Why Bali is worth a Revisit - Part 1

Bali 28th - 29th April 2011


If you are thinking "Bali again??" I would answer you "Why not?" Seriously, do you have anything against Bali or do you have anything against me going to Bali again? After all, the Island is only an alphabet away from having the meaning of return i.e. Balik (Indonesian/Malay language). Bali in total is 5,600km² which is approximately 8 times the size of Singapore. It is a place that you can go back again and again but experience different things in each trip! For me, this time round, I am sharing this island together with 3 Hong Kong friends (N, K and M) and we are all in high spirit.

We have booked a Villa in Ubud this time round as we had more people thus bringing down the cost per head for the rental. As our flight arrived in the evening, we agreed that it would not make sense to head to the Villa directly and waste the rental, so we chose to stay the night in a budget hotel in Denpasar, "Pop! Harris Hotel". Overall, I would give the hotel a 4/5 for its cleanliness, bed and room facilities. But the best thing about this hotel is that it only costs us S$41 per room per night and that is S$20 per head! Location wise is not really good but with car rental cum driver at such low price, I am not complaining. Excited? Wanted to know more about this hotel? Go here!



The side of Pop! Harris Hotel. Interesting color.

This time round, we've got Pak Made again to be our transport provider. What can I say? I think he offered the best rate and service! To cater for our group of 6, Pak Made provided us with a Nissan Serena and instead of driving us himself, he had asked Pak Ariawan to be our driver. Pak Ariawan is very friendly, which is common amongst the Balinese and he speaks fluent English. Having said that however, do spare him of bombastic flare of vocabulary as he is only fluent for basic conversational English. We engaged his service for 3 days at the itinerary of our choice and he also recommended us some awesome place too! The service cost us USD150 for car rental, driver, fuel and professional local knowledge too ;) Still expensive? Well, my itinerary were as follow:

a) 28th April
You will drive us from airport to POP!Harris Denpasar.
POP! Harris Hotel Denpasar Teuku UmarHotel Address: Jl. Teuku Umar No. 74 Denpasar, Bali, 80113, Indonesia
Hotel Phone Number: +62 21 5296 0490

 
b) 29th April
You will pick us up at 830am in the morning at POP!Harris in Denpasar.
Then we go to Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Bali for a quick sightseeing.
Then we go Sanur for Breakfast and sightseeing at the beach.
Send us to Ubud. We need to be there at 1230 afternoon.
Villa Griya Aditi is located at Jl. Bhanuswari, Tengkulak Kelod , Ubud
After we check in, drive us to Ibu Oka.
Then drive us back to Hotel.
Service ends here for the day.
 
c) 3rd May
Pick us up in Ayana Resort at 830am in the morning.
Ayana Resort & Spa
Jl Karang Mas Sejahtera, Jimbaran Bali 80364 Indonesia
Then send us to GWK for sightseeing.
Then send us back to Ayana.
Pick us up from Ayana, then send us to Jimbaran/Kedongganan for seafood.
Send us back to Ayana Hotel.
Service ends here for the day.

d) 4th May
Pick up 3 of our friends from Ayana Resort at 5am and send them to Ngurah Rai Airport.
Pick me up from Ayana Resort at 11am and send us to Ngurah Rai Airport.
Service ends once I am at the airport.

You might noticed that there are 3 days i.e. 30th April to 2nd May is missing from the above itinerary. Well, the villa that we stayed in provided us with a car and driver for 10 hours per day so this will suffice for us.

First stop, Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat at Sanur

Oh, by the way, when we reached Sanur beach, I felt that it is really not much as compared to the other beaches in Bali for instance Kuta or Legian. Having said that though, I may be wrong and stand to be corrected. For those that has enjoyed Sanur and the activity there, would appreciate your feedback so that I could explore and give Sanur a fair comment the next time I head there.
 
You have not been to Ubud if you have not tried Ibu Oka's roast pork. Although many swears that
this place is over-rated, I still find the Babi Guling (Roast Pork) of Ibu Oka's to be the best after having
tried others. This one that I been to is not the one beside the palace which is usually thronged by tourists.
 This one is behind the palace or to be more precise, at Ibu Oka's own residence!
I didn't took any photos as I was busy enjoying the surrounding and the food.

Next, we asked Pak Ariawan to send us straight to Villa Griya Aditi which means "The Abode of the Light". For more info, you may check it out here. I got the room for USD380 per night and it includes the following:

a) Welcome drinks and cold tower upon arrival;
b) Daily breakfast;
c) Daily personal car and driver for 10 hours exclude fuel; (I didn't pay for any fuel charge)
d) In house laundry;
e) Broadband internet access (Not really useful as it was super slow);
f) Airport pick-up service; and
g) Government tax and service charge.

The villa would also provide massage and dinner service but it will all be chargeable. Can recall how much the massage cost but it is just slightly more than the many spa that you can find in Ubud town. For dinner, they will take your order, but the stuffs from the local market and prepare for you. Charges (If I am not mistaken) is the total ingredient cost plus a certain percentage say 10%. For additional hours that you incur for the driver and the car, the cost will be as follow:


SERVICES

PRICE PER CAR (USD)


APV(6seats)
PREGIO(9seats)
ELF(11seats)
Half Day charter (Max 5hours)
USD30.00
USD35.00
USD40.00
Full Day charter (Max 10hours)
USD50.00
USD65.00
USD70.00
Extra hours
USD10.00/hour
USD10.00/hour
USD10.00/hour
[Tips: I gave the driver tips at the end of everyday and this has allow me to go to places faster due to shortcuts, places with good food and I don't have to absorb any additional fuel charges)

The Master bedroom's toilet
 
 
 
The pool overlooks a green paddy field during our stay. During harvest time, it will be flooded with golden hue. The villa comes with 1 master bedroom and 2 guest rooms. Comfortable for our group of 6.

We rested for awhile and let the awesomeness of the villa sinks in before we head out for a show at the town area. I have seen the Kecak dance before but am not put off by the idea of watching it again but I was surprised this time round. The Kecak dance is a musical production but in the Balinese style. The show would have a group of singers which will sing an acapella complete with "ohhs" and "Ahhs" that replicate that of a monkey. After a short while of singing, the drama would start and this time round, the story is different from the one I have seen before, so it kept me interested.




The Gamelan or choir  and the Fire dance performance. It really is a trance performance


 


After the performance, we headed to Murni's Warung for dinner. The last time I've been here, my wife has pestered me non-stop about wanting to come back here again. How could I blame her? I personally would like to come back here again as the ambiance, food, service and price is truly a gem! It is amazing that many have stopped coming to this place as when we are there, our group is the only one there... I wonder what makes people stop coming to this place but I am sincerely wishing them good business that will sustain them because I wouldn't mind going back again year after year.
 
 
Deep fried popiah or spring roll (3.5/5) 
Simple but satisfying!
 
Grilled chicken ala Balinese with salad and saffron rice (3/5)
 
 
Balinese Nasi Goreng or Balinese fried rice (3.5/5)

I ordered this at my last visit but was still satisfied by this dish.
It gives a taste of the local flavor as this dish is most likely a local staple.


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