Thursday, May 27, 2010

Friendship and Love stories in Bali – Part 2

Well, love was definitely in the air when we visited Bali. Haha!

First we have Wooi kor and Joanne


Hui Yee and Jynn


Go and Boon


The odd couple, Sifu and Hui Yee… haha


and lastly, Gary and Elle


The rest, are just friends with lots to share and joys together…













A short trip, but definitely one of the best!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A taste of Bali – Part 1


Visiting another ASEAN country is a nice thing to do, seeing others’ cultures.


This trip was the second time I got on an airplane. With 17 other friends, we stayed in a small hotel close to Kuta town. Most people are generally friendly, but some seemed to have a bit of bias towards European foreigners.



I was lucky to witness one of the Balinese s greatest celebrations - Kuningan, where they welcome the holy sprits. The villagers of the suburbs together welcome the arrival of their Dewas, a few weeks after the beginning of their festival, Galungan. You could see their unity where they came together and celebrate this holy festival.

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The festival of Galungan is celebrated every 210 days (Celebrated on 22nd of May this year 2010), where it signifies the victory of darma (Good) over adharam (Evil). According to the tourist guide, Galungan is a reason to show kindness towards others and cultivate self-esteem in order to have prosperity in this life. On this day, the Balinese will go to their village temples bearing offerings. The penjors erected along the roads, in front of every house and shops, is a symbol of victory against the evil spirit. Penjors must be decorated with agricultural products that are used for their daily food. The curved upper section of the penjor represents respect and a bowing curved position.

As for food, the cheapest food would be buying instant cup noodles from the 24hr convenient stores (eg. Circle K), costing about 3000~4500 rupiah (MYR 1.00 to 1.50). You can also try their real food, such as their Masakan Padang or better known as our economic rice, where price depends on the dishes and should normally be around 15.000 Rp (MYR 4.5).



Other street food would be something like our Mamak stalls, but only tastes better! Price from 5.000 to 8.000 Rp.


Vegetarians fret not! Most of the dishes are fried without meat. Just ask them not to sprinkle the meat slices on the dish. If you re not a strict vegetarian, most shop would cater to your needs.

According to my friends, the Babi Guling dish was quite good, where the pig was roasted and served in the form of meat slices or satay meats.

As for hotel stay, you can look around for budget hotels and dorms. The hotel I stayed was not the cheapest, but they certainly offer some nice beds to sleep on and breakfast was included. You should be able to hunt for cheaper hotels around the Kuta town area. If you’re backpacking, stay one or two nights at the hotel will do. Move on to other towns and the other areas have a lot more to offer.


Travelling around Bali is fun and great if you could ride a motorbike, which costs from 40.000 Rp (MYR 15) a day. I recommend this mode of transport as you can stop anywhere you want to sight see as there are a lot of buildings and temples to see. If you wish to travel by public bus would be fine. But check for the bus schedule and fare. By the way, they use a different numerical system from Malaysia, where the number 123,000.00 would equal to 123.000,00 here in Indonesia. If you opted to hire a chauffeur to take you around, do remember that he sometimes will take you to expensive restaurants for dining. Insist on consuming local food if you re on a tight budget. Try to plan your journey ahead time.

There are lots to do and see in Bali. One of the shopping and beach area would be Kuta town. This area has lots of things to shop for, but they re expensive as most of the shops cater for those who are well off. Bargains are definitely a no-no here. Still, there were some small shops around where you can hunt for some local souvenir.


I, on the other hand, would encourage you to take a trip up to Ubud, the town of handicrafts. Journey time is approximately 1 to 2 hours from Kuta town. The souvenirs in Ubud have more of local taste as they re mostly made by the villagers. Some great temples are there for you to explore as well. As we lack of time, I only managed to tour around for less than 1 hour.

This shop sells art paintings…


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Next stop was Tanah Lot, where we spent time observing the sunset. Too bad the sunset on the day I went was not as nice as expected. Entry ticket at 10.000 Rp and quite a lot of things to see. You may get your souvenirs here as well, especially the custom made keychains.


*credits to the unknown Balinese photographer.



Another place to observe sunset would be Uluwatu, meaning temple at the edge of the cliff . Upon paying 3.000 Rp for the entry, guys were given a colour cloth to tie around their waist. As for girls, they re given a cloth instead. These were the signs of respect towards the customs of the temple.
The view here was exhilarating and breathtaking. Beware though, there are lots of mischievous monkeys waiting to steal your sunglasses, spectacles, watches and necklaces. Be very aware of them - they steal anything dangling from your body, some even broke the glasses into half. I had my glasses off during the trip.




*credits to THX.

Somewhere around Seminyak town is where the locals make gold and silver, which includes necklace, ear rings and broaches. Some shops do provide a walk through on how to produce them.


If you would like to play some water sports, go ahead! Nusa Dua has some great waters to play some water games. Parasailing, Fly fish, big maple, banana boat, jet ski, snorkelling, diving and others.



Snorkelling is a must try for those who are new. But basically, almost everything is a must try. Bargain with the shop for the best deal, especially if you go in groups.

As for me, I think the best experience of all, was the ride on the jet ski. That was really really thrilling and exhilarating. As for others, some local dishes such as the sote noodles, street food, local Sago kuih, eating their instant cup noodles was definitely the first time for me. Great experience, with the biggest disappointment, not enough time to really meet the local villagers. But hey, don’t we always say that time is just not enough?

Overall, Bali is a great place to travel to, and to really go around, it’s best if you can backpack with a friend or two. Spend some time visiting some of the museums as well if possible.


*Credits to an unknown Malaysian.


1. Some people sell newspaper on the street. Some even sold kuihs and meals! :D


2. The first time I saw such number plate in Asia. The owner kept the Florida plate in Bali.


3. There are lots and lots of motorcycle on the road. Those Balinese ladies have to sit sideways because of their dress. By the way, the motorcycles over there are not that very cheap, just that they can own one with a down payment of 500.000 Rp.


4. Another first time ever – Drive Thru Money Exchange.


5. Tea in a bottle.


Quick tips around Bali:
1. Always use local currency.
2. Always bargain for more than 50% off. Anything that is above that, try walking away to show your frustration, they usually works! Beware of the electronic tags though – they’re not bargain-able.
3. Travel by motorcycle is still the best.
4. Ask the locals where they eat.
5. Drink plenty of water and DON’T FALL SICK. Per bottle is only for 3.000 Rp (MYR 1.10).