Bali 2016

From taking Uber illegally and make him our personal driver, eating an extremely spicy pork, going to the beaches and seeking a getaway in Bali’s green highlands, trip to Bali never ceases to amaze!

Homecoming!

The last time I made a post was a few weeks ago and I apologize for the delay… The reason behind this is because I’m coming home and I’ve been busy doing stuffs in the first one-and-a-half week: seeing old friends, eating my favourite food, spending time with my family, working with my dad in his office and more.

However, I also have a good news. My family and I went to Bali (again…) for the Eid Al-Fitr holiday for 5 days. It’s a one-week long national holiday here! I know it’s been the 10th-time or so I fly to Bali, yet it’s always fun here. I’ll show you why! But, since it’s not our first time here, we didn’t really go to many nice tourist or nature adventure spots. Nevertheless, we still ate some tasty food and went to some pretty beaches. I managed to convince them to eat at some of Bali’s famous meals just so I can show them to you guys! LOL.

Here is how the family holiday went!

To start off, let me boast about Indonesia first—as usual. Indonesia is:

World’s largest archipelagic country (70% water with 17,000 islands) containing 70% of world’s known marine species
World’s 5th most populous country (approx. 250 millions)
A country with the largest Muslim population (but not an Islamic nation)
A diverse and cultured nation
A tropical country with exquisite nature. Literally. You can find anything—sea to mountains (volcanoes), rainforest to desert, rainfall to snowfall.
A home to the endemic and endangered species of Komodo Dragon.
and the list can go on and on…

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Indonesia. Bali (on the right end of the red line) is one of the 17,000 islands.

And about Bali,

One of the infamous tourism site in Indonesia (many Australians come here)
There are many forests and mountains (volcanoes) on the northern part of the island
Also known as the Island of gods, because it’s a society rich with its Hindu tradition
Beaches everywhere
and more…

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Temples can be found anywhere in Bali

First off, you need to get to Bali. You can drive for almost 1,000km from Jakarta and cross the strait with a boat if you like, but we prefer the plane. It cost us around $160 for a return ticket per person.

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Cheap flights are easy to find

First time taking Uber (illegally) in Bali
The government still says no to sharing economy transportation system, namely Uber and GrabCar. But as always, people still work their way around to stay in business. It was pretty cheap. We paid around $9.20 (note that I refer these prices to Canadian Dollars at Rp 10,000 per 1 CAD) for a 12-km, 35-min ride. However, as unique as Indonesians can be, our Uber driver then became our personal driver at an hourly rate! Ha… There is no public transport here. As a result, tourists usually prepare their transport ahead of their travel by renting a car (and a driver if they don’t prefer to drive) to get around the island. So, he completed our official trip from one hotel to the other and the rest was off the record.

Finger-licking good food
One of the best things about home? FOOD. DAMN. Asia and its magical spices. Food at home is unlike any other place in the world. It’s unreal. If you eat Western food, the flavour is there but it’s not as rich as the local food—we mix everything here. I once heard a phrase, it goes like this: Western people invaded 90% of the world for spices but they dare not to put spices in their meal. With the experience of living in Canada for 2 years, I can confirm such claim! Also, most of us here eat rice with anything. Or more like anything with rice! Hahaha… Seriously, we got a thing on rice. And when I say finger-licking good, it literally means we finger-lick when we eat. We often use our hands to eat (no cutlery)! It’s more practical and makes everything tastes better, somehow.

1.) Ayam Betutu

This is a traditional Balinese chicken. The chicken is spiced with the local spices. It comes with egg, peanut, and vegetables. It’s a little bit spicy, but it’s bearable. In order to deal with it, I also got myself a healthy drink (that’s what the menu said!).

2.) Warung Pak Dobiel (freaking spicy)

This meal is beast. I may not be the person who handle spicy food well, though not too bad. However, I can tell you that this is absolutely hot. That, plus the 35ºC heat outside. It’s the bomb. The main menu is the suckling pig. It’s undeniably delicious. Some of the pork is fried, stewed or roasted. Even looking at the pictures makes me crave for it. It cost $4 per person. I even had to change my shirt after, because I was sweating too much as if I was taking a bath! You can walk around the area near the warung and witness how the local urban fabric looks like.

3.) WaHaHa Pork Ribs

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WaHaHa Pork Ribs

As the restaurant claims it: the best pork ribs in Bali. WaHaHa is in the city centre, Denpasar. You will definitely have a good laugh over the meal when you’re having this as the main course. Just by looking at picture won’t really give you the idea of how delicious it is. It may look simple, but when it touches your tastebuds, it speaks a whole different story. The meat is succulent and the barbecue sauce is tasty. It’s a wonderful meal indeed. And it comes with rice too (or you can actually have fries with it if you like)! It cost $16.

4.) Seafood (fresh from the sea!)

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One of the perks of being a country with most of its territory covered in water is that it’s annoyingly easy (for those who are living far from the sea!) to get seafood; they’re also relatively cheap. We had this at Menega Café; one of the restaurants at Jimbaran beach.

We had shrimp, fish, squid and scallop. They were cooked in several styles. Among these dishes, though, the scallop and squid definitely stole the show. I really, really, really loved the scallop’s sauce. I don’t know exactly what it is, but the menu said it’s “Bali sauce”. It may contain local spices. But, all that I care is that it was G O O O O D. I really miss the food—and I will always miss food from home! Besides the dishes, also nothing beats drinking coconut water straight from the actual coconut from the tree with the pulp within. Dang! So refreshing under the stinging heat of tropical sun. The entire meal for 4 persons cost $55.

As I mentioned earlier, you can see how my dad and my sister used their hands directly to eat!

Exquisite Sceneries and Local Life
Countless beaches, forest, or rice fields; they are all here.

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Sunrise at the beach
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A silhouette of a boat

I took these photos early in the morning at the beach behind the hotel. It’s technically a private beach, so it was very quiet and dark in the morning; no people, no wind, no waves. It was an absolute tranquility. In fact, the kind of atmosphere that I really enjoy—outside alone in silence. I feel that, in general, people tend to prefer atmosphere that is the opposite of what they are usually exposed to. I was born and raised in the hectic city of Jakarta. Therefore, I really like it when I can have some time off from the hustle and bustle of the capital city to relax and unwind at the beach, lake, or wherever that can provide repose. Or perhaps it’s just because this kind of thing that nature provides is simply inevitable. I stayed there for a good 1.5 hours. Splendid.

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People playing at the beach at sunset

Besides, I also managed to capture some shots on the other end of the day. Sunset. Yes. I was at the east coast of the island in the morning and at the west coast by the time the sun sets. Knowing the fact that the sun that I was seeing at sunrise was the same sun that I just saw 12 hours ago (well the sun is always the same… but…) gave me a little excitement of its own. This beach, called Jimbaran, is also very famous for its seafood at night. During the day it looked just like any other beach with rows of beach loungers and umbrellas decorating the shore. However, it all changed as the night falls as loungers turn to chairs and tables, and umbrellas disappears to allow the night sky to be seen.

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Hawker selling roasted corn with rows of dining tables and restaurant huts at the back

People flocked to this area just to eat seafood (fresh from the sea) for dinner. Many locals came to sell their snacks or toys to the visitors. There was also one music group consisting of about 5 people with their violins and cellos singing harmoniously to set the mood right. The sing songs from jazz and pop to blues. It was amazing. Having dinner at the seaside, accompanied by great meal, good drinks, nice music and the sea breeze… There are only few ways of how things could be better…

Bali is definitely a go-to destination if you want to enjoy your summer. Whether it’s a family vacation or travelling, you will love it here. If you want to get tanned and surf, go to the beaches. If you want to relax and unwind, go to the temples and forests. Or if you want to see how amazing Mother Nature is, go hike the mountains. Bali, though it’s small, it offers everything that you want!

 

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Disparity between the rich and the poor is still persistent in Bali

And now, aside from the fact that a lot of money flows in to Bali, there are still many people living in poverty. It sure is a challenge for the government to raise Balinese people’s living standard. The other challenge that I think the government has to deal with in regards to Bali’s tourism is to make sure that the tourism doesn’t exploit Bali’s nature.

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Stores that are selling sculptures are common on Bali streets

The form of artworks in Bali ranges from sculptures to paintings. Many people have stonework skill here in Bali, because many temples and religious character statue and sculptures require a lot of stonework skill. Besides, wood is another common material people work with, such as the one shown in the picture above.

Thank you for sticking around until this point of the post! If you’re here, you practically have read all that I need to share about my last family vacation to Bali.

The next thing that I’m gonna do is I’m gonna hike a mountain! Yes. I’m going to hike Mt. Rinjani (it’s technically a volcano) on July 13 in Lombok, Indonesia! It’s 3,800m above sea level. If you look it up on the internet, you will see how beautiful it is; I also expect to have a great experience there! So, I’ll see you in the next post after I’m back from the 6 days trip!

Cheers!

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