Monday, April 22, 2013

Notes from Balimoon

A few months ago, one of my aunts who has been working in Pertamina for more than twenty years announced to us that she will be retiring soon. And to celebrate the moment, she wanted to take us all (yep, the big family!) to Bali for a short holiday. We called the vacation our Balimoon :)

So here are some notes, recommendations and snapshots from those short memorable days (we wished we would have more surprising free vacays like this in the future, tee hee!).

We took Garuda flight, it's as smooth as usual, right on time. And we were really grateful not to take Lion air this time, because during our stay in Bali, Lion Air had some incident and had to be landing on water! How dreadful.

Welcome to Bali, Krucils!

Courtesy of Pertamina (well not really, they only gave discount actually, not free rooms hehe), we stayed in The Patra Jasa Hotel, located in Tuban area, just next to the airport. The hotel has an old-school ambiance, and it's quite refreshing after stayed in many modern-minimalist hotels recently. The rooms are located in cottages, with cute little balconies outside. It is quite a long way from lobby to the rooms, but luckily the hotel provided mini cart with drivers that can take us around. My most favorite part of the hotel is the pool. It is really large, with enough space for the kiddie pool, and there is a special part for playing water polo and even water football :) The best part of the pool is the bar!! It has this terrific happy hour program - buy 2 drinks, get 1 free! And because there were not too many people in the hotel, the bartender even let us get the happy hour spree even if it's not the time yet :) And if we got bored, we just went out to the beach at the back of the hotel. The beach was not too crowded and it's quite clean, but it had lots of sharp corals, so we had to be careful especially when playing in the water.

Great pool!
Happy Hour, Happy Me!

Food Galore
On the first day, after checking in to the hotel,   we went to Naughty Nuri's in Batubelig, Seminyak for lunch. The place is great! I really love their unique decor, with many many pig statues and pictures. Really cute! The food was good, I tried their famous pork ribs, really delicious and crunchy. And the salad was great too! What I like about Nuri's (and other restaurants/cafes in Bali) is they have this cool Book Swap section in the area. So if you happened to have any books that you would like to swap, you can just leave them there and take the books that were in the shelves.
Nuri's, for Naughty and Nice!



Book Swap, anyone?

For dinner, we went to Warung Made, still in Seminyak. Well, one thing about Warung Made, their food is actually so-so, except for the pork (especially for the pork satay! One of the best). But since we had all-pork lunch earlier, we decided to eat porkless for dinner. We had this package of nasi campur Bali, with chicken satay and vegetable springroll. It was okay. I would say that you can skip Warung Made for the food, but it is still a good place to hang out, listening to the life music, joining other weekly activities, from dance to jazz music to traditional gamelan and other art stuff. And they have pretty cool stores too in the restaurant, including ethnic clothing stores and Periplus Bookstore.

The next day, after a crazy morning in Tanjung Benoa (where some of us went parasailing and  the others rode a boat to Pulau Penyu), we had a nice lunch in Bebek Bengil Nusa Dua. This place is quite new, located in The Bay, Nusa Dua. It is spacious and good for group lunch/dinner, and if you bring many kids, they can play around in the back garden which is facing the ocean. We ordered Crispy Duck package, really crunchy and tasty as usual, although the package was slightly more expensive than the one in Bebek Bengil Jakarta. But the surprise arrived in the form of tiramisu. It was super duper delicious!!! Do try it if you stop by Bebek Bengil :)

Delicious crispy duck

For dinner we went to Jimbaran. Unfortunately it was raining, so we had to eat inside the restaurant. To tell you the truth, I don't even remember the name of the restaurant. But the food was so-so, not too fresh, maybe it's because we ordered another group menu. Luckily the rain stopped after we finished the dinner, so we had time to watch a traditional dancing performance in the stage outside, just by the beach. It was great, especially when I looked at the kids' faces while watching the performance. Priceless! :)

Balinese dance performance.....

.....and the audience :)

On the last day, we had free time. Some went to the malls, some were looking for oleh-oleh, and some were swimming and playing at the beach. I swam with Yofel and played at the beach, and because we still had free time, decided to meet Mia, a fellow book blogger, to have lunch together. Mia (with her boyfriend Janner) took us to Biku, a cool place in Seminyak (I think Seminyak is the new Legian now!). Their food was not bad, but not that special either. But the price is reasonable (around 50k for Indonesian dishes), and I love the place so much! It was decorated in ethnic theme, and there is a secondhand book shop, Ganesha, that sells books, knick-knacks, and postcards. Most of the guests were foreigners, though. Probably the place is not too popular for local tourists. Thanks Mia for taking us there!

2nd hand bookstore at Biku

Babi kecap, enak lho!

Thanks Mia!

Souvenirs & Chill Out Places
We tried two different places for souvenirs: Agung and Krisna. The prices were not too different, but I still prefer Krisna. It has more options, and it takes credit or debit cards for payment. Agung is smaller, with limited options and some clothes were not in good quality. So Krisna is still our recommendation, although Rayo lost his Blackberry here :( Well it's a bit careless actually because he left it for just a moment in a chair, but when we went back there, it's already gone (of course!). How many honest people are left in this world, I wonder?

For chilling out, I truly recommended WooBar in W Retreat & Spa, Seminyak. The atmosphere was so cozy, with lots of big sofas, sofabeds, and even beds! Perfect for chillin, reading a book while sipping a glass of martini or just a bottle of cold beer. Well, that's the dream. But since we brought many kids, we just played by the beach and ordered some snacks (their mini pizza and samosa are great!). The beach was very clean and not crowded. And it's free, too! But if you want to plunge into the pool, you have to pay IDR 300k if you're not the resort's guest. Well, we had to skip that one and be content with the beach! I wish I could go back to this place again someday, just to chill with a good book!

Chillin out

the 300k pool :p

Yofel, loves to play at the beach so much!

On the second day, we went to Tanjung Benoa to do some water sports. I would very much like to go parasailing or banana boating. But we decided to take the little kids to Pulau Penyu. We rented a boat from the water sports people (the one we went to is called Kanaka Ocean, and it had quite reasonable price and interesting package). We rode the glass bottom boat, feeding the fish in the middle of our way with some bread, and took pictures with the giant turtle and snake in the island. To tell you the truth, I didn't recommend Pulau Penyu that much. It's too touristy, crowded, and the animals were not treated really well. I took a pity for the giant turtle, and they even taped the snake's mouth! But there was not much to do for little kids in Tanjung Benoa, because they were not allowed to go in banana boat or jetski or other adrenaline rising activities, so Pulau Penyu was the only option.

Feeding the fish

Glass bottom boat

Giant turtle, pukpuk

Unexpected Moments
Of course, in every vacation, there will always be unexpected surprises, bad or good. Besides Rayo lost his Blackberry, we also had a rough time just before the holiday ended, when Yofel vomiting several times, and complained that his stomach hurt. Because it happened just before we left, we decided to just wait until we get home before taking him to the doctor. Luckily, we had the large Boeing plane and Yofel was asleep during the flight.  We took him to the doctor the next morning and he's well again now. Apparently, he didn't eat well during our trip, so he had ulcer problems. Poor Yofel! That's why you need to be less picky with your food, dear!

All in all this was a very memorable holiday, and we thanked our Tante Elly so much for this wonderful trip. We wish you the best in your future plans...and we hope that one day we could be just as generous as you are! :)