October 11th, 2012

Bali Hardcoreliday - Day 1 (20th Jul 2012)

Our first holiday trip together. YY's virgin regional trip ever since he arrived in Singapore many years ago. We arrived late the night before at Villa Mahapala (value for money) along family friendly Sanur Beach. Not the drinking and partying type, we decided to stay away from Kuta and Seminyak. Nonetheless, we had an action-packed itinerary (arranged by piyubali@yahoo.com) for the next 3 days.

Telaga Waja River Rafting (US$35.00 per pax all-inclusive): Most exciting route

20 July 2012_Telaga Waja River Water Rafting (1)

  Took almost 1.5 hours drive (winding through villages and padi fields) to arrive at this starting point where we boarded our raft. Do note that rafting agencies start at different points along the river, and we were lucky to start right at the top. You can keep your belongings in the waterproof bag that comes with each rafting guide.  

20 July 2012_Telaga Waja River Water Rafting (9)

I think we paid an extra IDR150,000 for this photo taken by their staff. As we row row row our boat gently down the stream, Val exchanged blows with a spider in the raft, low-lying branches whacking our faces and dear Jack deflated the raft by accident. Poor guide had to inflate the raft using his own mouth and breath. We felt obliged to tip him at the end.

20 July 2012_Telaga Waja River Water Rafting (8)

After paddling for about 1-1.5 hours, we took a break at a waterfall and soft drinks were available here. Not cheap so bring your own water. Another hour or so down the river to reach our lunch venue.

20 July 2012_Telaga Waja River Water Rafting (4)

Yes, lunch was provided. We had a simple buffet of local food at this table overlooking the padi fields. Another 1.5 hours drive back to Sanur.

Val was craving for seafood along Jimbaran Beach. While the others were washing up, I went to the reception and asked for advice on how to make our way to Menega Cafe along Jimbaran Beach. However, due to miscommunication, we ended up at Blue Marlin instead.

20 July 2012_X Jimbaran Beach Seafood Dinner (3)

20 July 2012_X Jimbaran Beach Seafood Dinner (4)

Apparently, Blue Marlin provides free transportation only if you dine at their restaurant. That was not what I understood from the Villa Mahapala reception. As usual, easy-going Jack drank the welcome drink and act blur. Took a quick look at their menu and the prices were higher than expected. Interesting to note that Blue Marlin's tax percentages looked suspicious. Tried to ask for directions but people at Blue Marlin commented that Menega Cafe closed down long ago or never heard of it before. Complained to Villa Mahapala's reception over the phone and somehow they got the Blue Marlin driver to fetch us further down the road - now Menega Cafe exists!

20 July 2012_X Menega Cafe Seafood Dinner (3)

Jl. Four Seasons Hotel, Muaya beach, Jimbaran, Bali. Tel: +62 361 705888

20 July 2012_X Menega Cafe Seafood Dinner (1)

I was right. For the same seafood basket, the prices at Menega Cafe were lower and more reasonable. Furthermore, Menega Cafe's tax rates (two types) were much lower than Blue Marlin - I thought they should be similar? Kinda pissed me off. 

20 July 2012_X Menega Cafe Seafood Dinner (11)

20 July 2012_X Menega Cafe Seafood Dinner (7)

Val could not wait any longer. She bought two corns, which tasted really good I must say, while we were choosing the lobsters and king prawns at the back of Menega Cafe. 

20 July 2012_X Menega Cafe Seafood Dinner (2)

20 July 2012_X Menega Cafe Seafood Dinner (5)

The tables were planted on the beach at an angle and it was a challenging dinner. The food was really awesome and you know that when we only took pictures of dinner, well, after dinner. Only US$30-40 per pax for 4 beers, two huge lobsters, two fish, king prawns, clams, scallops etc. We returned the rice untouched.

20 July 2012_X Menega Cafe Seafood Dinner (9)

SO FULL! We took quite a long walk down Jimbaran Beach and it was pitch black at certain parts of the beach. Finally, we arrived back at Blue Marlin and hopped onto a cab back to Villa Mahapala. Had an early night to prepare ourselves for boat ride and snorkelling at Nusa Penida (islands east of Sanur) the next morning.  



Bali Hardcoreliday - Day 2 (21st Jul 2012)

Did not want to simply snorkel off the Bali coast just like any other typical tourist. Finally, we chose Nusa Penida. We could have taken the ferry service from Sanur to Nusa Penida and there are plenty of vendors happy to take you out snorkelling. However, we decided to save time and book this trip through Piyu (piyubali@yahoo.com) instead. Pick-up service brought us all the way down south to the marina where the dive shop was located. Essential gear, bottled water and lunch (simple home-made sandwiches) were provided.


Nusa Penida Boat Ride & Snorkelling (US$55.00 per pax for 4 of us all-inclusive): Life & Death

21 July 2012_Morning Snorkeling Trip to Nusa Penida (3)

Yea, probably the only time I smiled throughout the nerve-wrecking boat ride to Nusa Penida. YY and Jack were cool. Val was holding on tight just like I did. When we boarded the boat, the life jackets were out of sight and we set off. Very soon we were in the middle of the ocean, slightly foggy, no land in sight, crew seemed a bit lost, big waves thumping the side of the boat - I insisted that they gave us our life jackets. The boat ain't big. To the right, a mother big wave was coming and the Captain figured that it is safer to face and ride over the wave than allowing it to hit us on the side. 

21 July 2012_Morning Snorkeling Trip to Nusa Penida (2)

Think I was joking about the boat ride? See what happened to Jack. His first time out on a boat I guess.

21 July 2012_Morning Snorkeling Trip to Nusa Penida (6)

21 July 2012_Morning Snorkeling Trip to Nusa Penida (5)

Finally, we arrived at our snorkelling destination Crystal Bay. Jack puked here. The crew also took us to another spot near Nusa Lembongan up north. Visibility was great with live corals and lots of fish. On the whole, I felt that we overpaid for the trip. Probably better off taking the ferry service and bargaining with vendors on the spot.

Took a quick shower after coming back, we headed out to the highly recommended Mandura Spa. Value for money and pretty comfortable. 

21 July 2012_Spa & Dinner After Snorkeling (2)

21 July 2012_Spa & Dinner After Snorkeling (4)

Look at our revitalized YY!

Could not decide on where to have dinner. Simply wandered down Sanur Beach and stumbled onto Wantilan Beach Restaurant. We got lucky. 

21 July 2012_Spa & Dinner After Snorkeling (8)

Part of Griya Santrian, a boutique beach resort and spa in Sanur. 

Jl. Danau Tamblingan 47  Sanur  - Bali - Indonesia | P.O. BOX 3055 Denpasar Bali - Indonesia
Tel : 62 - 361 -  288181 | Fax : 62 - 361 -  288185 | e : griyasantrian@santrian.com  | w : www.santrian.com

21 July 2012_Spa & Dinner After Snorkeling (6)

Appetizer was cute and tasted as good as it looks. Overall, the food was surprisingly good and cost around US$20-30 per pax for soup, appetizer, main with sides, drinks and one shared dish. Almost 8:00pm and we went back to rest before the 2:00am pick-up for the Mt Batur Sunrise Trek.


Bali Hardcoreliday - Day 3 (22nd Jul 2012)

WAKE UP! We set off at 2:00am sharp and took about 1.5 hours to arrive at the foot of Mount Batur. Gunung Batur is an active volcano standing at 1,717m or 5,633ft. A much friendlier volcano to climb than its neighbour Gunung Agung. Met up with our petite and under 20-year-old female guide, who has been doing this weekly for several years, and the hike began at 3:45am. Pitch black and we could not see each other without the torchlight even if Jack was standing right next to me.


The initial part of the 1.5-2.0 hours climb was alright but the real challenge came around mid-way. Steep and winding slopes, not to mention right near the edge, required us to use both hands and feet at some point. The guide was texting as she climbed and led the way. The route up does not really allow one to rest or give up because there's no space for a pit stop. One has to stand on the edge to allow overtaking. Still pitch black with one torchlight each. Around 5:15am we reached the top. Still, we did not meet Piyu (piyubali@yahoo.com).

Mount Batur Sunrise Hike (US$25.00 per pax & US$35.00 for car all-inclusive): Highlight of the trip

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (1)

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (3)

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (16)

A shed where guides and climbers gather for a smoke and some warmth. I believe our guide took our eggs and boiled them in the shed before serving with bread and jam. Coffee and soft drinks were available for a price of course.

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (21)

Jack did not feel so good.

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (5)

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (17)

Breath-taking!

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (15)

Took one last group shot before heading towards the crater. 

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (7)

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (9)

Time to head down the same route. 

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (10)

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (24)

22 July 2012_Pre-Dawn Trek Mt Batur for Sunrise (12)

A quick shot to remember what we climbed in the dark.

How we felt after the climb? 

22 July 2012_YY & Val Exhausted from Mt Batur Climb

As we await the KLM flight back to Singapore later in the evening...