Sunday, August 20, 2017

Water Point for Hot Spring Water @ Dai-ichi Takimotokan [Hokkaido's Noboribetsu]

Following an invigorating soak in the amazing onsen at Takimoto Inn sister's hotel, we were on our way back to the poorer sibling when i noticed a signage with two characters that i can recognise - 飲泉, which literally means drink the spring water.

Taking a closer look, there were just two taps with running water. 

Translated English words always help although i wasn't too sure on what i am supposed to do; should i drink from either tap or there's a ratio i should follow? 

Hot spring water appeared to extremely corrosive; judging from the way it had eaten away the basin and i am guessing i shouldn't drink it neat. 

In comparison, the basin for the "normal" water remained as smooth and likely as new as when it was first installed. 

Notices on the wall in a language that i don't understand - thankfully, there were Chinese characters that i can vaguely recognize. Coupled with the need for assumption, i roughly made out a ratio of either 100 ml of hot spring water with 200 ml of normal water or vice versa. 

I erred on the side of caution and opted for the one with lesser hot spring water. At that point, i didn't know that the Google translate app can help to do instant translation by simply taking a photo of the words! 

Dispenser for the paper cups. Do keep in mind that not everyone can drink the water. There were Chinese wordings indicating that those with kidney problems and high blood pressure shouldn't take the water. A second line also mentioned that the water would benefit sufferers of constipation, liver disease, digestive problems and diabetes.

I didn't suffer from any of the above and happily gulped down a cup of mixed water! p.s. remember to dispose your cup instead of leaving it on the counter like the inconsiderate person before us. 

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Location
Dai-Ichi Takimotokan,
Noboribetsu, Hokkaido, Japan

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Spring Water at Tegenungan Waterfall on Bali Island [Indonesia]

I noticed a directional arrow pointing to spring water when i was at Tegenungan Waterfall at Bali and got curious; as i did with the many stacked up stones that's also in the same area. 

A walled enclosure was where the spring water was. From outside, i can hear splashing of water; not the kind that's like water streaming down from the mountain. More like people were playing with the water.

The above was taken on my way back - when i saw the words "spring water", i was imagining a place where i can drink mineral rich water that had been filtered by nature. I was wrong as it's more like a bathing area with similarity to Sari Ater Hot Spring Park in Bandung

How could i confirm for sure that it's a bath area?  Answer: the board outside the enclosure advising ladies not to shower if they are having menstruation. 

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Location
Within Tegenungan Waterfall
Bali, Indonesia.


Friday, August 18, 2017

View of Mount Batur (Volcano) & Lake Batur from Restaurant Panca Yoga @ Kintamani in Bali [Indonesia]

Bali is an amazing destination but one thing frustrates me a lot; traffic jams and they are common given how narrow the roads are at some parts of the island. Add in the hordes of domestic and international visitors and it's not hard to imagine why i eventually missed my flight! 

Anyway, we took more about 90 minutes from Tegenungan Waterfall to arrive at the Kintamani region where we could have buffet lunch and supposedly a great view of a famous volcano in Bali. Before you could even venture beyond, there's an entrance fee of 30,000 rupiahs per person. 

Here's our lunch venue in the highlands; Restaurant Panca Yoga! 

The long line of vehicles right outside the dining establishment; we visited on a Thursday so there should be a reduced vehicle count although we failed to realise it's apparently still Indonesia and Australia's school holidays.

As it's just a long stretch of road and we were somewhere near the "ticket" station, there wasn't many commercial entities. Okay. i admit i didn't explore further as it was already over 2pm and i was dying for lunch! 

Door gods with golden toothy grin.

I was thinking on the flow for this post; food first and then scenery or food, scenery, food, scenery or scenery followed by food. After much thought, i think i am more comfortable with the first option. 

Nothing much i can comment on the decor which was Balinese style although i drew similarity with Indian restaurants. You know what irked me? Flies!! 

Sadly for the operator, Singaporeans and Singapore residents who have stayed in the little red dot for a long period of time are averse to flies and associate their appearance with a lack of hygiene. 

Frankly, i was too hungry to bother about it even though it was still irritating to have them flying all around me in the enclosed section. I eventually found an alfresco space outside which was better for two more reasons; a closer view of the volcano and lake and it's way cooler! 

The outdoors as taken from indoors! 

Despite the flies, i was generally happy with the food. The satay was a great favourite but food selection wasn't wide given that we paid 153,000 rupiahs per person for this buffet lunch. 

Selection included steamed rice, gado gado, mixed salad, acar, fried rice, tofu, chinese omelette, satay, cut fruits, fried banana, fried noodle, spring rolls, Balinese cake, coffee, tea etc. 

As usual, i took a bit of everything to sample before deciding what i should have for my second and third round. Think my stomach was in severe need for food as it had sent a signal to my brain for more carbohydrates! 

What i took again and again and again; satay and spring rolls! 

Now on the cooler outdoors which were devoid of the buzzing flies! Nothing's perfect though - it's a smoking area but i am not the kind to feel suffocated when i smell cigarette fumes.

Our next door neighbour; top floors looked fine while bottom floors seemed to be empty / undergoing renovation. As you can see, the structure was fused to the hillside and i often wonder how safe such buildings would be given the possibility of earthquakes in Bali; last of which was in March this year.

Building where we were at had these metal poles sticking out from the sides. Not an assuring sight for Singaporeans who are attuned to the word "safety".

This was the sight that greeted us; enveloped in a sea of clouds, we couldn't see a darn thing! As i mentioned previously, hunger took precedence and we can forgive the low visibility so long our tummy was filled.

Situation improved after a while yet not to the standard we had expected. We had more or less managed our expectations since weather forecast wasn't to our advantage that day.

Nevertheless, we should always hope, even if the possibility is not high. 

Guess our prayers were answered as the clouds appeared to have lifted by the time we were about to be done with our meal. 

Not perfect but better not seeing much! At least i can catch a glimpse of mount batur (last erupted in year 2000) and the lake of the same name! 

It wasn't incredibly impressive at 1,717 meters and since it's an active volcano, there wasn't many trees on the mountain slopes too. 

I did note the widespread black landmass surrounding the volcano. No prize for guessing what it was since most of us would have assumed it's lava. The lava field was a result of the 1968 eruption! 

Batur Lake - a freshwater lake said to be polluted due to the agricultural activities. From where i stood, it looked peaceful and serene. 

Where i sat wasn't a good photo spot for those who were seated inside as our tables and chairs would have blocked your access; fret not, there's a balcony by the side where you take dozens of selfies at ease. 

Yes, i did take a lot of selfies but as usual, i don't normally publish them in this blog. There's a better chance of seeing Alex than i in this blog. Hahah.

Skies cleared up a lot more when we were about to leave! Pity the omen was short-lived as it started raining in our next stop! 

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Location
Jl. Raya Penelokan, Batur Tengah, 
Kintamani, Kabupaten Bangli, 
Bali 80652, Indonesia

Pricing
Entry to Kintamani - 30,000 rupiahs per person
Buffet Lunch - 153,000 rupiahs per person

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Stacked Up Stones at Tegenungan Waterfall on Bali Island [Indonesia]

Slowly making my way down to the famed waterfall at Bali's Ubud region, my mind was occupied. I was thinking of the long flight of stairs that i just climbed down from; it would be an exhausting climb up steep steps later on. 

Just as my mind drifted away, the scene of flowing water appeared at the corner of my right eye; my head turned towards the stream and I squirmed with a puzzled expression. What are those things on the water?

I had to make a slight detour to take a closer look; they were just stacked up pebbles but you can't deny the fact the appeal they drew and the questions that would be raised.

Is there a religious or cultural reason that the pebbles were placed on top of each other? Or it's merely a scenario of monkey see, monkey do. Which would be somewhat similar to the situation in hawker centres; i see a queue and think food must be good, so i queue up too! 

Another explanation; maybe it's a test of your perseverance and focus to balance as many pieces of stone as you could without them toppling over. 

Whatever the case, it was a lovely sight and judging from the silence of those who were checking out the stones, i assume many were of the opinion that it wasn't a matter of just monkey see, monkey do. 

Honestly, i didn't know any better and proceeded to 'stake' my visit with a piece of stone. For a person without much patience, i opted for a small, flat one.

That's mine as indicated by the red arrow.

Unlike those who chose a more difficult path, i wasn't willing to wet my shoes and risk dropping my camera into the water just to place the pebble on the stack of stones on a hard-to-reach boulder. 

Oh well, to each his or her own. 

Furthermore, there were disgusting discharge at the river banks and there's no way i would put my naked feet into the water! I wasn't feeling very adventurous that day, i guess. 

A view of the Tegenungan Waterfall which i would share more in detail hopefully in my next few postings! There's an urgent need to complete more so that i can start on the posts for Hokkaido

At least this boulder was more achievable with a rocky pathway that would not wet my shoes. I didn't put a pebble though; objective was to take a picture with the waterfall as a backdrop. 

Looked fat; hence, i wouldn't be sharing the photo. haha. I did check with the driver the reasons for those stacked stones; according to him, people do it for fun. Oh.

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Location
Before reaching the waterfall at 
Jl. Raya Tegenungan, Kemenuh, Ubud 80581, Indonesia.

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