Bali Revisited, Part 1
When it comes to holidays, I usually don’t go back to the same place twice in a year, so Bali must have some sort of a spell on me to actually have me revisit within 6 months! I blame Fatbee’s crazily indulgent Bali itinerary he’d curated for me back in April.
Jalan Kayu Aya (Laksmana – Oberoi) No. 68
Seminyak, Bali – Indonesia
What happened this time was… we initially wanted to visit New Zealand for a short getaway from our hectic work lives. But that plan fell through when airfares to NZ doubled overnight just when we decided to book. This made Bali once again a more affordable (not to mention luxurious and much warmer) option for a short holiday.
That’s how we woke up to this view in our top floor Seminyak hotel suite on the first morning of our trip.
Photos of the suite, taken the night before
On arrival the night before, the staff told us that they’d run out of the rooms we’d booked, so they upgraded us from a regular US$90 room to this US$250 suite… score!!
Rooftop Pool | Meja Restaurant @ Ize
With scenes like this… we knew that we were once again back in Bali, away from the wintry cold of Melbourne. It’s amazing how a 5-hour flight can take you into such a different world.
Breakfast was a lavish a la carte affair in its woody beach-themed ground floor restaurant, I loved how it wasn’t your run-of-the-mill hotel breakfast room. Fatbee picked this hotel for our first night because of its central location, funky design and good pricing.
View from our hotel balcony | Nasi ayam lunch
Nasi Ayam Kedewatan Ibu Mangku
Jl. Kayu Jati No. 12
For our first lunch in Bali, we walked down memory lane by having what I thought was the nicest meal I had in our previous trip. But this time, we paid homage to Nasi Ayam Kedewatan’s branch in Seminyak rather than the original in Ubud.
I don’t know which part of Indonesia this particular dish is from, it’s a chilli chicken rice accompanied with deep fried chicken skin, gizzard, chicken satay and a wonderful chopped dried chillie sambal. Amazingly delicious for an unbeatable Rp.30,000 (A$3), but I thought the Ubud branch was a bit tastier because the deep fried chicken skins there were served really crisp. All the same, if you’re in Seminyak I’d recommend you add this place as part of your food tour.
Nyuh Bali Villas
Jalan Bali Deli No. 99
Seminyak, Bali 80361
While staying in a hotel suite is very nice in its own right, the focal point of any Balinese holiday for us will have to be its luxurious villas with private pool. Hence our move to this secluded residence for the rest of our 5-night trip.
Our villa was located on one of the quieter back streets in busy Seminyak, and its walls helped give an added sense of privacy. Our budget was a bit more modest this time and this residence set us back US$215 a night, so of course it wasn’t quite the same opulent experience as our seaside stay at Alila Villas Soori with the roar of the ocean surf against its black sand beach.
By comparison, at this villa we could still hear street traffic whilst in bed at night. Still, our stay here was comfortable enough to make for a short and relaxing getaway.
Nasi Campur Bebek Too-to 80.000
Made’s Warung (Seminyak)
Ph: 62 361 732130
We encountered a prime example of peak hour Balinese traffic that evening. Our Villa’s complimentary shuttle service endeavoured to drive us to Potato Head Beach Club, which was a short 3.2km drive plus a 3km detour to drop another couple off at Cocoon Beach Club first. Sadly, traffic was so appalling that Friday evening that it took our van nearly two hours to travel 3km. Needless to say, we completely missed our beach sunset that evening.
We ended up abandoning the driver (apologetically) and walking the 1km or so back to the villa. Dinner happened at a rather upmarket (and touristy) Warung near the villa. I found my Nasi Campur Bebek dish a little bit wafty in the duck smell department. But Fatbee’s Nasi Goreng Special (Rp.60,000 not pictured) tasted exactly like the Indonesian-style fried rice he grew up loving – incredibly flavoursome, punchy and smoky.
Here’s the view that we woke up to the next morning.
And breakfast was delivered to our villa, this was the first time I’ve ever experienced that!
Jl. Kayujati No. 9 X, Petitenget Beach
Seminyak, Bali 80361
Truth be told, this trip was meant to be a ‘bridging holiday’ – a short holiday to tide us through till our bigger holidays. And hallmark traits of a bridging holiday includes lots of sleeping, cocktails and eating. That’s why pre-lunch cocktails at this Mexican-themed bar had to happen.
All I can say is… we loved the psychedelic decor!
Jl. Petitenget, 200Y
And then it’s time for lunch!
While Singapore has its kopitiams (coffeeshops), Indonesia has its warungs. And it’s street eats and little family-owned businesses like these that I absolutely ABSOLUTELY love! I made sure Fatbee added this warung to the itinerary when he was planning this trip. The atmosphere was rustic and quiet, as if you’re in an Indonesian family’s courtyard.
Sambal, papaya leaves, calamari, tempeh, fish otak – Rp.53,000
I made Fatbee line up and pick the dishes for us because I tend to be superbly boring with my dish choice selections, getting familiar items like ayam goreng (deep fried chicken) and sayur lodeh (vegetable curry).
Teh Botol – Rp.5000
It was a fantastic decision on my part, because Fatbee came back with a plate of utterly unfamiliar but scrumptious dish items. This turned out to be the best meal I had out of the whole trip… the spices and vegetables (especially the papaya leaves) just tasted so different to what I’m used to. We enjoyed this meal with a bottle of our favourite Indonesian tea beverage – teh botol.
Part of the reason why we decided to stay in Seminyak this time round was the food, and we both thought that Waroeng Sulawesi served a truly authentic Indonesian feed.
Nyuh Bali Villas – Afternoon Tea
We cabbed back to the villa for a bit of a rest and a dip in the pool. Our stay here also included complimentary afternoon tea delivered to your villa every day. For that afternoon, we chose to snack on these yummy banana fritters.
Ku De Ta
Jalan Kayu Aya No. 9
Seminyak, Bali 80361
All rested up, we headed off for our cocktail sunset at Bali’s very first beach club – Ku De Ta.
Watermelon Crush | Coconut Strawberry Daiquiri
Papillon – 120k ea
We left earlier to make sure we’d get there on time. The place was already pumping at 6pm, but we were fortunate enough to score a table… and a slew of evening cocktails ensued.
Ku De Ta may be Bali’s first and oldest beach club. It’s smallish, doesn’t have a pool nor does it have dramatic architectural showpieces to impress visitors. All that said, we thought the crowd and music played here was by far the nicest out of all the places we’d visited. The cocktails here were good too and they were priced quite affordably.
Jalan Petitenget 14, Kerobokan
For dinner, we thought it was time for something a little different food-wise, hence this South American food adventure in the heart of Bali. Pictured bottom right is the Argentinian way of roasting meat… ‘asado-style’ over hot coals.
Local Suckling Pig, Crackle, Green Chimichurri 250
We enjoyed most of the dishes, especially the bocaditos (little bites). However, the centrepiece dish of suckling pig asado fell short of our expectations because some parts of the meat weren’t succulent enough (read: dry) and I was hoping for a more smoky, charcoal-fired flavour.
Intercontinental Bali Resort, Jimbaran
I’ll end the first instalment of our short getaway to Bali here, with a view of the beach front dining opportunities that one can enjoy in Bali.
I think it’s the good food, affordability and level of service you get here that pulls me back and helps me overlook Bali’s shortcomings… like the insane traffic and chaotic town-planning. The thing about Bali is… there’s probably not many other places in the world where you can get a private villa with pool at such prices!
In the next instalment, we will explore more beach clubs in Seminyak, learn the real way to eat Nasi Padang, and spend a day discovering what Jimbaran Bay has to offer.