Saturday, November 14, 2015

‡ UBUD: Solo Travel ‡

November is here and only two chapters left in book 2015.
How is everyone doing? Hopefully good things!

As for me, according to my title as you read above, just had my first solo traveling experience! I went to Ubud, Bali for 5 days and 4 nights last week, from 28 October to 1 November 2015 -- remind me of two weeks ago as I write this.

Everything started when I tweeted something about how I wasn't sure if I could even claim myself as a writer. A friend suggested me to go to a festival in Bali as it would be really suitable for me: Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.

Long story short, after days of hesitation (and calculation) I bought the plane ticket, event ticket, and also booked a room during my stay there. All finished on 16 August.

Here's the breakdown for the cost in case you're wondering:

Round trip SUB - DPS with AirAsia : IDR 832,000
4-Day Pass for UWRF event : USD 40/AUD 49/IDR 510,000
1 room reservation for 4 nights : IDR 842,000

I wanted to be a volunteer for the event but, unfortunately, my schedule didn't allow me to. Hopefully I will have the chance in the future.

Most of my friends were pretty surprised when I told them that I would be all by myself during the trip. I don't mind. I mean not everyone would be interested with this festival and it's understandable. People visit Bali for all awesome, beautiful tourism spots and I had no intention to do that. Partly because I (fortunately) had visited the island before back in 2008 with my high school companions, so I didn't really have any special destination there.

So, after a couple of months, the day finally came and my journey started last Wednesday on a morning flight from Surabaya (because I am assigned for work here until January). I returned to Surabaya on night flight, arrived at 10PM local time.

Now, I'm going to write a long, long post about the trip but I'm going to split it into two posts. First will be the details of my trip including activities out of UWRF and the food I had, second will be the details of the programs I attended during UWRF events.

Phew, it's been a while since the last time I wrote a long, detailed travel notes (yes, I'm talking about my trip to Malaysia here).

Shall I start now then?


[Wednesday, 28 October 2015]

I arrived in Bali after 55 minutes on flight and, as I had arranged two days before, I met up with a driver from Leo Bali Driver. I personally recommend his service for anyone who needs a driver to help around there -- you can try to reach him at +62813-3788-4464 .

Since Mr Leo himself had been booked by another guest, it's Mr Putu who picked me at the airport. Like what I mentioned before above, I had no destination other than Ubud itself in mind. Mr Putu told me I could just ask him to stop anywhere if I got an idea.

Why personal driver if I didn't want to go anywhere else?

Apparently, since Ubud is quite far from the airport, you need to prepare IDR 300,000 as the fixed trip from airport to Ubud. After a quick calculation, I chose Leo since it cost me IDR 450,000 but I could use it up to 10 hours. I think it's more effective and efficient so, yes, that's my reason. Where did I go then?

Bali Zoo.

Yes, I visited Bali Zoo. It's not too far from Bali Bird Park -- which I have visited before back in 2008. Anyway, Bali Zoo is a very interesting place! I enjoyed walking around there for an hour or so. Paid IDR 110,000 for the entrance fee, I also got the chances to take a picture with baby crocodile and baby tiger!

Aren't they cute?

I also found a very intelligent bird, The Moluccan Cockatoo. As I stepped to the left, it would follow me. It even tried to give me a small branch when I was going to leave. I seriously think it's really smart.

Anyway, I left the zoo before 2PM at local time and continued to Ubud. I dropped my luggage at Desak Putu Putera Homestay. I got room number 4 with twin beds, an air conditioner, a private bathroom, a wooden table, and a wardrobe. Skipping the welcome drink, I left to the Office Box to exchange my UWRF 4-day pass.

Then I finally had my lunch there! So I had done a little research about nearby restaurants from the home stay and my first choice landed on Queen's of India. I had Butter Chicken and Nan. It's really delicious. I would recommend one plate for two persons though, since the portion is quite large. The delicious food costed me IDR 150,000, along with a glass of ice tea.

After I returned to Desak Putu, I took a shower before heading to find dessert. I chose Seniman Coffee Studio, having Moka Nut Waffle. The customer service is very nice! Oh, side note, I actually think all of the waiters and waitresses there have better English than I do. Sipping chamomile tea, I was satisfied with IDR 80,000.

My day ended after attending an UWRF program -- which I'll write in second post. I returned to Desak Putu and took my night rest.

[Thursday, 29 October 2015]

It's when I realized the route from Desak Putu to the central area took me around 20 minutes. If I wanted to reach the main venue by walk, it's around 3 km and, unfortunately, I would skip all the programs if I walked that far. So I used the facility of shuttle bus service! It would help the participants from a restaurant named Casa Luna (which is also owned by the Founder and Director of UWRF, Janet DeNeefe) to the main venues (Taman Baca, Indus Restaurant, Neka Art Museum).

However the first day was a rush since there would be a welcome dance and keynotes. I ended up taking a local taxi with three other participants from Australia. One of them is Aileen and I met her quite often for the next few days. The taxi costed us IDR 60,000 for only a 5-minutes drive!

As for the lunch, I had Spaghetti Zucchini at The Elephant. It's a vegan restaurant and the view is very beautiful from here! I paid IDR 90,000 for the food and a glass of ice lemon tea. Since after that I returned to attend the sessions, I followed the same schedule as yesterday (in fact I had the same schedule until Saturday), returned to the home stay and searched a place to have dinner before attending a night session.

Oh, before I returned straight to Desak Putu, I walked around Ubud Market and accidentally saw Romy Rafael with the .NET staffs, filming for Lintas Imaji. I didn't buy anything and looked around to find something new to buy. I had a stop at Kou Cuisine to buy two bottles of handmade jam (IDR 40,000 for one). There's also another store of Kou which sells handmade soap and bath salt but I skipped that.

My choice for dinner is Warung Schnitzel! I had Pork Schnitzel and Watermelon Juice (both costed me IDR 90,000). I think the food is pretty good for my taste; I'd prefer the mushroom sauce anyway. So my second night there ended peacefully with me accidentally met up with a friend from high school, Vitto, who works at Ubud. He's an MC for one of the events at UWRF titled Pecha Kucha -- details on later post.

[Friday, 30 October 2015]

Second day of the festival and I went through the same distance again. I managed to take the shuttle bus though -- the same way how I returned from the main venue to Casa Luna the day before. However, for lunch, I had planned a smarter one than before.

During the break, I took the shuttle bus back to Casa Luna area and had Babi Guling Ibu Oka for my lunch; I spent IDR 70,000 for the delicious food and a glass of sweet ice tea. I also managed to enjoy a dessert under the hot sunlight, Chocolate Valrhona from Gelato Secret -- it's IDR 25,000.

Before returning to the main venue of the event, I gave a quick visit to Museum Puri Lukisan, one of the famous spots for tourism in Ubud. There are many more artistic and beautiful places to visit but I couldn't manage myself to stop there due to some reasons. (honorable mentions: Goa Gajah, Monkey Forest)

I skipped dinner for a dessert again at Kue Chocolaterie, Bakery, and Cafe, ordering a slice of Rich Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Garnache and a glass of watermelon juice for IDR 60,000. The place lacks of proper lighting for my taste but the chocolate is quite good, so it's fine.

There went my third night without anything new but two books with autographs -- which I will explain on the next post as well.

[Saturday, 31 October 2015]

Halloween is here!

It's Bali, it's Indonesia, so there's no Halloween-vibe around but I did know that there would be Halloween party somehow; so, remember, I met this old friend of mine on Thursday. He told me that his company held a Halloween party and I was so tempted to pay a visit there. Unfortunately, according to my UWRF schedule, I couldn't make it so there went my very chance to attend a Halloween party. Well, it's not like I had a costume to play on anyway. Next time will come for sure.

It's a pretty hot day and I made a very wrong choice of lunch menu of the day. No, it's not because of the taste. Naughty Nuri's presents one of the best pork menus out there but since I was alone, I picked Daging Se'i which is, obviously, best served for at least two persons. I ended up not knowing how to finish the IDR 140,000.

As the hour moved, I returned a little bit earlier to Desak Putu and packed up my stuffs. I managed to take a picture of what people called as Signature Road (located at Kajeng Road -- you know, something similar but different from Hollywood Star's Avenue. It's unique, isn't it?

I stopped by Kismet Cafe and Boutique for a quick dessert, Kokolato Ice Cream Sandwich which is tagged with IDR 42,000. It's the vegan ice cream for chocolate flavor. I like the atmosphere here and I should try the main menu during my next visit (hopefully).

My Halloween night was spent with more poems as I would put the details on (yes, again) the next post. Then I returned, slept a little bit late on my last night there after making sure that I had everything in order.

[Sunday, 1 November 2015]

As the November started, I checked out from Desak Putu, leaving my luggage as I ordered a car which would pick me up there at 7PM. Just like I mentioned above, it's IDR 300,000 for a trip to or from airport (please do calculate all the costs if you're curious).

Moving on with my schedule, I had no time to take a lunch far from the main venues since the programs for the last day were pretty awesome. I had a Jumbo Hotdog at Devilicious which is located exactly in front of the main venue. Got it with IDR 57,000 along with a glass of ice lemon tea.

During a quick break I also had a look at Supermarket Bintang which is near from the main venue. It's a complete supermarket but I wouldn't say you should buy souvenirs here; I'm not even sure where to buy any souvenirs around Ubud if you're talking about Pie Susu or Pia Legong. I didn't do research either since I had zero intention to return with souvenirs.

As the clock struck 5 PM, I stopped by Melting Wok Warung. This is probably one of my favorite restaurants here. The service is fantastic, the price is worth the delicious menu, and the restaurant owner is lovely! I picked Chicken Coconut Curry Rice for my early dinner -- IDR 57,000 for the unique menu and a glass of ice tea -- and it's such an unlucky moment for me as I had to miss the chance to have the dessert there.

The trip from Ubud to Ngurah Rai International Airport took me around 90 minutes. Once I arrived, I strolled around and found out that it's quite a big airport. There's nothing much I could do so I just read a new book I bought at the event and let the time passed quietly before the boarding was announced.

As I sat down on my seat, I smiled at myself. I did it, I thought. I traveled alone to a place that I've never been before (and returned in one piece).

Although there were several things that didn't go on as I expected, it's still a good trip for myself. Like, I thought I would make a lot of new friends but I didn't because I limited myself too much, or that I couldn't make it for the closing night ceremony due to the schedule.

It's a (really) memorable trip, overall.

Oh, quick sum!

I spent around IDR 860,000 to 900,000 for food and beverages,
IDR 2,400,000 to 2,500,000 for accomodation (including plane and Desak Putu),
IDR 800,000 to 900,000 for miscellaneous stuffs (including Bali Zoo, Kou, books, and other stuffs).

You can do the count. I've said goodbye already.

Trust me, if you cut the miscellaneous stuffs, have affordable choices of food, cut the UWRF ticket, and not to mention if you have a companion (whom you could share the room and transportation fee), you'll manage to go on with lower expenses.



Shall I start writing the next post? ;)

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