Exploring Bali...Almost

Denpasar Travel Blog

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Day One after arrival in Bali, I was intent in being a serious tourist and explore!

First stop: Kuta Beach. I have always taken pride in the wonderful beaches of my country, the Philippines. So much so that I have great expectations of beaches of neighboring countries. Unfortunately, Kuta Beach did not really set my heart a flutter. The sand was not that fine, the shore was too wide, and I could see litter by the shore. Shame. Plus, the peddlers were just everywhere. I could also see that Kuta Beach is a surfer's playground...definitely not for a beach lounger like me. In my 4 days in Bali, I didn't even touch the Kuta water. Hahaha.

Next stop: shopping! I am also a stickler for bargaining.
I can haggle with the most cunning shop owner while sitting in the latter's stool at that. In Bali, I had a heyday haggling with shop owners and peddlers. Most of the quoted prices were preposterously too much that I immediately fired back one-fourth of the price. I get the usual : "Oh no, not good business!" and a sour face to boot. Of course, I would just shrug and say, oh well, I'm not in a hurry, I'll get from another, and pretend that I am walking away. The shop owner usually runs after me and offer me half of the original quoted price. I counter offer a notch lower and gets a deal! Great finds are beaded handwoven bags, silver rings (look for Sammy in front of Kuta Beach Club), canvas bags with "I love Bali" prints great for gifts at home, batik cloths, and Balinese dresses. One thing I've used to my advantage in the bargaining was the fact that they think I'm Indonesian because they say I look like one.

As serious tourists, some sightseeing was in order. We talked to Putra, a 23year old boy who offered to tour us the whole day to Kintamani, Ubdu, Tempak Siring, and see the Kecak Dance in Sandawa. It is best to travel in groups to save in the tour fee. One thing I've learned in Bali is that everything is not the last price. You have to bargain!

For 350,000RP, we had an Avanza van and tour guide all to ourselves in one day. Dody the driver and Putra tagged along. First stop was the Batik Keris Gallery in Batu Bulan. There were women weaving the traditional way at the entrance. According to the guide, it takes one day to weave a one-meter Batik cloth. I touched the cloth, and it was amazingly so soft and lovely.
Again, the dresses and shirts in Batik were priced highly. I settled for the Batik purses and evening bags for my lady friends at home.

Next stop was Celuk--home of the silver in Bali. I appreciated the 92% silver jewelry handcrafted by the BAlinese. I could not resist the cute earrings and bracelets dangled before me. Again, bargain bargain!

Ubud was next. I have read that Ubud is the center of cultural activities in Bali. Testimony to that are the artfully carved Kama Sutra woodworks prominently in display in many galleries in the area. There is so much beauty just walking the streets of Ubud. The jade carvings are perfect for hotel centerpieces, as well as the handcrafted lamps of various sizes and colors. Driving along the countryside, I could see the numerous altars and worship activities in every household.

Ubud is also home to the Terra Rais...rice paddies by the side of the mountains. We have our version of that in the Philippines-the Banaue Tice Terraces, dubbed as one of the Wonders of the World.

Then we were supposed to see the volcanoes at Kintamani but the fog and rainshower prevented us from doing that. We settled for a buffet lunch at Kintamani. Pricey for 140,000RP and the food was not that good. I am not particularly in love with the chili.

We made a stop over at Trina Bali Agriwata Natural Spices where we had a taste of wonderful Kape Luwak and Kape Cocoa with cinnamon sticks. Lovely! While at it we had some free tobacco bits for some smoke. Everything was organic so everything tasted sweet.

Donning some ceremonial sarongs at Tempak Siring, we visited the Holy Water and prayed to the gods for blessings.
taking a break from bargaining at Kuta shopping center
I took a closer look at the worship temples and the Barong altars all around. By this time, I understood that the Bali Culture is centered on Hinduism and the Balinese regard for the Gods. In every move, we took pains in making sure that we do not offend the worshippers who were dipping themselves in the Holy Water.

Last stop was the Kecak and Fire Dance at Sandawa. At 80,000 RP, we witnessed the epic of Rama and Sita in an open air orchestra stage. What was special about the show was that all music was coming from the human orchestra of almost 30 men on stage. I have seen the magical story of Rama and Sita before in a Philippine Theater but this was a raw rendition in true Balinese style.

I have seen a lot but I know it was not enough to see and experience Bali. I would love to go further into the country side and see more. Still, it was enough for one day.

Back at the hotel, we rewarded ourselves with a dip in the pool and some Bintang beer to cool off.

Debarchan27 says:
Bali is so damn amazing..went there some time back..but my best time was on Lovina beach..have you been there? if not do it..i will let you know where to stay
Posted on: May 03, 2010
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taking a break from bargaining at …
taking a break from bargaining at…
Kuta Beach in overcast skies
Kuta Beach in overcast skies
a Balinese lady putting on the pig…
a Balinese lady putting on the pi…
1 meter a day in batik-weaving
1 meter a day in batik-weaving
at Batik Keris Gallery in Batubulan
at Batik Keris Gallery in Batubulan
silver in Celuk
silver in Celuk
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photo by: dm_nana