On the way to Uluwatu Temple, we decided to drop by Alila Villas for afternoon tea after a long ride from Kintamani. Do note that if you’re traveling during the peak season especially in December, most likely than not, this itinerary won’t work as the traffic in Bali can get very crazy. The best way to avoid this is to plan your accommodation in accordance with your itinerary so that you don’t have to travel from one end to another end within a day and get stuck in the jam for hours. Not only that, isn’t it a great excuse to experience as many resorts as possible during your short stay?
We stumbled across the website of Alila Villas one day while doing our research on places to visit during our stay. And boy, we were totally fascinated by just looking at the pictures! Hence, we quickly made an appointment at The Warung, one of the cafes in the villas, which serves Balinese and Indonesian cuisine.
Undoubtedly, this is by far the most beautiful and amazing villa that we have ever visited. The feeling of tranquility sets in almost immediately as we stepped into the lobby. We were greeted by the gentle sea breeze in the open-plan designed lobby. A staff dressed in white uniform approached us and guided us to the cafe.
Open air reception area
While making our way to the cafe, we were again, amazed by the awesomeness of the architecture. The gorgeous view of the infinity-edged pool overlooking nothing but the breathtaking view of the Indian Ocean immediately caught our attention. It was jaw-droppingly stunning!
The villa is modern without losing a touch of Balinese feel. Designed by a famous Singapore architectural firm WOHA, its eco-friendly and outstanding design has earned it loads of awards around the world. And of course, to be able stay in such a place which comes with private pool, spacious interiors, incredible view and a butler for each and every villa, it sure comes with a hefty price tag! It’s easily USD700 per night (excluding tax) at the minimum!
The sitting area overlooking the infinity pool.
The cliff-edge Sunset Cabana which is often used for special occasion such as wedding ceremony.
The mesmerizing backdrop definitely make the wedding an exotic experience and a life-long unforgettable memory.
We took the outdoor seats in order to fully enjoy the beautiful view. We ordered Es krim dadar – coconut pancake with vanilla ice-cream and caramel sauce (Rp 65,000 / S$8.80), assorted Bali delicacies, Kue Bali – Dadar gulung, pisang rai, sumping waluh godoh biu (Rp 70,000 / S$9.50) and some juices. While dining there, we were also provided with in-house amenities like sunscreen, insert repellant and face mist which we totally loved.
After spending about 45 minutes in this paradise, Mr Bagus picked us up and off we went to Uluwatu Temple, which is about 20 minutes drive from here. Uluwatu Temple, also known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is one of the oldest temples in Bali, located at the edge of cliff overlooking the beautiful Indian Ocean.
The architecture of the temple blend in so well with the surrounding to create a harmony feel. But what impressed us most was the magnificent view of the whole horizon. Standing at the cliff while watching the sunset and the waves hitting on the rocks was simply amazing. Had our tranquil moment here despite being extra cautious towards the mischievous monkeys at all times! Remember to hold on to your belongings when you’re here, especially your glasses, cameras, small accessories etc. And yes, don’t be surprised that the monkeys here eat glasses.
The entrance fee was Rp20,000 (S$2.50). As usual, remember to dress properly when you’re entering the temple. Sarongs and sashes are available for free at the entrance.
There is also kecak dance performance every evening for Rp 70,000 (S$9). As we are not really a fan for culture dance, we have given this a skip and continued our journey to Jimbaran Bay for a sumptuous seafood dinner.
Eating seafood on the beach in Jimbaran Bay is always part of the plan of most visitors’ itineraries when visiting Bali. It is the home for many grilled seafood warungs, scattered along the beach.
Dining tables are set up right on the sand for the guests to have lovely feasts while enjoying the cool sea breeze, the beautiful sunset and the romantic setting with the whole area lit up with candlelight after dark. How not to be romantic?
We wanted to try out Lia’s Cafe initially as we have read a lot of good reviews about the restaurant, but since Mr Bagus suggested another restaurant with better seafood, we thought, why not? Hence, we took his advice and dined there instead. We can’t really remember the name of the restaurant but it was for sure not recommended. Food was average with some of the seafood being overcooked and not forget to mention about the sky-high price! We felt so ripped off after the meal!
On a positive note, the setting was gorgeous with local live bands entertaining the guests with their wonderful singing. All in all, one advice, pick the right restaurant!
Singapore Changi Airport – Denpasar International Airport – STAY: Bali Kuta Resort and Conventional Centre
This was one of the most looked forward Fridays as this marked the start of our long-awaited trip to the Island of Love – Bali!!
We flew from Singapore at 9.05pm and arrived at Denpasar (Ngurah Rai) International Airport at 11.35pm. Our driver for the entire trip, Mr Bagus, picked us up from the airport and sent us straight to our hotel – Bali Kuta Resort and Conventional Centre, where we stayed throughout our stay in Bali. Mr Bagus offered a pretty reasonable rate for only Rp 350,000 (S$45) per day per car which can cater up to six person (Toyota Avanza) plus 2 ways free airport transfer on the first and last day! Sound like a deal?
Sadly, this is the only picture of the resort that we have, which we booked through Hotelclub for S$100 per night for a Junior Suite. Well, I must admit that it did not live up to our expectation. Rooms are quite different from the nice pictures that are shown on the website. Overall, the resort is pretty run down. Given that there are so many other options, we will definitely not come back again in the future. To be fair, though disappointed, we shouldn’t expect much for the price we paid.
And, this marked the end of our Day 1.
On a random note, there is no time difference between Singapore and Bali.
Our first stop was Tampaksiring Temple, which is also known as Pura Tirta Empul. This Hindu temple is built around holy water springs, where Hindu devotees purify themselves by means of ritual bathing. It is believed that the sacred springs have a wide spectrum of healing and purifying properties.
Entrance fee is very cheap. It costs us only Rp 15,000 (S$2) per person. And don’t forget to wear a sarong which can be rented for free at the entrance of the temple.
Offerings made of flowers, rice, leaves and food can be found everywhere, for instance, at the entrance of homes, temples, before and on statues etc. The offerings are made on a daily basis by the Balinese as it is believed to bring prosperity and good health to the family.
Upon entrance, we were greeted by this amazing architecture. It ‘s such a beautiful and tranquil place to walk around.
Close up of the purifying pool with 12 fountains that disperse the holy spring water.
Upon leaving the temple, we came across another long rectangular pool filled with koi with various sizes and hues.
Next, we continued our journey up north east to Kintamani, a highland area where the active volcano Mount Batur and Lake Batur are located. It was an easy 45 minutes ride to reach the top of the village opposite Mount Batur.
Being touristy, we stopped by Batur Sari Restaurant for buffet lunch. We opted for the outdoor Gazebo seat to enjoy the cool breeze and the breathtaking scenery while filling our stomach with some local delicacies. Forget about the food, it was mediocre with the price slightly at a higher end (around Rp 90,000 / S$11.50 per pax).
One thing to note is that there are plenty of souvenir and fruit sellers along the street. They can get pretty annoying when a number of them start following and pestering you to buy. Do not ask for the price if you do not intend to buy.
KOPI LUWAK PLANTATION
On the way down the hill, we dropped by at the BAS Nature Bali Plantation for a cup of the world’s most expensive coffee – Kopi Luwak.
As we walked down the path, we came across various interesting plants and trees, i.e. cocoa, gingseng, vanilla etc.
In Indonesian language, “kopi” means coffee while “luwak” means civet cats. Now, something very interesting.. or you can call it disguising. Kopi luwak is made of Balinese coffee berries which is processed in a very unique way. The civet cats choose the ripest and sweetest coffee berries for their diet. The consumed beans then undergo some fermentation in the luwak’s digestive system before their exit. The intact beans pooped are then gathered, washed, dried, roasted and brewed.
And what’s a better way to satisfy our curiosity other than trying a cup of kopi luwak? Well, a small cup like this costed us Rp 60,000 (S$7.70)!
If you don’t want to spend so much for just a small cup of coffee, don’t worry, you can still sit down and enjoy the lush scenery at the coffee plantation while sampling some complimentary coffees / teas of different flavours, i.e. arabica coffee, ginger coffee, cocoa, ginger tea and lemongrass tea etc. I personally love the ginger coffee and lemongrass tea.
As we are not coffee enthusiasts, we can’t really tell the difference between the luwak coffee and the normal coffees. Some claim that the coffee is sold for its story rather than its premium quality. What do you think?