June 12, 2017

Bali, Indonesia – Itinerary and planning (1 week)

I’ve always wanted to visit Bali all my life… and it was my destination for this year’s mid year break. I chose Bali and the first week of June to be there for some strategic reasons – it was the dry season, meaning, there will be little to no rain at all. Blue sky is my shit. Secondly, it was the week before the Indonesian school holidays start so, less chance of running into hyper screaming kids. Did the trip last week and everything fell spot on according to plan. Following would be the itinerary for those of you who is looking for an idea for Bali (after the disclaimer):

– Bali is a mountainous region and has unpredictable weather. This itinerary was planned in June to minimize the chance of seeing rainy days… and even that, we did encounter 1 rainy day. If you plan this in any other season, the weather may ruin your shit so, plan well.
– Bali has a relatively short daylight in June (or whole year long, I’ve no fucking idea). It starts to get dark at about 6pm and the sun starts to set between that time till 6.30pm before it gets completely dark. If you plan on a hike, might be a good idea to get a flashlight.
– This is an itinerary post, I’ll do a separate post for what I think about the places I’ve visited. (link)
– This was planned based on 3 pax – my wife, my 11-yo daughter, and myself. If you’re planning for a group of more than 4, this probably won’t work for you.
– The main objective is sightseeing, to visit temples and places of interest. To save myself a lot of extra planning and maximize my time there, I secured the service of a ‘supir’ (a driver cum guide) with my own itinerary. We did some discussion through emails prior coming up with the plan, and the plan is flexible across the days. Again, this won’t work for you if you have a small child in your group (that little shit is not going to be pleased visiting so many goddamn temples, believe me)
– If you have a heart problem or is goddamn old, this itinerary probably won’t work for you.
– If you have motion sickness, this itinerary is going to be your nightmare (long car rides, boat rides)
– If your religion prohibits you from visiting buildings or monuments of other religious faith, this won’t work for you too.
– If your vanity prohibits you from getting a lot of sun or if you’re sensitive to the sun, this won’t work for you.

Supir: Also known as driver/guide in Bali. I depend on a supir to get around because driving in Bali is no joke. Traffic’s mad, roads are narrow as fuck and the people are neurotic. I wouldn’t recommend even a madcap Malaysian driver to drive a car there (a motorcycle should be fine though). Depending on your needs, you might want to secure the service of a supir to get you around the places you plan to visit. They usually charge by the day or half a day for reasonable prices. I was lucky to have found a really dependable guy called Putu, who speaks impeccable English. He knows his shit and he can be contacted via his website here.

Lodging: Lots of choices but as I learned from the trip, it is better to seek for a dwelling near Ubud (north from airport, central part), if you have full-day itineraries all over Bali. I stayed at Kuta (due to proximity to the airport), and for the first 4 days of sight-seeing various northern parts of Bali, we had to endure hours of car ride just to get out of Denpasar (it’s a waste of time). Once you’ve done your temple/mountain hopping activities and ready to tackle the sea, switch your lodging to south (Kuta, Nusa Dua, Jimbaran etc)

Cash: Almost all the places require an entrance fee of between IDR10,000 to IDR100,000. You might want to consider bringing more cash in place of your credit cards depending on how many days/places you plan to visit. I brought 11 million for the week long holiday, with about 10% balance left.

Sunscreen: Or sunblock lotion. Because you’re expecting a lot of sun, it is important that you have a sunscreen with you, unless you fancy yourself the agony of having stinging burn all over your skin where the sun light touches.

Umbrella: Always get yourself prepared for a rainy day. An umbrella can be used as a shade for a midday sun too.

Ziplock: Ziplock your passports, phones, electronics and stuff to avoid water damage in case of heavy rain / spontaneous wet moment with any desirable individuals.

SIM card (optional): If staying connected is important to you, you can get a pretty good deal for unlimited data SIM card. I got this package here for a reasonable price.

Day 1: Arrival, Kuta

1240 – 1830: PEN – DPS. Afternoon flight, includes a transit at KL. Flight from KL takes only 3 hours to reach DPS, so depending on what time you arrive, you still might have a chance to utilize this day. Immigration is not as strict as Malaysia, and baggage claim is efficient. Overall should take less than hour to clear. If you’ve ordered the SIM card, the vendor will meet you at the arrival gate to deliver the SIM card to you. If your hotel provides airport transfer, you will meet the driver here too.

2000: Complete check-in procedure at my lodging in Kuta (location). If you’re staying in Ubud, it’ll take an hour + to reach there depending on the traffic.

2030: Food hunting session (check map around your hotel – use Tripadvisor or Foursquare). We had our dinner at Warung Segarr (location ) – Indon Chinese food. Pretty good.

Day 2: West & Central Bali

0800: Breakfast at hotel. The hotel I stayed provides free breakfast so, it was easy for me.

0900: Meet Putu, our supir, at our hotel in Kuta.

1000: Pura Tanah Lot (location). Journey from Kuta takes about an hour. Temple in the sea. Sightseeing. See cover pic for day 2. Lots of tourists… so, might want to head there as early as you could. Duration: 30 – 45 minutes.

1145: Jatiluwih Rice Terraces (location). Journey from Tanah Lot takes about 75 mins. Sightseeing. This place is acknowledged by UNESCO for its unique subak irrigation system for world’s cultural heritage. Can opt for a little hike through the terraces (location) – which we did. Duration: 1 hour (or more if hike further)

1300: Lunch at Gong Jatiluwih (location). Offers buffet but we opted for ala carte. Would recommend a cold beer here after the bout of walking though the terraces. Nice scenery, creepy scarecrows.

1430: Pura Ulun Danu Beratan (location). Journey from Jatiluwih should be about 1 hour. Water temple by Beratan lake. Sightseeing. Lots of tourists. Cool air, due to elevation from sea level. Duration: 45 mins to 1 hour (more if hang out longer. Place has a nice and huge park if that’s your thing)

1535: Twin Lake view (location). Just a short drive from Pura Ulun Danu Beratan. Spectacular view of the 2 lakes – Buyan and Tamblingan. Viewpoint & picnic spot, can hang out if desired (we didn’t – just a short stay to absorb the view). Duration: 10 – 15 mins.

1700: Pura Taman Ayun (location). Also known as Mengwi temple. Journey from the twin lakes takes about 75 – 80 mins (long drive). Main Hindu temple by the royal family of Mengwi (sounded like a Malaysian singer, I know), has shrines dedicated to various other temples in the old days to save the walking journey (early concept of mirror servers, I guess). Sightseeing. Duration: 30 – 45 mins.

1830 – 1845: Back at Kuta hotel to freshen up. Journey takes about 75 – 90 mins depending on traffic at Denpasar. (would have been way shorter if the lodging’s at Ubud or someplace like that)

1900: Dinner at Bebek Tepi Sawah (location). Great Indonesian food.

2000 onwards: Roam around Kuta.

Day 3: Central Bali

0800: Breakfast at hotel.

0900: Meet Putu at our hotel in Kuta.

1030: Goa Gajah (location). Journey from hotel at Kuta: Damn long. Very old Hindu temple with intricate stoneworks inside. There’s also a Buddhist temple ruin at the site. Sightseeing. Duration: 30 – 40 mins.

1130: Ubud Monkey Forest (location). Journey from Goa Gajah is about 15 – 20 mins away. A park with Hindu temples inside, place is teeming with tourists and monkeys. Sightseeing and interaction with monkeys. I’d advise to stay the fuck away from them damn monkeys. Place is big enough to do a short hike, if that’s your thing. Duration: 30 – 45 mins.

1215: Ubud traditional art market (location). Short drive away from Monkey Forest. This is a place where you can find souvenirs, art pieces, wood carving etc to decorate your humble abode. Everything can be bargained. Shopping. Duration: 15 – 45 mins (depends).

1245: Lunch at Warung Babi Guling Ibu Oka (location). Walking distance away from the art market. Popular pork rice in Bali. I love Ibu Oka and her Babi. Nuff said.

1400: Tirta Empul (location). Sightseeing. Balinese-Hindu temple that is known for its holy water and bathing purification. Putu asked if I would like to bathe there, I declined because I’m an Atheist. If I bathe there, I’d be disrespecting the Hindus by bathing in their holy water for the fun of it and without true faith – as they would consider such activity as sacred. I’m not toying around with stuff that people would consider sacred, that’s just wrong. Of course none of those white tourists care, since I saw one of them bathing in one of the springs that is actually used for the purpose of cremation ritual… much to the amusement of Putu (he told me that). Duration: 45 – 60 mins.

1515: Kintamani (location). 20 mins away from Tirta Empul. Viewpoint. Offers view of Mount Batur (a volcano) and lake Batur. See the panorama cover pic for day 3. Duration: 15 – 30 mins.

1600: Penglipuran village (location). A model (but real) village with its traditional setting unperturbed by modernization. You can roam into any home you want to check the layout out. There’s also a bamboo forest nearby that is quite cool (they harvest the bamboos as building materials – roofing, mainly). Sightseeing. Duration: 30 – 45 mins.

1645: Pura Kehen (location). Very old Hindu temple nearby. Sightseeing. Little to no tourists so, it’s pretty calm and serene here. Duration: 15 – 45 mins.

1730: Early dinner at Pasar Senggol Gianyar (location). Recommended by Putu on our way back and we thought, why not! It’s a night market for food and everything is good/cheap. We had some bakso and satay lilit. Duration: 45 – 60 mins.

1930: Back at hotel. Night’s still early, I squeezed in for a 90 mins Balinese massage while my daughter Regine went for a manicure session.

Day 4: Morning at the pool, half day South Bali

0730: Breakfast at hotel.

0800: Hotel pool. This was for my daughter. Oddly, the hotel I’m staying has quite a nice pool but most occupants are not using it (I reckon most of them are out for sightseeing or to the beach).

1100: Kuta Beach (location). We walked there to see some sun and people surfing the big beautiful waves from the Indian Ocean. Sightseeing. Duration: 60 – 90 mins.

1230: Lunch at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. (location). Decided to splurge a little on food.

1330: Loitered around Jalan Kartika Plaza (location). Souvenirs shopping. Duration: 30 – 40 mins.

1430: Meet Putu at our hotel in Kuta.

1500: Turtle Conservation And Education Center (location). Education/learning. It’s also a turtle hospital & hatchery. The conservation effort is commendable, and we all learned something from this visit. At the courtyard of the conservation building, there’s a small cafe operated by a lady. Do try out the ‘spicy seaweed dessert’. It was so good that I almost came. Duration: 30 – 45 mins (the visit, not the cumming event…).

1630: Melasti Beach (location). Also known as Unggasan. Sightseeing. Huge beautiful Indian Ocean wave. Place is just nearby the famed Pandawa Beach, with a road carved from a cliff down to this beach. Decided to skip Pandawa as it can be crowded and ‘touristy’. Would need to beat the jam to the next destination. Duration 45 – 60 mins.

1715: Pura Luhur Uluwatu (location). Sightseeing, traditional dance show. See the cover pic for day 4. Here, one has a choice to either roam around the temple cliff areas for sunset view or watch the traditional Kecak Dance (that tells of Ramayana’s battle). There were a few busloads of tourists from China the day I went there so, I opted out for watching the dance and went to watch the sunset instead. It was a good call. Place is also inhabited by some of the most intelligent monkeys, that’d steal things from tourists and hold them until ransom (food) is paid. I read that some scientists are studying this bunch of simians in hope to find a cure for newer generation of young humans, who do not seem to be the sharpest tool across the history of mankind. Duration: 45 – 60 mins (longer if opt to watch Kecak Dance with those pukimak tourists from China)

1900: Dinner at Made’s Warung (location). I got Putu to drop us near south Legian street and to recommend a good place for dinner. We were recommended one such Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika stall at Jalan Raya Kuta (with sambal setan) or Made’s Warung (pronounced as Mar-Deh) at a nearer location. Because my daughter can’t really eat too spicy (she’s still in training), we decided to settle for Made’s Warung and to tapau the Nasi Pedas after that. Good meal at Made’s. Didn’t tapau the nasi pedas eventually because was too full/tired.

2000 onwards: Souvenirs shopping around Kuta area and walk back to hotel.

Day 5: East Bali

0700: Breakfast at hotel. (early start to prepare for the longest day for all the 4)

0800: Meet Wawan at our hotel in Kuta. (Putu had to excuse himself for a personal matter, Wawan is his BFF and he’s going to bring us around instead)

0905: Kertha Gosa (location). Sightseeing. It’s a historical court of some sort for the kingdom of Klungkung (supposed to be next to the palace, but the palace is no longer in existence now). There’s a museum nearby, that has the owner’s photos and some artifacts from the Dutch who bombarded the city. Duration: 30 – 45 mins.

1130: Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang (location). It’s about 1.5 hours’ drive from Kertha Gosa with good traffic. Sightseeing. Due to its remote location, expect not many tourists here (inaccessible by bus, which is why you won’t see busloads of tourists from China here). View of Mt. Agung on a good day – see the cover pic for day 5. This is first part of 3 temples, 2nd one is Telaga Mas, 30 – 45 mins hike away (location) and the final one, Lempuyang Luhur (location) is 1.5 hrs hike thereafter. We didn’t hike up. Wawan told us he hasn’t visited this place for 17 years, and he offered a prayer himself at this majestic temple. Duration: 60 mins – 90 mins (much longer if hike up to the 2nd or 3rd level).

1245: Tirta Gangga (location). Sightseeing. Royal water palace, which looks more like a garden with statues and decorative ponds. There’s one pond at the top that allows worshippers to swim in it. Duration: 45 – 60 mins (longer if decided to hang out).

1330: Lunch at Tirta Gangga Bar & Restaurant (location).

1430: Taman Soekasada Ujung (location). Sightseeing. Another Royal water palace, which also looks like a garden more than a palace. Popular for wedding photos and kids. This place is livelier and bigger than Tirta Gangga. Duration: 30 – 60 mins (longer if decided to hang out).

1530: Candidasa Lotus Lagoon (location). Viewpoint. A pond full of lotus, and they will bloom when condition’s right. We didn’t have such luck. Duration: brief stop for photo opportunity.

1600: Goa Lawah (location). Sightseeing. Hindu temple inside a bat cave (not allowed to enter the cave, sadly). There’s a beach opposite the temple, Pantai Goa Lawah, with black colored beach. Duration: 30 – 45 mins (longer if one decides to hang out at the beach)

1800: Back at hotel.

1830: Dinner at Ayam Tulang Lunak Malioboro (location). A place with rave reviews, which lives up to its reputation.

1930 till late: Loiter around Lippo Mall (location), which was what we did.

Day 6: Waterbom

0800: Breakfast at hotel.

0900: Waterbom Bali (location). Asia’s no. 1 waterpark. Plan is to have a blast from the time it opens, till the time it closes. Duration: 9 hours. (we were lucky that the only rainy day we encountered was on this day that we decided to spend inside this waterpark)

1800: Leave Waterbom.

1815: Discovery Kuta Beach (location). Sightseeing. Just right for the sunset at the beach.

1900: Dinner at Discovery Mall. We’re a little sick of Indonesian food so, we went to whoop some Mozza burgers at A&W (inside the mall).

2000 till late: Loiter around the area for souvenirs etc.

Day 7: High Speed Ocean Rafting Cruise

Day 7 is initially an empty day with no agenda, until I found this deal.

0800: Breakfast at hotel.

0930: Pick up by Bali Hai driver (website).

1000: Benoa Harbor (location) to pick snorkeling gears + briefing by the raft operator. Raft leaves at around 1030.

1130: Nusa Batumelawang (location). Viewpoint. A rock formation that formed a natural arc in the midst of the ocean. Duration: brief stop for photo opportunity.

1145: Snorkeling at Crystal Bay (location). Duration: 30 mins.

1230: Raft stops between Ceningan Island and Lembongan Island, where the sea is calmer, to have lunch on board (location). Duration: 60 mins.

1400: Snorkeling at this location. That’s the cover pic for Day 7. Duration: 30 mins

1430: Dolphins (only if those jackass dolphins decide to show up) here. We were lucky to see a pod of dolphins frolicking around. Made my daughter’s day.

1430 – 1500: Bali Hai cruise beach club (location). Allows free pool use, village tour, sea activities such as kayaking + banana boat. Leisure. Duration: 2 hours.

1645: Raft leaves for Bali. Journey will take 45 mins.

1800: Back at hotel.

1830: Dinner at Bebek Tepi Sawah (location). Our 2nd visit.

1930 till late: More shopping around Kuta.

Day 8: Departure, Penang

Noon flight to PEN, not much to do other than packing and transfer to airport.

michaelooi  | places  | 

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