Ballin’ In Bali

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By June Ramli

I recently visited Bali and would like to share some of the experiences and adventures during my stay there.
If you are planning to visit Bali soon then this article would be of great use!
I chose to fly Jetstar to Bali, Indonesia both ways and my flight to the Island of the God was good.
There were no hiccups, whatsoever during the six hours flight.
As soon as I arrived at Ngurah Rai airport, I was surprised to see the changes that the airport had gone through.
It now looks very swanky and chic and can give some first world airports a run for their money.
Once we done with immigration, we collected our bags and made our way to the carpark, where a friend was waiting to send us to our villa which was close to the infamous Kerobokan prison in Seminyak.
Our villa with a private pool was marvellous and we spent five days there creating great memories, especially while swimming in their pool.
This was the first time I had experienced villa living. 
It is quite similar to a hotel, they clean the unit daily, give fresh towels and extra towels for the pool too. Breakfast is served in our villa, all you have to do is call room service and order our choice from the menu.
I also managed to visit a couple of places of interest during my short stay there.
Our first place of interest was the Uluwatu temple. 
Bali is crowded these days and the jam or macet as the locals call it, can be horrendous so it is best you pre-plan your journey ahead. 
Our journey to Uluwatu from Seminyak took two hours.
This temple is definitely a must visit destination for anyone visiting Bali for the first time.
Before we reached the temple, we made a pit stop at Maccas and then to a cafe of sorts to taste a range of teas and coffee with the most famous one being the Luwak Coffee.

I realised that they have these coffee places throughout our journey to Uluwatu but our supir Adi decided to stop at this particular place to explore. 
At this cafe we were taken through the process of how the Luwak coffee is made and finally treated to different coffee and tea tastings. 
These tasting sessions are free.
I ended up buying Mangosteen tea which was really nice.
I just wished I could get these teas in grocery stores here in Australia.
I did not buy any Luwak coffee after seeing the civet cat all caged up.
As you know the Luwak coffee is made using civet cat poo.
The only time I tried Luwak coffee was in 2016  at some roadside stall which was pretty good.
The tastings are free for all the coffee except for Luwak coffee which cost 50,000 rupiah per cup which is about AU$5.
After the coffee tasting, we headed to our first intended destination, the Uluwatu temple.
When we arrived at the temple, we were all charged an entrance fee, kids under 12 go in for free while our driver Adi managed to get a free pass.
I had to wear a purple sarong while my brother had to tie an orange scarf around his waist. 
The surroundings of the temple are simply stunning but it was a super hot day and we were rushing through when the unexpected happened.
Before entering the temple we were forewarned by authorities to keep our sunnies and mobile phones out of sight in fear of the monkeys snatching them.
My mother didn’t pay heed to that warning and suffered the consequences.
It was here that my mother had her sunglasses worth over AU$600 get snatched by a wild monkey.
She did get warned that her sunnies would be taken away by the mammal but she refused to remove her sunnies as her glasses were prescription-based.
But unfortunately, luck wasn’t on her side that day and she now has to get new prescription glasses. 
So this is a hot tip for you, do not wear any glasses while at the Uluwatu temple cause the monkey would be sure to snatch it.
We thought it wouldn’t happen to us, but it did.
You can never be too sure, you would just have to be cautious – at all times. 
After our sojourn at the Uluwatu temple ended, we left and had lunch at a really swanky cafe nearby the area.
I saw a bunch of Afro-Caribbeans in purple T-shirts with the words “Ballin in Bali” written on it which I decided to borrow and use as the title for this article.
So after lunch we headed to another destination which was Pantai Melasti in Uluwatu.
We went there as a family to watch a Kecak performance which is based on an Indian folklore that runs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6pm to 7pm.

Kecak performance at Pantai Melasti, Uluwatu.
The Kecak performance at Pantai Melasti, Uluwatu.

I think the last time I watched a Kecak performance was in 2006 in Ubud.
The story of the performance revolves around the Indian god Hanuman and is narrated in Indonesian.
When I was there, I never really noticed any foreigners, only locals and people like myself who can speak and understand the Indonesian language.
The show was not only well choreographed it was also very entertaining to watch as Hanuman, one of the main characters of the hour-long show would come and mingle with the guests during the show’s interval.
There were ample seats but it was open air seating, so if it rains, the experience would probably be an uncomfortable one.
But all in all I had a great time watching the performance.
You can purchase tickets at the venue or via online here
After the show was done and since I was fasting that day, we decided to make a pit stop at Jimbaran to take away some seafood for us as a family to have later on at the villa.
I told Adi that I had a bad experience the last time I ate at Jimbaran but he assured me that JBS was a great restaurant to go for my ikan bakar fix.
I said okay, and trusted his recommendation, thankfully I did not suffer any consequences by consuming food from the restaurant that he had suggested.
While waiting for our food to be tapau-ed (takeaway), I noticed that the beach where all the restaurants were situated was littered with rubbish.
I wished that the Indonesian government would have at least made a concerted effort to clean up the beach area since Jimbaran is a notable tourist destination.
But nonetheless, many tourists were unperturbed with the rubbish seen on the beachfront as I saw them consume food there like there was no tomorrow.
We finally returned to the villa after we got our food and I had my dinner at ‘home’ and crashed shortly after.
The next morning was a free and easy day.
After we were done with breakfast, we headed to Kelia Spa, a new spa spot that has just been operational for four months.

June Ramli at BodyWorks Bali.
The writer at BodyWorks Spa in Bali.

The shop was so new that they only accepted cash at this point of time and cards were not accepted simply because they didn’t have the credit card machine.
Thankfully, there was a money changer next door and so we changed enough cash there for us to experience the spa.
The whole experience was great and it was dirt cheap too. 
One of the girls there had worked in Sabah, Malaysia before and so she got along quite well with us.
In fact, I met a couple of Balinese who had worked in Malaysia during my recent trip. 
They all have fond memories of living in Malaysia.
Also, I am proud to say that Upin and Ipin is pretty big in Indonesia.
Many servers I met during my recent trip there, had mentioned to me that their children loved watching the show.
I am proud to say that I interviewed the founder of Upin and Ipin in my maiden book.
After we were done with the spa, we headed to Biku for lunch, as it was my mother’s birthday, I treated my family for a sumptuous lunch which also included two pieces of cake which we were going to cut later on at night at another restaurant. 
After lunch was over, we walked around the area and visited some shops in Seminyak before calling a Gojek to return to our accommodation.
We chilled a bit at our abode before heading out again for dinner at another swanky restaurant called Ginger Moon.

We arrived at the restaurant close to closing time but they still accepted us despite not having any reservations.
I had a really good dragonfruit drink there and even have a photo to show for it.
As soon as we were done with dinner, we sang my mother her birthday song and ended the night with some nice cakes that we had purchased from Biku earlier.
Biku cakes are nice, this is the second time I am having them.
Each piece is generous in portion sizing and it is not too sweet.
Once we were done with dinner, we got onto another Gojek and headed back to our villa and called it a night.
The next day, we woke up early, had some sumptuous breakfast and waited for another supir to come and drive us to Ubud where we were planning to try on the swings near the paddy fields.
The drive from our hotel in Kerobokan to Ubud took us about two hours and by the time we had got there we immediately went to Aloha swing for an experience but decided against going forth with them because of the long wait times.
We headed to lunch at this really swanky restaurant in Tegalalang called Tebing Sari.

After lunch, we headed to Ceking Sari where we got to experience the paddy fields and also try their swings. 
A three minute swing ride overlooking the paddy fields at Ceking Sari cost about AU$10 and I can safely say that it was a great experience.
This is a new place and is kind of a hidden gem.
Besides the swing experience by the paddy field, you can also walk around the area and take pictures at the paddy fields, something you don’t see in Sydney or even in Kuala Lumpur
It was also here that we met this guy named Bob who spoke very good Malay.
He told us that he was Hindu and Balinese but mingled with lots of Malaysians and managed to pick up the language that way.
Once that experience was over, we headed back to our hotel which took another two hours.
I can’t remember what we did for dinner but I think that was the night that we had ordered in KFC – which was very nice by the way.
In Indonesia, KFC is served with sides of rice and plain soup, so it is just like having chicken rice but with deep fried chicken instead. 
The next day, was another free and easy day.
My brother’s family decided to go around and do their own thing while I treated my mother to a girl’s day out at the Shampoo Lounge and the BodyWorks spa in Seminyak.
I must commend Risa of Shampoo Lounge the masseuse for giving me a good shoulder massage. 
We had a great time with all of these rest and relaxation activities which would normally cost a bomb in Sydney and later went home that night refreshed.
The next day, my brother and his family had left for Perth, while my mother and I stayed at the villa as our flights to Sydney were only at 11 o’clock that night.
We spent the day chilling at Kudeta, Bali’s first beach club which is now over 20-years-old.


I met a server there by the name of Fiza who told me that she spent a few months living in Malaysia but had to return due to the pandemic.
It was great chatting with her and as soon as we were done with our lunch, we walked to the Petitenget beach to take some photos and head to another restaurant called Bias which is Halal by the way just so that my mother could have her Indonesian fix.
Somehow Kudeta doesn’t serve any Indonesian food so that was a bummer for my mother who only wanted to be feasted with local cuisine while she was there.
After finishing her lunch, we headed to the spa at Montigo Resorts for one last hurrah before heading back to the hotel to collect our luggage and finally to the airport.
I am not sure when I would return to Bali again but this last trip was indeed a memorable one which I would cherish for a very long time. 
As always, thank you, Bali for another wonderful experience. 

Editor’s Note: would like to take this opportunity and wish all our Balinese readers a Happy Nyepi. Om Shanti Shanti Om.

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