Thursday, 20 February 2014

Bali-moon, Day 3: Cak Cak Cak!

Check-out of Tamu Seseh, Canggu - Check-in to our new hotel: Vasanthi, Seminyak-  Lunch: Ayam Betutu at Gilimanok- A drive around Nusa Dua- Nusa Dua beach- Bali Collection, Nusa Dua-Uluwatu - Dinner at the Galleria Mall

Spent half of our third day lounging about in our villa. It was our last day in Tamu Seseh and we wanted to make the most of it. Shortly after taking pictures and walking around the paddy fields adjoining our villa, it started to rain. So we leisurely had breakfast, enjoyed the scenery and sounds and did what honeymooners do...Looked into each other's eyes and declared our undying love for each other...corny yesss?

At noon, we made our way to our new hotel for the remainder of our stay. Since our room would not be ready until 2 p.m., we left our bags at the counter and proceeded with lunch and our plans for the day. Main objective of the day: To get to Uluwatu and see the Kecak dance. First and foremost, LUNCH! It was my favourite dish of all the dishes we had in Bali. Gilimanuk is a restaurant started up by one of Bali's most famous comedian. In fact, his face (with heavy make up of course) is THE face of the restaurant. It has three branches and all are doing well. How would I describe Ayam Betutu? Almost like our local ayam percik, minus the santan, steamed instead of roasted, and superliciously spicy. It's one of those dishes that is super spicy but you just can't stop.

After lunch, Pak Yoda suggested we see the sights around Nusa Dua before making our way to Uluwatu. The hotels and villas in Nusa Dua are definitely for the rich and famous. Before entering their grounds, vehicles undergo a security check. Husbie and I started checking out the hotels and deciding which one we aim to accommodate the next time we are in Bali. All I can say is that we better check-in on the final leg of our stay or we'll risk staying in one of those back-packers hotels for the remainder of our stay. We also took the time to visit the beach in Nusa Dua. Let's just say we were the only fully clothed couple there...

Before making our way to Uluwatu, Pak Yoda took us to Bali Collection. It's one of those outlets akin to our Johor Premium Outlet. There you can find a Sogo outlet and other international brands. Nothing much and I would say you can opt to give it a miss if shopping is not your main agenda. Prices are high. Pretty popular with the Russian and Chinese visitors though. You're better off shopping in Kuta, Ubud or Seminyak and buying your souvenirs in the outlets such as Krisna and Hawaii.

We reached Uluwatu by 5 p.m. Gosh, that's where my fear of heights was seriously tested. I mean funny how I can go on towering roller coasters with 90 degree drops, vertical or horizontal rides, but could not even muster the strength to control my shivers once I was atop the cliffs in Uluwatu. Husbie had a grand time showing off how brave he was...hmpph! In most of my pictures, I obviously had a hard time forcing a smile with strong winds from the sea whipping around us and the fact that my back was against my Husbie whom was against a short, and feeble attempt of a protective border for scaredy cats like me, over I-don't-know-how-many-XX-feet-drop over the cliffs. Get the picture? Apart from the subject of how funny it was to some of the tourists seeing this cute lady being scared witless, the view was just...

By 7, we made our way to the Kecak Ramayana and Fire dance site. The performance is a combination of ancient ritual, dance and drama accompanied by a choir of chanting and singing men. The mens' percussive "Cak Cak Cak" chanting adds on to the mystical aura of the Island of the Gods. The sunset and cliff setting makes the Kecak Ramayana and Fire dance one of those memorable experience that should not be missed. For parents, you may want to opt out if you think it might be too scary for children. The intricate masks of some of the characters in the performance may not be suitable for toddlers.

After an enjoyable evening in Uluwatu, Husbie wanted to try and find one of his favourite Indonesian writer's book in one of the bookshops. We had been to every Periplus branch throughout our tour every day since we first touched down in Bali and Husbie still could not find it. So we tried one of the local bookshops in the Galleria, Kuta. Alas, mission unaccomplished. We even ended up in Periplus on the ground floor to appease Husbie's need for more books. At this point, I was already preparing myself mentally that I may just end up with half of his books in my luggage. Haizzz...It wasn't a total bust though. I got to see the local brands of shoes on sale in the mall (SEE ONLY haaaa) and we had our dinner in one of the Bakso restaurants.

A half day well spent indeed.

Reliving the inner kampung-boy
As far as first impressions count, the dining area in Vasanthi gives off that modern yet comfy vibe

Nusa Dua beach
The only fully clothed couple on the beach
At the Pura atop the cliffs of Uluwatu
The cliffs in Uluwatu

Peace yo!

The view from the Kecak dance site
Cak Cak Cak

The bookstore where Husbie tried to find his book
Our room, decorated for us, visiting honeymooners

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Bridal shots: A brief review of my wedding photographer- Awanblu

For Valentine's day, I spent most of my day going through my edited wedding photos in three sets of DVDs.Why? To get the mood on I suppose... In the evening, tried my hardest to play along and not laugh at my husband's efforts to throw me off his Valentine's surprise. Of course it worked. I mean I knew he had arranged for something special, as he is a romantic after all, but I didn't know what was arranged.

Back to the DVDs and the photos. Going through the moments captured by lens made me almost nostalgic. The pictures are all amazing and somehow Awanblu managed to let me and my husbie relive those moments again.

The team members are very much professional and easy-going. My little flower-girls had fun playing with one of the cameraman too. The quality of their work speaks for itself. My husbie and I hired Awanblu for all our ceremonies, including for our wedding videographies, and we are very much happy with their work. A definite recommendation for all bride-to-be's and wedding couples tying up the knot soon!

Behold...some of my favourite shots!

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Bali-Moon, Day 2- The tourist trail

It was drizzling the following morning. So we took our time having our breakfast, overlooking the paddy fields accompanied by the sound of rain and gamelan music from the nearby pura. We even managed to take a swim when the rain stopped for a short time. We never felt so blissfully happy like we did that morning.

Before we went on with our day, we dropped by the nearby Canggu beach. It's just 10 minutes walk from our villa. Mind you, the beach is better suited for surfers, definitely not for swimming.

Itinerary of Day 2:
Canggu beach- Pura Desa Batuan Gianyar- Lunch at Bebek Sawah, Ubud - Goa Gajah - Pura Tirta Empul- Gunung Batur, Kintamani - Tegallalang- Leggong Dance at the Ubud Palace- Dinner in Ubud

Some Do's from Day 2:
Do go over your tourist trail with your local supir. He will be able to advise you on the best route to take and you can make the necessary adjustments for a no-fuss no-stress holiday. In my case, we covered those that was within our travel list and asked Pak Yoda to bring us to the those sites which are on the way as well.

Canggu beach
Pura Desa Batuan Gianyar

Soothing gamelan music with light rain drizzling over the manicured lawns of Pura Gianyar added to Bali's mystique and appreciation for their culture

Makan time!
Husbie's fave...BEBEK goreng!
The view from our table...private paddy fields are common in restaurants and spas...and it's a working paddy field to boot...nothing goes to waste and not all original landscapes are destroyed in the name of development

Cayok...cliche' touristy pose
At the entrance of Goa of the trimurti statues
Goa momentous archaeological find for the Balinese...

Pura Tirta Empul
The yellow cloth tied to the waist signifies the need for humans to curb their desires and wants and to focus solely on their prayers

Gunung Batur...the scenery was astounding...unfortunately we were eager to leave as the street vendors were very aggressive in trying to get you to buy what they were peddling...
Take a deep breath...of fresh air

And pose...
Legend has it...

Tegallalang...I actually fell here in one of the, not golek golek on every paddy tier...but just slipped...luckily I did not twist my ankle in anyway...just got up and laughed about it

At Ubud Palace...excuse the grainy picture please