I was surprised my legs were not boycotting me as I woke up next day (after the intensive beach workout).
Sis and I decided why not take it easy and go tour some of the northern parts of Bali with a hired driver. And so we did. We walked about Seminyak and found a random counter which offers daily tours (these are so cheap, and basically a must when you want to cover many places in a day).
side note: Yes, our plan was to go all-out on an intensive cultural exposure tour and then chill for the rest of the trip.
The guy (Wayan) was friendly, and using our
girly wiles polite ways, we bargained our way for an 8-hour tour somewhere from 450,000 rupiah to just 400k. Thats like approx RM120 for two! And lucky us, we got a really nice driver and a spacious Toyota Innova all to ourselves. *squeeeees*
But tbh, we started our tour at about 10 am and it ended at 7++pm so that was more than 9 hours. I love that we could customize the trip with our driver and skip the unnecessary bits (not the case with most pre-arranged agency tours).
We opted for: Art villages (just Batik painting, wood carving and fine arts) enroute Ubud--> Lunch at a Warung Dewa Malen --> Ubud town/ Sukawati art market--> Tanah Lot --> back to our hotel
and it roughly looks like this:
First stop is a Batik/ fabric arts centre. We got to witness some live action. With no idea of how much souvenirs are supposed to be, we skipped the purchasing part (since we will still go to Sukawati later).
We were taking our sweet time pretending to purchase art for our "Boss" because they were all so ogle-worthy and expensive at the same time, we couldn't stare long without being rude for not buying anything.
I don't know if our driver would have gotten any commissions if we made a purchase but I felt somewhat sorry for the guy for all the waiting. He was extremely patient and even while driving, he would entertain all our questions. Enthusiastic he was about Bali, it's language, festivals, hierarchy and such that we all got into a forum-like conversation reminiscent of travel channel's Discover Bali or something.
As an excerpt of our conversation:
Sis: I keep hearing Wayans and Mades around. Is it a common name?
Driver: Well, the Balinese males are named by the order of which they are born: Wayan (eldest), Made (second), Nyoman (third), Ketut (fourth).
Me: I saw adverts by the road saying "Dicarikan karyawan". In Malaysia, karyawan is a novelist/author.
Driver: *lols* Karyawan means a waiter, or a worker for a shop. Basically.... (goes on about occupations in Bali)
Me: I read about the Hari Menyepi. What is the day about?
Driver: It is a special celebration where everyone just stays in and not work or even on a lamp. You would be fined if you are caught wondering in the streets!
I just can't praise this guy enough.
After our somewhat artsy fartsy morning, we stopped by Warung Dewa Malen for lunch and invited our driver to join us. :)
The view was stunning as it was drizzling by the paddy fields.
I tried a drink called Arak, a local aperitif with lemon grass and lime. Pretty neat if you ask me~
For all veges out there, Gado Gado/nasi campur is probably the perfect platter. I personally (am a meatarian but) love the rolled cabbage with satay sauce.
We finally reach Ubud after the long series of winding roads, an array of terraced paddy fields, and a funeral procession causing a roadblock. We checked out the fancy little shops, Sukawati art market and Royal Palace.
Things are seriously overpriced here and I would personally recommend buying ole oles from Tanah Lot instead (read further).
Ubud's Royal Palace. No entry tho.
It was around 4pm when we reunited with our driver again. "Just in time for sunset at Tanah Lot," he claims.
And right he was.
The place was flocked with tourists like us.
There were also surfers, musicians and kite-flyers.
The water temple is reachable by foot, before the tide rises and surrounds it, forming island. Stunning!
We could not resist camwhoring x1230974101 times.
You know I am not a melancholic person but this was seriously breathtaking. Or maybe I am. T^T
The other water temple (background).
I could just sit there and read a book all day or something.
Sis checking out the more affordable souvernirs at one of the shops in Tanah Lot. Do your haul at those huge shops like Ole Ole Bali, Matahari or something. You can get all the choices under one roof!
Okay, just one more before the sun sets.
We were quite exhausted (from just strolling, conversing with our driver and chilling basically) by the time we reached our hotel. And I bet our driver was wayyy more exhausted so we paid the remainder of the tour fees plus tips, bade him good-bye and hopped off.
That night we opted for the silliest but probably one of the best things we did during the journey:
We walked to the nearest mart and picked up some Indonesian cup noodles + ice coffees and snacks, cooked em, and sat at the beach for our priceless dinner.
The sea breeze, the view of planes landing at Denpasar and the soft mix of jazz and RNB in background completes our day, really. Simply perfect.