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Part 2: Bali, Yogyakarta, Borobudur, Prambanan, Mt Bromo

11.06: Kuala Lumpur -> Bali
12.06: Bali
13.06: Bali
14.06: Bali
15.06: Bali -> Kuala Lumpur
16.06: Kuala Lumpur -> Yogyakarta

17.06: Borobudur, Dieng plateau
18.06: Prambanan, Yogyakarta
19.06: Yogyakarta -> Mt Bromo
20.06: Mt Bromo -> Surabaya
21.06: Surabaya -> Johor Bharu -> Mersing

11.06: Kuala Lumpur -> Bali
Hotel Aston Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua. Room is nicely furnished and of good standard. Has everything except an ironing board (fridge, TV, phone, hairdryer, minibar, tea making equipment included). Wireless Internet available, costs 30000 rupiah 1hr, 120000 rupiah 5 hours - very fast connection. The hotel has its own beach. Only problem is the shower: the water temperature is difficult to set, changes from hot to cold and viceversa by itself. Security check for vehicles entering the hotel.
Weather: hazy in the morning in KL. Blue sky in Bali, tropically hot, no rain the whole day.

After breakfast we check out from the hotel and take a taxi to KL's LCCT airport (taxi is RM 80). There we check-in and proceed to the gate. Internet connection with very poor quality in the departure hall. The AirAsia plane leaves at 11:15am with half an hour of delay.

We arrive in Bali at 3:15pm, then proceed through the passport control. It takes one hour to finally make it to the baggage retrieval (slow passport control counter; visa for non-ASEAN people is USD 10, payable also in other currencies). Then we get some cash from an ATM, retrieve the suitcases and walk out. A taxi to the hotel costs 105000 rupiah (about 7.50 Euro). The taxi needs about 25 minutes to reach the hotel.

It's almost 5pm when we reach the hotel. After checking in we don't do much. In the evening we explore a bit the the area around the hotel and have dinner. The restaurant is in a nice setting, also the food is not bad (but not that impressive either). The price level is higher than in Malaysia, only slightly lower than in Germany.

We enquire about tours and are quoted between 450000 and 600000 rupiah for a car + driver for one day for a tour to the Batur lake.

12.06: Bali
Hotel Aston Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua. The hotel has a nice pool area, the hotel beach is also ok, but the sea water is very, very dirty. Lots of algae and rubbish floating around, water is whiteish in some spots. We don't swim in the sea (and in fact no hotel guest swims in the sea). The breakfast buffet is good, although the fresh fruits have a strange taste.
Weather: blue sky, hot, no rain the whole day.

We get up at 9am and have breakfast. Then at 11:30am we head to the pool  area, where we stay until almost 1pm. After that we head back to the room, where Shirley takes care of the kids and puts them to sleep. In fact Shirley and the kids will sleep until 4:30pm (they need to recover from the previous days). In the meantime I walk outside and enquire about a car+driver. I finalise a car+driver for 450000 rupiah. Later another driver will offer the same trip for 400000 rupiah, so I might have bargained a bit.

At 4:30pm I wake up Shirley and the kids (if they sleep too much now, they won't sleep at night). Around 5pm we go out of the hotel and take a taxi (25000 rupiah) to the Bali Connection shopping area in Nusa Dua.

This is an upmarket shopping and dining area. Security check when we get in (guard checks the boot of the taxi). Very nice setting, clean, elegant, but overpriced compared to the area around the hotel - most items are way cheaper in the hotel area. Also the restaurants are more expensive here. We explore a bit the area, then have dinner. After dinner, around 8:30pm, we go back to the hotel.

13.06: Bali
Hotel Aston Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua.
Weather: blue sky, hot, no rain the whole day. Clouded in the mountains at higher altitudes.

Day trip to Batur lake: I won't do again a trip like this with two small kids. Very exhausting even for the adults, most of the day spent in the car, way too much driving. The one year old gets perhaps half an hour of sleep until 6pm (but got two hours less of sleep in the morning). It turns out that Nusa Dua lies too far to the south of Bali for daytrips to the lakes Bratan or Batur. It would have been better if we had stayed in Sanur: more to the north, closer to the centre of Bali, would have cut the total driving time by 2-3 hours.

We get up at 7am (early for us) and after the breakfast at 8:20am are picked up by the driver of the travel agency (Aryadhika Bali). Big roomy modern car, seat in front row + two back rows, A/C, comfortable. Agreed price is 450000 rupiah for the trip. We first drive to a place where at 9am there is a Barong dance (1 hr).

The Barong dance place is in Denpasar, the company is Sari Wisata Budaya, entrance fee is 80000 rupiah/person. We arrive there early at 8:50am. At 9am the program starts with the tiger figure coming in. I'm a bit disappointed by the performance. This is supposed to be a ritual dance, but the actors every now and then behave like clowns, making jokes, trying to make the public laugh.

After the performance we continue driving towards Lake Bratan. Driver proposes several stops at handicraft stores (Batik, wood carving, gold & silver etc.), even brings us without asking us to a jewellery. Probably the driver or the travel agency get commissions. At 12:15pm there is another unplanned stop at a coffee farm (where you can buy coffee if you are interested).

By the way, while we drive through Bali we pass areas which are completely covered with handicraft and jewellery shops. It would seem that the Balinese only produce and sell handicraft and jewellery.

It's almost 1pm when we finally reach the place overlooking lake Bratan. Brief stop, very nice view. Then the driver brings us to a bad restaurant, the Batur Sari (overpriced, bad food).

After lunch we continue driving. The next stop is the Tirta Empul temple in the Tampaksiring village, which we reach at 2:30pm. The interesting thing is that they are still building/rebuilding parts of this temple. Water springs in which people bathe. On the way out we happen to go through a bazaar. Handicrafts, handicrafts everywhere for sale. Unfortunately we have little cash with us and during this trip we have spent lots of cash for entry tickets, food, drinks etc. and I do not know where the next ATM is.

At 3:15pm we leave for the next place. Some discussion in the car. Where is the temple on the lake? Turns out that it is on the Bratan lake and I chose the wrong lake (Batur), no chance to get to the Bratan lake, it's too far away.

At 3:30pm we stop in a place where there is a nice view of rice terraces. Unfortunately there is no rice growing in them right now. We then proceed to Ubud, which we reach 20 minutes later.

The driver brings us to a bank where I withdraw some money. Max. amount per transaction is just 2 million rupiah.

Ubud is a pleasant town, with lots of artistic buildings (at least in the central area where we stop). Late additional lunch at 4:30pm, or should I say early dinner. I didn't get to much food in the Bratan lake restaurant (that fried rice was uneatable), so I'm quite hungry.

On a separate occasion I'd probably come back to Ubud to explore it a bit, but not with a baby stroller. The pavements are already narrow enough, then there are the handicraft sellers who put all their stuff on the pavements blocking them. Busy traffic on the street, walking there is not an option. Quite tough to get around with a baby stroller.

At 6pm we finally drive back to the hotel, which we reach at 7:20pm. Not a huge distance, but mostly narrow roads with lots of traffic. We are tired, the driver most likely is also tired. Bali may be a beautiful place with lots of art and nice views, but getting from A to B just takes too much effort. They should build a motorway or at least a fast road linking the major places and connecting the north with the south.

In the evening we do nothing. The baby finally gets some sleep.

14.06: Bali
Hotel Aston Bali Resort & Spa, Nusa Dua.
Weather: blue sky, hot, no rain the whole day.

Day spent relaxing. Before yesterday's trip I was thinking of doing a short trip to the Tanah Lot temple today, then changed my mind having seen how much effort it takes even to do short trips. So we spend the whole day in and around the hotel, relaxing at the pool and on the beach.

15.06: Bali -> Kuala Lumpur
Hotel Melia, Kuala Lumpur. RM 308 for a double room. Toilet a bit old. The breakfast is so-so: limited choice of bread, cheapish fresh fruits, very dlited fruit juices.
Weather: great blue sky and hot in Bali. Slightly overcast in Kuala Lumpur, but nice evening and nice sunset. No rain.

Return flight to KL today. Shirley and the kids will stay in KL, I'm flying back to Indonesia tomorrow and will meet again Shirley on June 27th in Teluk Intan.

After the breakfast we do nothing the whole morning except for packing the bags. We could have swum a bit in the pool, but after packing the bags there is only one hour left, so we end up doing nothing.

At 1pm we check out of the hotel, around 1:30pm we are in a taxi to the airport (hotel taxi, rate is 90000 rupiah). Surprise at the airport, we have to pay a fee of 150000 rupiah each, except for the baby. Total of 450000 rupiah, luckily I still have some local cash. This probably is a departure tax of the airport. Why didn't AirAsia inform us? Could have been complicated if we had not enough Indonesian cash with us.

We go through passport control and security and reach the gate at 2:45pm. Near the gate is a Japanese restaurant where we have a fast lunch. The food is not bad.

At the gate they only allow us to bring one of the two half litre bottles of water with us (we have one baby). Not sure why they would allow one bottle of water but not two. Besides, how can you hijack or blow up a plane with a bottle of water?

The flight leaves more or less on time and lands in KL's LCCT terminal on time. We proceed speedily through passport control and retrieve speedily our luggage. We take a limousine (RM 92) and reach the Melia hotel in KL shortly after 8pm.

Copyright 2009 Alfred Molon