Saturday, 24 May 2014

Mia's Travel Log: Bali Day 3 - Bali Safari & Marine Park, Tanah Lot, and Bale Udang!

Day 3 in Ubud was started off with... Nissin Cup Noodles! Totally Singapore-fied Chilli Crab flavour too! :) 
It was initially my most anticipated day of my 4D3N but it pretty much ended as quite a disappointment... Oh well, you'll see why soon.

At 9am sharp, we hopped onto Made's car and took a 1.5 hour's drive to our destination.

 If you're opting for the elephant ride, do not worry for you'll be insurance covered with the ticket (Elephant Back Safari at USD $85)

We chose the Dragon Safari package at USD $69, which is $20 more than the Jungle Hopper Package at $49, due to additional lunch package at Uma Restaurant. Let me tell you first, just in case you didn't follow through the entire post till the end, DO NOT SPEND THIS EXTRA $20 FOR LUNCH. It is totally not worth it and you can get better and much cheaper lunch at the same Uma Restaurant.

We hopped onto these cute animal prints shuttle bus after entering the park with our tickets to reach the actual park area. Do not confuse this cute bus with the safari bus, you must get onto this bus if not you won't get to see any animals!

 Our first stop of the day is their Animal Education Show. And yes, as you can see they do have the first 2 rows reserved for Rhino Pass only. And only meaning, even if the show has started and the benches are empty, a non-pass holder still cannot sit on them. You got to stand beside the empty benches. Too rigid, no?
The area is also open air with no shelter of any sort so it's extremely hot throughout the entire show, or if it rains... good luck.

Sharing some pictures from the show. Love the Orang Utan couple! So adorable! :)

And on our way over to the elephant show, we went by the tiger's enclosure.

There's a tiger cub out for photo-taking (so adorable!) and the pair of white tigers are just lazing around on the grass.

I guess the highlight of the show, for me, was when one of the elephant decided to go for a swim in the middle of the show. :)

And on the way towards the amphitheatre for the elephant show, we went by a section with a very peculiar name....  
And of course, right after the show, we headed back to find out what is this Safari Poo Paper.

And we found it's really just poo-paper. Nope, not toilet paper, but paper made from poo. Elephant poo, to be exact.

And on our way over to the safari bus, we went by the petting zoo! Hoping to find some cute touchable animals, we popped in for a look.

 Only to realise that the humour-signboards inside may be much cuter than the lambs and rabbits inside. xp

After bidding the rather disappointing petting zoo goodbye, we headed to the safari bus pick up area, and look what we found! OMG, it's churros! Feeling gluttony, we quickly ordered 1 set to share and it was heavenly! Crispy, piping hot churros coated generously in cinnamon sugar. And later on we realised these churros are the best food we'll ever eat in this safari park....

That aside, we boarded the fully air-conditioned comfy safari bus, with the packet of churros in hand, and off we go for our safari tour!

This owl is so cute! It kept turning its head around and flashes its eyes for us to take pictures of it. 

A baby Orang Utan swinging around...

So here's the tigers, kept in the (relatively) free roam safari section while their white cousins are kept in the enclosure. 

Bambi! Awww...

Really lucky to get a shot of the Hippo while it surfaced for just a few seconds to breath...

The lion couple. :)

The zebras (one of the 2 species living in the safari park). And many many more....

And after all the excitement at the safari bus ride, we headed over to Uma restaurant for our USD $20 lunch, which we have been anticipating...

And we were a tad disappointed when we realised that it's going to be a lunch buffet. I was hoping for some yummy set meals!

And before we really looked at the food, we found out that the water park is not that exciting as we thought it would be after all. This has to be the quietest (almost silent) water park I've ever seen. Nobody is on the slides, only some young children splashing around in the wading pools and their parents chilling by the side.... Unless you're desperate to be immersed in pool water, if not, don't bother packing in swim suit and change of dry clothes.

And then we got back to the food, and was horribly disappointed to find out that it's actually just worth $5. Do take the cheaper package at $49, which doesn't include lunch in the package. You can get yummy looking pastas and pizzas at the very same restaurant for about just $10.

After the disappointing, unsatisfying lunch, we skipped the water park and checked out the fun park (land theme park) only to be even more disappointed because it wasn't even completed!
The marine park wasn't all that fascinating either, being extremely small like just a section of our SEA Aquarium and can be skipped if you're feeling lazy. I'm not very sure if the marine park is also undergoing construction, but for now, you'll really not miss anything by not visiting this part of the park. 

In conclusion, I personally find the Bali Safari & Marine Park an extremely overpriced tourist attraction. Almost SGD $90 bucks for all these, is it a go or no go for you?

Anyway, we're done with the park by around 230pm and we quickly hopped onto Made's car and set off for Tanah Lot. A temple, which apparently is cursed for unmarried couples. Visit with your lover and your relationship is doomed within the next 6 months. True or not, it's up to you to decide. :)

We walked through the entire stretch of market place before arriving at the shore...

And saw these awesome scenic views.

 Somehow I feel that the 'backlight' just made everything more artistic. Hahahaha!

Not sure if all these water filled holes in the ground is due to low tide or not, but they're pretty 'fun' to jump over. #kidatheart
The ground is sandy (black kind of sand) and rather sloppy wet. So do try to avoid wearing your favourite pair of shoes when visiting Tanah Lot. But thank goodness for these water holes, I can always dip my slippers into the water to wash them down, but only to dirty them again as we prodded on further.

After snapping all the photos that we can take, we browsed through the market place and found many pretty sun dresses and art pieces on sale. However, as we have discussed with Made to visit Olleh Olleh (their fixed price departmental store kind of market) tomorrow before our flight, we didn't bother to buy anything here.... Which I lived to regret that decision. You'll know why in my final Bali trip post.

And after a tiring day, it's supposed to be Spa on the itinerary next but unfortunately, Made couldn't find any spa places with available slots for 3 pax together in Kuta. Not those spa villas, nor the local (cheaper) spas. We're also at fault for not confirming with Made on exactly when we want to go for Spa, which is why he only started making reservations so late.
Hence, deciding that we can try our luck later on with Matahari Cottages or somewhere near the inn at Ubud area, we headed to Bale Udang for dinner, a recommendation by Made.

 I believe they also have a branch in Ubud area, but we tried the one at Kuta.

It's a pity that it's almost too dark for my note 2 camera to capture anything. But the entire restaurant was very spacious, clean, big and well decorated, with some individual pavilions located in the middle of the pond.

 My drink of the night was Sprite Float, which kept overflowing because they filled it too full to the brim. Hahaha! Mad rush to drink up the sprite to prevent anymore spillage. And, it was served without any dessert spoon so I used my rice spoon to eat the ice cream instead.

 Took a picture of the rice bowl because it looked cute. Hahaha!

 Can't remember the exact dish name, but this is their Chicken Curry Soup. And we all loved it!
Obviously, you can find bits and pieces of tomato in the soup and it looked very washed down and watery. But first taste and we were all sold! It's very flavourful, savoury, at the most tasty yet comfortable spiciness, and with a tinge of sourness (from the tomato), which made the soup very appetizing. I wasn't interested in the chicken at all, neither was ZH. We all attacked the soup like no tomorrow and left the chicken to KK. :p

Kang Kong with Sambal Chili 

 Grilled Clams, which was similar to the clams we had for dinner on our first night, but even tastier.

 Honey grilled prawns (or something similar), which was really tasty! In terms of freshness, it didn't do as well as those prawns we had by the sea on the first night but still decent and good.

The salted egg york prawns was also good, but pales in comparison to the honey grilled prawns IMO.

To sum it up, I feel that Bale Udang made our best dinner for the 3 nights in Bali, must try out that curry chicken soup and honey grilled prawns!

And so, after our satisfying dinner, we returned to Made's car and headed back to Matahari Cottages, only to find that they've help shifted all our belongings from the Janger room to the Bintang room, which we were scheduled for the night. A bit embarrassed at the finding, for I had my dirty clothes (and undergarments, yikes!) strewn all over the wardrobe out of laziness to pack.... Erhm. =.="

Pictures taken at night, hence blurry.

Yes, obviously the Bintang room is the best of the 3 we've tried for the trip. It basically combined the prettier decor of Janger, with the spaciousness of Gua. No UFO over here as well, because it's nearer to 'civilisation' right next to the reception area, but still full of mosquitoes and ants, and one moth. We asked for the mosquito coil again, but was told by another staff they don't have any, and was given an eucalyptus scented Bygone instead.
Hence, we spray down the enclosed room like no tomorrow and quickly exited the room (in case we die before the insects) to take cover by the pool while the mosquitoes get killed. And the pool was..... plain creepy.
Didn't manage to take a night shot of the pool, but you can see how small the pool is (and seemingly dirty, for the jacuzzi pool) in my day 2 post. And the end of the pool with all the lush landscape just looked haunted at night with a serious lack of lightings at that side. There's almost no lights at the pool, apart from a few miserably dim lights in the water at the steps end, and those at the eating pavilion. Really creepy, and I couldn't imagine anybody wanting to take a dip here alone at night. The pool water looks rather dirty as well, with dirt and fallen leaves and twigs at the bottom, and it was pretty deep at 1.6m for such a small pool as well. So we really just took a quick dip by sitting on the lower step to chill and chit chat for a while before returning to our room for the night, to find that most of the mosquitoes are dead/gone, and we're left with only the ants problem for the night, which was really the best we can get out of the 3 nights here at Matahari Cottages.

For my final day recount, click HERE

Till then,

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