On Bali

Still with its alluring beaches and deeply-rooted culture, Bali drew me to her again.

This June, after 7 years, I went back to Bali again. This time I went with two of my best friends, a backpack, a hotel voucher, a return flight ticket, and a strong will to have the most memorable journey – a tribute to H who is going to get married in October. And there it was, a 4-days journey that was indeed memorable.

Day 1. It was a Thursday evening that we decided to leave from Jakarta to Denpasar, flying with a local airline – Batavia Air, that was supposed to leave at 18.35. We hurried to the airport after office hour, arriving almost too late at 17.50 and rushed directly to the check-in counter. Thanks to the flexibility of ours, Indonesians, we managed to check in just in time… We then ran to the waiting room F3, found the half-empty, half-lighted room, and sat in one of the benches. It was 18.25 when we realized that the officers at the desk still haven’t called us for boarding and we decided to ask. “Oh, the flight to Bali is in waiting room F2,” was what the officer told us. Half-panic, we ran to the next-door waiting room and found the overcrowded room, thinking “Ah, yes, the flight to Bali was supposed to be this full…”. We sat and waited, and the flight was about an hour delayed, and finally arrived at Bali at 22.00.

Being very excited to be back in Bali, and to finally arrive there, all three of us, we took picture at the airport and then proceeded to the hotel that we booked online. The hotel is called Dewa Bharata, located in Legian, and cost us USD 78 for 3 nights. We used this website to search for hotels, and it has quite a good database for hotels and good offers as well. The room is just okay, but the hotel’s surrounding is rather nice. Once we checked in, we freshened up and then went out for dinner.

Fish in Tomato and Basil Sauce
Fish in Tomato and Basil Sauce

At 11pm, along the Legian street, you can still find several places to eat. After walking back and forth for about 15 minutes, we chose to dine in a restaurant located just across our hotel’s alley. I forgot the name, but I think it is called Legian Restaurant or something (it has “Legian” in the name). Despite its dodgy appearance, the food was great for its price. I ordered a fish with tomato and basil sauce, was delicious. The chef himself greeted us personally, and the hostess was very friendly that we had a 3-days relationship throughout our stay..

Day 2. We decided to rent a car (was an Avanza, cost IDR 400,000, including driver and gas, for 8 hours) and cruise throughout the island, toward Besakih and Kintamani. On the way from Legian, we stopped by Batubulan – the batik and carving village – and Celuk – the silver village, and Tegalalang – a village with lush green terasering paddy field. After driving for about 2,5 hours, we arrived at Kintamani and since it was passed lunch time already, we stopped and had our lunch in one of the buffet restaurant at the top of the hill – overlooking the magnificent Mount Batur and Lake Kintamani. The view was breathtaking, although the price for the food was not as good as it taste.

After enjoying the beautiful view of Kintamani, we drove east to Besakih – the mother temple in Bali. We arrived there at around 3pm, so we did not have so much time. We took a walk around the temple complex with the company of mas Komo (a nickname attributed to him by his guide colleagues). The guide was, in fact, obligatory to wander around the temple, but the amount of money you give the guide was voluntary. I found this way quite funny, because when we were about to enter the complex we had to stop by the guide center. Then we had to meet the guide who sat behind the desk and state the certain amount of money that we were willing to pay; then he will “announce” the amount of money (in Balinese language, which none of us understood) and ask who were willing to guide us. After some conversing in between them, finally mas Komo said yes and he guided us for about an hour. At around 4 we were done taking picture, walking around the complex, and even did a prayer in one of the temples.

Continuing our journey, we drove south again towards Batubulan. This time not to see the batik nor the carvings, but to watch the Kecak dance performance. It is performed daily, from 6.30 onwards, and features not only Kecak dance, but Fire dance as well. Once the dance started, I felt like I was hypnotized. The atmosphere was very fitting to the dance and its story line, and the chorus of the 40 men gave a shudder throughout the performance.

After the performance, we asked our driver to drop us off at Seminyak, where we planned to have dinner. Our pick was a rather nice Italian restaurant called Ultimo. Very nice atmosphere, with a live music playing ballad songs, and very good meal with very reasonable price. We ordered 2 main courses, 3 soft drinks, and 1 dessert and we paid IDR 150k. Very happy with the pick!!

Next stop after Ultimo was Hu’u in Oberoi, Seminyak. Although I have heard of it many times, I personally have never been there. Plus, I had not been in Bali in the last 6 years… So then we decided to pay a visit to the famous Hu’u to discover that it was a very nice place indeed. You can choose to sit by the pool in the classy dining table, or scattered around the garden – on the grass on top of fluffy huge bean bags, or inside the house in an upbeat surrounding accompanied by the DJ and close to the bar.

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