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

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