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It is 2014, the year of FIFA World Cup. The good thing – awesome football action participated by 32 countries in the world. The not so great thing – you have to stay up all night catching the best actions. The greatest thing – you can actually win a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and watch the game in person!

win a trip to world cup 2014

Now personally I’ve gone through a lot of online competitions, many of them requires a hand eye coordination practise that you’ll never use again, or requires taking photos of yourself in silly costume/situations/poses that you might not want anyone else to see 5 years later.

But this one, is different.VISA’s new 2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game is something else altogether. It is actually a game that is educational, fun, and rewarding all at the same time.

Before we start, lets ask the most important question.

Visa Financial prizes

So what you can stand to win? That’s the ultimate question isn’t it?

Well, here’s what the Grand Prize includes:

  • round-trip coach class air transportation between Kuala Lumpur and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • participation in a four-day, three-night hospitality program
  • two category two tickets to see a FIFA World Cup in Brazil
  • one US$300 Visa prepaid money card.

The 2nd to 5th placed finalists will each win Sony and Adidas merchandise.

The 6th to 10th placed finalists will each win an Adidas merchandise pack.

On top of that, the entry with the highest score each week will win an BSN Premium Savings certificate (BSN Sijil Simpanan Premium) worth RM1,000.

I hope I captured your attention.

The game itself is fairly straight forward, and I think, rather quite ingenious.

2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game

  • step 1: visit http://bit.ly/VisaFFMY
  • step 2: register and login
  • step 3: click on “Play The Game” and select “Single Player”
  • step 4: ready to start the game
  • step 5: select question difficulty: Hard, Medium, or Easy
  • step 6: answer the questions correctly to advance
  • step 7: score to win
  • step 8: post your score

2014 FIFA World Cup Financial football game

I actually learned quite a lot from the questions, such as the meaning of being a “good credit risk”, or how to minimize interests while paying down multiple credits, just to name two.

There’s also a time factor in this game, the faster you answer, the more goals you can score, and thus, more points!

Here’s the scoring matrix:

Financial Football scoring matrix

The contest is on-going and will last until 16 April 2014, so start playing now! The top ten scorers will be invited to compete at the Grand Final on 23 April for a chance to win the trip to Brazil.

To learn more about personal finance, which not only will help you score better in this game, but most importantly, managing your money better in real life, VISA partners with consumer advocates, educators, and financial institutions to develop the Practical Money Skills program.

Check out practicalmoneyskills.com and whatsmyscore.org where you can find great educational resources related to the topic that will help increase your knowledge and awareness, and perhaps send you on a trip to Brazil!

So,  head to http://bit.ly/VisaFFMY and play the game today!

Disclaimer:
I am blogging on behalf of Visa’s Travel Happy campaign and receive compensation for my time, but the thoughts, words, and promotions on this page are mine, not Visa’s.

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!

bali itinerary 2014

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, totally by accident
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.

Check out some of the offers exclusive to Visa for car rental here. There is also a Mobile App you can download for iOS & Android devices that allows you to check the latest Visa offerings.

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
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.

Address:
Babi Guling Sanur
Jalan By Pass Ngurah Rai, Sanur (Opposite McDonald’s)
Bali

GPS8.682743, 115.259062

you can refuel at the gas station, of from these road side "premium" bottles
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 Beratan is at around 1200+ meters up, as high as Genting Highland
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
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.

Address:
Warung Ayu
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
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!
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
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.

Address:
Bali Asli

Jalan Raya Gelumpang
Gelumpang village
Amlapura
Karangasem
GPS: -8.426548, 115.607427
Tel+62 8289 7030098

Tirtaganga water palace, just a short drive from Bali Asli
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
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.

Address:
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 :D
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
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.

Address:
Soto Ayam Suroboyo
Jl. By Pass Ngurah Rai No. 210,
Sanur, Bali
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.

So, you want to travel too?

You can and should participate in Visa’s contest by submitting your most creative travel photo with the hashtags #TravelHappy #VisaMY to your Twitter or Instagram account and stance a chance to win Agoda.com travel e-voucher worth RM 1,000 every week for four weeks. Click here for more!

P/S: at the point of travel, 10,000 IDR = 2.81 MYR.

 

Disclaimer:
I am blogging on behalf of Visa’s Travel Happy campaign and receive compensation for my time, but the thoughts, words, and promotions on this page are mine, not Visa’s.

For my birthday back in 2011, Haze took me to Bali. It was a rather awesome trip and we did quite a lot in the few days we spent on the Indonesian island.

Fast forward 2014, and we decided to head there again to do and see some of the things we missed the last time around, only this time we decided to go cashless – with the help of Visa.

beautiful resorts, quirky people, great food
beautiful resorts, quirky people, great food

First of all, why Bali?

The decision is simple, the largely Hindu island has plenty to offer and remains a pretty affordable travel destination despite its popularity. On top of that, they are lots of resorts and hotels to choose from, covering the whole spectrum of budget. A simple online search reveals over 3,000 hotels and resorts on the island smaller than the state of Negeri Sembilan.

getting wet at waterbom, and marvelling the mantas at Nusa Penida
getting wet at Waterbom, and marvelling the mantas at Nusa Penida

The last time around, we did the following:

  • had a massage at one of the resorts
  • went to Waterbom, a waterpark
  • went diving and managed to see mola-mola and manta rays
  • rented a bike and rode up to the volcano
  • visited monkey forest
  • visited many art galleries
  • drank cafe luak
  • visited kuta beach
  • tried bebek begil and babi guling

For this trip, I’m keeping my options pretty free. We will certainly rent a motorcycle to get around (traffic isn’t the best), perhaps take a day trip to see/swim with dolphins, or dive the Liberty wreck. Finally going to see what Tanah Lot is all about could be in the list as well.

monkey forest, paddy field, motorbiking, chicken on bicycle, art
monkey forest, paddy field, motorbiking, chicken on bicycle, art

Secondly, why cashless?

Well, I’m always a bit wary of carrying a bunch of foreign currencies when it comes to traveling. Furthermore, it is always a bit messy when it comes to tracking your expenses when everything is based on a currency you aren’t familiar with (I track all expenses on my phone). Using the Visa card for these purposes only seemed logical.

For the time when cash is needed (such as eating street foods), withdrawal can be done at the local ATMs too.

I also found out that there’s Visa travel assistance services that provides pretty neat services such as emergency cash provision, emergency card replacement (1 business day)

Additionally, there are also offers exclusive to Visa that you can take advantage off when traveling. These include discounts and upgrades for participating hotels and car rental services, discounts on shopping, restaurants, and more. Definitely something to check out, the offers are unique to each destination.

I got my tickets booked, and can’t wait for our Bali trip 2.0!

To find out more, Click Here.

p/s: This post is brought to you by Visa.