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Friday, February 28, 2014

Kuala Lumpur, Bali and Java 2014

Travel route map here

$290 Sydney to Kuala Lumpur, return and $90 Kuala Lumpur to Bali return, with 20 kilo check luggage on the return flight only. I was excited to return to Indonesia, but my excitement soon turned to disaster. I had become very ill and my holiday plans had flown out the window until a week before my departure date, when I had realised I could make this trip. Both panic and excitement hit me as I started to research my holiday and being pressed for time it was a struggle. I had broken all my own rules and not prepared anything!
I had added a few extra tools to the tool box on researching KL, Bali and Java by searching social networks like Facebook (its great having a few Indonesian friends), Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram, which hold a wealth of knowledge and don't be afraid to ask questions.
I quickly booked the Hotel Chinatown Inn in Kuala Lumpur it’s clean cheap and in a very handy location. My next move was to book the Kusnadi Hotel in Legian Bali for my first night, a great clean quiet hotel with beautiful gardens and pool. And of course my travel insurance, I wouldn’t travel without it. Always read the product disclosure statement (PDS) and make sure it covers your needs. 

Day 1

My lift to the airport dropped me off an hour early but for the price I won’t complain. I made my way to buy a hot chocolate from Maccas and to sit a read the newspaper for the last time for a few weeks.
I soon wandered towards the check-in counter and waited my turn, I asked at the check-in counter if I was near a window and she said “NO”, I then asked could I be move to a window, please. She smiled and said “yes”, yahoo a free upgrade to the quiet section, I thanked her as she handed my boarding pass and passport. And with my backpack over my shoulder I headed towards immigration. Once past immigration I made my way to the gate to wait for my flight. Final call had me bidding farewell to family and friends via Facebook.

I boarded the plane and took my seat 12E, to find out the middle seat was free. I looked at the other guy and we both smiled as we knew we could have extra room to stretch out. Once we took off and levelled out I switched on my iPod and got my find the word puzzle book. And 8 hours or 125 song and 25 find a word puzzles and we were ready to land in Kuala Lumpur. 

Salt lake over Australia

Once the plane had landed and it had stopped at its gate I grabbed my backpack and headed for immigration. The immigration hall was packed; it took a good 40 minutes to get another stamp for the collection. I made my way outside and arrival hall and turned left and headed towards the Skybus parking and paid my 9rm fare and settled in for the hour long ride to KL Sentral. At KL Sentral I stopped in to Mc Donald’s for a feed, and then on to the LRT to Pasar Seni which cost 1rm. A couple of right turns had me standing at the cross roads of Jalan Petailing one more right turn and behind a few market stall I found my Hotel Chinatown Inn. I checked in and went to my room to dump my backpack, and hit the city for a walk. Later I grabbed a few beers and headed back to the room.

Hotel Chinatown Inn Photos here with a small review at bottom of page, website here

Day 2

Chicken rice porridge or Bubur ayam

I checked out of the hotel and got them to look after my backpack and headed to Pasar Seni LRT station to catch the train to Sentral for breakfast at Mc Donald’s. I love breakfast there, I had a large bowl of bubur ayam (rice chicken porridge) and an iced milo, I wish they sold this at home (but for my health it probably a good thing they don’t). After breakfast I wandered around the city and indulged in some shopping for my girls, who had suggested I do so and even grave me a little list.I case I forget I guess. I headed back to the hotel at 3pm to grab my backpack and to pack my shopping. My backpack weighed in at 5.2 kilo in Sydney I bet its 8 kilo now, here’s hoping they don’t weigh it at LCCT. I took the LRT to Sentral and the Skybus to LCCT.   

Temple Chinatown

Pavilion Shopping Mall

Moon Man

I checked in and got my boarding pass and passed through immigration easily and quickly, once in the departure hall I headed for the charging station to find all the power outlets taken.  A woman finished and an Aussie guy grabbed it I pulled out my power board and asked if we could double up, sure can he said and before too long all 4 outlets were taken and new friends were made. We all spoke about where we were going and what we hope to experience, with the 3 of them traveling to Bangkok and worried about the start of the political unrest. I was waiting for my flight to Bali; I said my goodbyes and headed to the gate and wait for boarding.  This is when you find out the planes been delayed for 20 minutes. I met a woman who had spent a few months in Australia and was very happy about heading home to Legian. 

Waiting for take off to Bali from LCCT
Travel route map here

I soon boarded the plane which seemed to be parked the furthest away from the terminal; I got my favourite seat 6A. I settled in with my iPod and puzzle book and nearly 3 hours later it was time to land in Bali I looked out the window and saw that terrible eyesore of a bridge just one of the big changes in Bali I was yet to see.
The new airport looks impressive but there is some cheap and shoddy workmanship. The VOA counter is first and in a great position I paid my $25US for my visa but then came the touts trying to sell express immigration, I just ignored them as I believe corruption breeds corruption. I then preceded on to join the long immigration lines which took almost an hour to wait for my turn. Once my passport was stamped I headed for the fixed price taxi stand which is to the left as you leave the terminal, just follow the signs. I paid 70 000rp to the Kusnadi Hotel in Legian.
The ride to the hotel was an interesting drive with the new airport a hot topic, seems neither of us were over joyed with it.

 Room Key

We soon arrived at the hotel and I checked-in and dumped my backpack in room 102 and head up the road to the circle K store to grab some supplies. I had a quick dip in the hotel pool and a few beers to relax before I turned in for bed.

Kusnadi Hotel Photos here with a small review at bottom of page, website here

Day 3

I made my way to breakfast and ordered eggs on toast with a black tea and pineapple juice, while drinking my tea I peered up the road to see taxis already doing the rounds, store owners throwing buckets of water to clean the path out front of their shops. A female hotel staff member knelt down and place the morning offering down and paused for a moment giving thanks to the gods for another day, the smell of incense filled my nostrils. I smiled and knew life was good.
I made my way towards Ketuts shop off Garlic Lane to grab a few extra shirts and a towel. Along the way I tried to buy a sim card for my phone. I found a small glass counter on Jalan Padma Ultara he wanted 350 000rp for a sim card, rip off! Next I found a circle K shop the wanted 250 000rp, rip off! Next was a small store selling DVDs who tried to sell me a sim card for 120 000rp, another rip off! I finally called into a small convenience store at the Sinar Indah (across the road from the Melasti Beach Resort)I bought a sim card for 10 000rp and 50 000rp recharge which costs 53 000rp.
I made my way back to the Kusnadi and grabbed a bottle of water and checked-out. 

The bus to Banyuwangi
Travel route map here

I stood at the driveway of the hotel and called over a taxi, I threw my backpack on the back seat and I jumped into the front said g’day and take me to Ubung bus depot. About 30 minutes later I arrived at the terminal and paid the drive 100 000rp. I was greeted by 5 touts all trying to sell me bus tickets. The officer of the bus depot came to my aid and assisted me. He pointed out a few buses and what they had to offer and what the price was. Most buses had A/C food and movies, but I chose the public bus and my destination was Banyuwangi in Java which cost me 75 000rp which included the price of the ferry as well.
After a 20 minute wait we headed off with a total of 5 passengers. I looked around and anything that could be opened to let air in was, this must be the A/C the bus driver said the bus had. About 20 minutes into the trip the bus stopped and 3 guys got on all carrying something, the first guy was selling food and the next guy was selling drinks and the third guy started playing a ukulele and singing (defiantly not Australia’s got talent material) he then took off his hat and ask for some change.
Off we went again heading for the ferry to Java. Ten minutes later the bus stopped at another bus depot and we soon filled up with a few more people. And yep, again 3 guys selling food, drinks and one was playing the bloody ukulele again.

Off we set again, this time we managed to keep going heading towards the west coast. The scenery was beautiful and some of the rice field looked magic flowing down to the ocean. Life this way seemed so different from Kuta area. It was hard to lose yourself in the moment when the bus driver must have been auditioning for the world’s worst drivers. He spent most of the trip on the wrong side of the road tooting the horn every 10 seconds while smoking or on the phone or both at the same time. We must have had 5 odd near misses. Five hours later we arrived at Gilimanuk for the ferry, and again 3 guys got on the bus selling food and drinks and the bloody ukulele again. By this time the smallest money I had was a 20 000rp note! I guess it was his lucky day, believe me it’s better to give than get the look of death because you didn’t.  I’ll remember to always carry a small amount of coins with me when travelling on public transport.  The bus drove onto the ferry and parked, I got off the bus and went to sit on the deck above it was much cooler and a better view. We crossed over in around 30 minutes but had to wait our turn to unload which took another 30 minutes. Just as well docked in ketapang Java a monsoonal down pour hit us making the bus spin the wheels and slide sideways off the front loading ramp of the boat. I gave out a little hooray once we made it off the boats steel ramp to the dock and the bus finally stopped spinning its wheels. About 30 minutes later the bus stopped across the road from Banyuwangi bus depot. I climbed off the bus to stand in a monstrous downpour, clutching my backpack I ran across the road in ankle deep water to get directions a lift and shelter.  I soon attracted a few Javanese guys who couldn’t speak English and with my limited Indonesian it took a while to work out where I want to go. A young guy came along they called Bruno! I guess after Bruno Mars. He was a god sent, not only did he help me organise a bemo (10 000rp) to the hotel he also got me in contact with Pepe. By the time I had reached the Hotel Baru in Banyuwangi I had organised to join a tour to Kawah Ijen, where they mine sulphur and one of the most toxic places on earth. 

Java .................................................Bali

I booked in the hotel at 200 000rp with breakfast and by this time Pepe had arrived to go over a few more details of the trip. The price had dropped down as there was a guy from Spain and a couple from the UK and me so the price dropped. I said goodbye to Pepe and Bruno and off to bed I went as wake up time was 1230 am.

Hotel Baru photos here with a small review at bottom of page, website here

Day 4

Travel route map here

My alarms are set

The alarm blasted and I jumped up and still in a daze, I thought this is really happening. And in the rain, it was bucketing down out there. I got dressed in my jeans and shirt grabbed a jumper, camera, head torch and a bottle of water.
12:50am I sat out front of the hotel under an awning trying to stay dry, eating Oreo biscuits while waiting for the ojek (4wd) to arrive. I looked down the road and from around the corner I could see the ojek lights coming, I jumped into the very backseat and said g’day to everyone else in the ojek, there was a guy from Spain up front and a couple from the UK on the back seat  and me in the very backseat. Next stop was to pick up our guide Bruno.
An hour later we had reached the car park and starting point of our climb and the rain stopped the minute we pulled up. The morning air was very cool as I stood in the car park wearing jeans and a t-shirt freezing, but once I started walking I soon get a sweat up it’s a very steep climb for the first few kilometres and the last kilometre was a lot easier walking to the crater rim. We rested here for 10 minutes and were given our gas masks as clouds rolled over the volcano rim and the stench of sulphur filled the air. 

 The blue flames

It was 5 am as we start our decent to the crater floor, as we got closer to the base I could still smell the stench of sulphur even with the gas mask on my eyes hurt and my hair and skin felt dirty. About halfway down we got our first decent glimpse of the blue flames. 

By 530am we were on the craters base and 3 or 4 meters away from the blue flames , which was amazing and a wonderful sight to see and experience. As the light of the day got brighter the flames slowly disappeared. But we could see the lake better and the working of the sulphur mines. 

At the sulphur mine

Climbing out of the volcanos crater was a tough climb, but once out the walk back to the car was steep but rather easy. And once back at the car park we grabbed a drink from a shop and spoke about our adventure. Soon our ojek pulled up and we settled in for the hour drive back to Banyuwangi.
I was met by Pepe once I returned to the Hotel Baru, we chatted a while about the tour. He helped me get credit for my phone and organise a driver to get me to Ketapang for the ferry in an hours’ time. I checked out the hotel without a shower and still stinking of sulphur and sweat. I ate my breakfast of bread and jam with black tea while I waited for my ride.
The trip to the ferry took 20 odd minutes and cost me 10 000rp. I walked to the ferries ticket office and bought a ticket to Gilimanuk for 6 500rp and walked on the ferry via the front ramp and made my way up the steps to the seated deck. The trip across takes about half an hour but the wait for your turn to unload takes another half hour. 

Walking onto the ferry

Once the ferry docked at Gilimanuk and the instant traffic jam had cleared I walked off the boats ramp and along wharf once at the road I turned right and the next left to find the bus depot. I paid 40 000rp to get to Lovina and sat next to a French girl who had just come from Kawah Ijen as well. We chatted for a while until she got off at Pemuteran. The closer I got to Lovina the blacker the sky got.
I jump off the bus in Lovina and was meet by 2 Balinese guys asking if I wanted accommodation. I said I’ll have a look the first place it was 100 000rp no hot water or A/C the next place was 170 000rp no hot water and A/C. The third place was perfect A/C hot water and breakfast for 300 000rp and after the early start and no shower all day I just wanted to stand under the hot water. I wanted this place so I bargained it down to 250 000rp a night the Hotel Elsa 2 Bungalows

 Hotel Elsa 2 Bungalows

I sat out front of the room and jotted a few notes about the last few days.  Sipping on a sweet ice tea and chatting via Facebook to my next hotel in Ubud about a room.
I got ready and went for a walk up the road looking for somewhere for dinner and came across a place and I went in more to get out of the rain than anything else. I sat down and asked for a beer and the Wi-Fi password, when I was told to head up to the 3rd floor for Wi-Fi. I ordered chicken satay and rice I started eating and the rain came down even harder and soon filled the restaurant with water, I sat for a while drank a few beers and waited for this monsoonal downpour to finish or slow down at least. After another beer the rain slowed and I made my way back towards the hotel for an early night, when I heard the words “Balinese Massage” Why not! I thought and only 50 000rp for an hour. Bliss and now to hurry home before It pours again oil, thong’s/flip-flops and rain don’t go together.

Hotel Elsa 2 bungalows with a small review at bottom of page and photos here

Pepe tour guide in Java, Banyuwangi and Kawah Ijen his business card here

Day 5 

Travel route map here

Breakfast at the Elsa 11 was simple you can have either eggs, toast or fruit and tea or coffee with no milk. I had toast and black tea while checking into my social networking life with the free Wi-Fi in the restaurant.
 Dolphin Statue Lovina

                                                             Lovina's Black Sand

After breakfast I went for a walk to find somewhere to get credit and find transport to Ubud, I walked in to a small shop who directed me to another shop to buy phone credit then I walked back towards the dolphin statue and noticed a small tour booth, with a shuttle bus to Ubud. I pulled my phone out of my pocket to check the time…… Shit! I just missed the only bus for the day. I went and sat on the edge of the dolphin statue and watched the angry ocean pound the black sand as the beautiful cold ocean breeze cooled me down, I could taste the seas salt on my lips. As I wondered what to do next, when a Balinese guy sat down next to me and started chatting, we were soon joined by two more Balinese guys and together we tried to fix the world problems. Ha ha….
I had to get going and find some transport to Ubud, and not far away I spoke to one guy who wanted 350 000rp for the trip, I thanked him and off I went the next guy was on a scooter and said 300 000rp I managed to get him down to 250 000rp to Ubud as it was a one way trip. His brother is a driver who had brought up a family from Nusa Dua late yesterday afternoon and stayed at his place last night.  I said I’d like to leave about 1130am.

Morning tea

I turned down the laneway towards the hotel and saw the Jasmine Kitchen a Thai restaurant / café. I stopped in to have a snack before the trip to Ubud; I had a pot of Balinese tea and a bowl of homemade natural yoghurt. Click and a quick caption add my location, uploaded to Facebook and Instagram! Ha Ha …That will make them jealous  :  ) I also jotted down some notes for my blog as I sipped on my tea.
I grabbed my backpack and sat at the entrance of the hotel chatting to a couple of Balinese girls weeding the path while I waited for my ride to arrive.

 Waiting for the road to be cleared

My ride soon arrived and we set off to Ubud via Kintamani, We started off and it started to rain again we chatted for a while and soon we found ourselves on a very narrow country road getting steeper and steeper. We went around a corner and half the road we missing, the rain that fell last night was a lot and caused a lot of damage as we soon found out. Wayan navigated his way around what was left of the road as I peered out the passenger’s window at the large landslide that took half a road and bridge with it. The river was a raging torrent, as we kept going we saw a few small landslides and in parts the fog was very thick making visibility was very low. We started climbing again when we came to a sudden stop behind two other cars. Wayan and I jumped out to see what was going on; he pointed at a guy in army clothes and said my brother. Wayans brother came over and spoke to Wayan, my Indonesian isn’t too great but I did pick up mountain, dangerous and two dead. Wayan turned to me and said 2 people were pushed over a 50 meter cliff by the landslide they were clearing away, he also told Wayan we better get off this mountain before more rain hits. After a 40 odd minute wait till the road was cleared. We hurried back to the van and off we went we passed 15 landslides on the way to Kintamani and two roads washed away. We reach Kintamani and Ubud with no problems except the traffic jam, of afternoon downtown Ubud.

 Ketut's Place

Another 15 minutes had us at Ketuts Place a 10 -15 minute walk from the Ubud Palace, we were greeted by Ketuts son he showed me the room and we talked about a price, 50 000rp discount a night. I dumped my backpack in the room and took my ice tea to the pool to toast some flesh and splash in the pool. 

 Ibu Rai Restaurant

After a shower, this is the best shower in Bali!!! I wandered down to use the Wi-Fi and check on my social networks. By this time it was 6pm and I thought to myself most of the day trippers would of gone by now. So I walked into town and wandered around until I found somewhere for dinner. I saw a sign out the front of Ibu Rai, stating “Thai duck salad with tamarillos” for 45 000rp! I’m a sucker for duck and this had me sucked in big time. And it didn’t disappoint, it was beautiful and went well with an ice cold large bintang for 36 000rp. Once the plate was licked clean and the bill was paid, I moved on to the XL Shisha Lounge (still on Monkey Forest Road) and settle in for an orange 

flavoured pipe a beer and listen to a great rock/blues band. About 10 pm I grabbed a few take home beers and got a lift back to Ketut’s Place for 30 000rp.

Ketuts place with a small review at bottom of page and photos here website here facebook here

Day 6

Ketuts Place Pool

Breaky is either at your room or by the pool, and with the day looking hot and sunny I chose the pool. And on today’s menu its jam toast, black tea and fresh juiced pineapple juice.  After breakfast I grabbed my bag and camera and wandered towards the markets.

I bought myself a drink and sat down across the road from the markets, when a Balinese guy sat next to me and introduced himself as Agung, we chatted for a while then he asked me what I was doing today. I said I have no idea. Agung then said he was a driver and he asked if I wanted to go anywhere today, I looked at him and said take me to the zoo. We discussed a price for go wait and back which I got for 250 000rp and off we went. 

The zoo cost a small fortune to enter, I slowly walked around enjoying watching the animals but part of me felt very sorry for them also, and hour or so I had walked around the zoo and I made my way to the restaurant and sat down for lunch and a drink. 

I met Agung at the zoo entrance and we made our way back Ketuts Place and time for a swim in the pool and relax for a few hours.

Chicken Satay

About 6 way, I wandered down to Ibu Rai again and ordered Chicken Satay 55 000rp and a large Bintang 36 000rp, another wonderful meal in a beautiful atmosphere and free Wi-Fi.

I wandered up road and sat down for a few beers, and enjoyed a little people watching.

I walked back past Ibu Rai and noticed a Spa across the road called Magic Fingers Bali Spa, I took the 60 minute Balinese Massage for 90 000rp, the girl who massaged me was wonderful the massage was the best I’ve had.


I grabbed a few take away beers and got a 30 000rp lift back to Ketuts. 

Day 7

Happy Australia Day

Breaky by the pool was eggs, toast, black tea and fresh pineapple juice Basic but tasty. I loved staring into the jungle at the back of Ketuts and listening to the river rage past as the morning sun starts to bite as my skin starts to heats up. I jotted down a few notes in my book and checked into my social networks.


By 9am I was walking passed the Ubud Palace, there was a group of Balinese men playing music while a new store was being blessed.
I sat down with a drink in the same stop as yesterday, when Agung who seemed to appear from no-where sat next to me. We chatted for a few minutes and I said bye and headed into the markets before the crowds arrive. The time was 930am and 90% of the shops were open or opening and no crowds and best of all it was very cool.  I was head hunting; I had seen skulls earlier in my travels and wanted to get some as a gift for my girls. I had found plenty, but all in one colour I was looking for the type that are hand painted. 


As I walked around looking I was asked what I was after and trying to explain I wanted a skull wasn’t an easy task. But on one block a women asked me what I was looking for and I told her she grabbed my arm and took me around the corner and along the corridor to block c lower floor and insisted I stand here and wait 10 minutes her friend will be here and have what I want . A couple walked in and both said pagi, I smiled and said pagi. They opened their shop and before they were set up for the day had sold 2 skulls. 

                                                                              Ubud Markets

                                                                                Ubud Market
I walked down to a small chemist at one end of Ubud Markets that had a small line of Balinese waited their turn, the guy in the shop was very helpful, I’m not sure of his qualifications but what he gave me worked a treat.
Not far away I stopped at a small book shop and bought a ticket on the shuttle bus to Kuta, it was 55 000rp.
I bumped into Agung again and he asked where I was going and I said back to Ketuts, he offered to take me on his motor bike. I offered him a few rupiah but he refused and shook my hand and wished me luck.


I packed my pack and sat at reception with a coke zero and jotted some note for my blog and waited for the bus to arrive.
11:55am the bus was a bit early, the shuttle bus was like new very clean air conditioned and very comfortable and well worth the 55 000rp. We drove for about an hour, and first stop was Sanur. Next stop was the airport about 30 minutes later and another 30 odd minutes we were in Kuta at Bemo Corner.
I grabbed a taxi to the Kusnadi Hotel in Legian, once there I asked if they had any vacancies and how much the room was and I managed to get a 50 000rp discount a night in room 102 a twin room.
I went to circle K and grabbed some supplies and back to the hotel for a drink by the pool and a swim.

Nasi Goreng

I walked up to Indo-national for dinner and a beer, and after I stopped into the Y Bar for a few beers. By 830pm the street were getting very quiet so I sat by the hotel pool with a few other Aussies celebrating Australia Day.

Day 8

Breaky today was crispy bacon, egg, toast, black tea and an orange juice. Living life large. After breakfast I decided to grab a taxi to Kuta and checkout a few fixed price shops. I grabbed a taxi back to Legian to check out a few more fixed price shops. I grabbed a few things and also some info to update my fixed price shopping post found here . Just be careful some fixed price shops aren't fixed price, all those I have listed are. 

 Nasi Jinggo

I dropped in on some old friends Wayan (my driver) and Turika; it was great to see these people again. We all keep in contact with each other via text but nothing beats a hug or a handshake.
By this time I was starving hungry and decided to grab some lunch, I was on Jalan Padma Ultara when I saw a group of Balinese around a cart all buying lunch. I then lined up to buy some Nasi Jinggo It cost 5 000rp and was beautiful and an ice tea was 2 000rp made with water from a bottle that looked like it had been refilled 100 times before, but John a Balinese guy who had help me order lunch assured me I will be OK! When we had finished eating and drinking he offered to drive me to the hotel on his motor bike.  I offered him a few rupiah after the lift but he smile and said bye. 

An afternoon swim and relax by the pool was in order. 

About 6pm I wandered toward Seminyak to find La Plancha to sit in bean bags to watch the sunset, I took my seat amongst the crowds and ordered a beer, Click a photo of an awesome sunset and a caption “I wish you were here” posted on Facebook will have family and friends very jealous.
I felt like a pizza after a few beers and decided to head to Lokha Hotel and to Sopranos Pizza, these are tasty pizzas.
A had a slow walk home and once back at the hotel I had a quick swim before bed.

Day 9

Breaky today was fried rice, black tea and pineapple juice. I sat sipping my tea staring into the street as life went by a there was a toot of a taxi horn, and the smell of incense and the sound of Balinese music played softly really helped to enhanced the mood.
I made my way to a pool chair in the shade and lay checking in and uploading photos to Facebook, Instagram and Google+. A quick splash in the pool then I relaxed back on the lounge.

Just before lunch I walked to the Bintang Supermarket in Seminyak to stock up on some supplies. I caught a taxi back to the hotel. I dumped my shopping in the room and walked up the road about 100 odd meters toward Legian Street to a small warung I was told about and I thought I might try it out. Called WR.Nasi Sudarma, I made a selection of food on a plate and ordered an ice tea sour for 12 000rp. Again the plastic bottle that looked like it had been used 100 times before. But both the food and the ice tea were beautiful. 

I walked back to the Kusnadi and lay on the pool chair with a cold coke zero and a cheap Balinese cigar. And thought to myself, it’s a tough life.

Mid-afternoon had me hungry, so I dried off and grabbed my wallet and headed up the road to Tommy’s Café. It’s a little bit of Australia in the heart of Legian. I ordered a chip butty for 25 000rp and an iced milo for 15 000rp and darn tasty for about $4. 

                                                              The Crystal Palace

I slowly walked towards Seminyak and checked out a few shops along the way. I soon arrived on Seminyak beach and tonight had a drink at The Crystal Palace which was a bit cheaper than last night at La Plancha. After sunset I wandered down to Seaside restaurant and ordered some fajitas and a tall bintang for 100 000rp or $10.
I walked back to the Kusnadi hotel for a beer and a quick swim before bed.

 Day 10

Weetbix and ice milo

This morning I decided to go Tommy’s for breakfast, I chose Weetabix and an ice milo. Yummo! After breakfast I stopped into the Circle K and grabbed a few drinks to restock the fridge.
I sat at the pool with me phone checking into my Facebook and Instagram. I also spent a bit of time organising a trek, and now time to cool off with a swim.

 Warung Malen

 Babi Guling

By the time I got back to the room, housekeeping was cleaning my room. I asked where sell a good Balinese babi guling, or suckling pig, he told me to go to Warung Malen. I set off from the Kusnadi and walked to Sunset Road to where the warung is located. I ordered the special at tourist price of 40 000rp with a sour ice tea. But it was a beautiful meal. I wandered the long walk back to the Kusnadi to reward myself with a swim in the cool refreshing water.

 Soto Ayam

Late afternoon I walked to Melasti Art Market to visit Wayan and Turika. We chatted for a while, it great to sit and talk they are both great people. I said goodbye and walk back down Garlic Lane and along Jalan Padma Ultara to Warung Yogya (number 79) I ordered soto ayam with rice for 20 000rp and a large bintang 35 000rp a beautiful meal and a good price. After dinner I walked back to the hotel for an early night.

Day 11 

Travel route map here

12:30am!!! Bloody hell!!! I’m too sleepy to move, but I’m also too excited to lie in bed. Today was finally the day I stand on the highest point of Mt Batur an active volcano in Bali’s north. I wriggled into my jeans and hiking boots through on a t-shirt. I grabbed a jumper, camera, head torch and a bottle of water and shoved them in my bag.
I sat at reception eating a large kit kat and a can of coke; I will need the extra energy later. Dead on 130am, a car arrived and the driver introduced himself as Putu and off we went. An hour and half later we were on the outskirts of Ubud picking up a Danish couple.  We arrived at Kintamani which was covered with a thick fog and no moon had me worried. But as we descended the old volcano crater and made our way to Toya Bungkah the fog lifted and the star shone in the sky. 

 The sunrise view

 The breakfast room on Baturs highest point

The car stopped at a small hotel and we went into the restaurant area and met Putu or guide who gave us a quick talk to and we finished off out tea or coffee and away we went. We were doing a sunrise trek to the highest point of Mt Batur and Calder walk with Bali Sunrise Trekking and Tours, I chose this company and didn’t even ask for a discount as I know this company is Balinese owned and a percentage of its money goes back into education for Balinese children who live in the mountains.

 Sunrise selfie

It’s a very step and tiring climb to the summit, we reached it just before dawn.  Yahoo!!! I made it! I have wanted to climb Batur for many years now and I have finally done it. Putu quickly hurried us down the inside of the volcanos rim to a vent hole which roared hot steam where the eggs were cooked in moments and the water for a hot drink was ready as quick.  We ate breakfast of hard steamed eggs, fruit and a few cakes. 

 Even the monkeys watched the sunrise

Temple at the bottom of Mt Batur

After breakfast we moved to the edge of the volcanos rim to watch the sunrise a truly amazing experience. Then back down the other side to meet our driver Putu who drove us home.
By the time I got back to the hotel I was hot, dirty, worn out and darn sleepy. I said goodbye to Putu and walked across the road to the Cook Bar, and ordered a coke zero, burger and chips for 80 000rp. It tasted so good and really filled me up. I waddled across the road to the Kusnadi and grabbed the key from reception and walk to the room, but when I saw the pool I just felt like jumping in jeans, boots and all. But I decided a hot shower maybe a better idea.
I spent the afternoon by the pool with a few drinks and a book. Later I went for a massage and a quick bite at the Cook Bar of a plate of chips and a beer and an early night.

 Bali Sunrise Trekking and Tours here everytime you use this company for a tour or trek your supporting the Cempaka Putih Foundation

Day 12 

930am!!! Finally. A sleep-in. I got up and got ready and went to get breakfast before it turned into lunch. I had toast with jam, black tea and a pineapple juice.
I went back to the room and lay on the bed watching TV. I was feeling a bit lazy today and thought to myself I might spoil myself and phoned Chill in Seminyak, and made an appointment for the afternoon.
I thought I might go for a walk along Legian Street towards Kuta, by lunchtime I was near Indo-national so I called in for a late lunch of Chicken Satay and rice for 50 000rp and a small bintang for 20 000rp. I wandered back to the hotel to dump my shopping and to cool off with a swim.
I waved down a taxi at the front of the kusnadi, and asked to go to Chill in Seminyak. The taxi driver was a funny guy and had my in stitches all the way. 

Booking into Chill always reminds me of a Doctor Appointment, Name checked as arrived, procedure checked, and what time you require checked. Then comes the clip board with the quiz on your health and sign your life away.  At least you’re given a green tea with a twist of lemon and a dash of honey to keep the Zen equal. Patients Andrew, It will be all worth it soon.
Soon enough it was my turn and was taken to the feet washing and asked how I wanted it, hard! I said and he took me into the massage room. I sat in the chair and was cover in a towel/blanket and given an iPod with chilled tracks to listen to while he waved his magic fingers, the bliss.  90 minutes later and 180 000rp poorer but the ultimate chill package was worth every rupiah. 

 Soto Ayam And Rice

By the time I had finished at Chill and caught a taxi back to Legian it was about 530pm so I got the taxi to drop me at Warung Yogya on Padma Ultara and ordered soto ayam and rice for 20 000rp and a large bintang for 35 000rp. Dinner was beautiful I love a good Soto ayam. As I ate my soup I wondered what I could do tomorrow, Rafting!!! I thought.
On the way back to the hotel, I stopped into a tour booth and asked about different companies and prices, Alam was said to be the best but I thought his price was expensive at $50AUD so I thanked him and walked on to another booth and ask him the same questions and came up with Alam as well but his best price was $40. I thanked him and walked back to the hotel , the tour booth was open so I asked about the rafting and he also suggested Alam and his price was $40 and I ask can you do better and I ended up paying $30 for a day out rafting the Tegala Waja River.
I enjoyed a beer by the pool as I cooled off under the starry night sky.

Day 13 

Travel route map here

The alarm blasted out a tune at 6:45am. I jumped up and grabbed my bag that I packed last night and headed off to breakfast. Jam on toast and 2 glasses of orange juice. I had just finished my breakfast when my ride arrived. I hurried aboard and got the very back seat again, with a Japanese couple sitting on the backseat. 

 Rafting selfie

We arrived at the start point about 9am and were greeted by a loud gong and a tea or coffee with some traditional cakes. The gong was a nice touch but it got a bit much every time someone arrived. I paid my money and hired some sandals for 25 000rp. I was teamed up with another couple and sent off with our guide Tiger to tackle the Tegala Waja River another of my white knuckle ideas.  The trip down the river is 16 km of grade 3 and 4 rapids with a 4 meter 45 degree drop halfway! Excited, Oh yeah! 

Tiger took us to suit us up with helmets, life jackets and paddles. We walk across the rice field for a couple of hundred meters to the river. We waited till everyone was ready before we set off.
By 10:30am our adventure had begun, it was a lot of fun with a few heart stopping moment and some breath taking scenery and well worth the effort.
Once the trip was over, we had hot showers and an orange juice before heading to the restaurant for a smorgasbord lunch which was nice. We were presented with a certificate and shown the photos taken of us. Then we headed back to the car and the long ride home.
I was dropped off at the Kusnadi at 3pm, and grabbed a lounge chair by the pool and relaxed with a cold beer and a book. 

By dinner time I was hungry and thought a meal at Mozzarellaby the Sea, I walked there and got a table and ordered a beer and the Roasted Duck Breast in Orange Sauce with Mash Potato and Veg. A perfect meal, as it always is for 125 000rp total. I took a slow walk back to the hotel for a night swim and beer by the pool.

Day 14

8am and I just finished eggs and toast, I picked up my hot black tea and put it to my lips when I paused and with eyes fixated down the road in the frozen state just staring into space. Shit I thought it’s time to go home.
I grabbed a cab to Legian and grabbed a few last minute bits and pieces bid farewell to Turika and Wayan and took off back to the hotel.

Fishing Lure
Darn I forgot the tackle shop in Kuta, I quickly grab another cab to Aquarius, and I raced around the shop grabbing lures and hooks. I had the taxi driver wait for me and before too long we were heading for the Kusnadi.
I packed my backpack lightly with only what I needed for a stopover in KL, I had bought a large Bali bag to put in my hiking boots and my little bit of shopping, I then wrapped it in thick tape I had bought from the Bintang supermarket.
With everything ready to go, I had one last swim in the pool in an old pair of boardies (that I will just leave here) after the swim I had a shower and carried my bags to the reception and asked them to look after them while I went to Tommy’s Café for a chip butty with an ice milo. After lunch I wandered up the road and had one last Balinese massage for an hour.
By the time I got back to the hotel it was time to grab a taxi to the airport, I had a great chat with the taxi driver who was from Sumatra. One place on my bucket list I want to visit. I said my farewells to him and paid my 65 000rp and walked into the new airport, I was soon told to go one way with other men while women went a different way. I put my backpack and my Bali bag on the conveyer belt of the x-ray machine and walked through the metal detector. I was pulled to one side with my bags and question about exporting body parts! WTF!!! I was in shock! What are they on about! He then showed me the x-ray scan of my bag and pointed to the 3 skulls in my bag. Phew! I explained to him they are hard plastic but I had to show him they were not real skulls.  Both of were happy with the outcome as we both laughed as I walked away. 

I had to ask where to go to book in for my flight; none of the electronic boards were working. I finally found my counter and got my boarding pass and they couldn’t tell me which gate I would be leaving from.  Then came immigration and departure tax, I’m not really sure why or what they have done but it takes twice as long now. I’m not a fan of the new airport. I finally found my gate and boarded the plane to Kuala Lumpur LCCT. 

We took off and I was seated in seat 6a peering out the window and watched Bali slowly disappear into the distance, but the gods had one last gift for us a two and a half hour sunset. By the time we reached KL it was dark and the millions of lights in the darkness looked awesome.
I raced through immigration super quickly and made my way to get my checked luggage and a quick meal at maccas. I found the Tune Hotel shuttle bus and paid my 2rm and waited till the bus filled up and off we went. The checking process is quick and easy and I was soon in my room. The rooms are small but comfortable, though I did have to set over the toilet to get into the shower and my knees hit the wall while sitting on the toilet, but still a great transit hotel.

Day 15 

6am and that darn alarm is going off. By 630 I was out front of the hotel and waiting for the shuttle bus to LCCT. The bus arrived I paid my 2rm and got a seat. 15 minutes later the bus was full and we were off to the terminal.
I raced to Maccas and got my last feed of Bubur Ayam or chicken rice porridge and an iced milo. Time had come to head inside the terminal and get my boarding pass and check my luggage. I asked the guy did I have a window seat he said no, I then asked was I near the front he said no. I then said can I move he said yes, but no window. I said oh, he said it’s in the quiet section. Thank you I said, I really wanted to hug him, but I thought it may not be a good idea.

 Sydney Airport

I boarded the plane and sat in 12d with the extra leg room in the quiet section, one last selfie for Facebook! And 8 hours to Sydney and another 2 hours’ drive till home had me staring into the darkness from the car window wondering …..

What’s next????

My fixed price shopping post has been updated here

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