Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Tegalalang Rice Terrace - Do Prepare Extra Rupiahs for "Donations" along the Trek @ Bali [Indonesia]

According to the itinerary, we were supposed to catch the sunset at Tanah Lot temple but from the timing, i know it's a far stretch as it would take at least an hour without any traffic jam. 

Time at this point was past 5.30 pm and 30 minutes were allocated for us to take in the beautiful sights of a famous rice terrace in Bali.

I have been to rice terrace fields before and that particular one in China at Longji in Guangxi province stood out from being extremely memorable as it was a long climb that's totally worth the effort! 

Patchwork blanket - after living for almost 40 years, i can confidently tell you that the best blanket (at least for hot and wet Singapore) is the above kind which was sewn using scraps of fabric. 

Time to walk down for a better view! 

Now, i think i would be impressed if this would be my first time at a terraced field. However, it isn't and i feel that it was much smaller than expected and although still pretty, it was kind of a disappointment for me. 

Nevertheless, i can many visitors walking all over the fields and i sure wouldn't want to miss the opportunity to explore the terraces while there's still sunlight. 

Hillside of the commercialized section facing the Tegalalang Rice Terrace; you can choose to slowly sip a cup of coffee and relax with the scenery in front of you.

My tour mates were more interested in gelato which i thought was priced rather expensive at 35,000 rupiahs for one cone (close to S$4 each). 

A better photograph taken at the viewing platform close to Loji (the gelato shop). By the way, my friends said the gelato was really nice; their words, not mine! 

No fee was imposed to take the picture of the rice fields, until you decide to step on the viewing platform. Wait, no fee is imposed too although there's a mandatory donation. $%#$%@%@#% can someone please explain the definition of donation?! 

Anyway, i didn't pay a single cent since i didn't step on it and i wouldn't frustrate myself further; it's better to direct the frustration with a trek down the tracking to the side of the rice terraces. 

It's going to be an arduous journey and i shall go on it alone. Not even Alex would be allowed to join in; truth is, i asked and he said he didn't want to walk. Fine, it shall be a one-man trek then. 

Jumping down the stairs didn't take much energy but i am shuddering at the climb back afterwards. Knowing me, i would likely curse at myself under my own breath.

Maybe that's why the stone tables and chairs were placed at such a convenient location. I can see people using them and for good reason; to catch their breath. 

Aside from a reduced crowd, this would also be a better place to rest your eyes on the rice terraces ahead of you; nope, i didn't have a luxury with only 18 minutes left.

Note: wear good shoes if you decide to trek as some of the steps are merely carved out from the ground. The surface can be extremely slippery in wet weather or after it has rained.

A pond with water lilies (i think) instead of rice.

About to reach the bottom of the commercialized side which shall then connect us to the side of the rice terraces. Please be assured that the distance from top to bottom wasn't long and i cleared it like in 3 minutes (that's taking into consideration that i did stop at certain junctures to shoot a picture or two).

The connecting bridge that would help us navigate across the stream right underneath. 

Oh yes, another 'donation' that's manned by a person ensuring that you put in at least 10,000 rupiahs for permission to proceed further. Please, you can tell me it's admission fee and i would gladly pay up too. 

Supposedly the traditional Balinese irrigation method for the rice terraces; they were like mini waterfalls cascading down from one platform to another platform.

Direction was clear; go up! 

Hidden side of the rice terraces that i don't think people would notice when they were on the viewing platform near the gelato shop; quieter and more peaceful.

Up close with the paddy fields on terraces! 

Could you imagine that the grains of rice, a staple in Asian diet, all came from these grass-like plants? Question: one bowl of rice would come from how many stalks? Yes, i do ask weird questions like the aforementioned.

Up and up and up! The path can be narrow and like driving on a narrow road up a hill, i do have to give way by tucking myself at a corner or a wider spot so that others can walk past me. 

Another donation spot! While i still have the cash (which honestly wasn't much even though i hate the continual misuse of the word "donation"), i don't think i should proceed further with just 12 minutes left. 

Now that i am officially on the other side, i should take the opportunity to shoot the commercialized section with its numerous buildings on the hillside! 

A panorama! 

The rare selfie of me; a personal achievement so must commemorate a bit. I think you would be seeing more of my selfies now that i have a selfie stick! Haha. By the way, they are usually the best of the lot that take advantage of the software's ability to clear the complexion flaws. :P 

Walking back and not enjoying it once i reached the bridge! 

Another selfie as i couldn't recall where i took it along the trek and the surrounding didn't appear familiar. Usually, the date and time would help but in this case, it was erroneously tagged as yesterday. 

Yes, i conquered my greatest enemy for that trip; stairs! 

Lastly, a photo of the Pinocchio string puppets sold at one of the commercial entities. If it was the little pony, i would have gotten one for Jovyn. Honestly, i don't think the younger generation is acquainted with Pinocchio, especially when it has not been shown as a movie in recent years. 

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Monday, August 28, 2017

The Eyes in the Sky above New Chitose @ Hokkaido [Japan]

Now's the time once for me to reduce the number of photos taken for Hokkaido and populate them into nugget-sized postings in this blog so that they don't go to waste! 

To be honest, i wasn't expecting much when the plane made its descent as there was a bloody thick layer of cloud with a possibly high chance of rain; which would have derailed any effort on my side to take photos of the land up in the air.

Thankfully, there wasn't a single drop of rain and lo and behold; right beneath me would be the land of the rising land and the fulfillment of a childhood dream to visit Japan. 

Unlike typical Southeast Asian landscape, it was a scene of tidiness with ample space and plenty of greenery. This differs from what i read in the history textbooks; i thought Japan would be super crowded. 

More photos; not many tall buildings (and rightfully so since they are near the airport) and it was pretty boring after a while as nothing much quite stands out to wow me from my airplane seat. 

Maybe this did make me turn my head a bit although it was just many lines of solar panels; eco-friendly no doubt yet again, unsurprising with a conventional layout. 

Taking off from the opposite runway at New Chitose Airport 8 days later was an entirely different view; much more greenery that made me wondered then if i was at a nature reserve! 

An oddity in the midst of the greenery - a pretty full carpark and it's one of quite a number surrounding New Chitose Airport. My assumption is that parking there would be much cheaper compared to the airport.

Golf courses! Guess a few things never change when it comes to airports all over the world; the potential noise pollution from the jets would drastically reduce the land value and a country club for the rich would make total economic sense. 

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Interested to check out my summarized 8 days, 7 nights itinerary to Hokkaido in summer (including a few days of self-drive)? Click here

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