Friday, March 28, 2014

BALI INDONESIA VISIT

We are at it again... traveling to places around the peninsular. This time to the island of Bali. No this is not our first visit to the island since there were two previous visits though the first one was more than a decade ago. However on this occasion I was the tour organizer for the thirteen pax in the group  made up of friends and seniors.

Yes it was another exposure to become an organizer, tour guide and involved in the  tourism business.I may say it has added more experience and know- how re organizing such a visit. The planning had been arranged at least three months ago with prior reservation and booking for the airline tickets thereby to get the best offer and contact for reservation of the accommodation facilities. With all expectations hopefully ready and completed the group departed from KLIA on 17 of March 2014 for the 4N/5D visit. Our flight on Malindo Air took three hours to reach Den Pasar Airport. 

I had expected to experience a long walk to the vehicles after clearing Immigration and Custom as we had found several months ago and was surprisingly surprised that a new airport terminal was ready to welcome visitors to Bali. Dato Baharuddin Marji and wife were members of our group and I had requested a wheel chair facility for him upon disembarkation. However that was not necessary as now it was only a short walk to the vehicle terminal. However our drivers for the requested vehicles were ready to assist. One vehicle was reserved for the luggage and bags and the thirteen of us climbed on the two other cars ready to take us to our next destination. It was to be another hour before we reached the place for our stay for four nights, not without stopping for lunch at a Nasi Padang Restaurant on the way. The noon arrival surely made everyone craved for a good lunch. I guessed the Nasi padang proved satisfaction because of the great array of dishes.

    The 13 pax group with senior Dato Baharuddin Marji and wife plus 8 former Kirkby friends, two neighbours from our Putrajaya home and the two of us. Seriously it was easy organizing this vintage group. It may be said that it was a Kirkby Group visit since Dato Baharudin and wife were Kirkby students as well though later he was our Malay lecturer.   

Our stay in Bali was not at the normal hotel sites, though there are plenty on the island offering all the facilities you would like to choose with all the comforts but I chose to stay at Siyut an area close to Ubud and north of Den Pasar close to the traditional and cultural centre of the island. Below you see part of the home and the swimming pool with its greenery and flowering shrubs.

It is not often you get to experience a stay as this especially in a  homely atmosphere with all the comforts and services. By a stroke of luck we have come to know Pak Jim and Ibu Paula ( both Dutch and Indonesian) in our earlier travels and they have allowed us to be guests at their home in Siyut, especially when both are away in USA and we had the services of their house staff to help when we were here.

                                       
        Part of the home with its garden, the swimming pool and facilities

   Hj Omar and Azudin did not miss to jump into the swimming pool




                                            
                 

  
               They dig into the breakfast dishes prepared by the girls at Villa Flora, a far cry from the normal hotel buffet in the morning.

  

 Our first tour for the day included the rice terrace at Tagalalang. Be prepared to meet large numbers of visitors or tourists at this favorite place


The home comforts more or less would like to tie you down rather than release you to travel out but since arrangements have been made and the drivers with the two vehicles have reported at the time designated we then proceeded on the the tours for the second, third and fourth day. Bali has many places to offer each challenging your time and endurance. So we need to choose what is best to see and visit. Good comfortable cars with two drivers who are tour guides by themselves are credits for the visits



 This clean footpath actually brought us to the coffee plantation where we had a taste of the ('musang') Luwak coffee and observed its processing as well as become introduced to the fertile volcanic soil of the area where fruit orchards and other plants grow at their best.


Hj Omar took a look at one of the cages, with the cockerels  ready to be taken to their destination for the fights of their lifes. Yes cock-fighting is one favoured past-time here though we did not meet up with its participation.


The Kintamani tour took us for lunch at the peak overlooking an active volcano and the lake. The large wooden table, a piece of a tree trunk  constitutes a common furniture at many outlets and one would like to cart one home if possible. Wonder whether it is possible to export one. 

You wonder what has happened to our quality tree trunks. Why not a semblance of it appear as dining tables in its natural condition and size! Small size furniture yes and even than good timber pieces are hard to find unless you cart home imported versions.


The next day tour included a visit to the village stage performance to see the traditional dance. Bali offered several traditional dances at locations that began their show at 10.00 am. The village folks including the musicians, actors and dancers presented a colorful show lasting an hour. Several premier hotels do similar shows which come with your dinner. 

The group on the elaborate stage after the show.


Bamboo  especially for furniture seems to be a favored choice. The auditorium for the stage show had seats made from bamboo. Our group was the first arrival and therefore had the front seats. 


 At Villa Flora similarly the garden furniture were from bamboo too



A visit to Mas Village met us with this craftsman who elaborately curved the object of a bird. The establishment distinguished itself with a large collections of wooden art crafts.




Craftsmen were around at work and you could stay if you like to observe them doing their pieces.


An accidental visit a day earlier to  "Bale Udang' a restaurant
that advertised itself in the local newspaper as being newly opened brought us here for dinner the next day. Specifically to see the building and its environment plus of course to savour the dishes served. Again the surprise to see the total construction of this establishment made from bamboo. It even has a second level. Set in a padi field environment, we were welcomed when we arrived with the majestic view of the setting sun beyond the padi fields and the western horizon.  

The main hall of 'Bale Udang'



 bamboos along the corridor



The setting amidst padi fields make us wonder why we do not realize this grandeur and don't we have padi fields too in Malaysia! Maybe it's a challenge. 

There are many tours that you can take to see Bali, either via tour agencies or by your own planning as we had done. Motor cars with their drivers can be arranged with the stipulated price. You are advised not to drive yourself when in Bali since regulations for accidents if happened can be heavy for the driver or even direct imprisonment.  We had two good friendly drivers who speak Bahasa and English and excellent guides too. My arrangement for the vehicles and drivers were made much earlier and 'Made' being their names waited for on our arrival with 'placards' at the airport and were with us throughout the tour.  


Your visit Bali would not be completed as part of the itinerary  of your visit unless you make a visit to the 'pasar seni' where crafts of the locals are sold at a bargain price. Besides clothing, paintings, various handiworks could be bought at a fair price if you bargain rightly.



Here I caught the lady placing the flower offerings as commonly seen almost every where while customers are welcomed by the shop assistants even before they enter the premise.



A sign which attracted my attention. " Kalau anda bukan orang sembarangan janganlah buang -buang sampah SEMBARANGAN" Though Bali is populated with 4 million people,  the people observed road regulations and cleanliness is a plus factor.


There was an interest to visit the beaches in Bali. Kuta being one but traffic into the area was heavy in the evening and we could only make our way to Sanur. With the hotels by the beaches and the tourists in its vicinity it was quiet and yet clean.  


Again I caught this picture of the table made from a piece of a tree trunk. A treasured piece if you could have one in your home. Guaranteed you will never get one again in years to come.
It was a good visit, exposing us to many aspects of Bali and especially allowing one to know the modes of planning and organizing a conducted tour and allowing oneself to travel as part of the team.Maybe getting someone involved in the business itself for an opportunity to visit places ..... 

You may be surprised to learn as we have that on the 31 of March 2014, the Balinese will observe a religious day called Hari Raya Nyepi Tahun Baru Caka, the day of total silence throughout the island. We are told there is no activity, no traffic at all on the roads and no fire may be lit for 24 hours . Notice were given that the airport is closed and no flights would land on that day in Bali. Visitors to Bali must come before that date or later. Now would you like to be there that day?


 
















4 comments:

Al-Manar said...

Reading this is as good as a personal visit to a place I have never been. Now I sit back expecting to see more places via Kotastar!

Well done sdr. You are a good organiiser. Our Dato' and wife must be very pleased.

kotastar said...

Sdr Al Mnar,
As always I would know that you will be the first to visit and leave yr comment. Thanks. Yes I am happy that Dato and wife could join us as Morjinah esp requested to visit Bali since I took them to Brunei 3 yrs back. Maybe the next time we plan a trip out you and wife could come along. Salam

Azudin O Fuad said...

Pak Non,
Well written.

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