A Travellerspoint blog

Bali, Indonesia

Wow! Just wow!

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It's our school Spring Break and what better way than to spend it in Bali. It took most of a day to get here from Johor Bahru! But in total the flight was around 300$.

Our first stop was Ubud. We had chosen an airbnb place. It was called The Healing House, and indeed it was healing for the soul. We stayed on the edge of a rice field. Every morning the farmer would be up at dawn working in the fields. Every morning the owner, Putu would come with his helper and fix us an amazing breakfast. A big bowl of fresh tropical fruit. Eggs, or Satay. Fresh squeezed juice or a coconut. Not a coconut like I used to buy the kids in the store that had a few drops of milk, but one containing at least 2 cups of juice.

Putu, the owner and his wife and housekeeper

Putu, the owner and his wife and housekeeper

Airbnb stay in Ubud walk to get there

Airbnb stay in Ubud walk to get there

Airbnb stay in Ubud

Airbnb stay in Ubud

Airbnb stay in Ubud

Airbnb stay in Ubud

Airbnb view from deck

Airbnb view from deck

Airbnb

Airbnb

Breakfast

Breakfast

Morning drink

Morning drink

Breakfast of Satay

Breakfast of Satay

Breakfast in Ubud

Breakfast in Ubud


We were able to walk to restaurants near the home, and downtown wasn't too far away.

We hired a driver for the first day and spent the first day traveling to an Elephant Reserve where we watched an elephant show, rode on an elephant for about 30 minutes and walked around a beautiful area. We also drove into a rural community among the rice fields and farms containing fruits and veggies. At one point we stopped at a beautiful roadside stand and purchased mandarins just picked from the trees. 75% of the land here is used for farming. It's amazingly beautiful and there is a peace here. The people were so warm and friendly. We had lunch overlooking a valley and lake and had a view of the volcano that is still active today. We also visited a temple where we had to wear sarongs.
Beautiful first day!

The next day we decided to be super active....and ended up so sore the next day. I would recommend biking one day and rafting another, but we did them both on the same day! Crazy us!
The tour bus picked us up and delivered us up to the top of the mountain where we had been the day before viewing the volcano. We were outfitted with bikes and helmets and rode for 27 km through beautiful plantations and rice fields. Oh my rear end! We stopped at a local Balinese home and took a tour. Usually several families live in the compound that has several small homes inside. This family had a business where they took pieces of wood and carved them into owls. I later saw the finished products at the market all painted up. This home had no running water, and just recently got electricity, and TV. There was a small building that served as a kitchen with a wood stove. We played a little song on the musical instrument on the porch.90_IMG_8600.jpg90_IMG_8604.jpg90_IMG_8609.jpg90_IMG_8611.jpg90_IMG_8612.jpg90_IMG_8560.jpg

We also had a chance to hold an enormous spider. They were all over! Super scary looking, but I held one. My friend Kelly was freaked out!
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Following the bike tour we were driven to the Elephant Reserve where we watched the Elephant show...again...and had a buffet lunch. Then it was off to the next activity. Rafting. One of the difficult parts was the 633 steps down to the river and over 300 back up. But the rafting was fun. The rapids were pretty calm, only a few really exciting places. Mostly a nice smooth ride. Monkeys on the way, and some beautiful carvings that were on the rocks.

We were totally exhausted and it was back to the house to relax for the evening.

Sunday we really wanted to go to church, but we were more than an hour away so we listened to Women's Conference while it poured rain. Nice day to rest and relax. We found a little restaurant and enjoyed some Balinese food. We did a little shopping at the market and did some bargaining.
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The next day we toured the Monkey Forest. Monkeys everywhere. We fed some bananas, and enjoyed the beautiful forest. Then it was off to Sanur for our next BnB.
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We got to experience The Day of Silence or Nyepi in Bali. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyepi
When we planned the trip we didn't know that this was happening. Everything is closed, even the airports and you are confined to your house. Many people leave the county to get away from it, but we enjoyed the experience. There was a huge parade the night before to scare away the evil spirits, and then at midnight there was silence. And darkness. Luckily the sky was clear and the starts were amazing! They want it silent so the evil spirits leave the island.
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Our housekeeper kept us fed with her amazing dishes and we just relaxed and swam in the pool, read books and played games. I was worried that I would be totally bored....but it turned out ok.
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Our last day we walked to the beach and had a little swim in the Badung Straight. The water was lovely and warm! We met up with friends from work for lunch right on the edge of the ocean. Yummy fish and chips. Then we caught an Uber to the airport and it was off to Kuala Lumpur.
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I highly recommend Bali as a dream vacation. I will go back again and spend more time, if I have the time before checking off all the other places I need to get to! Next time I would like to try the snorkeling and beach activities.

Posted by dianeski4 06:37 Archived in Indonesia Comments (0)

Kuching Weekend Trip

Mountains! Beaches! Favorites of mine!

sunny 86 °F

Before I leave Malaysia I'm trying to see as many places as possible, and this is one place I have wanted to see. This weekend we had a girls trip over to the other side of Malaysia. Kuching in Sarawak. This is an amazing country in that it is split in half by the sea. So we flew to the other side. It took about 1.5 hours. We left after school on Friday night and then took a shuttle from the airport over to our hotel. It backed up to a mountain and the beach was in front of us. Beautiful and green. What a nice change from JB.

We spent Saturday back in the city by taking an Uber. Only 30 RM compared to the 120 RM the hotel shuttle charged. Luckily we got one there and back, because the next day, Sunday we couldn't get any to come out. We went and visited an Orangutans Reserve. It was awesome to see them come to feed.
https://sarawaktourism.com/attraction/semenggoh-nature-reserve/
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After we caught another Uber into the city and walked along the river. It reminded me of Melaka. There were many food stalls along the way, but we ate at small restaurant. It was so yummy. I tried the Sarawak famous dish of Laksa. Its a dish that is made of small noodles in a spicy sauce. There are bits of chicken and prawns, boiled eggs, veggies and tofu. Yummy!
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Sunday I really wanted to go to church, but after trying for over an hour to get an Uber I gave up. It had poured rain all night and was still raining when we got up, but we set out with umbrellas for the Cultural Center. Luckily the rain let up and we had an enjoyable visit. Kelly was picked to go up on stage with one of the performers who shot balloons with a blow dart from across the room. She even got a chance to try it. The village is totally worth the visit.
https://sarawaktourism.com/attraction/sarawak-cultural-village-svc/
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We found a nice bunch of restaurants and had lunch, for super cheap. If you go to the right places you can eat for under 3$.

I wanted to swim in the beach while the others went for a massage. The water was warm and lovely. The view with the mountains nearby was such a rest for the soul. A change of clothes and checking out of the hotel led us to sit near the beach and relax. I have pretty much learned to predict the rain. If you start to feel a few drops and the clouds are dark, there isn't much time for getting under cover. Such it was that afternoon. A few drops and I told Candice we better head for cover, and the skies opened. When it rains here it pours. Like a bucket of water coming down. So interesting this weather.
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We didn't have luck getting an Uber again to head to the airport so had to take a taxi for 3 times the price. But we did make it home about Midnight. What a wonderful weekend!

Posted by dianeski4 04:16 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Another First!

School Field Trip where we left the country and needed passports!

overcast 86 °F

Bella, Yu and I

Bella, Yu and I

Our class has been studying the ecosystem, so I thought a trip to the Singapore Zoo might just be the thing to do. It's never easy planning Field Trips, but when you are dealing with passports and paperwork to cross the border from Malaysia to Singapore, it just adds another layer of planning and stress. But it all worked out, and we brought everyone home in one piece, with their passport!

Sadly, the fourth grade teacher, Cherie, whose class was going with us, had bad news that her mother passed away, and wasn't able to join us. Luckily she had two great parents to help us, so all worked out okay.

We loaded 21 kids and 5 adults into three school vans and headed off for the border. About 8:30 am the crossing starts slowing down, so the wait wasn't bad at all thru both borders. We made it to the zoo just a little late for our tour of the rainforest, and it was awesome. So many wonderful creatures in this huge habitat complete with a small waterfall, and high trees. My favorite was the sloth, which you usually never see moving. But he put on a show for us! Climbed down, upside down, from a huge tree and was about 5 feet from us eating lunch. There were bats next to him that kept trying to knock him away. I remember the sloths in Bolivia, but never got this close to one that was actually moving!
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After the tour we headed to KFC for some lunch and then split into groups to see the rest of the zoo. What a fantastic zoo this is! I would say it's one of the most beautiful settings for a zoo I have ever seen. I love the San Diego Zoo, but will have to say this tops it. Beautiful flowers everywhere, so many different kinds of animals, and they looked happy and well taken care of. I want to come back and take the River Cruise and Night Safari sometime.

About 2:30 we met up and loaded the vans again for the ride home. Kids were exhausted, but happy. Lot's of fun traveling to another country for a field trip today!

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Posted by dianeski4 03:01 Archived in Singapore Comments (0)

Kampung Sungai Melayu

Fantastic boating and fresh seafood lunch!

overcast 84 °F

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We had a day off of school today and took advantage of an outing just minutes from our school. It's called the Kampung, a village in the middle of a forest of palm trees and on the inlet that separates Malaysia from Singapore.

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The village was opened more than 100 years ago and the villagers are totally Malay, with most of them traditional fishermen. The village is famous for its fresh seafood such as seabags, catfish, shrimp, crab and mussels. The mangrove forest that surrounds almost 75% of the village hosts migratory birds from Siberia from August to April.

This village was also used by the Japanese as one of the routes to attack Singapore during World War ll .

We bought our tickets for 35 RM, about 8$, and had about an hour tour of the mangroves with views of both Johor Bahru and Singapore. They also showed us the floating mussel farm, and a floating "hotel". You can rent the floating hotel, complete with a toilet that empties into the water, and 2 twin beds, and a deck for about 6$ a night.

After the tour we had a lovely lunch at a restaurant right on the dock. We enjoyed fresh steamed fish, prawns, veggies and rice for about 5$ a person.

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Posted by dianeski4 22:53 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

Shell Out!

Eating Adventures

overcast 80 °F

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Have you ever had your food dumped in the middle of the table and ate it with your hands? Well, if not, try a Shell Out! It's a lot of fun and yummy, if you love seafood and messy hands.

A group of teachers spent Saturday evening in Johor Bahru eating seafood and listening to a local band sing. The area, the size of a football field held about 15 separate restaurants lined up in a rectangle with a stage and big screen TV in the front. Football (soccer in America) was playing when we arrived, and one of our teachers from the school and her band would break in on occasion to sing for us. At one point they wanted one of the teachers to volunteer to sing and Jess volunteered. She did a great job. There were all sorts of dinner options, including "Western" and "American" and lots of Malaysian.

They brought us drinks of different types of juice including lime juice, which I quite enjoyed. They laid out boards over the round tables and covered them with plastic sheeting. And then came the food. Big buckets filled with prawns, crab and mussels covered in a spicy red sauce were dumped down the middle of the table. Everyone had a bowl of rice dumped out in front of them. And then we dug in, and ate and ate. We would just put the used shells in front of us. What a mess it was, but a lot of fun, with a great group of friends.

And don't forget...if you need a car wash you can have your car hand washed right there, ready to go when you are!

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Posted by dianeski4 03:20 Archived in Malaysia Comments (0)

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