Haven’t posted in a while… Dessert tonight after dinner.
Bali Day 3 - After Gunung Kawi, we went up the mountain to get a view of Mt. Kintamani and the largest lake in Bali. All the lakes in Bali are situated on former craters and so are high altitude lakes. Really stunning. We had lunch at a little restaurant with the view of Kintamani and each had a grilled fish with rice after recommendation from Nyoman. So simple, but tasty.
After lunch, we went to see the Holy Water Temple, or Pura Tirtha Empul. This is a temple where a natural spring pools up from the ground and then feeds these outdoor baths where one can bath under each spout dedicated to various things such as love, wealth, academics, and priesthood. As Nyoman explained the significance of each spout, we noticed some tourists bathing under the priesthood spouts and he joked that they probably don’t realize what they are bathing under!!! On the way back, we also visited a rice field, which he says is just a precursor to what we will see the following day. The last stop will be a Balinese village.
Bali Day 3 - This day was our first tour date. I booked two back to back day tours with Bali Traditional Tours due to their high tripadvisor ratings. It’s run by two cousins and we had Nyoman on both days. Let me just say that he is one of the friendliest and easy going person we have ever met and he took us on a fun, fantastic, historical journey across the two days. Highly recommended! So, we started the day going to a local primary school. What a unique experience and I’m not sure I any other tour guide would offer this. It’s not a gimmick or cheesy. Nyoman describes it as a way for local children to interact with tourists from other countries and also to practice their English. We met with school officials and teachers and then walked in to meet the 5th grade class. The children were adorable and super shy at first. Nyoman talked to them and explained where we were from. He ask them questions and they would respond in unison in English. So cute! We ask to take a picture with the class and the students were so happy!
We headed to a local market where he showed us how the locals would shop for their everyday food/necessities. Once again, the stall owners were so nice and offered stuff for us to try with no pressure of buying anything.
We also went to coffee plantation where we got to try the famous Luwak Coffee which is the most expensive coffee in the world. They are basically coffee beans pooped out by the Civet cat after ingesting them. We tried a cup of this and I have to say…. it was delicious. We bought a small bag (all we can afford!!!) along with a large bag of regular Balinese coffee. Next couple of posts will be about the temples we visited…
The first night in Bali, we went to dinner at Ibu Rai. We chanced upon the restaurant after walking around a little bit and striking out at our intended restaurant, Melting Wok. Melting Wok was fully booked so we made reservation for Sunday night and proceeded to Ibu Rai after seeing it being quite busy.
Overall, the food is pretty good. I think it’s on the expensive side for Bali and only foreigners were eating there. At the end of the day, it was fun and a good time. I was really confused by my main dish which is suppose to be grilled fish, but it was super dry and tough. So dry, that it really felt like they took a dried fish, and the grilled that. Interesting to say the least. Tasted good and the spices were nice, just a bit weird on texture!
We continued to look for a place for a couple drinks to cap off the night and most of the bars down the famous Monkey Forest road were pretty dead, even though it was a Saturday night. A lot of live music going on in a lot of bars, but just not a lot of patrons. It was like 9:30 PM so maybe night life starts later??? Anyways, we happened upon the Laughing Buddha which had nice live Mexican music… and it was packed! So, we went in, went up to he second floor area and had a couple of drinks. The band was really really good although, we’re pretty sure they are a Filipino band but sang perfect Mexican songs… The drinks were ok and pricey, but oh well. We then called our hotel for a shuttle ride back and upon entering our villa, they had left a surprise birthday cake for my wife!!! Super sweet of them and the cake was delicious!
Daily breakfast and afternoon tea included at the Samaya. The food is really good and the tea snacks change daily. You can have either of these meals at the villa or at the two restaurants. We choose to dine at the restaurants first to see the gorgeous views. Breakfast is basically order whatever you want and however much you want from their menus. I really think that you can ask for anything and if they can make it, they will. I love love love the croissant. It was the best croissant (so buttery and melt in your mouth and probably fatty) that I’ve ever had. I devoured it without taking a picture first. Anyways, looking forward to more great breakfasts and our dinner Monday night at their signature restaurant.
Haven’t posted in a while, but recently, we went to HK for a short break. We stayed 2 nights first in the new Auberge Discovery Bay hotel. Discovery Bay is on Lantau Island and is a planned development which doesn’t allow cars on the premises. There are some nice restaurants and hiking is readily available. Although, we did not get to hike at all due to the constant downpours! Another convenience is that it is close to HK Disneyland. So, we set out on a rainy Friday to tour the park and fulfill my wife’s desire to shop for HK specific Pooh souvenirs. Hahahaha!!! Yes, she is a big big Pooh fan. Anyways, the rain made the park very manageable as the crowd was small. We didn’t have to wait more than 15 minutes for any ride. What was the busiest ride??? Of course, the Pooh Corner ride!
It’s been a while since I posted photos… sorry about that. I’ve been a little busy,but really just a little lazy. Promise to do better especially with a bevy of trips coming up. So, a little while ago, I decided to make mini-apple pies for the wife to bring to work…. after she had one, she decided that we should keep all of them for snacking at home! Lol.
On Saturday, the Charity group (Hopeful Hearts) that I joined held a New Year’s Party (in between western New Years and the upcoming Chinese New Years) to generate donations for our cause. It was a lot of much fun and it was great to work with fellow volunteers as well as meet so many people that enjoyed the event. One of the highlights of the party was a Strawberry Cake (desserts) competition and there were over 20 entrants. Just wanted to put a few shots of the super delicious looking desserts that I took!