Sunset paradise in Bali

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Oops. I guess I have not been consistent with my once a month blogging as I kind of got lazy to rush to blog within the month of October. I kind of started prepping this post on my bali trip on the last few days of October but somehow I got distracted and here’s me trying to concentrate on typing and not get distracted by Netflix or other random things online which snatches away mt attention span.

The past months had been a little more hectic with me going overseas, planning for my overseas trip and also work kind of got a little busier (but definitely still manageable). At the same time, I found myself getting really distracted, having random hobbies (I just crochet-ed a bag but I wasn’t too happy with it) and also watching a lot more show online as there had been really good dramas lately. I just finished the worst of evil on Disney+ and now I’m watching weekly for the cast away diva and strong women – both of which I really enjoy.

Anyway, so few weeks back, I travelled to Bali – a place that I’m visiting for the 4th time – but always feel welcomed to repeat my visits. Similar to most of my travels this year, it was a last minute trip booked 3 weeks ago. The initial discussion was focusing on Vietnam (I wanted to visit Sapa), but somehow we diverted to Bali because we decided to go for a chill trip + my friend wanted to try ATV. Eventually, it didn’t turn out to be a chill trip as we hoped but we still enjoyed it anyway.

Here’s a video that I edited which covers about 75% of my trip. I guess I’m slowly getting the hang of video editing. Let’s hope that this interest don’t run run anytime soon =p

 

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Hope you enjoyed the video!

Let me start off with my ‘budgeting’. Something that I have always done in the past and still enjoy doing it because it lets me reflect and reminisce about the adventures. Contrary to my expectations of Bali being cheap and affordable, I found myself clocking an expenditure of $800+ which is rather high for ‘just an island adventure’ of 4D3N. Looking back, it’s funny how I kept saying that everything is really cheap and we tipped most of our drivers and yet find myself feeling surprised when I do the final math.

The ‘issue’ with cashless payment is that you don’t actually keep to any ‘budget’ at all and you don’t need to count your notes in your wallet before you decide to spend. While it is such a convenience, it is just a faster way to splurge your money but I guess we can’t go back to the cash society anymore.

Details Price (IDR)  Price (SGD)
Airfare (JetStar)

Singapore to Bali (Fly @ 15:40) | Bali to Singapore (Fly @ 23:15)
No baggage for departure, shared 20kg for return flight ($37), bought as an afterthought.

$289.56
Travel Insurance

I bought an annual plan so the cost here is 0. Not excluding this in my breakdown cause I’m a huge advocate of buying travel insurance so this is a reminder to you to ALWAYS BUY one.

0
Accommodation (Average Price per pax per night: $50.236)

$140.11
Transportation (Divided by 2)

  • Booked a private driver for 2 days at 600k each day (ended up tipping 300k)
  • Other rides mainly on GoJek – 675k (with a lot of tipping)
975,000 $86.44
Food (Divided by 2)

  • Day 1 Dinner @ Fatty Chow – 464k
  • Day 2 Breakfast @ Bplus Cafe Kuta – 305k
  • Day 2 Snack @ A&W Kuta – 89.5k
  • Day 2 Sunset Snacks @ La Brisa Canggu – 553.2k
  • Day 2 Dinner @ Pasta Bitte (Pasta) – 375k
  • Day 2 Dessert @ itsumo (tart & ice cream) – 109k
  • Day 3 Breakfast @ Akasa Kintamani – 227k
  • Day 3 Lunch @ Babi Guling Men Lari – 172.7k (paid for driver)
  • Day 3 Dinner @ Johnny’s Tacos – 200k
  • Day 4 Cafe @ Baro – 156k
  • Day 4 Dinner @ Morabito Art Cliff – 816.5k
  • Day 4 Dessert @ Alchemist – 204k
1,835,950 $162.76
Activities (Per person)

  • Massage @ Kokuo Reflexology (90 mins dry massage, 240k)
  • Entrance fee to Kintamani – 50k
  • Sunrise Jeep @ Mt. Batur – 400k
  • ATV @ Ubud – 500k
  • Floatation Therapy @ Solace Float – 11 class pass credits ~ $26
  • 2 random attractions at Uluwatu – 20k
1,210,000 $133.27
Exchange rate 1 SGD = 11,281 IDR
Total $812.14

Everything in Bali was great except for one thing..

The traffic jam was atrocious! It was never so bad in my previous 3 trips but this time round (which is not even the peak period), I found myself crawling in traffic for many occasions. When we first arrived in Bali, the 5km journey from airport to Kuta beach took us 45 mins; which would have been the same time if we chose to walk (but it is not technically feasible along the busy roads as there isn’t a proper pavement). There was another day in Canggu where we spent like 20 mins on a straight road which was barely 400m. It was so slow because there was a busy intersection and everyone was just trying to go everywhere and it was a single lane traffic with no traffic lights. I spent a lot of time thinking if traffic lights would be able to solve the congestion problem but I didn’t have a conclusion to my thoughts. For our final day, our driver drove from Canggu to Uluwatu (the south part) and it took us 3+ hours which was just madness. To be fair, it was a weekend but no thanks in future =/

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For the first time ever (as far as I can remember), I worked in the morning and took PM leave for my flight in the afternoon. To be honest, it’s not exactly that convenient for me because there would be the anxiety of trying to rush as much work as you can, while being mindful of the time. I guess living in a small city like Singapore and being privileged to live like 20 mins car ride away from the airport, the convenience is pretty unheard of compared to many countries. The flight was rather uneventful (except for some condensation leakage which resulted in us changing seats) but I was glat that I managed to watch some dramas on my noise canceling airpods. Airpods is really the best thing I’ve bought during the covid days. I was initially skeptical about wanting to fork out that amount of money for just earphones but gosh, it has saved me on many occasions (work meetings, zoom calls), renovation noises and even blocking out noises when I’m on commute, especially in the airplanes! Forgetting to bring my airpods out, or failing to charge it can be such a nightmare in my life right now >< Just hoping that the life of my airpods can be longlasting to justify the high price point.

We arrived in Bali sometime after 6pm and given that we were staying in Kuta for the night, I decided not to hire a driver (in advance) but just book a Grab/GoJek. After comparing prices, GoJek was the cheaper option and the way the function now is like ‘taxi’ where you take the first available taxi in the ‘queue’. It’s seriously posing a threat to the traditional taxi business but I guess we can only look ahead with technology. The ride was atrociously ‘jammed’ and we were dead starving by the time we reached out accom – Casa Wina Kuta. It was a refurbished hotel which was pretty decent for the price we paid. The bed wasn’t exactly the most comfortable but I’m not complaining because the price is really a steal.

 

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We had dinner at a fusion asian food place which tasted nice on first bite but halfway through, we kind of concluded that it was just MSG and it was just average and pretty overpriced in our opinion. I guess you can’t really trust Google Map reviews all the time, especially when asian food is like what we are most familiar with.

 

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Another reason why we chose to stay at Kuta was because I saw a video about this newly opened Japanese-themed massage place which was really affordable. We visited it the following day and it looks as clean and as new as it can be. Bali-style massage is not similar to the thai/chinese style that I’m familiar with but I appreciated the stretching exercises that the masseur assisted me with towards the end. The only regret I have was that I couldn’t tip them decently as I had no small change on me =/

After snacking at A&W (which is overpriced now and pretty underwhelming to the extend that I won’t bother eating it again in Bali), we took a GoJek car to our next accommodation where we would be spending 2 nights.

 

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It was situated at ‘Tanah Lot’ neighbourhood, which was a mistake because I initially thought it was at Canggu (the hipster area). It was a new and beautiful accommodation in a very quiet area (with ongoing construction of new villas) but I was very annoyed with myself that I overlooked the ‘toilet situation’. There were no doors to the shower area (and the huge bath tub), and the glass was transparent. After the ‘discovery’, I got so annoyed and polled at my IG on whether hotels should be upfront about this in their description or whether they should leave it to the customer to look through the photos thoroughly to discover that the toilet has no blinds, no doors and whatsoever. Majority voted in favour that the hotel should be upfront =p Anyway, I also started to wonder if there was a huge assumption that Bali + villa is pretty much a place that only attracts couples o_O Even if I’m with my family, I would still feel entirely awkward to the max >< Anyway, conclusion was that my dear friend (who was not so sensitive) had to be mindful of not moving around and looking in the other direction when I shower.

After a quick rest, we had to rush off again as I did not want to miss the sunset as the weather was ‘superb’ aka no clouds and very hot – which means the sunset would be beautiful. I chose to go the popular and viral place in Canggu because.. everyone recommended it.

 

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There was a minimum spend of 500k for us to use the beanbags by the beach. We hit the amount easily buy ordering 2 sides and 2 cocktails. Apart from the beach not being a private one where people just kept walking by non-stop (well the beach is public), the view was really superb and definitely one of the more beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life. To watch the orange colour slowly fade into a beautiful ombre before turning dark.. It was so picturesque that I struggle to find the words to describe such beautiful scenery.

 

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A friend recommended handmade pasta in Canggu area and so we headed over there after the sunset to fill our bellies. It was a very delicious dinner and they had an open kitchen which allowed us to watch how our dinner is being prepared. I have a soft spot for handmade pasta, mainly because I attempted to make during covid days and realised it was such a tough job. If you happen to be in Canggu area, please give it a try!

We couldn’t stay out late that night as we were due to depart at 2am the next morning for the sunrise tour.

 

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I don’t think I slept that night or perhaps, just 20 mins or so. Couldn’t really sleep in the 3 hours car ride either as I think a part of my mind is cautious since the driver is driving us in the wee hours of the morning and my anxious heart can’t be at ease. We were heading to the ‘Mt Batur Sunrise Jeep tour’ situated at the northern side of Bali – an area I’ve never ventured to in my previous 3 trips. The roads to that area was pretty well maintained and I guess it was well funded because we paid 50k each just to enter the area. Fun fact, in the pre-covid days, the only way to see the sunset was if you took part in the ‘hike’ which I think is about 1-2 hours. Some genius decided to introduce the ‘jeep tour’ and within a year, this business flourished and there were almost 200 jeeps with us, watching the sunrise together. It was pretty cold in the morning (before the sun rose), and we had to be early as the best ‘parking lots’ are snapped up real early. To be honest, I didn’t enjoy the jeep ride and it felt like a real-life Indiana jones ride that I’ve taken in Disneyland. The roads were super bumpy and the cliffs have no barrier which means that any mishap can happen any time. To add on, I was probably sleep-deprived too (plus the cold) and I wasn’t cooperative with the driver’s eagerness to snap photos of us against the beautiful natural backdrop. Would probably regret some time down the road but my ‘fear of dying’ was rather strong that morning. Most people went on to stand on top of the jeep and stuff like that but there I was just sitting down and enjoying the sunrise quietly, while observing everyone around me on how creative they could be with their poses. The jeep ride was not cheap either – we paid 400k each (not sure how much ‘cut’ my driver gets from it), but I guess given that it was a rather exclusive experience, it was pretty worthed.

There were other options after the jeep ride – to visit some black sand place or hot springs or something but sleep-deprived me just wanted to grab coffee and sleep.

The driver drove us to a super beautiful cafe (which I saw on social media) and gosh look at how pretty it is.

 

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We arrived at the cafe at 7am (like gosh I’m usually not even awake at this timing). I wasn’t hungry but we grabbed some food anyway as it is not good to drink coffee on an empty stomach. The coffee was good and I bought their beans as well. We couldn’t spend too long in this cafe as we had another activity planned (so much for wanting to have a chill and relaxing trip).

 

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Next up was an ATV adventure~ Before I begin, I can only say that ATV is not for everyone and I think if you don’t have a driving license, do re-consider this activity as the vendor I went (Beji River Adventure Bali), the terrain can be quite intimidating especially if you’re trying for the first time. My friend (who has a driving license) couldn’t figure out the controls and ramped into a ditch at the start and gave up driving alone – and opted to be a tandem behind a staff, in order to experience the ride. To be honest, I was quite scared myself as the vibration of the vehicle is really strong and you had to use strength (and your body weight) to steer the ATV into the direction you want to go. The route brought us down into a short portion of the river (where the person in front of my vehicle got stuck and needed the staff’s assistance). There was also a short tunnel entrance (a photo spot) and then steep acceleration back up. There were many times during the ride I wonder when it was going to end as my arms were tired. All in all, I almost fell twice (cause of bad control on my end) but on hindsight, I would want to try it again – probably in a less dangerous terrain. It is an activity for thrill seekers. As for my friend, though she concluded the course as a tandem, she had to witness my ramping and being behind, if you don’t hold tight enough, you could fly off too as there aren’t any seatbelts. She said she kind of had PTSD from it but would still be open to try ATV in a flatter terrain.

 

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We were starving by the end of this and asked our driver for local food recommendations. He brought us to this Babi Guilng place at Canggu which was really delicious. We invited him to join us for lunch and gosh it did feel slightly awkward despite him being my driver for 3 trips already. I’m glad to have that small catchup and his memory was really good as he could remember the things I’ve shared with him, alongside with the various friends and family that I have recommended along the way. Although his fees may not be the cheapest, I’m still comfortable to have someone that I can trust and it’s good to let them earn the full amount rather than letting an agency take a cut.

After lunch, we headed back to the accommodation for a rest but I was keen to book a ‘floatation therapy’ – something which I had always been curious about but not willing to pay the hefty price tag in Singapore. In Bali, there was an operator offering it on ClassPass and it was about 11 credits (~$26) for a 90 mins session. Sadly, there was a jam and we were 10-15 mins later which meant that our session was cut short.

You can read more about floatation here if you are keen – https://www.health.com/mind-body/floatation-therapy

 

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Everyone reacts differently to therapy and for myself, I didn’t feel much impact of the therapy as I was overly sceptical about everything – which is something I know all along but somehow this ‘therapy’ made me affirm my thoughts. I also realised that I couldn’t stay still or focus my thoughts on one single thing – something which is a true reflection of my actual life. I am someone that constantly finds the need and temptation to multi-task. It is difficult for me to focus on one thing at a time but somehow I guess different people has different way and methods of going by with life. In addition, I wished I had selected the option of a ‘voice audio’ rather than just ambience noises – which makes me lose focus on everything. On the other hand, my friend had to go through a series of emotions during her alone time and she came out with heavy thoughts to think about. She also mentioned that there was a moment where she felt emotional and wanted to cry and there were quite a bit of reflection being done within the pod – but she is not sure if she would try again. For me, I do want to try again – if it is at a more affordable pricing.

Post floating, we also had some tea with fruits and I flipped through the book where participants had been invited to scribble their thoughts down. While 80% of the comments were positive, there were comments about how it was a waste of money and time. Different people react differently to therapy (as expected) so I guess the varying post-activity comments.

 

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We had tacos post-float nearby before heading back for the well-deserved sleep I needed to have. Check-out was 12 the next day. As our flight was only at night, I hired my driver for a full day itinerary before sending us back to the hotel. As it was a Saturday, the jam was horrendous and we didn’t get to go to all the places I was thinking of.

 

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We visited this random cliff/beach cause I saw a plane on google maps but it turned out not to be an abandoned plane, but a plane brought in specially to be built into a private villa. It looks really impressive but I think it costs about $4-8k USD a night. No idea who is able to afford the place. Although it was slated to open in March 2023, it was still in construction when we visited so no idea when would it actually operate and have paying guests.

 

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We then visited another ‘cliff’ as from the photos, it looks very similar to a place I visited in New Zealand called ‘Farewell Cape’. It was weirdly quiet when we were there, though it was nearing the sunset timing. There was also a cute coffee cart which I told my friend to support as the owners look really young!

 

 

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Finally, we settled for dinner at a Santorini-inspired restaurant. Really loved the vibes and the view but the food was pretty average and expensive. If I can’t make it to Greece, I guess it is a pretty photo spot to ‘fake it’.

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It’s been a long while since I detailed my travel itinerary in writing. No idea why I decided to do it this time round but I guess Bali is a lovely place that I will always return to, as long as I can build up my patience against the crazy traffic. Sorry if my writing did sound rushed (because yes I am rushing) as I want to complete this before my next and finally trip for the year.

I think my colleagues and friends think that I am traveling a little too much but hey, most of my trips are short and I’m still traveling within my annual leave limit for the year!

The year is coming to an end soon and sighs, the world somehow doesn’t seem like a better place than where we started off. The news is largely depressing on most days but I guess there’s really nothing much we can do about the situation but to just pray for the victims and that a miracle can somehow happen. Let’s all have a little bit more hope in the world 🙂

Wherever you are in the world, Cheer Up! (I need this too.)

^Till next time.

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