Hiking Mount Batur in Bali – A Guide for First-Timers

Fun fact: Mount Batur was the FIRST mountain I’ve ever climbed. Now, 11 years later, I went back and fell in love all over again with the mountain.

How could you not fall in love with a sunrise view so surreal when standing at over 1700m elevation overlooking a village covered in morning mist? That feeling of standing at the top of the world witnessing the birth of a new day, a new beginning is what draws me to hiking.

I first climbed Mount Batur in 2008 when I was in my final year of university. Back then, I was still slim and fit, I managed to reach the summit quite early at 5.17am.

Now, the not-so-fit thirty-something me managed to reach the summit at 5.50am, just moments before the actual sunrise at around 6.10am. Guys, if you’re in your twenties, go climb a mountain NOW!

Now that I’ve climbed Mount Batur twice, I wish to offer some advice for first-time hikers through this post. (more…)

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Last Day in Bali: Babi Guling Pak Malen, Spa at Bodyworks, Nalu Bowls, Bebek Tepi Sawah, Airport

Finally, it was our last day in Bali. Our main activities were eating, shopping and spa. We started the day with quick breakfast near out hotel. Some of my friends had food from Starbucks while another friend and I had yoghurt. Then we went to buy pie susu and pia legong from road-side shop nearby Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika, followed by souvenir shopping at Joger.

Our early lunch was at Babi Guling Pak Malen at Seminyak. The restaurant was quite full even in the early afternoon. We paid Rp 45k per person, including drink. Babi guling is such a special food for Bali, we wanted to bring back to our cities. We asked our driver about the possibility of buying takeaways, he offered to help us buy in the late afternoon so that the food could stay fresh until we arrive at our cities. The takeaway cost Rp 50k per pack, slightly more expensive compared to eating at the restaurant. (more…)

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Final Night in Bali: Warung Souvlaki, Beachwalk Mall, TJ’s Mexican Restaurant, Souvenir’s Shopping
Souvlaki Pita and Souvlaki Plate

Final Night in Bali: Warung Souvlaki, Beachwalk Mall, TJ’s Mexican Restaurant, Souvenir’s Shopping

Suddenly, it was our final night in Bali. Time passed so fast when you’re on vacation! The rafting pickup car dropped us at Kuta. Our first destination was Warung Souvlaki, as my friend was craving the food from this particular warung. It was my first Greek food, I think. It was good. We ordered 2 dishes to share: Souvlaki Pita and Souvlaki Plate. They have pretty good review in TripAdvisor and even earn a Certificate of Excellence. The fact that my friend craved it tells you it is worth trying. Here’s the only photo of the food. (more…)

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Rafting in Ayung River, Ubud, Bali

Rafting in Bali is safe for everyone. That’s my conclusion based on my own observation. I witnessed families with young children taking part in rafting as if it’s a fun ride in a theme park. But somehow, I got nervous. I worried that I’d fall to the river. What if I fall alone while my friends are still intact on the boat, what if I knock myself on the rock while falling; I know they are ridiculous fears, but they are still my fears. In my previous experience rafting in Bali in 2008 with my guy friends, it was pretty rapid and challenging. I guess these two are entirely different worlds: rafting with guys and rafting with girls. My initial fears were unfounded. Rafting with girls was much calmer and slower, because we told our guide not to let us fall or get wet, lol! (more…)

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Cafe Wayan Ubud

We stumbled upon Cafe Wayan when we walked along Monkey Forest Road in Ubud. From the outside, all I could see was a small bakery. My friend brought up that this cafe was mentioned in Eat Pray Love. As we entered the cafe, it felt like we entered a different place. It was like a cafe in the middle of a forest. There are plenty of seats, but it feels private. You may choose if you’d like a table-and-chair setting, or sit-on-floor setting (or usually referred to as lesehan). We settled for the lesehan style. (more…)

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The Innocent Looking Monkeys in Monkey Forest Ubud Bali Are Really AGGRESSIVE

In the past, I used to think monkeys were cute and harmless. I used to think they were great photo companion. After all, the way they move was delicate, their faces looked innocent and tame. However, my perception was changed completely in 2013. Three years ago, I wanted to get up close with a monkey. I allowed it to sit on my shoulder and played with my hair. My friend helped me take a photo with the monkey, which I was hoping to boost on my social media. After a while, we were ready to move on, I stood up and expected the monkey to get away. But it didn’t. It got defensive and started pulling my hair. My heart raced fast, I was so scared. My friends helped to shoo the monkey, thankfully it let go of me. That was a defining moment for me. From that moment, I knew monkeys are aggressive and I would not ever get close with monkey, never ever. (more…)

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Eating Cheap in Kuta, Bali: Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika

Day 5 is the day when our team members have all arrived. We kicked off the day with a breakfast at Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika at Jalan Raya Kuta. “Pedas” means spicy. Nasi Pedas Ibu Andika is well-known for its spiciness, obviously, and its cheap price. They serve halal food. It’s a kind of mixed rice (nasi campur), where you choose the dishes that you want and you’ll be charged depending on the dishes that you chose. There were so many dishes to choose from: potato chips, fried chicken intestine, fried noodle, tofu, tempe, fried chicken, vegetables, long beans, and others. The shop is open for 24 hours, so you can go there pretty much anytime. We went in the morning and the shop was quite empty. (more…)

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Seafood Dinner by the Beach: Menega Cafe, Jimbaran, Bali

Jimbaran is the area at the south of Bali’s Ngurah Rai Airport. The westernmost part of Jimbaran is Jimbaran Beach, which is a pretty long coast line forming the shape of a flipped “C”, thus it’s often referred as Jimbaran bay. Dinner at Jimbaran beach is a good experience for first-timer, however, the price is not quite in the budget traveler’s range.

There are a few clusters of seafood restaurants at Jimbaran beach. The one that we visited is located in the southern part of Jimbaran Beach, called “Jalan Four Seasons, Pantai Muaya.” (more…)

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Eat and Drink in Seminyak, Bali: Best Nasi Campur in Nook; Organic Food in Earth Cafe & Market

Seminyak certainly has so much to offer. We spent 2 days exploring Seminyak and it was barely enough. Seminyak is located at north of Legian. And Legian is located at north of Kuta. If you stay at Kuta/Legian, it is technically possible to walk to Seminyak, the distance is approximately 4 to 7 km, depending on your actual starting point and destination. We hired a driver on the day we explored Seminyak, so it was easy to get around. We started our day with a brunch at Nook Bali (FB page & IG page).

I was having difficulties placing my order. How could I not? The menu at Nook Bali was so nicely designed, there were western food and Indonesian food. I checked into their IG and found that a lot of people ordered smoothie bowl. But I was hungry, so I decided to order a rice dish. Yup, I ordered Nasi Campur (mixed rice). And, ohh it was heaven!! Except green vegetable and eggplants that I gave my friends, I finished ALL the things on my plate! The satay, egg, tofu, long beans, meat, chili, fritters, tempe, and even the rice! IT WAS SO GOOD! This might be just my personal preference, but if you like nasi campur, you should give it a try at Nook. (more…)

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Bali: Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK), Uluwatu Temple and Kecak Dance in One Day

Due to the close proximity, Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) Cultural Park and Uluwatu Temple can be visited in the same day. Both are located at the southwest tip of Bali. It’s best to visit GWK first in the morning or afternoon, and Uluwatu Temple in the late afternoon. The reason is: sunset at Uluwatu Temple is awesome. Furthermore, there is daily performance of Kecak Dance at 6pm at Uluwatu Temple which you should really watch.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana (GWK) is made up 3 words. Garuda is a selfless bird who touches Wisnu’s heart with his strength and determination during his struggle to find Amertha (a potion of immortality) to save his mother. Wisnu is the God of Vishnu, one of the 3 gods in Hindu. Once Garuda successfully saved his mother, he is entrusted to be Wisnu’s vehicle. Kencana means gold. Both Garuda and Wisnu wear crown of gold. In addition, Garuda is also the national symbol of Indonesia, due to its admirable characteristics in folklores, such as bravery, wisdom, strength, determination, discipline, and many more. (more…)

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