Day 3: Bali Takes Hold

Our first few days in Bali had been pretty unplanned and casual – we have booked some tours later in the trip but I figured we would just take a couple of days to get into the Bali frame of mind, de-stress from our jobs back home and just enjoy life.

Today we woke at a reasonable hour had breakfast in the hotel – as a sidenote, I think next time we come to Bali we will avoid the Hotel Breakfast and explore some of the cafes and restaurants for Breakfast – after breakfast we thought we would head out to the famous shopping on Garlic Lane.

Garlic Lane – Jl Sahadewa

Jalan Sahadewa is the street which joins Jalan Padma and Jalan Melasti – you could be excused for spending pretty much all your shopping time in these three streets as there is quite a concentration of market vendors selling plenty of wares from trinkets to clothing.  The two most famous vendors in this area are Ketuts and Miss Debbie.  If you google around you will find many people head to these two stores before all others – why? Because they are fixed price stores, they offer a reasonable range as well as reasonable prices, and they allow you to avoid to hassle of having to bargain with the market vendors.  Unfortunately today, Miss Debbie was closed so we went to Ketuts store.  For the first timer it can be tough to find – I did walk past it a couple of times before I saw the shop so I will do my best for directions.

Start at the intersection of Jl Melasti and Jl Sahadewa – as you walk North along Jl Sahadewa there will be some Markets to your right hand side, just past them you will see a Brick retaining wall on the other side of the wall (Northern Side) is a small laneway and you will see some shops and vendors along that lane.  Walk down and you will then see the sign Ketuts – you have arrived.  Ketut has a few “shops” within the immediate area, just as her which ones are hers and you can browse freely between them all.  And if you want a bigger size “JUST ASK” – Ketuts rule is that if you don’t ask you don’t get.  She is a lovely lady, and will provide you with cold bottled water while you shop, that is a lovely gesture.

After lightening my wallet somewhat at Ketuts my wife then decided that Lunch was on the agenda!

Biku – We chose a place called Biku which is up in Petitenget – it is famous for its Asian High Tea so we thought we would head on up and see if we could get a table.  For some reason the concept of making a reservation seems lost on me – so everywhere we go, we just rock up at the door and hope they can seat us.  On this occasion we were lucky – the whole restaurant was booked out for a function later in the day, but provided we were out by 2:45pm they were happy to have us.  The food was really interesting – it was a High Tea but with Asian dishes really interesting.  The Tea Menu was amazing – almost too many to choose from!

Asian High Tea

The Asian High Tea at Biku – I think I was drinking the Japanese Sencha at this stage but I am sorry the memory fails me. I can however suggest that they will all taste good.

The service was prompt and friendly – I can definately recommend this as a great place for a Lunch or afternoon tea.  The rest of their menu looked amazing and they offer a really full range of meals so you could definately satisfy those travel companions who perhaps can’t bring themselves to participate in a “high-tea” – me I have no problem eating great food while enjoying amazing tea!

After lunch – being the type of people who are gluttons for punishment we thought – why not just walk along the beach back to Legian! And to be honest it was only about 3-4km walk so why not – it was only the middle of the day, on a perfect cloudless Bali sky! So we started walking, a short way down we found a path leading to the beach so we headed forth and got to the beach.

Now something that I didn’t see as a Note! or a Warning! about Bali beaches, especially those up here around the Seminyak area – the sand is extremely hot! Now having grown up on the beaches of the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast I knew a thing or two about hot sand – the usual theory being just walk a bit quicker and once you get to the water its ok.  So confidently I tip-toed along hoping the pain would subside… did not! I am pretty sure that the surface of the Sun is cooler than this beach – my poor wife and I had giant pink burn marks on the bottom of our feet! Something the friendly security guard who had been watching was a little amused with.

The Fire Sand

Glorious Beach – hiding what I am now dubbing “Devil Sand”

So as a note to fellow travellers – keep your shoes on until you are in the cooler hard sand close to the water!

Not to worry once we made the cold refuge of the water all was good and we started our walk down the beach.  The plan for the afternoon was to find somewhere to have a drink and then find somewhere to watch the sunset.

As we walked along the beach we eventually came to Mozarrella at the Sea – this is just as lovely as the restaurant we ate at the other night – the view across to the ocean is amazing.  We just perched ourselves there and enjoyed the cheap drinks and lovely food.

Mozarella by the Sea

Mozarrella by the Sea – great place for a late afternoon drink and some pre-dinner snacks

Still full from Lunch we just indulged in a few entrees and my wife certainly enjoyed the 2 for 1 cocktails.  They have also twigged to the problem when you order 2 for 1 cocktails but only 1 person is drinking – so they give you a voucher that you can use for your 2nd (free) cocktail – genius!

Chicken Satay at Mozarrella

The lovely Chicken Satay at Mozarella by the Sea

We drank quite a few cocktails and also enjoyed the Chicken Satay.  All in all a nice place to relax.  So by now it was getting close to Sunset (well still early but we needed to move on otherwise I was likely to fall asleep).

Now when choosing your bar/club to water sunset in Bali the choices are almost endless – I think we would need to be here about 3 months to try every single place selling drinks along the beach.  We settled for a nice quaint little place called Crystal Palace Beach Bar – it is located on Jalan Double Six.

Crystal Palace Beach Bar

The Crystal Palace Beach Bar – Jl Double Six

I must admit this is the moment I really started to understand the attraction Bali has on people and why many tourists return year after year.  Around Sundown they have beanbags on the beach, they pop up an umbrella to help shade you from the setting sun (somewhat pointless!) and then they have these great little lights that they hang above each table to provide you with some illumination.  It all adds up to a magical place.  The friendly staff will serve you right on the beach, and the food is quite good.  Something also of note – the toilet facilities are actually quite clean, so it is quite comfortable to enjoy an evening here.  They also have live bands playing great songs (most from the 90’s and 00’s which fitted with the average age of the crowd).

Crystal Palace Sunset – This was shot from my beanbag – so you have a pretty amazing view of the sun setting on a glorious Bali day.

After Sunset

The amazing sky just after sunset!

I honestly couldn’t tell you how much I drank – but in general my photo taking tends to increase in a direct proportion to the alcohol intake, so by those numbers – it was a lot! But have a look – I couldn’t avoid photographing this place!

A little while we decided to head back to the hotel – now my wife is a massive Formula 1 fan – so being a Saturday night, and it being the Spa Grand Prix – we needed to find a bar that was showing Qualifying.  The main problem being that almost every bar was showing Australian Rules Football (AFL) an abvious choice when you understand the demographic of the majority of Australian travellers to Bali.  Fortunately just as we had given up hope our humble little hotel bar was showing the Qualifying and we were just in time.  So settled in at the All Seasons Bar to watch the F1.

Late Dinner

After the F1 Qualifying had finished (Mark Webber was robbed yet again!) both feeling a little peckish – a late dinner was on the agenda.  When I say late it was only about 9:30pm but still late by our standards.  Just down the road from our hotel on Jl Padma Utara (close to the Jl Padma end) is a little Warung called Warung Yogya. It comes very highly regarded and unbelievably we had walked past it so many times and didn’t even notice it.  It is certainly not a fine dinning establishment but I can say this the staff are friendly, the food is amazing (and well prepared), and the prices are absolutely unbelievable!

Sorry for the poor quality photo – it was taken on my iPhone. This is looking at the Kitchen of Warung Yogya. A lovely little place – open till very late every night.

I think our total bill came to about 50,000 IDR for 2 meals plus drinks.  What value and honestly the food was amazing! I can highly recommend this place – however as a warning – it’s fame has obviously been spread far and wide because every other time we walked past it was absolutely chock full and had a line out the front! That in itself should prove a testament to the quality of the food served.

So that is the end of Day 3 – an amazing day today – the weather was perfect and we had some lovely experiences.  This day has really cemented Bali into our future travel plans.  I think I have fallen in love with this little Island – and it is only day 3 of 12 – if every remaining day is like today, I don’t know how they are going to get me out of this place.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post – we explore Kuta a little more.