Friday, February 18, 2011

Bali & Kuala lampur Trip - Top 10

Ever since Shyama & I had returned back from Bali, I wanted to write a travelogue on the memorable trip we had. We travelled for 9 days from Feb 6, 2011 to Feb 14, 2011 - we spent 3 days in Kuala Lampur, the City of Twin towers & 6 days in Bali, the land of exquisite temples, active volcanoes and picturesque beaches. Here is the list of the top 10 places we visited, rated purely based on the fun we had!

1. “The ‘Eiffel Tower’of Bali”: Pura Tanah Lot is by the far, the most magnificent temple I have seen! It is a sea temple situated on top of a rock, dedicated to the guardian spirits of the sea. The temple, by itself is guarded by poisonous snakes that inhabit the caves below. I could safely say, at the sun set, the Pura Tanah Lot temple surrounded by the ocean would form a wonderful background of one’s family picture!

2. “World's Largest Free-flight Walk-in Aviary’: The KL's Bird Park is a wonderful place to take one’s girl friend around! The unique feature of this place is that all the birds are let free in the aviary which resembles their natural habitat. Initially, when we entered the park, we were a little bit scared, as a few hungry birds were flying over our head vociferously. Soon, we started enjoying, when the feeding session started - we saw a hundreds of birds of various sizes feeding in front of us, at one foot distance apart. It's a lovely sight to see the hornbills flying freely from tree to tree & flamingos catching salmons skillfully in the pond.

3. ‘CafĂ© Cofee Day’in the middle of a forest: I read somewhere that “The best things in the life are all free and that includes your life”. What more could you ask far – five different flavors of unlimited tea & coffee served in a teak wood table/ chair on a hill slope, with a beautiful view of lush green forests of Kintamani - all for free! A slight drizzle made the place look even more romantic! We also got a chance to smell & touch “Luwak Kopi”, the worlds most expensive coffee, made out of (coffee bean) droppings of “Toddy cat”, an Asian Palm Civet that has the knack of eating the best coffee beans. No guess- We didn’t taste that for sure!

4. Oh yeah – We live to eat: Who said ‘we eat to live’? Once you get to taste the food @ Sao Nam restaurant, you would say ‘we live to eat’! When we were in KL, we heard about the award winning Vietnamese Restaurant - “Sao Nam” and we didn’t want to miss that! The food there was awesome and we thoroughly enjoyed it, especially “Mangosteen salad”, “Vietnamese Pancake” and “Vietnamese Vegetable Laksa”. I also carried back the menu card, which had the recipes for some of those award winning dishes, hoping that my wife would cook it for me someday!

5. “A Romantic Dinner’: I remember, a few months back, when I was talking to my friends on what a ‘romantic dinner’ is, each of them were saying different things - “Candle light”, “exotic food”, “beach”, “Sun set”, “light music”, “dance”, and so on., If I were to find a single spot in the world that would match all of their specifications, it would be “Jimbaran Bay” @ South Bali.

6. An eye on an active Volcano: On the very first day of our trip to Bali, we had planned to visit Mt. Batur Volcano, which is one of three volcanoes on Bali and it is Bali's only double caldera volcano. We went to a Volcano view restaurant - It was a thrilling experience to have one eye on the Mt Batur Volcano & the Batur Lake, and to have the other eye on the tasty dishes in the lunch buffet. We enjoyed eating roasted Banana fruit, Potato grills, Bali’s version of papads, salads & snake fruit.

7. Feeding the Sharks, hanging in the mid-sky: Walking through under-water tunnel watching huge sharks, turtles & rays and standing close to a tank full of piranhas feeding on small fishes, were really enjoyable. We also went to the top of the KL Tower & to the Sky Bridge connecting the world’s tallest twin tower. The twin towers were at its majestic best when the lights are ON.

8. A little Piece of Paradise: Green Garden Beach Resort is a wonderful place not just for the facilities it offered but also for the close-to-nature ambience and for the friendly staff – Henry & Adi remember the names & preferences of each of the inmates & they provide personal care. It is adjacent Tuban beach & at a walk-able distance to Kuta beach, a little away from the traffic yet accessible to the shops and restaurants. It is also an adults-only resort, which makes it a wonderful place for couples – the swimming pool & the min-garden is all yours, as there are no kids around that jump into the water & spoil the fun.

9. Water, Water & Water Everywhere: Bali is a land of beaches - from palm fringed white sand on the east coast to the lava coated, black sand beaches on the west coast. It has dramatic surf beaches of bukit, the aquamarine lagoons of Lembongan island and the sleepy coves in the north. We snorkeled at the Nusa Dua, sailed in a steam boat to the Turtle Island, walked along the shore @ Kuta beach, experienced Balinese massage @ Tuban Beach, watched the sun-set @ Legian beach, and enjoyed a sumptuous dinner in the sea shore @ Jimbaran Bay! Hmm…yeah – we were busy travelers!

10 a. Golden fish in the Sacred Pond: Tirta Empul is one of the oldest temples of Bali, which hosts a sacred pond that is filled by a holy spring from the underneath stream. It is guarded by a sacred eel and hundreds of huge golden fishes. On the way, we saw a royal cremation ceremony @ Ubud Palace that gave a stiff competition to the grandness of the Ex Chief Minister Jayalalitha’s adopted son’s marriage function. :)
10 b. 'The Ape Man': In the past, I had seen several monkeys in temples and hill stations, but it was a unique experience walking in the lush green Monkey Forests of Ubud, which also has old temple carvings & statues, huge banyan trees and a small pond that adds to the beauty of the forest.

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