Destination Bali (via Kuala Lumpur)
3 September 2009
The excitement on the trip was the main reason why I was no longer able to get some sleep after I arrived in my apartment from work at around three in the morning. I did some last minute packing and afterwards did some stuff online and before I knew it, I was already aboard the MRT bound for Changi Airport.
Our Air Asia flight will depart from Singapore at 11:20 AM and will land in Kuala Lumpur. From there on, we will be taking a connecting flight to Bali at 15:50 PM. The flight to Kuala Lumpur was unfortunately delayed; it was not until lunchtime that we finally left Singapore onboard AK 706. I must have been very tired because from the moment I sat in my seat, I just fastened my seatbelt and I was already asleep.
The plane landed at the LCC Terminal less than an hour later; although I have been to this airport before, I didn’t expect the long walk that we had to endure before finally clearing past immigration. As we were already very hungry, we got something to eat from McDonald’s before we did the check-in for the next flight.
We were already inside the pre-departure area of the LCCT before 2 PM; there was a good two hours before our flight to Bali. Although they advertised that there was free WiFi inside the airport, it was abnormally slow. Apart from trying to connect online, there was not much to do inside the LCCT. I gave up after 30 minutes and instead browse over my Lonely Planet – Southeast Asia Guidebook.
The plane for this leg of the journey departed on time and by 4 PM, we were already bound for Bali. AK 364 was a long 3-hour flight, I managed to catch up (again!) on my much-needed sleep.
I woke up an hour before our expected arrival time; the sun was already setting and the color of the sky was very beautiful. I deliberately chose the window seat on the right side of the plane so that we could catch a glimpse of the sunset. It was an excellent choice and we were rewarded with an unobstructed view of the sun setting at 25,000 feet above the ground.
Shortly after the sun disappeared, the plane began its final descent. In less than an hour, we landed in Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali. After a long journey, we were finally in our destination. The traditional Balinese music was played at the airport sound system; it has a very relaxing effect on my weary mind.
As the plane docked in the 2nd farthest gate from the immigration counter, we had to walk some distance again. It took us 30 minutes to clear past Indonesian immigration since there was only one immigration officer to take charge of tourists not needing visas. While waiting for our turn, we made use of the time to examine the brochures of tours being offered by different companies, most of these were beyond our budget and were priced in US Dollars.
There was another long queue on the taxi stand and I was beginning to lose my patience. Fortunately it just took another 10 minute before we were able to a cab to take us to our hotel in Kuta Beach. Similar to the airport taxi system in Penang, Phuket and Yogyakarta, we needed to purchase a prepaid coupon for our taxi ride. The price of which is dependent on the area that we wished to be dropped off. They charged us 50,000 IDR for the ride to Kuta Beach.
It was a very short ride; although there was not much traffic when we headed towards our hotel, I did notice that the streets are very small, most probably it would be hell during peak hours.
We were dropped in Kuta Seaview Hotel just across Kuta Beach; it is a 4-star resort, which we booked from Agoda. The hotel staff welcomed us with some non-alcoholic drinks while they pulled up our reservation details from their file. I specifically requested for a room upgrade and was pleased to know that they granted my request; from Deluxe Garden, they gave us a Premier Deluxe Cottage. This made me feel a little better as the upgrade sort of justified the cost of the whole accommodation. The room was great, huge comfortable bed with excellent warm lightings. Suffice to say, this is the best place I have stayed in our trips the past few months (this probably goes to prove that I am not really used to hotel style accommodation). We dropped off our bags and headed out for dinner.
We ate at this Pizza Hut outlet a few meters from our hotel; we stuffed ourselves with an all-meat pizza. It was not a hard choice, as this was a favorite even when we were still based in the Philippines.
After dinner, we wasted no time as it was almost ten in the evening then. We strolled around the area inquiring from different travel agencies for a tour around the island for the following morning; all of them wouldn’t budge for the price we can afford and instead offered only a 20 percent discount from what was quoted in brochures, which was still very expensive for us.
Finally after several failed attempts in haggling, we were able to find a good price for the tour we wanted. For the price of 350,000 IDR, a driver will pick us up from the hotel for a whole day private tour. It is not a bad price considering that the similar group tour, which other travel agencies offered are priced at 35 USD per head. I paid for the downpayment and asked Nino, the travel agent, to pick us up the following morning at 9:30 in our hotel.
Travel Tip: In tourist heavy places such as Phuket and Bali, do not be afraid to haggle big time. Set the maximum price you can afford and if they won’t budge, just simply walk away. More often than not, this always works.
The day was long and I barely had sufficient rest. We were very tempted to stroll around Kuta Square and the many beautiful shops around the area but there is time for everything. For now I guess, it is time to catch up on my rest and prepare for a long day ahead tomorrow.