Recently Ramya and I went over to Bali. With Green fields, Volcanos, Crystal Clear Beaches Bali, is a paradise. The weather is Humid with Colds sea breeze in the evenings. We spent 10 days on the Island to celebrate our 4 Wedding Anniversary.
The plan and getting ready
Originally the plan started over a year ago when we first thought of celebrating our anniversary at Florence, Italy then Paris, Cambodia and finally we stopped at Bali. Thanks to Air Asia for their really low-cost flights where we booked our all return tickets for little more than Rs. 35,000 with a layover at Kuala Lumpur in November 2018 (almost 90 days before the date of departure.) as there is no visa requirement, we considered the trip as confirmed so booked flights and hotels as non-refundable which saved us around 25 – 30 K . And with our experience from our previous trip in 2016 to Rajasthan where we just backpacked all our luggage, we booked a hand baggage only ticket. Later extra luggage for 1 passenger is added for just 4000K (for all 4 flights. Together) . As there is a layover of around 10 hours at Kula Lumpur (KL) during our return we initially planned to go and visit The Twin Towers. But the visa requirements are as follows. ( please check immigrations website for exact details)
- Visa – Required
- Transit Visa – Only for passengers travelling back to India from selected countries like Japan, Australian, South Korea etc.
- Tourist visa – can be applied online and fee around 25 $ + 1500 visa processing fee (approximate)
- Visa on arrival can be obtained after reaching KL at $ 100.
But after considering all the pro and cons and consulting a couple of friends we felt spending almost 5000 INR for visa (for both of us) and spending 6-7 hours in KL city is not fitting in our budget and we can not explore the city much in the given time. So officially we postponed our visit to KL to a later date. ( we took this decision 7 days before our schedule departure to Bali). due to similarities on food and climate, we saved money without spending on new cloths and ready to eat Indian food, Indian snacks etc.
KL and Cultural Ubud
With a quick 3 hours flight we had our first sight of sunrise on foreign ground Nd with lot of excitement we reached KL. KLIA 2, the worlds biggest airport for budget airlines. The two main buildings Main building terminal (MBT) and satellite Building are connected by a 300 mts sky bridge. From Top Brands to Prayer rooms, TV Lounges, Transit Hotels, Food courts, Coffee Shops name any thing, KLIA have it. 5 hours passed just like 5 minute in the huge airport. Initially we faced a few problems with food in the food court as every outlet have only Non Vegetarian in their menu. We only can get French Fries and Coke in the Veg Option and coffee. With 64 gates, its not easy to find the right gate so without wasting much of time we quickly moved and waited for our flight to Bali at our Gate. After 3 hours of flight over Java sea, we arrived Ngurah Rai International Airport, Denpasar at 1400 hrs. The hotel arranged pickup at airport at 400,000 IDR on prior notice. the climate is much hotter than Chennai and highly humid. With great difficulty we reach our cab in parking lot in soaring sun and continued our journey to the cultural capital of Bali, Ubud.
Initially around Denpasar the roads are clean and wide and in the noon the traffic is minimum on highways. But in no time, from wide highway we entered the narrow countryside roads. People strictly follow traffic rules and no one overtakes and go on the wrong side which is common to us in India. Because of very high tourist footfall, even the countryside roads are maintained in a great condition. In 40 km of our journey (for our entire stay in Bali in fact) we didn’t experienced a single pothole. For an Economy like Indonesia, their commitment towards roads maintainance is to an example for cities like Hospet / Hampi(Karnataka) which has similar number of International tourists.In 2 hours we reached Ubud. after 15 long house of journey we were tierd and hungry by the time we reached ubud. we explored a couple of street for food but nothing indian or nothing vegetarian came in our way, finally we found Clear Cafe, it welcomed us with a loved the front entrance and removing our shoes as we walk in. With the running water , fish , flowers and feeling Clear cafe is a must visit in Ubud they server Veg and they have some of the best shakes.
we relaxed for the night in Padma Ubud Retreat – a 12 room home stay on a quiet dead end street a 5 minute walk from downtown Ubud. we pre ordered our breakfast and relaxed for the rest of the night. After a stomach full breakfast, we explored the local ubud on foot. Ubud palace is a must visit for wonderful architecture and ever door and window is carefully crafted with beautiful Balinese Hindu Characters. You can get some of the best photos and don’t miss the traditional Bali dance on every Sunday evening at 7:00 (tickets can be bought directly at the entrance before the show . Cost – 100,000 IDR / Person) and just a couple of blocks away behind the Starbucks on Ubud Main Road, Saraswathi temple is a must visit. Thought the main temple is closed for foreigners the courtyard, lotus ponds are must visit. If you wish to spend more time seeing the beautiful temple, you may sit at Starbucks or Cafe Lotus outside the temple. Both of them have great views to the temple. Lastly we went to the Museum of Modern Bali Art.
Staying in the middle of Ubud, we took at least 1 hour break after visiting every monument thus we are least strained . Middle of our visits we found a beautiful Indian Veg Restaurant on the ubud main road ” Roti & Dal”. It’s a tiny 2 floors restaurant with menu mainly compromises of Rice and 4-5 Indian Veg Curries. You may select Rice+1/2/3/4 curries on your level of appetite. Their yogurt is a must try. A lunch for 2 cost around 170,000-200,00 IDR. For the next 2 days, Roti & Dal is our one stop shop for Lunch and Dinner. With close proximity to our hotel, we didn’t even thought of a second option.
night we went to the traditional Bali Dance performance at the Ubud Palace. though every major tourist attraction in ubud has a dance show every evening, the one taking place at ubud Palace is a famous.
The Next day we explored further north of Ubud on tiny automatic scooter Sccopy. At 150,000 IDR a local sim with 15 GB data and 15 min of local calling is very helpful in our coming days, and google maps are absolutely useful. Download local maps before you reach Bali so that it will be very useful even if you do not have a data card or wifi.
Driving is an absolute fun in bali with picturesque surroundings. An International driving licence is not mandatory (until you are caught and specially in Ubud as every foreigner drives a bike.). Rent per day ranges from 60,000IDR to 100,00 IDR depends on the bike you choose (scoopy, Nmax, etc). In places like Ubud, finding a bike for rent is quit easy or just check with hotel you stay they can arrange. Climbing north on the highway, in 1 hour, we reached Ulun Danu Bratan Temple. With Danau Beratan lake on the background, and sudden change in weather with and sudden afternoon rains,Ulun Danu is a must visit in Bali.The temple complex is located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. Built in 1633, this temple is dedicated to Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Lake Bratan is known as the Lake of Holy Mountain due to the fertility of this area. Located 1200 m above sea level. after spending an hour at Ulun Danu Bratan, we return back via POD Chocolate factory. then we reached back ubud and had a vegan lunch at Alchemy. as vegan is not our daily routine we didnt likes the food. Eating spicy Indian food at home, raw vegan food did not go well on our taste buds. And frankly speaking we can’t even empty the plate. With half empty stomach and full empty wallets and lot of disappointment we came back to our hotel and decide not to try any other food except stick to Indian food for the rest of our stay.
In the evening we went to Tegenungan waterfalls near to ubud. The place is clean and well maintained by the locals. They charge around 20,000 IDR as the entrance fee. Through out the way till the steps you can find shops selling water bottles to Bali souvenirs made by the local artisans (price is always on a higher side, mind to bargain 40-50 % before buying). On the steps, there are a couple of famous Bali nests where people take photos. Hanging in the middle of trees a proper photo of these nest looks as it is really hanging to the trees. With a decent of around 100 steps, you will be able to have a close look to the waterfall. The water is muddy in appearance of the colour but looks great on the photos.
The next day we relaxed in the pool near our hotel and packed our bags to the next destination Nusa Dua.
Like any other city, locals in Ubud also are against Online Taxi services / app based cab services. Though a couple of boards say these type of taxis are not allowed you can spot one or two taxis here and there. So this time we tried to book a pp based taxi. And for a distance 10 km more than airport-ubud we got a cab at 100,000 IDR cheaper. The drives speak decent English and very polite. Make sure that they start the meter once you enter. Meter starts at 7000 IDR as it starts.
In 1.5 hrs we reached Nusa Dua the land of worlds best resorts, Private beaches, ITDC maintained ultra clean roads and gardens. In 1.5 hours our surroundings changed from a typical Bali village to Ultra modern Tourism Destination. Don’t miss the wonderful toll road over the sea.
Please wait for more stories on our stay at Nusa Dua and the heart of Bali Kuta.
Photos will be uploaded soon on google photos and link will be shared .