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After our positive experience visiting Bali in 2011, I’ve always wanted to go back again. Hence when given the opportunity to head back to the island for a 3D2N tour, I was more than happy to plan a trip that maximises what we can do.
So instead of a normal vacation, we made it a road trip!
P/S: contest to win an Agoda travel voucher worth RM 1,000 at end of this post!
Our itinerary to Bali started on a flight on Friday morning and ended on Sunday night, a total of 3 days with 2 nights spent on the island.
Instead of taking a cab to the airport, we decided to drive. Parking fair at the KLIA long term parking came up to RM 130 or so, which is still a little bit cheaper than taking a cab.
we met Firdy at Denpasar Airport where I withdrew IDR with Visa
Soon as we touched down, I stopped by the ATM to withdraw some Indonesian Rupiah using my Visa debit card for places that doesn’t offer credit/debit card payments.
Denpasar airport does not have any car rental booths, so do plan ahead if you want to rent a car, otherwise it’s another hour’s wait for the car to arrive.
We rented a Toyota Avanza for our trip. I opted for self drive (armed with GPS brought from Malaysia), but you can get one with local driver too.
Additionally, there is the Global Customer Assistance Service available where you can get emergency card replacement in as little as within 24 hours.
when in Bali, one must have babi guling
Coincidentally, we met Firdy at the airport. While we traveled cashless, this guy went one step further and didn’t even bring any luggage! He ended up joining us for half our trip.
First order of business was lunch, and when in Bali, one must have Babi Guling!
To be honest, my previous experience of babi guling at the famous Ibu Oka was not exactly very positive, but this version at Sanur (around 30,000 IDR per person) completely changed my mind about this unique Balinese dish. It was very, very good, I’d definitely go there again on next Bali trip.
Babi Guling Sanur
Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai, Sanur (Opposite McDonald’s)
GPS: -8.682743, 115.259062
you can refuel at the gas station, of from these road side “premium” bottles
From Sanur, we got on the road and cut through the middle of the island on the way to Lovina. Roads in Bali are usually pretty tight, which makes for some challenging driving.
To refuel, there are gas stations, but there’re also road side stalls that offer gasoline (referred to as “premium” in Bali) by the bottles. No prize guessing which option accepts Visa.
Danau Bratan is at around 1200+ meters up, as high as Genting Highland
By the evening, we reached Danau Bratan, one of the three lakes in Bratan caldera, which was a Volcano that was erupted hundreds or even thousands of years ago.
The lake is situated at around 1200+ meters high, making it as high as Genting Highland. It was windy and very chilly, but of course, the scenery was definitely worth a a shiver. I would love to stay a night here next time.
our dinner at Warung Ayu, Lovina, it was lovely
For dinner, we stopped by Warung Ayu by one of the beaches that is popular as a take off point for dolphin watching (which we planned to do).
This restaurant was a complete random choice, but one that turned out to be a rather awesome! We ordered traditional Balinese food and they turned out to be very, very good. I can have that grilled chicken over and over again, it was a new taste that I’ve never had before.
The server explained that it was grilled with soya sauce and Balinese sauce. I gotta try to make that some day.
Kalibukbuk Lovina, Jalan Mawar, Bali
GPS: -8.159648, 115.026056
Tel: +62 82147555034
our first night was spent at The Lovina Bali, with a private garden
We spent the first night at The Lovina Bali hotel (about RM 380 including tax), it was a pretty lovely hotel with a King sized bed, a day bed, LCD TV with DVD player, and a small private garden too.
Access to the hotel is through a beautiful paddy field, and the rear of the hotel is the Lovina beach, with a pretty decent size swimming pool too.
dolphin watching started at 6am in the morning!
The next morning we woke up rather early for the dolphin watch, one of the things I have always wanted to do. My first dolphin sighting was on a trip to Tenggol Island, and second being when we were at Maldives.
While there are places you can swim with dolphins in Bali, I wanted to see them in the wild instead of in a confined area.
For 60,000 IDR (RM 17) per person, the boat man took us on a boat way out to the middle of the ocean. It was a lot of waiting but the dolphins did come, they were somewhat cautiously curious and did not come too close to the boats. Still, it was a very exciting experience!
Bali Asli, a lovely restaurant at the East side of Bali
We hop on our car and continued the road trip after the dolphin sighting. A little over two hours and some 100 KM later, we arrived at Bali Asli in Gelumpang village.
The restaurant offers traditional Balinese cuisine with an excellent view to boot. Bali Asli also accepts Visa if you book online. We had a great meal and loved the experience. At 195,000 IDR (RM 55) per person, it was very reasonably priced too.
Jalan Raya Gelumpang
GPS: -8.426548, 115.607427
Tel: +62 8289 7030098
Tirtaganga water palace, just a short drive from Bali Asli
If you are at Bali Asli, Tirtaganga water place is just a little over 3 kilometers away. The water palace is a maze of pools and fountains surrounded by lush garden and many stone carvings.
The water palace was built from 1948 onwards by the late heir to the Kingdom of Karangsem, definitely a place worth visiting. Entrance fee is 20,000 IDR.
Ubud, one of my favorite places in Bali
We then continued our road trip, destination Ubud, one of my favorite places in Bali. The 60+ KM journey took us another two hours on the road.
We spent some time walking around the streets littered with many shops offering local arts, paintings, and more. Haze bought a wooden mask from a local artist too.
Dinner was at Melting Wok Warung. A restaurant that’s quite highly rated on TripAdvisor but one that we did not find agreeable to our taste. The food was perhaps catered more towards Western tourists with quasi Balinese + Western dishes. It wasn’t bad, but I couldn’t finish my minced chicken as I thought the chicken breast was too dry.
If you’re a mat salleh, you might love this place though, since the place was fully booked with plenty of Westerners dining in.
Melting Wok Warung
13 Jl. Gootama, Ubud, Bali
GPS: -8.509321, 115.264251
Tel: +62 82 153666087
our private pool villa at Kajane, so I can skinny dip
We decided to splurge a bit and checked into a villa with private pool at Kajane, one of the nicer hotels at the main stretch of Jalan Monkey Forest in Ubud.
The villa was huge, and comes with open air bath tub, a king size bed with entertainment system, an outdoor breakfast area with a day bed, and of course, the 8×2 meter private pool which allows one to skinny dip (don’t judge.)
Pro tip – sometimes online prices can be cheaper than walk in, so I actually paid for this villa (RM 740) via my phone with Visa while sitting at the lobby of the hotel.
Breakfast was served at our villa the next morning. My English breakfast was awesome, but it seems like Balinese are terrible at Japanese cuisine as Haze’s Japanese breakfast was rather terrible. Worst miso soup ever, it was sweet.
Bebek Kruwil for lunch, and shopping at factory outlet before heading back
We checked out from Kajane and headed to Sanur for a bit of shopping and lunch.
We stopped by Soto Ayam Suroboyo and had some pretty awesome Bebek Kruwil (20,000 IDR), a local style duck dish that went very well with rice and some Balinese sambal. I really loved it, and it tastes even better than the Bebek Bengil we tried during the previous trip, not to mention about 4 times cheaper too.
Soto Ayam Suroboyo
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai No. 210,
GPS: -8.71742, 115.215224
Tel: +62 361 7806065
Finally, we bought some cloths from one of the few outlet stores along Sanur before leaving the island with heavy heart.
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P/S: at the point of travel, 10,000 IDR = 2.81 MYR.