Singapore is a dot. This is quoted from my Singaporean friend. Word per word. So don’t get mad at me. Singapore is an island country, densely populated. However, even though Singapore is full of high-rise and apartments building, you can still see plenty of greenness, pretty much everywhere; parks, trees by the roadside.
I started my working life here, and had spent a good 4.5 years of my life since in Singapore. So, ask me anything, should you like to, because I can’t possibly post everything here.
Ayana Villa and Rock Bar
Yes, Ayana is a villa, and no, it’s nothing like the Villa Uma Sapna where I stayed previously. Ayana Villa is much much much more upscale. To be honest, I can’t afford to stay there. Not even for 1 night. Well, I can, it’s just a matter of how many months afterward that I need to live on butter and toast.
How glamorous you ask? This is how…
It is actually pretty perfect for wedding. Especially for bride who wants a grand entrance. Although on second thoughts, it’s gonna be a verrrry long entrance walk. There was actually a wedding reception going on when we left. It was held at the lower part of the hotel, right by the cliff. Which make sense, so the guest would be able to catch a little bit of the sunset. They have about 10 tables and a stage where the wedding singer, I assume, were sitting on a stool playing a soft, mellow song. Pretty cozy setting, I must say.
Ayana Villas is a gated property. To enter its vast land, you have to drive past through a guard post where someone with a fake smile (the one who greet us, anyway) ask you for the purpose of visit. Then you will drive for another 5 minutes or so to reach the main entrance/drop-off point. A pretty lady in traditional Balinese outfit will greet you at the entrance.
So, if we can’t afford to stay at Ayana, what are we doing there? It’s to visit the infamous Rock Bar. As the name says, it’s located on or by the rocks, you can spot it by the cliff of Ayana Villa. Here are some pics to clarify…
The Rock Bar open at 4.30pm. By 5pm or so, there will be a loooooong line-up already, and chances are you won’t be able to get in until while past 6 or 6.30pm, since patrons will not be leaving before sunset. And yes, it was a gorgeous view of sunset. This was my 3rd time visiting before I can finally get in, the other 2 times we had to settle for view of sunset from the top and head out of the villa and go have dinner elsewhere. This time we arrived at exactly 4.30pm and only waited in line for about 15 minutes. The wait was largely due to the mini tram bringing us down to the rocks. The capacity of the train is about 7 people at most.
Related : Mt. Batur Sunrise Trek – Kintamani, Bali
Let’s now move on to the food that they serve at Rock Bar. It is a bar, so obviously drinks, the food however are also bar food, so fries, spring roll, and all other tidbits. And they are EXPENSIVE. Rightfully so, since probably all the patrons are just there for the view, and will stay there for few hour just ordering 1 drink and 1 food item. That said, the fries and pita that we got were pretty tasty. The beverages were served with a good dose of booze a.k.a not diluted ones. Beverages cost on average IDR 170,000 each and several food items I saw were about IDR 50,000
Menega Cafe at Jimbaran Bay
I mentioned that I failed to go to Rock Bar a couple of times in the past. So one of those time, we decided to go to Jimbaran Bay instead. Jimbaran Bay is famous for its location by the beach side and its many, mostly seafood, beach-front restaurant. The place that my friend seems to frequent is Menega Cafe. The restaurant has inside seating and on the beach seating. We wanted to get the one outside, and since we arrived just about dinner time, we had to wait a good 45 minutes before we get a seat, and unfortunately it was already dark by the time we’re seated and I was not able to take any pic with my 5 years old camera. I did however manage to take pic of the beach, during the cloudy sunset.
Food cost about IDR 100,000 per person. There were 5 of us, we ordered about 5 dishes; veggie, prawn, fish, clams, and squid. 5 drinks and 5 rice and 5 super full stomach.
Related : Bali : Lunch Ibu Oka and Green Village
Next stop is Seminyak, Bali. Seminyak is the current happening place in Bali. There are LOTS and LOTS of store along the main road, Jl. Drupadi. I am not quite familiar with the pricing, but was told by my friend that they are reasonably priced. I mean it also depends on the stores. The stores lined along the road are mixed of boutique and mom and pops store; from local wholesale retailers to big names such as Roxy, Billabong, Havaianas.
We stayed at the Haven for 2 nights. A friend of mine booked the standard room for IDR 700,000 per night, I believe, inclusive of breakfast. I am not sure about the tax. Probably about 20% service and govt tax. However, we were upgraded to deluxe suite. So I am not sure about what kind of room we’re supposed to get originally.
The other place that we stayed at was Villa Uma Sapna. Now this place is a tad pricier, well, a lot pricier, but it’s also a private villa, so if you intend to stay in and enjoy the amenities, you could go for this place, for like 1 day or 2. Just to chill and chat and generally relax… It is located on the other end of Jl. Drupadi. About 15 minutes walk from The Haven. Not too bad. You get to pick your breakfast the night before, and they will deliver it to your villa at your chosen time. Fancy eh!
Related : Bali – Ubud, Monkey Forest
Now let’s go to the food near, and around Seminyak. We went to Naughty Nuri’s for Ribs, La Lucciola for…. the view… The food was actually really good, but it’s a more fancy place and tiny portion. La Lucciola, as the name indicates, are serving western food, Italian, to be exact. AND last but not least, we also had lunch at Warung Made. The food around Seminyak area are generally more expensive than any other area, even if you’re eating local food. The area itself is more touristy. There are of course street side food, but I will only go to places that seems to have people in it. Because believe me, there are A LOT of street side food establishment, and they are empty. I mean I do care about my pocket, but I also care about my health. Especially since I still have like 1 week left for my holiday. Don’t really want to go through it with stomachache.
Naughty Nuri’s delectable Pork Ribs at IDR 105,000 per portion. Like I said, not cheap, but *SLURP*. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
La Lucciola is a beachfront restaurant and has a very open space concept. The people you see sitting and lying on the grass are patrons on wait list. Apparently the restaurant does not take reservation anymore, it’s on first come first serve, and during lunch time, if you’re not quick, obviously you have to wait. We waited only for about 10 minutes, as we arrive by exactly noon. I had the fish and bf had the risotto, since he has gluten allergy and most of the food are basically pasta. Anyway, we both enjoyed the fish, but think the risotto was meh. And again, tiny portion, and we were pretty hungry.
I am not sure what are the dishes in the packet, but going from the picture, they are green bean, chicken in Balinese sauce, suckling pig and mixed veggie in a different Balinese Sauce. Sorry if it doesn’t help much. Anyway, we had another dish that I’ve forgotten to take picture of. It was pork ribs curry and young coconut. Turns out it was something of a soup base, and it was really good, I liked it a lot.
Related : Bali – Lunch Ibu Oka, Green Village
And what I’ve forgotten to mention is a tiny street-side restaurant by the name of Warung Mimpi. We came across sort of by accident, while looking around for dinner place. You could order from the menu, or there is a glass cabinet with different type of food displayed. You pick the ones that you want and the lady behind the counter will take it for you. They have a different pricing menu for this one. If you are the adventurous type and would like to try different dishes, this is the best way. With everyone picking different type of dish you’ll get to try majority of the known Indonesian food. And the price are very very decent. The food are tasty and the portion are generous. It’s the best eating place in Seminyak, IMHO. Well, out of the ones that I’ve been to. AND they do have Bintang, the famous local beer, for all the beer connoisseur out there.
Related : Mr. MonQ in Bandar Lampung, Indonesia
So Bali day 1.5. We started the day with Monkey Forest Sanctuary, which was about 10 minute walk from the hotel, then continued to lunch at Ibu Oka. Ibu Oka 2 to be exact. Ibu Oka is famous for its suckling pig, and boy was it delicious. To be honest though, it wasn’t quite the rave, but it was still good nonetheless. Probably I had my expectations set too high by the reviews. But like I said it was still a delicious lunch. Cost IDR 45,000 for the special one, and about IDR 15,000 for Indonesian Ice Tea.
Next is half-day Green Village tour. Tour start at 1.30pm and the website says that you have to book like a week in advance, or was it a day…. Anyway, you do have to book in advance, and payment are done through the website, however, me being me, missed out on that. So that morning I called, and luckily I was still able to book for the 4 of us, and have the payment made in the office. Cost is USD 25 and we paid in IDR since we paid in the office, otherwise I assume you could pay in USD through the website. Click here for more info.
Related: Bali – Ubud, Monkey Forest
The afternoon tour cover Bamboo Factory, Green Village and Green School. You do have to have your own transportation to transfer from one place to the next. They’re located close to each other, but definitely not walking distance.
We started with the Bamboo Factory where a guide explained to us the vision and mission of the company and the processes that the bamboo went through before it’s deemed proper to be used in building a house or a building i.e termite treatment, drying out. I expected it to be a bit boring, but it’s actually pretty fascinating. Hats off to the founder of Green School.
Based on the picture, can you guess where I’m going next? We went to Green Village. The factory was started to support the construction of the buildings in Green School. Once the school is up and running, the factory is now catering to individuals or family who would like to have a green house, made of bamboo. And boy was it grand. You don’t really associate bamboo house with luxury, but it was a gorgeous house of grandeur scale. We were told that we can take pictures, however not detailed picture of the house, so I’ll just post some that I think are very general outline of what I was trying to depict.
You really gotta see it to believe it. I honestly think the tour is worth it. Just to be able to see the house, if ever. So these houses are constructed for individuals or family, however they are also available for rent. I believe the range is $400-$600 per night. It sound steep, but I believe you could have like 10 people in there all at once and still have a lot of space around. Provided they allow 10 people to squeeze in there and that you don’t mind sleeping in sleeping bags and accompanied by natural breeze.
Lastly, we visited the Green School. You can do just the Green School alone. The recommended donation will be IDR 100,000. Yes, exactly what you’re thinking. Anyway, it was the last leg of our tour, it was a long day, and we’re tired, and honestly I think it’s a tad boring. There was a lady who work for the school, who’s not a teacher, but have some kind of sustainable something degree. I guess, what she was trying to say was that everyone affiliated to the school has ‘GREEN’ in mind… However you want to translate that… (I just realized the double-meaning-ness of the word). The lady/guide was showing the tour participants (there were about 25 people altogether) the school ground, and explained a little bit about the curriculum that the school had created. The buildings at the school was great, but we’ve seen the house so the buildings at the school seems meh.
Here we are, the fun part of the trip. Well, actually everywhere is fun, it’s holiday! but BALI, is a city that lots of people have heard of. Bali will be ‘discussed’ in a more thorough way since it involves multiple area. That’s right, I wasn’t quite aware of the ‘areas’ until I’ve done so-called research for the trip. We’ll start with Ubud.
Day 1 – and 1.5
Ubud is the more relax area of Bali. Think rice-field, arts and crafts, nature, and yoga. Ubud is approximately 1.5 – 2 hours from the airport. Transport from the airport to our hotel, Tegal Sari cost IDR 350,000 (approx $35). Current exchange rate is CAD 1 = IDR 11,100. However for ease of conversion I used IDR 10,000. So for the transport, the booth at the airport seems very official, however I still feel cheated somehow as the hotel mentioned transportation cost as IDR 250,000. Anyway, it’s my bad for not arranging the transport for the day, under the assumption that the hotel charges more than regular price. I guess, I was just being a cheapo, so FYI, arrange transport from your hotel, OR book the driver for the day, and ask him to pick you up from the airport.
Related : List 3: Bali in 6 days
Let’s start with the hotel. Tegal Sari. I was plenty happy with the room and the view. Unfortunately the Wooden Room (Rice Field view 2nd floor) was already booked. But the room that we got, the Super Deluxe (Rice Field view 1st floor) was not bad at all. It came with a queen bed and a single bed to accommodate 3 people. Extra bed cost IDR 100,000 and extra person cost IDR 75,000. We had 4 people in the room and it cost us IDR 214,000 per person per night (incl. tax). And for the room, it’s CHEAP!
We spend a leisurely afternoon sitting at the verandah and only leave the hotel for early dinner. There are quite a fair bit of thing to see and we decided to explore the area on foot. Narrow and uneven pedestrian walkway, but walkable nonetheless. We manage to find Warung Rai Pasti on Monkey Forest Road (I did a research on recommended eating places in Ubud prior to the trip). There is no exact way of finding it, just walk along the road. I think it’s approximately 5 minutes walk from the Monkey Forest entrance.
The next morning we had breakfast at Warung Semesta, right by the hotel. Small tip, order local food. It doesn’t matter how much you’re craving for bacon and omelet, order the Bali fried rice or something, cuz the western food is meh, and for the price, it’s not worth it.
Related: Mr. MonQ Culinary Tour – Lampung
We then proceed to our morning walk, and went to Monkey Forest Sanctuary. There are A LOT of monkeys inside, and you do not need to buy banana to entice them to come out for a quick pic and whatnot. Be mindful of your belonging though, especially loose items like your glasses and any dangling earrings. A monkey jump onto me and reach into my zipped handbag. There is a small opening between the zipped portion and the open portion, and he reached into it. Smart monkey or well-trained monkey? Take a guess. Cost IDR 20,000 to enter.
Jakarta oh Jakarta. Jakarta is 25 minute away by plane from my hometown. It’s a great city to live in. You have everything there. Fancy luxurious life? Check. Cheap delicious street-side food? Check. Branded merchandise? Check. Good quality fake branded merchandise? Check! See what I mean? Everything. But it’s all thwarted by the horrendous traffic jam. And I mean HORRENDOUS!
Related : Mr. MonQ in Bandar Lampung
My family and I were on the way home from Mangga Dua (’boutique’ shopping complex). We know we’re supposed to leave by 3pm to avoid traffic. Of course, you can’t time women and shopping, so we ended up leaving at 4pm. Lo and behold, we were stuck in traffic about 3/4 home. I needed to go to washroom BADLY, and we were crawling. There was a petrol station on the opposite side of the road, and we were supposed to do a turn to go home anyway. So I jumped out of the car and cross the street. Like I said, traffic was crawling, so I was able to cross where there was no crossing allowed; with the help of some of the drivers, of course. So I went to the washroom. AND my uncle was only able to pick me up an hour later. AN HOUR, to do a 5km turn.
So, beware! Make sure you have enough time in between appointment for when you’re in Jakarta.
The food, are of course DELICIOUS!
Related : Mr. MonQ Culinary Tour – Lampung
Indulge- Travel, Adventure, & New Experiences
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An Australian Writer in (North) Germany