Bali: 30 December 2011 - 3 January 2012

I bought my tickets for this holiday in February so I got a special rate of SGD123 for 2-ways (excludes Rp150,000 Indonesia airport tax to be paid at the airport upon departure). My flight from Singapore departed on time at 2050 and landed at 2320 in Bali. There is no time difference between Singapore and Bali. Most of the passangers on the plane were Caucasians. Surprisingly, the flight was not full although it was the Friday night of a long weekend ahead. The queue at immigration was acceptable but the queue for a taxi appeared to be extremely slow so instead of getting one at the appointed counter, I walked out to the parking area and asked around for a taxi. It was drizzling. It was past midnight and I couldn't wait to get to bed.

Someone quoted me Rp100,000. I declined, saying that a taxi hired from the airport counter would cost Rp50,000. I asked another guy who appeared to be working there. He beckoned to his colleague. Both of them were wearing batik shirts with the same pattern so I figured it must have been their uniform. The driver wanted to charge Rp60,000 but I said a taxi at the counter would cost Rp50,000, then he agreed.

It was a 10- or 15-min ride to the hotel. It was raining heavily now. The driver asked whether I was there alone. I said I was meeting my friends who flew in before me. That was a lie. But what do you expect me to say when I'm all alone in a car with a stranger in Indonesia past midnight? He said he had been to Singapore bfore. He asked whether I had been to Lombok and suggested hiring him as my driver if I wanted to go. I said I wouldn't be going on this trip but maybe next time.

I had pre-paid 4 nights' stay at Tune Hotel Bali Kuta for Rp834,900 (SGD30 per night). That rate excludes aircon, wifi, TV, toiletries or towel rental. The hotel is 30 meters off the main road so I couldn't hear the traffic from the room. Check-in was speedy. The room was tiny but clean. It size of the entire room was about the size of a king bed. I had planned to be out at the beach or diving so I didn't mind a small room. The curtain was too narrow to cover the window 100%. The rain shower was pleasant. The water seemed to be coming out in waves: heavy flow, then light flow. I still don't know whether it was intentional or had something to do with the waves from the sea.

From Bali Dec 2011

From Bali Dec 2011

From Bali Dec 2011

From Bali Dec 2011

I was hungry in the morning. I had difficulty finding food! There wasn't any food in the hotel because it is a budget hotel and I couldn't find any restaurants open at 9am. I wished I was in Singapore, Thailand or Vietnam where it's easy to get food in the morning. Being hungry gets me upset. What sort of tourist town has no restaurants open in the morning?! There was food for the local people sold along the street but there were so many flies. I was hungry but not hungry enough to eat "fly rice"!

All I bought was a bottle of water from a convenience store. I went back to the hotel for a nap. I didn't sleep enough the previous night. Anyway, I had the whole day to absolutely do nothing!

I had not fully recovered from a flu/cough so I had to give diving a miss. I'm strict when it comes to safety. Safety trumps leisure and pleasure any time. I could only walk around, hang out at cafes and swim at the beach. I had had a tiring year so there was no harm being a complete bum on a holiday!

When I woke up it was time for lunch. I ordered Spinach ravioli with mushroom cream sauce at a restaurant called Little Italy. I was very hungry so the fats in the sauce was satisfying at that time but looking at the picture now, I find it disgusting.

Spinach ravioli with mushroom cream sauce Rp86,250

One thing I dislike about being in Indonesia is the smoke in restaurants. The smell makes me want to vomit everything that I'd eaten.

The road leading to Kuta beach was also congested. Motorcyclists frequently ride on the pavement. Pedestrians have to be very careful.

Busy street

Desperate puppy

Kuta beach was very crowded. There were many surfers and it wouldn't be safe to swim near them.

From Kuta beach

From Kuta beach

From Kuta beach

There are lifeguard posts. It's safer to swim near them. Once when I was sitting beside the lifeguard post, one of the lifeguards asked me whether I wanted something. I wasn't sure what he said but whatever the question was, the answer was going to be No.

As I walked along the beach, men asked whether I wanted to rent surf boards and take surfing lessons, and women asked whether I wanted massages.

I put my clothes and towel in a plastic bag and left it somewhere on the beach while I swam in the sea. I didn't bring any money with me. I didn't think anyone would try to steal a lousy plastic bag of clothes.

The waves can get rather high. To avoid the crashing waves, I had to swim further out, past the area where the waves break. I had to choose my timing well. If the waves kept crashing on me once every few seconds as I swim out, I'll end up at the shore again. I had to take a deep breath when I see the waves coming. There was no doubt that I was going to be thrown about and submerged. It was tiring swimming against the tide. But when I was successful, I could simply let the waves pass beneath me as I tread water and watch people get pounded by them!

There are many massage shops here offering traditional massage, shiatsu massage and even beer massage. I patronised Inner Glow (the one on the right). Shiatsu massage costs Rp66,000 per hour including tax. If you have a sunburn, you could try a sunburn massage for Rp110,000.

Beer massage

Shiatsu massage Rp66,000 per hour

On new year's eve, the fireworks started at about 9pm and carried on till about 2.30am. I could see the fireworks from the hotel corridor. After watching it for 15 minutes, I had enough. But I couldn't sleep with all that noise!

It rained daily. I regretted not getting a nicer hotel because I had to spend time in it to hide from the rain. I also "hid" in my favourite cafe in Bali called Excelso. It's one of the cafes along the busy road to Kuta beach. The food and coffee were nice. Service was good and there was free wifi :D Their ice coffee Rp41,250 (SGD6) was not cheap but at least it was good.

Pasta and fish

Chicken potato pie Rp39,500

The food at a so-called traditional restuarant, Made's Warung, was horrible. I ordered a few sticks of satay. It was extremely dry so I asked for satay sauce. The couple at the next table had sauce. They charged me extra for satay sauce. The avocade juice was served at room temperature without ice. It was gluey and gross. In all, it cost Rp70,000. Mighty expensive for such terrible food!

I also tried Mie Goreng Rp19,000 and avocado juice Rp18,000 at another restaurant. They were ok but avocado juice in Singapore is nicer is cheaper.

I had fried rice with beef as well but I could hardly see the beef.

Breakfast at a restuarent was unbelievable. I ordered a French toast set. I got 2 burnt slices of bread, an omelette, juice and coffee for Rp46,200. I felt like telling them that burnt bread is not called French toast.

Breakfast Rp46,200

Food in Bali was disappointing. Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam offer better food to tourists.

As for shopping, Bali is miserable. Sportswear wasn't cheap. Slippers aren't cheap. There wasn't very much to buy. I bought a pair of sandles. After wearing it for a week, they look like they're 3 months old. Shoes made in Indonesia don't seem to be of good quality. A few months ago, I bought another pair of slippers in Indonesia. The soles came off after a few weeks.

Another reason why I regretted not staying in a better hotel was the lack of sleep I was experiencing because of some hotel guests. On the first morning, it was a Caucasian girl. On the 2nd and 3rd mornings it was a grandmother talking very loudly. People are hard of hearing when they are old so I thought I would just put up with it since she's old.

But I when I came out of my room, I was shocked to see a family gathering at the corridor outside my room! There was no phone in my room and I didn't have the phone number of the reception so I had to go down to report the noise and "illegal" gathering. I snapped a picture and showed it to the receptionist. He turned to his CCTV. It's there on the TV but nobody monitors it. He called security to go up and disperse the crowd. He asked me to go up with the security guard but I decline and said I am on my way out. When I returned, the people were still there. I had to request for security to get rid of them again.

I discovered that the "grandmother" was actually a middle-age woman with the voice of a grandmother. As I went into my room, she said something to me but I didn't understand. The woman looking into the camera is she.

Guests outside my room

I had a change of room. I couldn't take the noise any more. On the last morning, I had to be up very early but I wouldn't want to be disturbed at night. My flight was at 0910.

I used the hotel transportation because it was way too early to be sure of getting a taxi. I am glad I did because it was raining that morning. When I booked a seat the night before, the concierge said there was already a booking at the time slot I wanted and they only had one car. I asked whether I could share and he agreed. In the morning, after I got into the car, the driver was going to drive off. I reminded him that there were other guests. He double-checked and 2 others got into the car. They should be glad I said something otherwise they might have missed their flight.

The road was wet and with some pools of water. Thankfully, no major flood (yet) and I got to the airport on time.

All in all, I find Bali over-rated. I liked the cheap massage and swimming in the sea but everything else wasn't great. It was a pity I couldn't dive (it was raining too much anyway).

Related post: Magician Money Changers in Bali.


Bing said...

The room is that small?

Is there any window for the room?

Wendell said...

Great Post. You are Inspiring me to do a little blogging of my own.

Anonymous said...

Hello yu kym!

It was very nice reading your travel entries. I won't habe the courage to do that.

Would you mind to travel with your reader for a short budget getaway like this?

Female here by the way. (:

Anonymous said...

Bali is fantastic if u went at the right time (May to July is usually the best) and knew the nice places to go to. From your post, you didn't venture very far and the places you ate at weren't really where the good and reasonably priced food are at.

David said...


That hotel room is the smallest i have ever seen!

Low price room state side are much larger, if not sparsely furnished.

The food services in and near low price hotels reflects the neighbourhood around. Low income and low price everything.

The image of Bali portrayed in the media is much different than the view you offered us!

Very informative!

As already mentioned, you have a great deal of courage!


Anonymous said...

If anyone cares for Yu-Kym's safety and well being...pls dont call her foolish actions courageous!

Midnite, raining heavily, alone in a foreign land, venturing out with gear in tow onto the dark roads just to save a few more rupiahs, met up with strangers and hopping into a "cab" and on the way to a crummy hotel and in crummy vicinity along an unfamiliar route!

She is asking trouble to come get her. This is not brave, it's utterly stupid and reckless!!!! And this is not the first of her foolishness. She has taken similar risks before.... only she knows how many times. For goodness sake Yu-Kym, dont push your luck too far. Once damage is done, it cannot be undone. You will be scarred for life.

curious cat

David said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David said...


Welcome back!

While concerned about Yu-Kym's safety, I cannot do anything about her personal choices.

What type of personal security she uses is wisely not mentioned.

That is not the type of information one talks about. Unless that is you are inviting bad people to take advantage of you.

Ms. Loh has traveled widely and in her post has mentioned the misfortune of others including some she personally knows.

Unless you are volunteering your services to be her body guard.

Do let us know when you apply. ;-)

Note to Yu-Kym, are you hiring personal security?


Anonymous said...

Hi David,

There are certain things that one cant conveniently leave to "personal choices". I believe this is one of them unless of course one doesnt care two hoots what can happen to her if she continues taking unnecessary risks.

What personal security measures she may have thought for herself (whether she advertises or not) doesnt really matter if caught in an unfortunate or sudden situation or when one underestimates the danger.

Same goes with having travelled widely. It still does not justify courting trouble!

From her writings and opinions, Yu-Kym is a highly intelligent girl. But for some reason that still perplexes me, I cant seem to understand why she does these reckless acts of so-called bravado?

Is she trying to prove or show something to herself or to someone? Is she unknowingly suffering from some complex that convinces her somehow that what she is doing is perfectly all right and she is somehow immune to danger? To dismiss the reality that unforeseen danger can happen, luck does run out and there is such a thing as in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is there something within herself egging her on to always test the limits?

My cautions to her in this blog may already imply that I care for her well-being. So in a small way, I am already her bodyguard...if only she will heed the advice.

With her extreme penny pinching ways to the extent of putting herself in danger, you think she will ever hire a bodyguard? lol

cheers David
curious cat

David said...


Most reading Yu-Kym's words care for her well being.

Whether she is unwise traveling alone is not unique for women today.

What personal protection measures she follows, Ms. Loh is careful not to reveal.

Does life have to teach her a hard and perhaps damagine lesson regarding personal safety?

That could happen near where she lives, works and shops.

No one wishes harm to happen to Yu-Kym. Only she can tell us what measures she takes to ensure her safety.


Anonymous said...


I am not the remotest concerned with the thousands of women who travel alone and take risks. But as I participate in her blogs, read her views, look at her pix, she becomes not just the thousands anonymous foolish women out there...whom I really dont much care. In her case she becomes to me someone whom I so-called "know" and therefore "concerned".

The path she is taking currently... I guess life will teach her a hard lesson someday. And you rightly said it could happen anywhere....but to hasten or encourage this outcome by taking cab alone at midnite in a foreign land and taking walks alone to a remote waterfall in a deserted jungle? This baffles me!

This part of her recklessness, I really dont understand. But let's put aside now about her well-being.

What intrigues me now is what drives her to take such risks? What's working in her supposedly intelligent mind? Is it convoluted in some bizarre way?

I can understand if she is into extreme death defying sports, does them well and therefore put herself into the edges of danger everytime. That's her passion. But taking extreme risks whilst travelling alone? Or maybe she wasnt alone after all! She has a boyfriend travel companion she is keeping mumm! She is just writing her travel blogs as if she travels alone. To generate interest and conversation like now. Ah....this could be it! How else could it be otherwise? How can one then explain the reckless actions of an otherwise very rationale person?

If not the above, then she must be crazy!

curious cat

David said...


You make many good points. I doubt however that Yu-Kym is crazy.

She does take some risk. Consider that she dives, though never alone.
Yu-Kym has done some mountain climbing. There is a difference however between being a thrill seeker and one taking extreme risk.

Reading her post and going into her archives will tell any reader that Yu-Kym is not a convential young women. As stated she can be a thrill seeker. I strongly doubt she seeks out dangerous settings or situations.

If there a most fortunate male traveling companion, Ms. Loh is very wise not revealing such.

The above is pure speculation.

I am concerned about Yu-Kym's health and safety. I have bene very honoured by her allowing me to occasionally contribute to her site.

I will not reveal the content of PM exchanges I have had with Yu-Kym, and she knows my concerns.

I trust Yu-Kym has taken prudent preparations whenever she travels.


Anonymous said...


It looks like you yourself have made known your concerns to her in your own private way. Well, that's that then. We wish her many more safe travels ahead (with or without her secret boyfriend keke)

curious cat

rainy_girl84 said...

You can consider heading to other parts of Bali such as Ubud, the cultural centre of Bali. I find that Kuta is overrated. It's best to hire a car & driver in Bali but if u are travelling alone, then it'll be expensive.