Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by indohoyindohoy on 26 March 2011 • Itinerary
Traveled in January, 2011
As you’ve probably observed in Indohoy’s trip entries, I’ve backpacked in a lot of my travels in Indonesia. I’ve stayed in budget hotels, taken budget transportations, done everything budget. It’s not that I’m against luxury, God knows most backpackers are not, but I just wanted to experience as much as I could with such little fortune that I’ve got. So when opportunity knocked for me to taste a tiny bit of the stinking rich people’s way of vacation, I went for the ride! Free ride, that is!
Kandara Beach, Ungasan
To make it easier for me to tell about this beach, let’s just call it Kandara beach, when it actually doesn’t have a specific name, as told by a local. Non Karma Kandara guests are only allowed to go down to this beach with a USD 30 entrance fee. Well, you could get there for free, but you’d have to walk aaallll the way from the next resorts, which are probably about 1 km away from Kandara. I would’ve done that out of curiosity, if only my left foot wasn’t hurting from the muaythai exercise just a week before.
For resort’s guests, there’s an inclinator taking us to and from the beach that’s about 150 meters off the cliff. There’s also a fat set of stairs you could take, especially before the inclinator operates at 9 AM.
In the 3 days staying at the resort, I found the waves to be pretty scary for swimming. I saw a few people swimming and snorkeling, and I tried it on the 3rd day. The waves kept tossing me abruptly back to the shore. I’m not sure if it was only a seasonal thing, but keeping in mind that this is the Indian Ocean we’re talking about, it might not be the safest spot to swim or snorkel. And I didn’t see any Mitch Buchannon nor C.J. Parker guarding the beach (hahahaahaha… where did that come from? Whom have I been hanging out with??! Forgive my random memory)
Having failed to swim and snorkel, I decided to just sun tan, though that wasn’t necessary at all for my skin tone. But nature had to put a damper on me again by pouring quite a heavy rain all of a sudden. It was a good 15 minutes nap though. They provide free beach chairs, and a restaurant (more about it under “Eat”) from which you can order drinks or food. Not to mention a gorgeous view of the ocean, lush forests, and enchanting cliffs.
Karma Spa, Karma Kandara Resorts & Spa
A spa is a spa. A great spa gives you good massage, a quiet and relaxing 1 hour, and a fresh feeling afterwards. Karma Spa gave me more than that. I don’t mean to sound like a commercial but it really did. And that something-more is: the treatment room was built on a cliff, facing the Indian Ocean.
I was asked to choose between using the AC or have the windows opened and let the natural breeze cool the room. You guessed it! I chose the latter. And to make it even more heavenly, soothing music was played in harmony with the real sound of waves from the ocean. Hey, is that Mother Theresa? (*hint*I’ m in heaven*)
A 90 minute Karma Well Being Treatment was what they recommended to me. It’s a mix of Balinese, Swedish, and Thai massages. I forgot which part was Swedish, but Thai is when they pull and stretch your body parts like rubber, and Balinese is when they use elbows and the lower arms to rub you down. My masseuse’s name was Atik, and she was a great one!
Awesomely enough, the spa provides one (or more? I forgot) spot to have a treatment down in the beach. It’s of an open hut with white curtain if you wish to have a little privacy.
Kecak Dance, Uluwatu
Uluwatu Temple is one of the most famous Hindu temples in Bali. It’s built on top of a cliff and has a highly scenic view in the background. My agenda to go there wasn’t for the temple, but to see the Kecak performance instead. It’s held every day towards the setting sun, and Mumun’s story was initially what made me wanna go.
A friend of my friend’s dropped us off at the gate at about 5 PM. Entrance fee was about IDR 75,000 / visitor. It was Saturday, countless tourists were cramming in, and each had to wear a yellow belt, which they provided at the gate.
The Kecak show was starting at 6 PM, so we took a walk around the temple to kill time. There were a lot of monkeys from the nearby forest, and dude, they were fatso! They’re being spoiled by visitors, giving them food out of love or fear of being stolen from. But I ain’t gonna give no monkey obesity, so I stayed away.
Around 6 pm we took seats in the theatre. Toward the start of the show, crowd was getting bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, they had to sit some guests behind the stage, which made photographing the performers was very tricky from our seats. I wonder what would happen if we went there on a weeknight, would there also be that many people?
The show itself was, well, good. Honestly I expected something more extravagant. I even thought the ‘amphitheater’ would be much larger and the scenes with the sunset background and all would be much more dramatic. Turns out, it wasn’t. Having said that, I did enjoy it very much. The ‘kecak kecak’ sound they make is always something awesome to me. Lack of enthusiasm they may be, I think it’s interesting that these 50 kecak performers consisted of men with various daily jobs, ranging from a professional dancer to a governmental staff. So they take their time to go here and perform. Every. Day.
The Ramayana story, which was depicted in the dance, is a classic Hindu story. But what wasn’t so classis was that I was surprised by Hanuman, a friend of Ramayana, in real life! Hahaha.. turns out, right behind of where I was sitting was these stairs. And when we were all focused on the kecaking or dance on the stage, Hanuman was poking me! He went up the stairs and picked on me, rubbing my hair and all! Hahahaha.. Shoot, he scared me indeed! And then all heads were turning my way when others realized where Hanuman was sitting. And he went on picking on other guests as well. That and some other gimmicks helped in making the show, people got distracted from too-seriousness, and entertained by others’ unprepared reactions to surprises.. hahaha.. A girl on the front row was even pulled to the stage and asked to dance with them a while. They know how to entertain!
If you go to see this performance and not with an arranged tour, I suggest you take a car with you. Finding a cab to get you outta there could be a hassle. We were lucky that one of the security guards had a friend who was a taxi driver and phoned him for us.
My eating and drinking experience when staying at the Karma Kandara was all in the resort’s restaurants and bar. As I was heading there, actually I passed by some dining places and warungs. But besides I’d need to hire a cab or a car with driver just to have lunch or dinner outside, I couldn’t possibly turn down free upscale meals, now could I?
Nammos Beach Club
A restaurant by day, randomly a club ambience by night. Fresh seafood menu is one of their specialties, as you’d expect from a restaurant by the beach. And that’s what I ordered when having lunch in Nammos. Tasty fresh poached prawns served on crushed ice, cooled up the hot and humid afternoon a little, following the welcome drink that was a mix of vodka and.. um, something else 😛
This bamboo restaurant is open for non resort guests as well. They serve cocktails, Mediterranean inspired food, wood-fired pizza, cold beers, etc, and the prices start from USD 10. These menus are to be consumed while viewing the ocean and listening to the sound of waves. What’s a better way of enjoying lunch in your Bali vacation than that?
Translates to ‘of the ocean’, this restaurant is situated 85 meters on top of a rocky outcrop, making it a perfect spot to gaze at the Indian Ocean. I loved how they decorate the interior in mostly white and blue. And I could not pass a chance to swim at their infinity pool one morning before having breakfast, while viewing the ocean as well. So, I was viewing water while being in the water. Hee hee, a nice redundancy!
As for the menu, Di Mare combines Mediterranean and Asian food, as well as wine, etc. My favorite breakfast menu was this ..oh shoot I forgot the name, but it was poached egg on top of smoked salmon and asparagus, served on an English muffin. Delicioso! (I even tried to imitate it at home in Jakarta with downscale ingredients..)
And on one of our dinners there, I had Presce Crodo as appetizer, which was tuna and salmon sashimi with olive oil. And for the main menu I had a dish of lamb ..um, ribs or legs I forgot, as yummy as you can see in the picture below. I won’t blame you for breaking your diet after looking at these food pictures.
Temple Lounge & Bar
Temple Lounge & Bar is located on the rooftop of Di Mare restaurant. And I think it functions not only as a lounge and bar, but you can actually suntan here! I went there to check it out after a breakfast, and boy was it hot!
And they have a carpet spread out with colorful bean bags. Would be a perfect hang out with friends over drinks and laughs 🙂 But because this isn’t really a ‘party’ type of resort, the bar usually closes at 10 PM.
Karma Kandara Resorts, Ungasan
I’ve heard of this place since 2 years ago. I’ve heard about its exclusivity and beautiful surrounding, but didn’t even dare to dream to check in at the resorts. Thanks to a friend of mine, I had free 2-day stay at Karma Kandara Resorts.
We were placed in a 3-bedroom villa. My god! I felt like screaming in joy when we were taken to the villa with washed white walls and Santorini blue gate! (check out my top-5 list here and you’ll understand why) And I felt like jumping up and down when given a tour of the villa; 3 bedrooms with private bathrooms, a spacious living room and its amenities, a kitchen with large wooden dinner table and complete kitchen wares, aaand… a small swimming pool at the back terrace! Oh, how I wished the resort’s public relations staff wasn’t there with us so I could jump up and down for real out of excitement! But being a representative of a media being that was being treated, I had to keep my cool, you know. * putting on shades and folding my arms *
So anyway, the whole resort was like a… like a heaven. Haha, I can’t find other words to describe how I felt about it. Despite the fact that there are many other resorts more luxurious than this, this was the best one I’ve experienced so far, so please excuse my over jubilance * wide grin * That said, stone walls, wooden doors, lush gardens – and even forest, playful contour, and – best of all – a clean quiet beach nearby, all combined together, I don’t think would ever fail me and will always make me this ecstatic! At some point, I even envied the staff cos they got to work at such beautiful place!
Something scary happened though on our 2nd day. We were sitting and munching on snacks at the dining table, and suddenly a little hairy fellow stormed in from the terrace. A monkey! I didn’t know what to do and I was pretty scared cos I heard that monkeys can be very bad, snatching your things and even get in fights with you if you try to snatch the stuff back. This little dude climbed up a dinner seat, probably tempted to snatch some fruits on the table. Good thing that my friend thought of something, finally! He threw an apple down to the floor and Mr. Hairy took no time to go for it and then go back out. Phew!
Bali is great, but it can be a bummer when it comes to public transportation. So you better hire a car (maybe with the driver included) or get a cab.
If you’re going to see the Kecak performance at Uluwatu Temple, make sure you have a transportation to get you back to your hotel.
A car rental service that I happened to use a few times in this trip was organized by Mr. Putu, who can be reached at +628123800003. Price starts from IDR 300,000 / 10 hrs excluding gas.
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