Exploring Bali: Indonesia’s Premiere Travel Destination

BALI SWING.
BALI SWING. One of the most popular destinations in Bali recently is this swing that overlooks a lush scenery over Ubud.

The last leg of our Indonesian getaway happened in Bali, the most famous travel destination in the country of Indonesia. According to statistics, Bali accounts for approximately 45% of Indonesia’s total tourist numbers. Reported to have attracted 5.5 million foreign visitors in 2017, Bali offers a lot of natural wonders, man-made structures and various activities to tourists and travelers to let them experience for themselves authentic Balinese culture. Let’s find out some of these in this blog post!

This is the sixth and final leg of Shembot Squad’s great Indonesian getaway. We entered Indonesia via Jakarta, experienced its beautiful travel destinations for 10 days with Bali as our final destination in the world’s largest archipelagic country. If you are new to reading this series of blog posts about Indonesia and want to learn more about how we were able to pull through this adventure, please refer to the primer, the 1st leg, the 2nd leg, the 3rd leg, the 4th leg and the 5th leg of our travel. Enjoy!

PLACES OF INTEREST IN BALI

Tegal Sari Kopi Luwak (Bali Coffee)

ENJOYING KOPI LUWAK.
ENJOYING KOPI LUWAK. Here’s my friend, Carlo, as he enjoys a good cup of civet coffee.

We started our first day trip in Bali by visiting Tegal Sari Bali Coffee, which offers authentic and interesting variants of coffee!

VARIANTS OF COFFEE.
VARIANTS OF COFFEE. We have tasted all variants of coffee that the store was offering and I can say that they’re delicious!

Wonder what’s the most popular among these variants? Kopi Luwak!

CIVET.
CIVET. Small and nocturnal, civets are often mistaken as cats because of their appearance. This wonderful creature “produces” the beans that are used for the most expensive coffee in the world.
ROASTING.
ROASTING. After the process of drying, the coffee cherries are then roasted. Here’s an Indonesian lady who was roasting them over what resembles a brick oven.
THE VARIANTS.
VARIANTS. Here are the other herbs and spices that are used as coffee flavor.

Said to be the most expensive coffee in the world, kopi luwak (or kapeng alamid) is produced when coffee cherries are eaten, the half-digested , then eventually defecated by the animal civet. Growers of these coffee, clean, dry, roast and then grin them up before they can be consumed!

ENJOYING KOPI LUWAK.
ENJOYING KOPI LUWAK! Here’s me and my good friend, Ardee, as we enjoy a small cup of civet coffee.

Handara Gate

HANDARA GATE.
IN BETWEEN. Isn’t this place really Instagrammable?

Named as Balour Balinese gate of Handara, this Instagram-worthy travel spot is actually the gate of a golf resort called Handara Golf Resort. This gigantic traditional Balinese gate makes for a wonderful picture with beautiful green scenery at its background.

GLOOMY.
PERFECT JUMP! It was a rainy afternoon when we finally reached one of the travel destinations that we intended to go to in Bali: the Handara Gate. It was quite difficult then to take pictures of the rain, but imagine Carlo taking it to the next level by jumping like this here! I’m quite happy with the result!

Pura Taman Ayun

BEAUTIFUL.
MERU TOWERS. These pagoda-like structures are called Meru Towers.

Located in Mengwi subdistrict in Badung Regency in Bali, Pura Taman Ayun is one of the most visited and most attractive temples in Bali.

WANTILAN.
THE WANTILAN. Located near the entrance of the temple is a Balinese pavilion used to hold the Balinese cockfighting ceremony.

Taman Ayun means beautiful garden and this translates to what we have witnessed in this huge temple: pretty flowers, luscious plants and trees, and deep, wide trenches filled with water that bear fish and lotuses.

RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE.
RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE. This is one of the structures that can be seen in the temple complex.

It was already late in the afternoon when we went here, and even though there were still many tourists then, it felt like we were alone for most of the time because the temple compound was actually huge!

WORSHIP.
WORSHIP. Here are some of the worshipers as they were leaving the temple that afternoon.

We saw worshipers leaving the temple and some other locals fishing in the waters. Among all the places we’ve visited that day, it was in this place that I felt the calmest.

Sun Boutique Hotel – Kuta

HOTEL POOL.
HOTEL POOL. This picture of the pool doesn’t give justice to how beautiful the place where we stayed in.

If ever you’re looking for a great place to stay while in Bali, check out this boutique hotel at the heart of the city. Aside from offering neat and pretty air-conditioned bedrooms, this hotel has free breakfast buffet, free taste of Balinese massage as well as a swimming pool that entices visitors to take a dip.

Kuta Night Life Strip

KUTA NIGHT LIFE STRIP.
KUTA NIGHT LIFE STRIP. It’s about midnight and yet, this street seems like it’s just getting started! Locals and foreigners alike go from one bar to the other to have a good time.

Aside from the typical natural and manmade wonders that Bali has to offer, this city is also known as a place with riveting parties all night long.

SHEMBOTS IN BALI!
SHEMBOTS IN BALI! Here’s the squad while having a great time in the Kuta night life strip! Mukha nga lang di pa ako masyadong masaya rito sa picture. Haha.

We hopped from one bar to another, but it was in Sky Garden Bali that we got to really have a good time. Located along Kuta’s popular night life strip, this club is voted as the # 1 club in Indonesia for 2018.

By the way, take note of the bars’ special promos as some offer less expensive entrance fees and alcoholic drinks during a particular time (e.g. late night hours).

Tegallalang Rice Terraces

LADY IN RED.
LADY IN RED. While roaming around Tegallalang Rice Terraces, I got curious when I saw a lady in red walking along the rice fields. I found out that she wasn’t alone. A Canadian photographer and an Indonesian tour guide were there with her for a photo shoot. While talking to the Indonesian tour guide who knew how to speak well in English, I took some snapshots of her as well. I couldn’t help it because red does stand out in green, doesn’t it?

While the Philippines has the best and most picturesque rice terraces among those that I have seen in the Southeast Asian region, the terraced rice fields of Indonesia is not to be missed when you are here in Bali.

PRETTY TERRACES.
PRETTY TERRACES. While lots of visitors can be expected in Tegallalang, there are still parts of it that are worthy of taking snaps just like this one.

Found in the northern side of Ubud in Bali, Tegallalalng Rice Terraces is said to use the subak (traditional Balinese irrigation system), which was passed down from generation to generation since the 8th century.

ALL SMILES.
ALL SMILES. While walking along the rice terraces, I saw an Indonesian lady stand up and smile towards me. She posed like this, as if welcoming me in their place. I asked if I could take a picture of her and she nodded like she was already expecting it. I just love how her smile in this picture transcends towards me even until now.

I was actually surprised to find that this travel destination is very commercialized. Tourists and travelers have had to “donate,” meaning pay, before entering certain premises. Some locals would stop with their activities and pose for pictures. While they won’t be explicitly asking for pay, tourists would somehow feel compelled to give them a donation. Nevertheless, these terraces are still a scene to be seen when you are visiting Bali.

ANOTHER VIEW.
ANOTHER VIEW. Here’s another shot of the terraces here in Ubud.
BALINESE FARMER.
BALINESE FARMER. Caught in this picture is a farmer who’s resting along the rice fields.

Bali Swing

OH, BALI!
OH, BALI! I have always liked to go here in Bali ever since I’ve watched the Korean series called “Memories of Bali” back in mid-2000s. I really didn’t know what to expect aside from finally trying out the Bali Swing for myself. Little did I know that the most picturesque shot (well, at least for me) would transpire not on the swing but on a nest! I like this shot very much that I used it as my phone wallpaper!

The Bali Swing was actually the place that I was most looking forward to visiting during our Bali trip. I had actually pictured myself swinging here while witnessing the beautiful green scenery in front!

LADY IN WHITE.
LADY IN WHITE. Here’s a lady in white as she tries the famous swing of Bali.

You’d have to pay about $35 for entrance fee with full use of their attractions as well as free lunch buffet. It would be way too expensive if there’s only the famous Bali swing around. Thankfully, the place has other attractions that are worth-taking pictures, too!

BALINESE ART.
BALINESE ART. The small cafeteria where the lunch buffet for guests is located has these paintings hung on their wall.
BALI SWING's CAFETERIA.
BALI SWING’s CAFETERIA. Here is where you can eat your lunch while in the Bali Swing.
CAMOTE, TOMATOES AND PEANUTS, ANYONE?
CAMOTE, TOMATOES AND PEANUTS, ANYONE? While there are other more food that can be eaten in Bali Swing’s lunch buffet, I thought of just eating what I wanted to eat back then: something really healthy. Hehe.

Outlet stores in Bali

The last activity that we did before leaving Bali was visiting its outlet stores! We saw some huge discounts that could really lure visitors into buying their merchandise!

ROUGH DRAFT OF BALI ITINERARY

DAY 1

8 PM – Arrival in Bali

9 PM – Wash up in hotel

10 PM onwards – Late dinner, club hopping

DAY 2

10 AM – Start of day tour. We visited Tegal Sari Kopi Luwak, Handara Gate and Pura Ulun Danu Bratan.

3 PM – Late lunch

4 PM – Continue touring. This time, we visited Pura Taman Ayun.

6 PM – Head back to hotel. Dinner.

DAY 3

10 AM – Start of day tour visiting Ubud

12 NN – ETA in Bali Swing

3:30 PM – ETA in Tegallang Rice Terraces

5 PM – Head back to downtown Bali

6 PM – Visit outlet stores

7 PM – Head back to hotel. Prepare things before heading back to the Philippines

9 PM – ETA at the airport

Expenses in Bali:

Note: During our stay in Bali, it was only during the 1st day that we were complete. James already left during Day 2, meaning we were only 6 when we toured the northern part of Bali. Meanwhile, Ardee, Carlo and Flip had to leave after, which means there were only 3 of us who toured Ubud during Day 3.

Bar-hopping in Bali – 100,000 IDR per pax

We did have dinner first and drank alcoholic beverages along the Kuta Night Life Strip before heading to Sky Garden where we paid 100,000 IDR each for a late night entry.

Bali Tour Day 2 – 880,000 IDR per group of six (146,667 IDR per pax)

Northern Bali Tour: Tegal Sari Kopi Luwak, Handara Gate, Ulun Temple, Taman Ayun Temple. We have booked Grab and asked the driver if he could tour us up north. We settled on the amount given above.

Bali Tour Day 3 – 400,000 IDR per group of three (133,333 IDR per pax)

Ubud Tour: Bali Swing and Tegallalang Rice Terraces. Just like during Day 2, we have booked Grab and asked the driver if he could tour us in Ubud for half day. He agreed with the amount given above.

Bali Swing – $35 each (all attractions plus free lunch buffet)

This accounts to roughly P1867.

***PRO-TRAVELER TIP: If you are looking for a cheaper alternative, Bali Swing has neighboring attractions that have swings as well. Do not hesitate to ask your driver/ tour guide about this.

Tegallalang Rice Terraces entrance fee – 15,000 IDR each

Grab from outlet stores back to hotel: 20,000 IDR (6,667 IDR per pax)

Sun Boutique HotelP685 per pax, per night

We have booked our stay here in Sun Boutique Hotel online. Considering the fully air-conditioned modern minimalist rooms and amenities of this hotel (not to mention the free breakfast buffet), the price of about P700 is really surprising!

By the way, the hotel also provides shuttle from and to the airport!

TOTAL: P4,772.22 each (However, this doesn’t include food during lunch, snacks and dinner; souvenirs; as well as the alcoholic beverages and food during the time that we had along Kuta Night Life Strip. If I would include them here, the expenses would go up to P6,000 or more.)

***

Thank you very much for reading, guys! I hope this blog post has increased your excitement to visit Bali, Indonesia’s premiere travel destination. While we have certainly done many things here, we were not able to go to one of the most sought after place in Bali: Nusa Penida. If only we had more time (and more budget as well, haha), we would have visited it! Anyway, if you have time, go to that beautiful place!

As mentioned, this is the last leg of Shembot Squad’s travel adventure in Indonesia. Thank you for sticking with our trip until the end!

WHAT A TRIP!
WHAT A TRIP! Shembot Squad’s Great Indonesian Getaway is one of the best and most memorable travels that I’ve ever had!
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