Wednesday, 15 February 2012

IATTOUR feb 8-14 Bali and Singapore

Feb 8
We awoke in Fraser and Shary’s Balanese paradise refreshed and ready to go.  This is the first time in our travels we haven’t had to deal with multiple hours time zone change, so no early morning wake ups!  We got to meet their house keeper Phu Tu (please send corrections if I got this wrong), what a lovely young lady and boy does she work hard; prepared a nice brekkie of fresh fruit and musli.    This is certainly a different way of roughing it in retirement!  I am sure we could get used to this.  After getting sorted out this morning, all four of us went out for a walking tour of the Sanur beach front; what a lovely stretch of beach.  This is not a hidden treasure, but very well known to many visitors from near and far…most notable are the Dutch nationals baking themselves at many of the resorts along the way.  We stopped by a favorite Warung haunt, Momma Rosi (?) to rehydrate and also have a bite to eat.  Finally back to Villa Selarus and into the pool to cool off, and rest our dogs.  

The evening just happened sipping on our Vodka and tonics or wine…  Not sure where the evening went, chatting about all subjects, but morning was going to come early as Fraser had arranged a tour with a local guide and friend to take us to see some of the local sites.

Feb 9
Komang arrived as we were finishing up breakfast and joined us for a bite after we were introduced.  While we were driving off to our first stop, we had a great chat with him to get lots of island information, but also about where he is from, his family and Hindu religion; made for a pretty chatty day with not too many quiet periods.    We pulled into Batabulan Village the site of the Barong Dance venue, a few minutes before the show began and were surprised to see how full the crowd was at 0930.  This show was a 6 act play that encompassed a range of characters enacting good and evil, that showed off many aspects of Balanese dance along with a 20+ piece orchestra…it was good fun and very colourful.

From here it was off to tour a couple of temples.   Tony’s first chance to put on a sarong as no bare legs are allowed within the confines; Elaine kept me company.    

 The first temple was Gunung Kawi, a 9th century aged site which was carved into the valley walls; a stunning location with a river running through and terraced rice paddies along the perimeter. There are also some pretty big spiders lurking next to the pathways, not sure what they eat...tourists!   

Along the entire walk down, all pilgrims (i.e. tourists) run the gauntlet of trinket hawkers selling their nod and say "tidak, terima kasih" (no thank you) and walk on.  Komang was waiting for us in the car park ready to whisk us off to the next site; 


Tirta Empul, the site of the holy water temple.  Within the confines of this temple are the springs which the holy water erupts, then is channeled through a series of pools for the devoted to cleanse themselves and take holy water away.

Penjur poles line the streets for Kuninga
This coming Saturday is Kuningan, a holy day which happens every 210 days.  As we drive through the villiages and countryside, there is evidence for preparations everywhere.  Not too much will be happening on this day as everyone is with their families and to the temples multiple times in the day.

From here Komang was uncertain of what the weather would be doing up at the  Batur volcano, but coming around the corner we were greeted with the full on view of the volcano and the original caldera which Lake  Batur lies (largest lake on Bali).  We sat on the terrace for a bit to take in the valley and watched as a thunder stormed rolled across the valley.  It was impressive to see the scars left across the valley from the lava fields that devoured the valley forest and into some of the lower lying villages.  They now are harvesting the volcanic rock for a variety of building needs.  We took lunch with Khomang at a nearby restaurant which overlooked the valley.
 From here it was a long drive back downhill from the caldera ridge.  Our journey took us through a lot of different agricultural zones capped off with a stop at the Tegallalang rice terrace.  Lots of action going on here with interesting people to watch.

I think my sister Janet needs this in her front yard!

By this time we are starting to get a bit weary as we have been on the go for 7+ hours.  Our last journey takes us through one of the prime tourist areas of Ubud  all its boutique shops.  Komang safely returned us to the Villa where we said goodbye.  If anyone is looking to have an excellent guided tour in Bali with a very safe driver and very reasonable price we would highly recommend Khomang.  You can contact I Komang Sumendra (Komang) through his web site  or email:
Fraser and Shary had some great suggestions for our onward travel to include Singapore, Melaka and Kuala Lampur along with places to stay and things to see.  We had three computers going to get things organized and booked.

Feb 10
Up early for a short walk and drop off the laundry...yes this has to get done even travelling, but nice thing here it is freshly pressed and folded on return.  While Elaine and Shary were checking out fabric, Fraser and I were parked at a nearby watering hole, the sign outside read:

Even more funny was the advertisement within the establishment concerning hiring their electrician!  
The afternoon was all about Balanese massages for all by Jeffry; 1 hour of bliss to feel like a mound of jelly at the end.  I am sure that Jeffry needed one after 4 massages.  A quiet day of lounging (Elaine in the Bale) and reading, then out for a nice dinner at one of the many close by excellent restaurants. 

Feb 11
Kuningan is a very quiet day in Bali, most things are shut down, not much going on with the exception of a few local businesses. Getting rested up before heading off for the next bit of travel.  We have had a very enjoyable relaxing stay with our very gracious hosts Fraser and Shary.  They winter here from Sidney BC and have the place available for rent during June-November, and other times by request; have a look at: Villa Selarus Bali

Feb 12
Off to Singapore.  Fraser has arranged for Teja to take us to the airport.  We say goodbye to Fraser and Shary.  
Tony, Fraser, Elaine and Shary at Villa Selarus
Our trip to Singpore was uneventful arriving late afternoon.  The hotel is in the heart of Chinatown all decorated up for Chinese New Year.  The hotel is bathed in red, the room is about the size of the camper we rented, but quite serviceable.  Still early so out we go to explore the neighbourhood.  Place is loaded with people of every nationality, a buzz in the air.  We take dinner at one of the street side restaurants and watch the throngs.

Feb 13
A day in Singapore.  We make it to the local MRT station through the monsoon deluge (no umbrella) and find a very helpful staffer that gets us oriented on the ins and outs of the subway and where to get our tourist pass.  There is so much to see here, but all we have given ourselves is a day to hit a number of high points; Botanical Gardens, Little India, Lim Sim Square (6 stories of electronics of every variety..mecca for techies), Inner Harbour, Raffles and to pick up onward bus tickets for tomorrow.  Our feet were tired by the end of this day you can believe, but what a great city to explore.

when it rains and no umbrella

Chihuly chandelier in the Ritz Carlton lobbly

check out the link Marina Sands Hotel most expensive in the world!


  1. Love your photos of Bali. Definitely convinces me that I need to take a look myself! Tell me you stayed in the Marina Sands! ha.

  2. Great photos! I envy well-traveled people. I just wish I could afford to do the same. Well, maybe someday...someday...

    In the meantime, I'll content myself with looking at photos from travelers like you. Thanks for sharing this!

    Lady Olivine