiring the beach for a good 15 minutes, I proceeded to explore the streets of Kuta instead. Coming from Malaysia is an advantage since I'm able to communicate with the locals using their mother tongue.

Busy streets of Kuta

According to the locals, there's a place called Joger in Kuta which housed many of Bali's T-shirts, souvenirs and handicrafts under one roof. The ambitious me managed to get there by WALKING under the HOT sun for 30 MINUTES. Impressive, huh?
Joger, Kuta
Joger entrance

Joger, Kuta
Joger, Kuta

Exterior of Joger

The selection of T-shirts in Joger was beyond words! In fact, there were so many that I did not know how to choose. I ended up not getting any because the queue was just too long at the cashier. I had another 1 hour or so to get back to Discovery, where my shuttle would pick me up by then.

Another 30 minutes of walk back to where I came from, and I was pretty much out of breath and sweating profusely. Then, I saw something which caught my eyes. Krispy Kreme doughnuts! Have I heard about its popular doughnuts ! I still had less than 30 minutes before my ride came, so I took the opportunity to pay dear Krispy a visit. *wink* After all, there's no Krispy Kreme in Malaysia, so the visit was a must for doughnut lovers!*salivating*

Krispy kreme

Krispy kreme
Oops, I ate one before remembering to snap this pic! -.-"

Oh and by the way, this visit to the Kuta town happened right on Valentine's day itself. :) Hence, the remaining of this day was already blogged earlier on this post.

Moving on to the next morning, I engaged a driver to take us around Bali. His name is Ketut, and I found out that in Bali, the locals' names are usually prefixed, according to their seniority in the family. Ketut signifies the 4th eldest sibling in the family, while Nyoman represents the third, Made represents the second eldest, and so on. Ketut was very punctual and appeared friendly.

We started with our first destination to Batu Bulan. This place is famous of its batik, songket, art and sandstones. Being a Malaysian, batik is not something new to me, hence our stop was just brief.
Batu bulan songketBatu bulan batik
Batu bulan batikBatu bulan batik

Songket and batik in the making

Batu bulan artBatu bulan art

The impressive collection of art

Next stop, we went to Ubud and visited one of the 'Pura Desa' or village temple. According to Ketut, there are many temples in Bali but most of them bear similar features. Therefore, I only chose to visit one which was along the way without having to travel far.
Temple in Ubud

Temple in UbudTemple in Ubud
Temple in UbudTemple in Ubud

Our next destination was a stop at the Ubud market. Well-known as a tourist spot, this market was filled to the brim with various arts, t-shirts, accessories, bags and every thing you could possibly think of, in one area.
Ubud market

Ubud market
Ubud market

Following that, we visited Mt Batur, which was a still-active volcano. Since it was located at a higher altitude, the air was cool and breezy, a very pleasant change from the hot weather in Ubud. Facing the magnificent view of a volcano with an equally breathtaking lake just brought shivers that embraced me to the bone. The power of nature, definitely unsurpassed.

Mt Batur
Mt Batur
Beautiful Mt Batur under the mist
Lake Batur
Lake Batur - a perfect accompaniment to Mt Batur

No visit to Bali would be complete without the visit to the famous terraced paddy fields. There are many locations that you can spot paddy fields but they are more prominent in the Ubud area.

Padi terraces (Ubud)
Terraced paddy fields

Aren't they amazing? :) This post has grown too long for good! I shall continue with the rest of the entry in another post. Stay tuned! :)


cal81 said...

gastronomically, what i missed most about balinese cuisine was 1) bebek bengil roast duck (ubud) 2) babi guling... =D
btw, my tour guide was called ketut too... wonder if they're the same person...

iamthewitch said...

I didn't try the roast duck. But I did try babi guling (will review in next post) :P Didn't quite like it though. Haha... I guess the Ketut we both met just happen to be the 4th in the family :)

cal81 said...

aw, what a pity... that's the best! well, most probably... as almost all the locals there are involved in the tourism industry one way or another.
Having been to Bali, i hope Phuket will not dissapoint.. coz i'll be going april =)

iamthewitch said...

It's ok, I MUST go Bali again to try what I've missed! :) I also have to go to Uluwatu cause I missed it last time.

Phuket sounds like a great place! Remember to take lots of pics of the beach! :P

Anonymous said...

bagus sekali
keren.. KUTA is beaurtiful and ajaib
dari sunset, surfing sampe night party.. kuta discovery mall dengan pemandangan pantainya

faithlovechocolate said...

hi, how did you find your tour guide?? did you booked his service through a travel agent??

faith (fren of calvin)

iamthewitch said...

dicky's blog: Memang Ajaib! :)

faithlovechocolate: My tour guide was recommended to me by a friend. I still have his phone number with me. I only called him once I reached and he came to pick us up the next day. Very nice guy. Email me if you need this number ok? :)