Wednesday, January 4, 2017

On (not so) Solo Travel to Bali - Part 2

Previous post: On (not so) Solo Travel to Bali - Part 1, better to also read the first post for a more complete information.

Check out the video for a glimpse ambience of Ubud and Seminyak

I spent 4 days in Bali, 2 nights in Ubud and 1 night in Seminyak. I have written about information on transportation, hotels, and luxury needs on this solo journey in my previous post. And here I'm gonna catch up the rest experience I got on places to visit, places to eat, and event to attend. 
  • On places to visit. Ubud: On my second day, I visited Puri Saren Agung Ubud while I was doing my morning wander. Puri Saren's front gate usually used as a venue for traditional dance show in the evening. Unfortunately tourist is not permitted to enter it further than the dance's venue. But the entrance gate is divine already, surrounded by a serene lotus pond. Puri Saren Agung Ubud Ticket: free entrance. On my third day, I visited Museum Puri Lukisan, an art museum and gallery founded by Tjokorta Gde Agung Sukawati on 1936. This museum consist of the history of arts and paintings in Ubud, how Tjokorda Gde Agung Sukawati succeeded in presenting art as a good commodity for Ubud's development and new paintings and carvings from recent artist. After a long walk in the museum, they will give us complimentary drinks with choices of iced coffee, juices, or soda to enjoy in its breezy restaurant, perfect! Museum Puri Lukisan Ubud Ticket: idr 75.000/ USD 5.5. Seminyak: Of course Seminyak is more fast paced, modern, and full of hustle and bustle than Ubud. But it has its own charm. I love to end my day in its beach club, sipping drinks while watching the sun slowly disappear from my eyes leaving me a colour in the sky where my camera can't even catch its perfection. On my last night in Bali I visited Woo Bar, yes that famous beach bar in W resort. Unlike any other beach club they don't give you minimum spend, so relax and enjoy the beautiful horizon without having to worry about your pocket. Cocktails here cost around idr 100.000/ USD 7.4. On places to visit, total budget: around idr 175.000/ USD 12.9.

Puri Saren Agung Ubud and Lotus Pond Around it

The Exterior of A Building in Museum Puri Lukisan

A Recent Work from an Artist Inside The Building

Me wearing: Offshoulder Dress (Cotton Ink)

Sipping Iced Coffee in The Restaurant Facing This View

Sun Set in The Beach in Front of Woo Bar
  • On Best Places to Eat. Ubud: I visited Seniman Coffee Studio which is located only less than 5 minutes on foot from my hotel. I haven't tried all of the coffee shop in Ubud so I won't say this is the best, but I love it. I love its coffee and the laid back ambience in the studio supported by its rocking chair. I ordered chicken fingers and cold coffee latte for a total idr 100.000/ USD 7.4. The next morning I impulsively went to Casa Luna when it suddenly rain while I was wandering around Jl Raya Ubud on foot. I've been a loyal customer to Casa Luna, I always visit it everytime I travel to Ubud. They cook a lot of great Asian cuisine, including Chicken Tandoori, Laksa, until traditional Balinese food. This time I ordered healthy breakfast and a mineral water which cost around idr 50.000/ USD 3.7. I would say it was really cheap because those healthy breakfast was amazing! Seminyak: I had cappuccino from Expat and Cold Smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict from Sisterfields Cafe for a breakfast with my dear friend. They are located at the newly growing Jl. Kayu Cendana. The cappuccino cost arund idr 40.000/ USD 2.9 and the egg benedict cost around idr 100.000/ USD 12.9. The coffee is good but I have to say that I have tried another better cup and the egg benedict was mouth watering, but what I like the most is Sisterfields Cafe open from 8.00 am and that is a perfect early time to spend a quality breakfast in one of Seminyak's hip cafe. On best places to eat, total budget: idr 290.000/ USD 21.5.

Healthy Breakfast at Casa Luna, Ubud

Cold Smoked Salmon Egg Benedict at Sisterfield Cafe

Accompanied by My Dear Friend at Sisterfield Cafe
  • On Event to Attend. Annually, every October in Ubud you would find an event called Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (UWRF). It was a series of discussion panel, meet & greet, book and movie release, art, cooking, and cullinary session that would meet the readers with a list of writers, artist, and even poets. Every year they have a particular theme and the discussion will be around that theme ranging in topics from humanity, feminist issue, until the colour of our different languages. This year discussion session which I love the most was one called "Screen Addicts" featuring Dewi Lestari, Elizabeth Pisani, Michael Vatikiotis, and Trianto Triwikromo discussing about how nowadays society tend to love the immediecy of something social media related than to study things deeper like reading a book (you could see a glimpse of the discussion in the video above).  Tips: For you who is still hesitant about traveling alone, I guess looking for an event you could attend first will give you a little confidence on yourself to go alone, because by this event you can make yourself sure that you have something to hold on to along the solo traveling journey, an exact place where you can socialize (and it doesn't have to be like UWRF, you can look for musical event, maybe?). UWRF all days ticket for student cost: idr 150.000/ USD 10.7.

The View at Indus Restaurant, Venue of Screen Addicts Session

Screen Addicts Session featuring Dewi Lestari,
 Elizabeth Pisani, Michael Vatikiotis, and Trianto Triwikromo 

To sum it all, on transportation, hotels, secondary (luxury) needs, places I visit, best places I go eating, and event I attend, the total budget I spent is:
  • On transportation: idr 1.676.000/ USD 124
  • On hotels: idr 1.164.000/ USD 86
  • On secondary (luxury) needs: idr 230.000/ USD 17
  • On places I visit: idr 175.000/ USD 12.9
  • On best places I go eating: idr 290.000/ USD 21.5
  • On event I attend: idr 150.000/ USD 10.7
  • Total of all the money I spent above: idr 3.685.000/ USD 263.3 (not included: another daily meals and snacks and budget on souvenir)
Not much, right? Considering that it even including budget on luxury needs and I chose a proper hotel and flight. See? You just have to work a little harder, save a little more each month and you have no reason of not having enough money to go explore this big big world we live in. And I may say that once a year, it is worthy to travel alone, detach from our mundane routines we so familiar with for a while, try to have a quality time with ourselves so we can understand ourselves a little better, rearrange our messed up minds, and breathing positive energy and fill it to our lungs. Oh just stop reading this post and go pack your bag, will you?

Monday, January 2, 2017

On (not so) Solo Travel to Bali - Part 1

Last October I planned a solo trip to Bali and I got many questions from my friends asking about where I stay, how much does the hotel cost, and even a question about how much a spa in Ubud cost considered that it is usually quite expensive. So, I think why wouldn't I write about a more detailed post about my itineraries here in this blog. Well, just in case you were looking for an idea on budget hotels, booking a cheaper flight, until a quality yet affordable spa on a solo travel. 

A video on my journey, though it is not as complete as what I tell you in this blog, you can see the ambience of how serene Ubud is, how mind blowing the discussion in Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2016 is, or how beautiful Seminyak is. Just go check it out :)

I spent 4 days in Bali, 2 nights in Ubud and 1 night in Seminyak. On this trip I want to have a quality time with my self, exploring my mind a little deeper, be nicer to stranger for they might giving me surprises I never knew existed before, enjoying museums, beaches and local foods, exploring places on foot, and of course attending Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2016. So these choices of places I visited, hotels I booked, and foods I enjoyed mostly based on above intentions.

  • On transportation. Flights: I chose to go to Bali by booking a Garuda Indonesia flight from Juanda to Ngurah Rai, I chose Garuda Indonesia because the flight time fits me and the price was not really different with other flights. On flights, I get used to check on different booking ways (airline's official web, airline's official app, or hotel & flight booking website such as Traveloka or Skyscanner) and at that time I got 10% discount by booking via Garuda Indonesia's official app. That was where I get the best price (idr 1.000.000/ USD 74 for return ticket). Tips: do not be lazy to check on every different ways of booking. Car Rental: I chose to rent a car because I would need the flexibility to go to Ubud or Denpasar anytime I need it, which won't be possible if I depend on bus (because bus has its own schedule and is not always available at all time). After a careful research, this year everytime I go to Bali I choose Bali Mutia Car Rent, because they provide a  free drop in & pick up of the car in Ngurah Rai airport. Yay! That is the flexibility and time saving move I needed. I rented manual Toyota Agya (cost: idr 180.000/ USD 14 per 24 hours, 10% of the total cost paid per hour for an overtime). I rented it for a total 3 days and 2 hours so it costs me total idr 576.000/ USD 43. I only bought gasoline for idr 100.000/ USD 7.5 and it was enough for the whole trip. On transportation, total budget: idr 1.676.000/ USD 124 for 4 days.
  • On hotels. For me a good location is always number one. And the good and the nots of course is depend on your needs. So in Ubud, a good location in this case is a hotel which is located within walking distance to downtown Ubud. And here was where my heart went. I booked The Peacock Inn via which costs me idr 407.000/ USD 31 per night so it was idr 814.000/ USD 62 for two nights. It is located at Jl. Sugriwa, just a few minutes on foot from Seniman Coffee Studio, Locavore, Cha Time just in case I need some refreshment, Ubud Market, and another bunch of places worth visiting. The hotel is of course a budget hotel one. No television, no free complimentary coffee and tea, no hairdryer, no flat iron but quite clean, comfortable, and have good air conditioning. Oh and it is so chic and has a small pool too, lovely! Plus for a hotel with a limited parking area the staff is care enough to always make sure that a parking area is available for my rented car. In Seminyak, I chose Swiss Belhotel in Jl. Petitenget because the location is also perfect. Although it is not really close to beach clubs such as Potato Head or Woo Bar, but I can drive there in less than 5 minutes. There is convenience store nearby just in case I need something and this hotel is located between Metis, the famous french dining restaurant and Barbacoa that has a very good coffee, just exactly what I needed. This hotel also got a pool and I exactly need it for a quick dip in the morning. Surprisingly when I checked on they sell a ticket for a night in this hotel for only idr 350.000/ USD 26 per night! On hotels, total budget: idr 1.164.000/ USD 86. Tips: also do not be lazy to check on every different ways of booking (official website of the hotel, hotels & flights website booking, booking apps, even groupon) and choose hotel based on your needs (for me I need a good location and hotel with pool).
The Peacock Inn located at Jl Sugriwa, Ubud

The Room of The Peacock Inn

Bathroom of The Peacock Inn

At The Room of Swiss Belhotel Petitenget, Seminyak

The Pool of Swiss Belhotel Petitenget, Seminyak

  • On secondary (luxury) needs. I will include waiting lounge in airport, fine dining, and spa in this part. Waiting lounge in airport: my debit card giving me a free access to several waiting lounge in airport including Juanda and Ngurah Rai, so I could definitely save some money for extra meals or Starbucks before flights. Tips: 1. There is nothing bad of always flying a particular airline because you can definitely get a lot of benefit from it (for example: if you have a Gold Garuda Frequent Flyer Card  you can get free 15 Kgs extra baggage and free access to Garuda Indonesia lounge so you can wait for your flight in comfort). 2. Check for benefit of your debit or credit card for some of them give you free access to airport waiting lounge.  Fine dining: Once or twice I allow my self to enjoy a fine dining during the whole trip. The best fine dining on this trip was the one I had at Uma Cucina by Como, an Italian restaurant at Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud. I once read a good review about this restaurant and when I drove down the road with a companion who come to visit on my second day in Ubud, we impulsively chose this restaurant. Once we entered the restaurant at about 8.00 pm we could hear the jazz live music in the background as we sat in a warm ambience. The food was absolutely divine, they served us bread with olive oil as we wait for our main course, the pasta was perfectly al dente, the roasted baby chicken was perfectly juicy, and the chamomile tea was strong. Not to mention they give an impeccable service. Perfect! I rated them 5 stars! Dinner for two people cost around idr 600.000/ USD 44.5 (fortunately on my companion's treat :p). SPA: A friend of mine whom I met in Seminyak later asked me how much did a spa with a view cost in Ubud for as she knew a spa is not a cheap treat. But guess what? Through a careful research I found this affordable yet quality spa, Bali Botanica Day Spa at Jl. Raya Sanggingan, Ubud. I enjoyed 2 hours treatment of traditional massage with special oil of my own choice, scrub of my own choice (I chose herb scrub), yoghurt application, and flower bath only for idr 230.000/ USD 17. And the ambience is so relaxing facing a large window displaying paddyfield and river. Can you imagine that? On secondary (luxury) needs, total budget: idr 230.000/ USD 17, since the fine dining was a treat and the waiting longue was free :p Tips: Careful research of everything and you absolutely can get the best quality with the best price. Check the review on forum or web, I love to check on review from, like I read the review about this Spa.

Uma Cucina by Como (Photo taken from the web).
 I do not take any proper picture at Uma Cucina for me and my companion 
busy talking to each other, but you can see a glimpse of it in the video above. 

Flower Bath at Bali Botanica Day Spa

Friday, December 2, 2016

On 24 Years Old

A little surprise from my cousin on my 24th birthday

Dress (Lookboutique Store), Scarf (H&M)

Last August, I am officially 24 years old. As a person, I am that one kind who don't really like large parties and celebrations. In fact I don't really feel comfortable being surrounded by too much people, a true introvert, I guess? So I deeply appreciate my cousin for this surprise she gave me. A simple staycation in a hotel room so we can enjoy full service on a special day, a late night supper while watching movie in the middle of the night just because we want to, and a great buffet in the morning after a quality morning swim, is a perfect celebration for me.  

A gift from my cousin, a secondhand book.

Actually, that time was the first time I hear about Elizabeth Pisani. But how funny life was, at the end of October when I attend Ubud Writers & Readers Festival turns out that Elizabeth Pisani was one of the speaker and I loveee her dearly for her witty thoughts (going to share about Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2016 in a separate blog post). 

A gift from my man, The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank and a Scarf (Moral)

On this post about age I want to take a little time to pause and look at my life. Because what does aging mean without a little time for a little reflection and evaluation, right? If I can divide my life simply into two categories consist of progress and goals, I may not have much progress to get my goals done.  I am 24 years old now, basically still unemployed since I am still doing my clinical years as a dental student to get my DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) title. When my friends are getting married, having babies, getting their first paycheck, getting their master's degree, getting a loan for their first house,  I'm still stuck in the same phase since I enter this School of Dentistry 6 years ago. 

But, is our life really only measured by those mundane and standardized value created by merely human based on social stereotype? I think life is larger than that, no? I guess I should be thankful for this life God gave me not only by how much money I make, how great my relationship is with my significant other, how perfect my family is, or how normal I am compared to societies around me. If you can describe how normal is anyway...

No, I can not reflect and evaluate these 24 years I've spent based only on those things above. There is so much more about life I should also take a peek into, no? There is experience which I can get from traveling, expanding my horizon, or volunteering in a social cause, there is lesson which I can learn from my imperfect family life, from the little ballerina in a ballet studio I regularly visit, or even lesson I often received from my patient, there is new perspective I can get from the Mandarin class I join, from the little yet comfortable restaurant I visited, or from that not-so-close friend I accidentaly met while I was traveling alone. Isn't that little things that happen in each and every day is as valuable as the big moments people usually celebrate (like graduation, marriage, and another celebratory events)?

So on this moment, I want to thank god for giving me imperfect family life -and let the detail be unexplained- so that I can learn to be independent, to be strong, to be resilient, and to be prepared of whatever might happen. I want to thank god for showing me that life is more complicated than movie, where the downside scene can not be fast forwarded and have to be faced, where the goal is not the happy ending but to survive each and everyday and make the most of it. By this lesson I can learn to see life beyond the social stereotype, I can be more considerate toward others' actions or opinions or choices because I know there is always reasons behind it. I can learn to challenge my mind to live life with more purpose beyond my personal happiness, because I know that out there life is more complicated than what I know here in my still comfort zone compared to them; for example I should not think only about how happy I am to be in a relationship with my perfect man yet I have to think that out there thousands of children might undergo an unideal circumstances that can prevent them to get the best education, the best health access, and another development access. 

I want to thank god for opening my eyes with every little details that happen in my each and every day so that I can learn to seek for purpose of my existence other than my own happiness such as money, fame, perfect family, perfect relationship, and not to mention those (dreamy) so called happy ending bluntly interpreted from those fairy tales. I want to thank God for reminding me that I have to be the best version of my self hence I can give more impact to as much aspects as I can.

To put it simple, for me, there is so much more things that I can celebrate in each and every day, much more than those annual milestones people usually celebrate based on social stereotype. I want to thank God for the downside, the upside, the imperfect, the complexity, the funny moments that happen in each and every day of my life hence I can learn, celebrate, and make meanings out of each and every day. Because life is much more than pretty pictures consist of smiling faces in front of a decorated venue posted on Instagram, right? :)