Bali in 4 Days-Part 2

Bali, Day 4 ( 2 December 2016)- Our final day in Bali was again, another early rising one requiring us to wake up at 2am in the morning to take the car to the northern side of Bali at Lovina to watch the dolphins.

Lovina Beach Dolphin Watching
We set out on one of their boat which all of us sat in a single row and set off towards the sea along with many other boats in search for dolphins. Was pretty funny whenever someone spotted a dolphin you will see all the boats racing in that direction. I think we were considered lucky to see groups of dolphins swimming near our boat and some even leaping slightly above the water!The sunrise was gorgeous too, though it didn’t rise above the water like I was expecting it to, but instead over the mountains.

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Banjar Hot Springs
Since we didn’t go to the other one near Mount Batur, our driver kindly suggested this alternative for us to visit today. Of course you can’t compare it to the view of the mountain and lake of the other , but it was really therapeutic nevertheless!

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Gitgit Twin Waterfalls
There were three waterfalls here though we just visited the Twin Waterfalls because we were still exhausted from the Mount Batur hike yesterday heh. Before we got off the car, our driver warned us of the local guides there who warn you that you will need them to show you around or you get lost and fall to your deaths or something nonsensical like that, and of course you have to pay them for their “service”. Sure enough, once we alighted, a man approached us telling us if we needed them and we told him that we didn’t have enough money so he didn’t bother us anymore. There were a few paths leading to the waterfall but definitely manageable and wouldn’t require a specific guide to bring us there. Our driver however, did tell us that a local guide is definitely recommended for the other waterfall which you could do cliff diving at since it can be dangerous, but not for this one. We swam a little in the waters which was freezing cold but super refreshing!WhatsApp Image 2016-12-06 at 03.13.12.jpeg

Ulun Danu Beratan (Temple by the Lake)
Started raining when we reached and was a little foggy. We sought shelter and had our lunch while waiting for the rain to stop but that of course…didn’t happen. But we still managed to look around and snap some pictures of the temple. This site is printed on their 50,000 rupiah dollar note so definitely worth seeing!whatsapp-image-2016-12-06-at-03-10-22img_6161

Jatiluwih Rice Field
So we spent a long time deciding if we should still visit the rice paddy field under this horrible weather, and we still ended up choosing to go since we are already here in the area. I was really glad we did though! Going down to the rice field was a dirty and muddy mess, probably because we chose the wrong path, but it was quite funny at the same time heh. When we finally reached the bottom and looked around us surrounded by rows and rows of neatly aligned rice paddy fields, I knew that our efforts were not wasted.img_8106img_6206

Tanah Lot
Our very last stop before flying off! We wanted to see the sunset here but no luck for us again with the rain and all though it stopped when we finally reached. It was still low tide so we managed to get down to the temple site which I didn’t the previous time I was here. We queued up to receive their blessing where they sprinkled a few drops of holy water on us and placed rice on our forehead and flower behind our ears, though you have to give a small donation of course. Saw the holy snake too which was linked to a legend at the temple though it just looked like a normal sea snake haha.

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So that was our eventful four day trip in Bali which we definitely wasted no time at all. Noted never to be tempted by the extremely lucrative exchange rates along the road side because they are FAKE and our money almost got cheated away. Apparently it’s a norm in Bali and our experience fit exactly what our driver told us, though he only told us a little too late. Luckily we didn’t change that much money and he returned us our euros when we threatened to call the police. But it’s a lesson well learnt!

Climbing Mount Batur

Bali, Day 3 ( 1 December 2016)- Conquering Mount Batur was not an easy task but it was certainly the highlight of our Bali trip! We started the day in the wee hours of morning at 2am and dragged our lazy selves into our driver’s car before falling back to sleep again on our way from Legian to our destination. When we reached, it was still dark and studded with stars shining away, silently observing us on our journey. It was a good idea that we both brought along our jacket because it was actually quite chilly, even though we pretty much took them off around 10 minutes into the hike. After we met with our friendly guide who passed us a torchlight each, we were good to go.

Our hike started off on an excited note, with us chatting and laughing about. He confidently assured us that since we’re healthy and fit, we’ll probably take around 1 and a half hours to hike up compared to the usual 2 hours. We totally LOLed at that, he had a little too much faith in us perhaps. However, it didn’t seem that bad since the path was pretty flat and sandy. All of us still in high spirits, he pointed enthusiastically up at a steam of dotted lights slowly making its way up a really steep mountain. That, he told us, was where we were heading to. That did give us a shock and it didn’t really register in my mind just how high we were climbing. My friend joked how he probably shouldn’t have revealed the truth to us, but we were definitely now more mentally prepared for a tough journey ahead.

Slowly though, the  path narrowed, the ground got steeper with uneven surfaces and bigger pieces of rocks appearing. He told us that there were two main sections to the climb. The first part, which we were at was relatively easy, while the second part was more challenging. Although we haven’t reached the second half, I already felt it was a little tiring. But we carried on, and finally reached the midway point where we paused for a longer rest.

Then, we got ready for the challenge to come, and it was a challenge indeed. I couldn’t have imagined my fate if I hiked without my guide. A couple of times he grabbed me just in time when I lost my balance. Phew. So on and on we trekked, the fact that there were people both in front and behind us kind of keeps you motivated to keep going. It was physically tiring and a little mentally draining since you had to be alert and select the right spots to place your footing. However, the hike was still within my capability and there were even grandmas hiking too, looking professional with their hiking sticks and probably fitter than we were heh. It never seemed to end until he called out that we were just 25 minutes away from the first sunrise watching spot, after which we could decide if we wanted to continue on to second viewpoint or the peak. Well, first goal was definitely just to reach the first checkpoint. And finally, we did it. We hugged and congratulated each other for making it at last, and took our first victory shot.

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WhatsApp Image 2016-12-06 at 03.51.05.jpegAlready I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Surprisingly, we still had 40 mins till sunrise, which was a lot of time and since we were already here on Mount Batu, why not just go all the way to the top? Taking a deep breath, I mentally prepare myself for another similar experience and it was right that I did because the hike was even steeper than before. However, somehow through sheer determination to see the sunrise, we made it. It was a spectacular sight as the sun was already peaking behind the clouds, turning them into streaks of gold, orange and yellow. It was such an amazing view, almost surreal and too picturesque like that of a painting, with the sun rising above the mist of clouds that shrouded the mountain opposite us, an even more challenging Mount Agung. We took more than enough photos of course, and then settled down at a nice spot to be wowed by mother nature’s beauty, while savouring the breakfast set -banana sandwich with soft boiled eggs- that our lovely guide made for us.

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After a while we knew reluctantly that we had to start making out way down, probably the most dreaded part that we wish we didn’t have to confront. If going up was tough, going down, I thought, would be worse. But at the same time it was kind of fun in an exciting way? There was a path we took which was pretty much all sand and we were practically sliding our way down. I must have looked and sounded like a joke as I was flinging my arms wildly and screaming hysterically. Halfway down we heard someone exclaiming “Oh that looks so fun!I want to go there too!”. That laugh till I’m crying emoji would’ve been the perfect reaction heh. So after going pass that steepest part, I could finally enjoy the scenery around me better. He showed us the active craters that were still releasing steam and we saw soo many monkeys. After my bad encounter with monkeys at Uluwatu I was really careful not to get too near to them. But look at that monkey selfie we got!

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There were many baby monkeys too which were extremely cute! But I dare not try to cuddle them. He also showed us what’s left after the volcanic eruption turned a village into black sandy flat land.

I’m not sure how long we took to reach the bottom but it was definitely longer since we took an easier but more windy road which I didn’t mind at all. It was really nice to enjoy looking at the endless stretches of plantation below us and looking back at the volcano we hiked in the morning, we just couldn’t believe that we were really just up there in the morning.

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Second Stop: Coffee plantation

We spent the next half of the day visiting a coffee plantation and trying a full range of coffee and tea, including the Luwak coffee which didn’t taste any different to me since I don’t actually drink coffee.

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“Shit Coffee” cleaned vs uncleaned

Third stop: Holy Spring Water Temple 

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Our guide got really creative with this shot haha

Fourth stop: Chilling at our pool and ending the night off at a bar along Seminyak beach. We went there looking for a bar with those colour beanbags we saw on Instagram and found way more than one heh, it was basically the entire stretch.

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So my verdict on climbing Mount Batur?
JUST DO IT. The hike was tough but still manageable for me though if you’re physically fit it shouldn’t be any problem at all. But even so, the view was indeed worth all that effort.

Bali in 4 Days- Part 1

Bali, Day 1 (29 November 2016)– After a really early plane ride, we touched down at 8am in Bali. FINALLY. We could barely contain our excitement and couldn’t stop grinning and letting out small squeals of joy at our arrival!The last time I came to Bali was four years ago with my parents but it’s a place that you will definitely never get sick of because there’s just so much to explore!

First stop: Balinese Barong Dance

Our Bali adventure began at the airport where we booked a driver for the day from one of the booths. Honestly though, we had no plans, just a few places we were absolutely sure we wanted to go… so we pretty much went along with our driver’s first suggestion to stopover over  at a place to watch their traditional Balinese Barong dance which represents an eternal fight between good and evil spirits.The mythological animal which looks like a lion is the Barong, representing the good spirit which fights the Rangda, the evil spirit. Although I couldn’t understand what they were saying, you could roughly guess who is who and which act they were in, and they tried to interact with us audience from time to time, switching into English and adding some comical parts into the dance at one point.WhatsApp Image 2016-12-06 at 03.55.03.jpeg

Second Stop: Lunch

After the show we headed off to Nusa Dua but didn’t end up doing any water sports because we were really shocked by the high prices they offered us. Plus, it was really hard selling us and we didn’t felt like going for it either. We stopped over at a restaurant for lunch and tried their Iga (Pork ribs)  which was delicious!

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Mee Goreng (left) and Iga with Honey (right)

Third Stop: GWK Cultural Park

Then we made our way to the Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural park where you see huge statues like the ones below. We paid  100 000 rupiah for entrance and it included the Barong dance which we saw previously, so actually we could’ve saved some money if our driver told us about it heh.

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Fourth Stop: Pandawa Beach

Headed off to Pandawa beach afterwards. The beach was not exactly stunning but it was nice to just wade in the water near shore. But what was really a funny experience was how locals came up to us asking for pictures. Some of them were students on a school trip who seemed to be on a lookout for tourists and asked us where we were from and how we liked Bali. I’m not sure how many photos we took but they just kept approaching when they see others talking to us… One guy even asked us to hold up a sign which we refused because we had no idea what it said except for the word “wife” which was err..kind of weird?

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Fifth Stop: Dreamland Beach

Then it was Dreamland beach! Been there last time with my parents years ago but it seemed so much less crowded this time round and we spent a lot more time here snapping pictures and frolicking around!Right across the main beach there was another more secluded one which we enjoyed so much because there wasn’t anyone there. IMG_7254.jpgIMG_7224.JPG

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Sixth Stop: Uluwatu Temple & Sunset

Finally, we headed off to our last stop Uluwatu Temple for sunset!Also the place where I had my first horrible experience with those notorious monkeys. I’ve heard stories about how they snatched belongings from unsuspecting tourists so I was pretty careful to make sure there wasn’t anything that they could steal from me. But while I was exclaiming how cute they were, one of the monkeys dashed towards me and jumped towards my bag, snatching away my dangling keychain. Ok it was no big deal, just a keychain soft toy, but it was a really cute one which I had for ages and the monkey just took that away from me and was brutally chewing its way through it? Another tourist tried to get it back for me but these smart little creatures were way too fast! I don’t know how long I stood there thinking of a way to get it back and watching that monkey slowly dissecting my poor elephant toy but then I realise that it was a goner, sadly, and reluctantly told the rest to go.  We saw the Kecek dance which followed another traditional story while a group of guys were chanting continuously in the background all the way through. We got quite distracted though halfway through by the sunset across the horizon , which we weren’t expecting because of the cloudy sky, but surprise! The highlight of the show came much later on when the sky got darker  and the monkey king put up a tiny fire performance. He first surrounded himself with balls of grass lighted on fire and began stamping on it and kicking them high into the sky towards the sea. Pretty impressive sight when you see the fireballs  flying around (not towards us of course) in the night.

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Bali, Day 2 (30 November 2016)- Our original plan was pretty much just to laze around the beach and relax because our next two days will be super intense. However, on the way to the beach, we passed by a tour booth and decided just to take a look, but ended up buying a package to do some water sports after bargaining to a price of 1500000 for two of us to do the seawalk, parasailing and jet ski.

First Stop: Sea Walking

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Second Stop: Parasailing

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The water sports were pretty fun! Personally my favourite was definitely parasailing and it was pretty cool floating up there in the air with a parachute! I really liked the jet ski one too since we got to ride it ourselves too and going at full speed! The seawalk was honestly nothing special for me since I’ve done diving before and you see so much more, but it was still an interesting experience going underwater yet not getting your hair wet at all.

Fourth Stop: Exploring Kuta

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So we ended the day walking along the beach from our hotel at Legian to Kuta to take a look. We didn’t get to see any sunset though unfortunately due to the cloudy weather but it was still a nice evening stroll. Plus, guess what we found! Matcha ice cream from Mcdonalds! Of course the matcha addict in me had to try it out. Actually it was vanilla cone ice cream coated with matcha, but I was still really satisfied!

So that marked the end of our two days spent chilling around in Bali because the next two days will be crazy waking up at 2am to catch the sunrise.