Bali Day 2: Zipping Around Town!
Despite knowing that Bali had a tropical climate very similar to Singapore’s, it felt MUCH HOTTER than our sunny island – everyone was dressed in extremely light clothing and I opted for a casual combination of a camisole + shorts for most of the trip. I wasn’t as daring as some of the Caucasian girls who trotted around in their skimpy bikinis around town, particularly since the Balinese people are known to be somewhat conservative. The glare of the sun was also much brighter, and my sunglasses were indispensable throughout our time there :) Lucky I thought to bring them! I was actually considering leaving them out of my luggage.
Seminyak, Bali is considered to be the upmarket “boutique” area in Bali – so it was no surprise that the food was similarly priced. Even though it was considered cheap when measured against Singapore standards, there really wasn’t much of a difference. Our meals definitely formed the bulk of our expenditure, especially when you consider that there aren’t many options in terms of cheap streetside food. It’s very difficult to buy from street vendors, unless you speak the language and know what exactly they’re selling from their portable containers that are perched on top of their motorcycles as they zip around town.
We took our lunch at a restaurant near Seminyak Square, known as The Junction. I really loved the woodwork and ambiance of the place. Bali is known for its carpentry and woodwork, and it isn’t rare to see tourists at the carpenter’s shops discussing made-to-order pieces. The expat community in Bali also seemed very active, and there were various magazines that were extremely informative on local customs, traditions and recommendations, as well as commentaries written by expats on their daily life there. It certainly made for an interesting read and was extremely helpful for our trip.
My personal belief is that wherever I travel, I always try to eat their local food as much as possible, to fully savour the experience. The bf however, preferred to stick to what he knew best – so you can see the relative disparity in our choices of food. On the left, his steak with an egg sunny-side up and fries, on the right, my chicken sate with traditional fried rice and crackers. The food was good, we certainly enjoyed ourselves. I have to say that I was surprised that our local Singapore satay is really quite different from the Balinese sate, though it’s pretty much the same concept (both are served with peanut sauce). However, I can’t exactly pin down what precisely the difference is – though it’s most probably the type of marinade used with the meat.
As we lacked transportation but wanted to explore Bali, we decided to rent a motorcycle, which turned out to be quite a wise choice! It was by far much cheaper than a taxi. Renting a motorcycle for two days (from your hotel) costs about 100 000 INR, whilst a one-way cab ride for 30 mins will set you back about 60 000 INR/Rp. Moreover, fuel was really cheap. We got a full tank with just 45 000 INR and barely used half of it though we zipped through town loads. It is however, very important that you print a map or get directions before setting off – Balinese roads sometimes have 2/3 different names for the same stretch of road and it’s pretty confusing. In the end we depended mostly on landmarks rather than road signs
Besides the town of Seminyak, we also went to visit Kuta Beach, where the sun was scorchingly hot. We stayed there for 10 whole unbearably hot minutes before deciding to go somewhere else cooler for some respite from the heat, haha. Unlike the roads in Singapore, Motorcycles pretty much dominate the roads in Bali and we parked our motorcycle neatly alongside the other motorcycles upon reaching the beach. There are parking wardens who assist in making sure that our motorcycles are safe (i.e. not stolen) and neatly arranged, and they charge a fee ranging from 1000 (about 15cents in SGD) to 2000, depending on the location and popularity of the destination.
Due to the high influx of tourists, the local art scene in Seminyak is flourishing, and we saw many random galleries such as the one pictured above in alleys as well as air-conditioned stores. We did however, note that some stores had the same paintings repeated over and over again, whilst others had their own original paintings, no doubt for a higher price. I was sorely tempted to buy a few but decided against it as overseas shipping would be both troublesome and well… I really didn’t have the wall space to accomodate them.
Wild dogs aren’t uncommon in most countries – but we didn’t expect them to look so cute in Bali. This short-legged golden retriever stole our heart and we followed him from store to store trying to get a good shot. he was really adorable and funny – all the store owners evidently loved him and he felt comfortable just lounging below the dresses on the racks.
Unfortunately, we’ll never see similar dogs like this guy here in Singapore. It’s well known that dog breeders/ dog farms often cull those with “defects” as they believe that no one will buy such puppies. Thankfully, it isn’t the case everywhere else in the world :)