Bali. A lot of tourists.
And people like us who ran away from CNY by the planeloads. LOL!
The airport we flew into was spanking new having only opened its doors to international crowds in October 2013. We checked in at the Daluman Villa in Seminyak very early in the morning on the first CNY day. It was new too, comfortable, clean and very pretty. Like most accommodations in Bali, the villa we were in had a personal pool, living area, bedroom and a generous rain shower clad bathroom. Of cos, there is a also TV with a myriad of channels, and free wifi. All the nice things urbanites crave for when off to seek their wee bit of tranquility while still tethered.
There were two days we travelled with hired drivers who spoke decent English. Charges are reasonable, about Rp. 400,000-500,000 per day (10-12 hours). They drive more than guide, and so the degree of knowledge that gets to you is dependent on the experience of the driver. We went around the northern and southern parts of Bali with the drivers, covering Mt Batur, a Luwak coffee plantation (Lakshmi I think it was called), Ubud and its arts and crafts cottage industries of batik, painting, silversmithing, stone carving, and wood carving. We also made our way to Denpasar, Tanah Lot, Jimbaran for seafood, Nusa Dua for massage, and trolled the streets of Seminyak, Legian and Kuta. Not bad for a short trip.
Along the way, we had Bali’s famous but overrated Babi Guling (aka suckling pig) and Crispy Duck. The pig skin was way too hard, though the flesh was tender; The duck was fried to death, though crunchy. Either way, I wouldn’t have any of them again. There is really nothing to brag about.
We also tried our first cup of Luwak coffee, extracted from the goodness of civet cat poop. The undigested coffee beans, that is. The reason why this cuppa is so darn pricey is cos the beans are top quality. Civet cats are a picky bunch and eats only best beans. They somehow are able to ferment these beans with a special enzyme they have in their tummies to enhance flavor. What eventually emerges is atas coffee beans that get transformed into a mild tasting coffee which is rather pleasing to the palate. But I am not quite sold on this. Brazilian arabica pleases the same way, without first going through the intestines of an animal.
Our villa! Mangosteens served during breakfast were perfect, no bruises and the flesh was firm & sweet .
A hole-in-the-wall cafe in Seminyak called the Revolver. Walk too quickly and you’re likely to miss the entrance. Amazing food and good coffee from an aromatic blend of beans from 4 different estates – 2 Indonesian, Columbian and Jamaican.
Our drivers, they do airport pickups and dropoffs too for about Rp. 130,000 per way: