Friday, January 18, 2013

Bali - Part 1

Hello all,

Apologies for my blur-ness, I have this post sitting in DRAFT since 2011 without realising. Sleepyhead mode strikes back.

I have visited Bali several times and always find Bali is lovely and exotic. Great food, great people, great weather, many interesting places to see (from temples, mountain, coffee plantation, jewellery making village etc) and I  dont think I can ask for more. Anyway...a while ago I was quite annoyed with this negative article about Bali titled 'Bali why Bother', really boils my blood, link to the article:
Here are my rants about the article...
I guess everyone has different style of travelling and you really need to ask yourself whether you belong to the adventure club, comfort cushion, a bit of both or luxury princess? If you do know that you are not a material for adventure then stick with your comfort zone & bubble wrap yourself till you are ready to open your eyes and explore the world.
If you only visited Bali 1x in your life (and it is totally out of your comfort zone), please do not criticize it harshly as it is quite unfair for Bali. I do agree that sometimes the street sellers can be a little aggressive and persuasive, however they are just trying to make a living so please have some compassion, and don't forget, you do have the options to walk away. If you know you are new to Bali & you are not ready for culture shock or in the need of comfort cushion, please pick the right area/ hotel. Be realistic. If you pay peanuts, dont expect services like Conrad.
Again guys, whatever happens (let's say the not so good ones), embrace it and move on. It is not a bad thing. Treat it as an unforgettable memory, part of the fun when exploring a new place & something that you can laugh about in a few years. If you expect no surprises when traveling then maybe you should just stick to do camping in your own room. The beauty of travel to a completely new place is to discover new things that you have never seen/ experienced in your life, it can be anything from getting lost, meeting street vendors, eating anything uncommon, seeing local activities, etc. Be brave and adventurous and your holiday will be a zillion times more enjoyable/ memorable.
Anyway, back to biz, I would like to share places that I visited in Bali (Seminyak & Nusa Dua area). Not sure why but I always stick to those 2 areas but hopefully I have a chance to explore other parts of Bali in my next trip and I can give you some updates. In terms of food, hopefully it's not too shocking coz I mostly go for street foods in Bali.

B A L I (Seminyak area)
Bali has great variety in terms of food, from street food, cafe to flashy places ~ we have them all. I love street foods and thank goodness I have never experienced food poisoning in Bali. If you are not used to street foods, I suggest to go easy & make sure to only drink from the packaged bottles (please stock up some Imodium tablets for just in case food poisoning tragedy).
  • Warung Made ~ legendary and must go, nice settings, great variety (from Japanese, Western to Indonesian food), restaurant is surrounded with quality shops selling batiks, jewellery, clothing, bookstore etc.
  • Warung Pak Malen (JL. Sunset Road no. 5), hawker style, basic restaurant, great food and healthy for pocket
  • Nasi Ayam Kedawetan ~ similar style to Pak Malen, different side dishes, great food
  • Sup Ikan Mak Beng (Fish Soup Mrs Beng) ~ hawker style again, fried fish with spicy sour soup
  • Nasi Campir Men Weti (Balinese Mixed Rice Mrs Weti) ~ hawker, cheap and tasty, have to rock up early in the morning to avoid 'run out'
  • Earth Cafe @ Earth Market ~ if you are vegetarian...
  • Sate Bali @ Oberoi Rd ~ fantastic satays & tum bebek (duck in banana leaves), a little $$
  • Kafe Betawi @ Seminyak Square ~ sells variety of famous Indonesian dishes,
  • Grocer and Grind ~ great cakes, pies and coffee. Nice chit chat place, casual vibe.
  • Kudeta ~ flashy, beautiful view & food, great to watch sunset
  • La Luciolla ~ next door to Kudeta, same vibe - casual yet flashy + view
  • Potato Head ~ the 'IT' place right now.. hip, full of pretty people ...average food for me. Great drinks.
Warung Made - Nasi Campur Bali (Bali mixed rice) - it is one stop shop, has gado gado, beef rendang, tempeh, tofu, etc. Very tasty and large portion
Menu @ Cafe Betawi ~ everytime I look at the menu, I wish they open their branch in Sydney
Cafe Betawi - Nasi Timbel (Timbel Rice), served with fried tofu and tempeh, marinated beef and grilled rice (wrapped in banana leave) + sweet and sour soup
Nasi Ayam Kedawetan Seminyak (Kedawetan Chicken Rice) ~ Balinese style mixed rice, served with fish satay, vegetables, egg, giblets, chicken, etc. Really delicious and tasty. It is a lot on the plate and everything goes well together.
Sate Bali restaurant ~ Rice with grilled prawn and vegetables, chilli hot, sweet, salty and sour, very refreshing and makes you want to eat more and more and more ....
Sate Bali restaurant ~ Mixed Satays (beef, chicken and pork), very well marinated meat, each meat has different sauce and they are all great, my fave is Mr Porkie. One problem...small portion !!
Nasi Pedes Bu Andika (Mrs Andika Spicy Rice) ~ street stall, plenty of variety to choose from .. from vegetarian option, chicken in any version, beef, fish, and the not to be forgotten lungs, giblets, liver, etc. If you love chilli sauce, you must try theirs .. little warning: burning sensation may occur
Nasi Pedes Bu Andika ~ they have expanded their stall, they have bigger sitting area now
Babi Guling Pak Malen restaurant (Mr Malen's Roast Pork)
Babi Guling Pak Malen restaurant ~ giant pork skin
Babi Guling Pak Malen ~ varieties of side dishes, mainly cooked in Balinese style - with lots of herbs, spicy and tasty. I was overwhelmed when I first when there, didnt know where to startwith the dishes. I had to go back 2x to enjoy all the side dishes.
Pork Rice from Pak Malen ~ I picked pork skin, pork cracker, fish satay, chicken cooked in coconut sauce, Balinese style chilli sauce (I think it was lemon grass & red shallot). Uggghh I miss it badly.
Breakfast menu from Sentosa Villa ~ Mie Goreng with prawn crackers, egg and chicken satays. Slightly average for me...great presentation though.
Fish Soup from Mrs Beng ~ fried fish with soup, sourish, fresh and spicy soup, fish is quite crispy, their chilli sauce was suppa hot, was a bit like someone slapping your mouth & it is great to clear your nasal =)
Potato Head beach club
Astana Kunti room service ~ simple and tasty dish ... green beans with shrimps + coconut rice. Great companion for watching DVD
Grocer and Grind ~ casual vibe
BVilla breakfast ~ freshly cooked daily @ your villa
BVilla breakfast ~ assorted fruits (minus the fly, was not part of the hotel deal..teehee..)

Seminyak is definitely the place to shop, plenty of varieties and price range. Mainly street shopping. From local designers, house decos, shoes, exotic leather goods etc. 
  • Buddha Wear ~ edgy dresses
  • Puspita (Jl. Seminyak no 64) ~ beach style, boho, reasonable  pricing
  • Niluh Djelantik shoes ~ I heart their shoes. Comfy & if you are interested, book an appointment with Niluh to organise a custom made shoes, she will do the measurements & fittings etc.
  • Simple Konsept Store (SKS) ~ lots of quirky & funky stuff, never get sick of this shop
  • Kollektor ~ modern funky house decorations
  • Moonrocks t-shirts ~ great quality t-shirt with great design
  • Prathivi (Jl. Kayu Aya no 5, Oberoi) ~ shoes & wallets from exotic skins
  • Earth Market ~ organic items, organic clothing etc
  • Magali Pascal ~ my fave shop !! Always have nice stuff here, from dresses to tops/ jackets etc.
  • Uluwatu ~ Balinese embroidery/ lace clothing, really top quality
  • Mitsch ~ Located next to BVilla Seaside, lots of kaftans or casual clothing (really well made and great design)
  • Seminyak Square market ~ jewellery, clothing, shoes, arts and crafts. Bargain is a must here.
Niluh Djelantik shoes
The talented shoes designer ... Niluh Djelantik, ready to do my shoes measurements yayy...
SKS @ Seminyak

I know there are zillions of spa/ salon in Seminyak & they offer lots of attractive packages. If you are planning to do manicure/ pedicure just make sure you check with the salon whether they sterilize their equipment (yes..I am a little clean freak. but hey better be safe than sorry). These are places that I have tried and I am happy with their services and cleanliness. Happy trying.
  • AMO spa ~ I love their manicure pedicure, facial, and reflexology. Very hygienic.
  • Murano spa ~ Great massage and body scrub. Try boreh (traditional Balinese body scrub using local herbs). They can do pick up & drop off too if you stay around Seminyak.
  • David Salon ~ Great manicure pedicure and hair treatment. They are Kerastase salon, try their Kerastase hair massage (approx. 2 hrs). Heaven.This salon is located next to Carrefour supermarket (not quite in Seminyak, about 10 mins from Seminyak).
  • Spoiled by Max Van Der Hoek (Jl. Umalas 2 no 90, Kerobokan, phone. 0361 8475141) ~ My hair was like Simba during my holiday last year & desperately need a haircut. I was quite lucky to score an appointment with Max during my holiday last year. He did a great job & I love it, will be back for haircut if I go to Bali again. Max is  is such an entertaining hairdresser, such a clown and he speaks fluent Indonesian, amazing. You will get 'spoiled' for sure.

  • Bali Deli ~ supermarket and bakery
  • Carrefour ~ perhaps the biggest supermarket, not quite in Seminyak but it is fairly close. About 10-15 mins from Seminyak by taxi
  • Bintang supermarket
  • Earth Market ~ for anything organic
  • Papaya (not quite in Seminyak, but not too far, probably 10-15 mins by car) (Jl. Merta Nadi) ~ Japanese supermarket, bakery & deli

      Basic stay starts from less than AUD100 per night, it is located outside the main strip of Seminyak. Spacious room with kitchenette. To go to the main strip, you can walk for about 15 mins or take a cab.
      Great location, it's quite hidden and quiet although it is located behind the busy strips of Seminyak. Walking distance to the beach & Kudeta/ La Luciolla. Freshly prepared breakfast by the butler (cooked at your kitchen). Private swimming pool. Great for bigger group & family with kids.
     Another hidden gem in Seminyak, seriously secluded, it is quiet and relaxing, you hardly hear any noise, really tranquil. Right in the heart of Seminyak. To walk to the main strip, probably about 10 mins. They do provide some shuttle service to go to the main strip. Freshly prepared breakfast with limited choices (Continental/ Mie Goreng or Nasi Goreng). Private swimming pool. Great for bigger group & family with kids.

Astana Kunti serviced apartment - good size swimming pool

Astana Kunti apartment - petite and relaxing
Astana Kunti apartment - fairly large, with mini kitchenette
BVilla Seaside - 3 bedroom villa with private pool

Sentosa Villa - private pool within your villa, Living & Kitchen on the left hand side of the pool. Right hand side & front of the pool ~ bedrooms

Sentosa Villa - Living room & dining, spacious and homey
Sentosa Villa

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rubber Duck @ Darling Harbour

As part of Sydney Festival (January 5-27) ~ festival of music, art, dance, theatre etc, a 15m tall Rubber Duckie by Florentijn Hofman, blessed with cuteness overload, has been floating in Darling Harbour for us.
Please visit the duckie during January, it is really cute and dont forget to take zillions of crazy photos with the famous duck.

For more photos:

Information on Sydney Festival:

Rubber Duckie's new home @ Darling Harbour, bright yellow ...brighten the city indeed.
Floating around in the afternoon
15m Rubber duckie makes Darling  Harbour looking a little tiny

Happy New Year 2013 !!

Hope everyone had a great relaxing Christmas and New Year break, feeling fresh and recharged, ready to rock 2013. With New Year's resolution list in your hand, the many sales in almost every shops in Sydney, new restaurants/ cafes arrival in Sydney, travel special offers etc we will never run out of things to do/ try. Whatever plan you have for 2013, I am wishing everyone a great year, may 2013 brings everyone good health, good food, good holidayS and all the very best in every aspect of your life.

PS. Thanks to all my lovely friends for spoiling me with gifts. Love them all !!
Here's some photo that I took last week using alphabet beads to welcome 2013.... =)

Alphabet beads from Beadmaster in Crows Nest. Pity Beadmaster has closed its door starting from this year.
Little Xmas pressie for me ~ Home made raspberry jam by Donna the jam queen, every drop is precious and will not be wasted.
Hello Kitty lunch bag, purse, phone accessory, key strap, Stila travel kit, earrings ... thank you HM, TM, EW, JD
Oh almost forgot hehehe..Haigh's milk chocolate froggy and Xmas tealight ... thank you DW and LD