Saturday, November 18, 2017

Last Day of My 4 Days, 3 Nights Itinerary to Bali - The Island of the Gods @ Indonesia

Rise and shine for our last day in Bali! Most times, i would have preferred to sleep late on the last day of our vacation, especially when the flight home was at night! But, i needed to check out Bali's most famous temple and i thought it's better to visit in the morning to beat the crazy traffic jam. 

Hence, we arranged for the same driver (from day 3) to pick us up. p.s. i wasn't that keen to engage his service but i have unfortunately left our easybreath snorkeling masks in his car. Lo & behold, it's another change in driver and car. 

Frankly, I have gotten quite used to the fact that the nice person you corresponded with in the whatsapp chat etc may not necessarily turned out to be the same person you thought you would be engaging. 

Whatever the case, i didn't have the luxury of time to clarify and was mentally exhausted to go through another round of likely unhappy discussion on WhatsApp; might as well use them on enjoying the last leg of my journey in Bali

Pretty smooth ride from Grand Istana Rama hotel and traffic condition was indeed much better early in the morning. There was heavier traffic along the way although they were limited to touristy, built-up areas at Kuta and Seminyak. 

The sprawling rice padi fields! 

As seen from the above picture of a rain-dotted windscreen, weather was less than favorable and that's quite a damper on our mood as it's never good to encounter constant rainy condition when travelling.

An altar at the crossroad with a sign pointing to Tanah Lot temple

Standing outside the entrance where your admission tickets would be checked. For a detailed post on Tanah Lot temple (including tons of pictures), click here.

Tanah Lot temple is like the iconic symbol for Bali and you can see usage of its picture on most promotional materials targeting tourists! It's a pity i didn't get to explore the temple given the high tide although there's plenty to explore surrounding the temple; we had a delicious BBQ corn, watched troupes of Balinese women in traditional attire and caught two crazy fellows surfing!

Driving past the padi fields again on our way back. Looks like houses were being built and their position, overlooking the fields, would translate into potentials for eco-dollars if those structures were open for tourists to stay in.

Deformed glass vases that would stay in position on tree trunks, branches etc; if memory serves me right, I have seen them before in some gardens (maybe Gardens by the Bay).

Made's Warung, a dining establishment with good reviews and the allocated restaurant for lunch that day! However, the branch i targeted was at Kuta whereas this particular branch was located at Seminyak. 

You know something is off when you spot a clothing label known as Buddha Wear. Disrespect aside, the only Buddha wear i know is those saffron robes! 

The many signboards along the crazily-packed the Jl Raya Seminyak which is an extension from the almost 3-km Jl Legian Kaja at Kuta

Busy traffic along the two-lane road; which means i have plenty of time to compose my angle and take photos after photos of the signboards.

Grab and Uber, the private ride hailing companies, had created a lot of unhappiness among traditional taxi companies and it's the same in Bali where the drivers were disallowed from using stands reserved for taxis. 

More of the signboards; unlike the ones in Hong Kong, these don't extend beyond the perimeter of the roads and rightfully so given the height of some motor vehicles. 

After close to 80 minutes, we finally caught sight of the towering main split gates (known as candi bentar) of Kuta Beach

Without wasting any precious time, we hit the street shortly after packing our stuff, taking a nice shower and checking out of the hotel. Our request for late checkout was rejected as Grand Istana Rama hotel required the room for another group of vacationers.

Touristy activity at Kuta as i understand that the horse carriages are only allowed within a specific area. This is different from the situation in the outskirts of Bandung where the use of horse carriages is considered as a mode of transportation for the locals.

Cramped road where motor vehicles and horse carriages shared the space. 

A customary shot of the hard rock hotel since many tourists were doing it. Even my sister, who visited a few years ago, had a photo of her beside the concrete surfboard. 

Satisfying lunch at Made's Warung! For review, click hereAlex went for an-hour foot massage at Smart Spa after lunch whereas i decided to continue my shopping at the nearby Matahari shopping centre. While going through some souvenirs, i realized there's a piece of possibly peanut in my mouth and spat it out. 

It's not peanut; it's a piece of my tooth! 

And there's an unsightly gaping hole! I was aghast but i guess there's nothing i can do at that point even though i am travelling with a bunch of dentists! Haha. Oh well, the tooth wasn't cracked and i didn't feel any pain; guess i can fill up the tooth when i am back in Singapore.

Along the way, we also detoured slightly for a haircut at Vegas barbershop (Alex, not me) and another great meal at Black House Burgers

Our walk was technically a loop that would bring us back to Grand Istana Rama hotel and the first sight we knew we were on the right track was when the border wall for Kuta beach appeared in front of us.  

If not for the burger meal we had at Black House Burgers, i can guarantee you that Alex would want to have his last BBQ corn from the above stall. 

Interesting way of promotion and doubt this will take off in Singapore as it's likely a safety issue and you don't need many incidents; just one would be sufficient to have people saying we shouldn't allow this on the road. 

After abandoning Alex at the hotel, i quickly went over to the supermarket at Beachwalk shopping centre. I had compared and the variety of food souvenirs was way wider at the supermarket! 

I have seen canang sari (the traditional Balinese flower offerings) on the streets and out in the open and am quite surprised to see it placed under the shelvings in the supermarket! Some had lighted incense sticks and i bet someone had been burnt before. 

Got my Bali peanuts; don't be fooled by its simple, vacuum packed packaging. These peanuts were fused with the garlic aroma and darn addictive; i totally love the tiny bits and strips of deep fried garlic! 

Back to the hotel a quarter before 6 pm as our pre-booked transport to the hotel was expected to pick us up then. We had previously left our luggage with the hotel's baggage service and there's no one manning the counter. You know what we did? We just removed the tag ourselves; learning point - never leave your valuables in the luggage as security might not even exist. 

Frankly, that's quite a lot for thing we would be bringing back for just a 4-day trip although to be honest, i didn't go all crazy with my shopping; not when i had a gaping hole in my mouth.

Our transport came 30 minutes late due to a concert at Kuta Beach! As it is a one-way street outside the hotel, the traffic snag continued throughout the journey to the airport.

I constantly checked google map but information wasn't that reliable; by this time, we had spent about an hour on the road even though a typical journey from the hotel to the airport would take about 25 minutes over 9.9 kilometers. Interestingly, it's faster for us to walk as it will take about 50 minutes to walk the 4.4 kilometers from the hotel to the airport. 

Since i was in a smaller van that took off from the hotel earlier, we arrived first and two of Alex's colleagues immediately ran towards the check-in counter whereas i took on the responsibility to remove the pieces of luggage from the vehicle. 

Took picture of the airport as i waited for the main mini-bus that carried most of our travel mates. Quite a hilarious scene when they arrived as they were literally running at full speed with their luggage! It was worrying too as some are around my parents' age and i am worried they will fall down.

It was already 8pm when our van reached the Bali's Ngurah Rai International Airport and i know the hope would be slim since our departure via KLM airline was scheduled at 8.40pm. 

As expected, no luck with checking in since counter closed 60 minutes before departure. 

We had two options; to wait for the KLM flight next morning or purchase a separate plane ticket from another airline with scheduled flights back to Singapore that evening. 

I went with the majority and purchased the one way ticket via Jetstar for a flight two hours later! The price for the ticket wasn't cheap and if i remember right, it's about S$280 per person! 

Physically and mentally exhausted, we immediately checked in, unloaded our luggage and proceeded to the departure section of the airport. 

Even though i initially had the intention to blog about the airport separately, i was simply too tired to take photos and only had a pictures to show. 

There's a branch of Made's Warung in the airport too!

On our way to the gate; it's a long walk for us as it's at the end! Good exercise for the hyperactive kids though; kid zone wouldn't excite most Singapore kids.

Our gate; once you cleared your entry, you would be stuck in this boring space with limited seating until the call for you to board is called. 

With nothing to shoot at, i ventured to the clean and empty washroom! 

Very well maintained with plates of fresh flowers at the vanity sink counter top. Toilets in Southeast Asian countries are not known for their cleanliness, even at the airports, and i thought this standard would easily match the ones at our beloved Changi Airport.  

Time to board; no connected aero-bridge which wasn't an issue so long weather is okay. I kind of like walking in the open anyway as it's a good opportunity to take photo so long the security doesn't stop you.

Re-fueling that was just completed as i climbed up the stairs; see, this kind of shot would be rather impossible if we were to take the connected, sheltered and air-conditioned aero-bridge.

With no entertainment and no allocated in-flight meal on the budget airline, this shall be the concluding photo for our exciting last day (which will also be put on record as the first time i missed a flight) at Bali.  

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