Bali – It’s not a Place, It’s an Emotion!

Bali – You’ll like it or Hate it!

I Just loved it.

Shwetha: Sanjay, pack your bags we are going to Bali! (We cooked up this line at the airport for FB check-in) Smarty Pants!

Bali trip got bound over WhatsApp just a day before we decided to do this International trip.  This was was my first ever International trip with zero prep and plan!

Trust me, This was one of the fun & memorable vacations I had ever so far.

We did manage to do shopping by evening and booked a hotel on agoda.com just for 1 night and got ready to fly by Saturday afternoon flight.

The flight took around 6+ hours to reach from Sydney to Bali.

Yaaasss! Time for a selfie! Bali looked like an Emu when we saw it’s map at airport 😀

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We hired a taxi and reached our hotel (Astagina Resort) at Seminyak. We were so pleased with the entrance of the resort, welcome drink, Pools and of course the cozy room!

Post check-in to our room we refreshed and walked out to have food nearby. We were fortunate enough to have a beach (Double six) close to our resort, But we weren’t expecting a firework to welcome us at the beach. We did have a heavenly seafood platter which was portioned perfectly for 2.

 

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The next day we hired scoopy aka 2 wheeler and headed to Tanah Lot, The best way to explore Bali is through 2 wheels! I felt like getting my wings back as it had been over a year that I had moved to Sydney from Bangalore, where my wings were fastened. The scooter ride was the best to have happened to both of us in Bali. We felt resurrected after having fresh tender coconut. No Traffic no Bali! 😛 Bali’s 80% of the economy is made out of tourism-related businesses. Watch out mate, you get honked for following traffic rules!

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After visiting the Tanah lot temple we headed back to our room and booked an appointment for Spa and Balinese massage(Get this massage, you’ll thank me later). We extended our stay that night at Astagina resort.

Next day morning we hired a taxi to go to Ubud. Our stay at Ubud was a bit far from Ubud city. As usual, we hired a scooter to start our adventure.

It was almost afternoon and we hadn’t had our lunch still yet, We found a decent restaurant near Tegunungan waterfalls where we had yummy seafood momo’s aka Dimsum’s on a tree top. Later we headed towards Goa Gajah, a rock-cut cave temple. we met a family from Karnataka, Bangalore there and as we exchanged talks found there’s a fire dance near Ubud palace which is played every day. Yes, the fire dance was on our list and we also had a bit of high expectation on that. We made our way to fire dance, the ticket cost us around 16$ AUD for 2 tickets. The play happened in an open-air theater, the act was Death of Kumbhakarana. Be sure to get insect repellent here else mosquitoes will chew you apart. I wasn’t much excited about the play because I was expecting much intense play or maybe I was comparing it with our Yakshagana (Indian Traditional theater). The play was good to watch towards the end, Fire dance. Post play we found an Indian restaurant and satisfied our tummies with Dal n rice with extra butter 😀

 

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The next day we moved to Ubud village hotel (My personal favorite, I’ll tell you why). We hired scoopy and reached BALI SWING (there are a couple of them around, Make sure you go to the correct one). It cost 35$ USD per person as entry fee and you spend most of the time in the queue, You can also hire a photographer to get your pictures clicked for a cost of 10$. We spent half a day here and thought of going back to the hotel, but we found a river rafting place where they were about to start and we quickly negotiated the price and finalized the adventure. The cost of rafting was 20$ AUD per person. We did white water rafting in River Ayung (Ayung means Beautiful women). The intensity wasn’t that extreme but definitely worth a fun ride.

 

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Next day started early as we had planned to hike Mount Batur. It was an hour drive from our hotel to Mt Batur. Our lovely guide Made Kandra reached the hotel at 2:30am to pick us. We reached the base of mount Batur at 3:45am. We were Introduced to Sintiya Dewi as our hiking guide – Cheerful and joyous girl. We did not know that mountain was an active volcano till Sintiya Dewi showed us hot spring near the summit. We were mesmerized by the sunrise on top of the mountain with a lake at the bottom. We were awestruck by the sunrise and its landscape views from the top. Later made took us to the coffee plantation, my most awaited moment for tasting authentic Balinese coffee. I wasn’t much impressed by Luwak/Balinese coffee But Mangosteen tea surprised me with its unique taste. Mangosteen tea powder is made from the outer layer of Mangosteen fruit, where the skin is dried in sun and ground later.

 

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We relaxed after coming back from the hike. Next day, Shwetha stayed back at the hotel and relaxed the whole day. I hired a scooter and loafed around 100+ km. I was glad to see the ceremony at Temple Besakih. Traditional festival of Balinese people who offers prayer when a Volcanic Eruption happens. There was an eruption a day before at Mount Agung. People at Bali are so generous in offerings, They offer for both God and Devil, to keep both in harmony. Offering happens at two places, Inside home for Gods and outside the home for Devils.

 

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Next day we checked out from our abode Ubud Village hotel and asked Made to take us around Ubud in his car and drop us in Kuta. We were glad on how clean he had maintained his car. This day turned out to be good to have chosen car over scooter as whole day rain kept pouring down. First, we reached NungNung waterfalls, This waterfall was so gigantic and felt like its roaring. on our way back to the car we had Kelapa aka Tender Coconut. Later we drove to Ulun Danu Beratan (Temple on a lake). We were mesmerized by its architecture and majestic view. we spent a good amount time here and continued our journey in pleasing weather (We were so glad to have cool n breezy weather) to Jatiluwih Rice Terraces, No wonder UNESCO recognized this as world heritage site, to its length & breadth of the area all we could see was a green bed of rice terraces surrounded by mountains. I unwinded my childhood memories as we walked in these rice terraces. We enjoyed our late lunch at this place and later relished old Kannada songs in the car while we reached Kuta by night.

 

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We didn’t like Kuta to the extent we liked other places in Bali. Kuta was more of a city and more commercialized. We stayed at Central Park hotel, Kuta and didn’t like the ambience of this hotel at all as we were pampered so much at Ubud Village hotel where our room got upgraded to Villa a day (The reason why I liked Ubud hotel). I should admit the fact that Shwetha is a lucky lady to have as your travel buddy. We got so many free upgrades and offers just because it was Shwetha 😛 All the freebies credit goes to her 😛 . We didn’t do much in Kuta on that day we were just waiting to check out from this place and moving to Citadines beach hotel, hoping that to be a decent one and it turned out to be the best one. Later we had delicious food at an Indian restaurant and came back to the hotel to spend some time at rooftop pool with beach view. Later in the noon, we hired a Bike (Kawasaki Ninja) and rode to Uluwatu, but the site was closed by the time we reached.

 

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And finally, the time had arrived to pack our bags and fly back to Sydney. We were so exhausted in flight, all we remembered in flight was eating dinner and snoozing off.  When we woke up we were almost near Sydney, we were that tired. We took our bags and took trains to our abode.

In this whole trip, we never rushed anywhere and there were no regrets about not doing this or that. As mentioned earlier, This was one self-contained trip with ZERO prep. Bali is a place to pamper yourself with luxury and spoil yourself with so many options, all of this without the need to burn your year-long savings.

 

This 9 days trip cost ~2000$ AUD (1 Lakh INR) for a person, including Flight, food, accommodation and all adventures.

Scooter: 60-70k IDR

Food: 100-150k IDR Per person(per meal)

10k IDR = 1$ AUD, 200 IDR = 1 INR (Check forex for latest currency values)

Bali Swing – 35$ USD/pp

River Rafting – 20$ AUD/pp

Kawasaki Ninja – 40$ AUD/day

Hotels – 100$ AUD/day on average

Flight (SYD- BALI) – 1000$ AUD/pp

Itinerary:

Day City Hotel Things to see
1 Seminyak Astagina Resort Double six beach
2 Seminyak Astagina Resort Tanah Lot
3 Ubud Amabara House Goa Gajah, Tegunungan Waterfall, Kechak Fire dance
4 Ubud Village hotel Bali Swing, River Rafting
5 Ubud Village hotel Hiking Mount Batur, Coffee Plantation
6 Ubud Village hotel Temple Besakih and local sightseeing
7 Kuta Kuta Central Park NungNung Waterfall, Ulun Danu beratan, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces
8 Kuta Citadines Beach Bali Kuta beach, Uluwatu, Bike ride, local sightseeing
9 Bali Flight back to Sydney Back to Sydney

 

 

 

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Minimalist packing for short trips!

I used to pack full of stuff which i thought were very important all these days, months & years of my travel, whereas when I count things which are necessary in my trips were limited also the camera’s, bulky lens and other accessories are good to have in all your trip! but I started to travel lite from couple of weeks with just camera and my gopro and found much peace of mind and also satisfied with the shots on phone!

Now, let’s begin packing!

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Undies – 4 No’s

Tees – 4 no’s

Shorts – 3 no’s

Boxer – 2 no’s

Sunglasses – 1 No’s

Quick drying towel – 1 No’s

Jean – 1 No’s

Socks – 3 pairs

Shoes – 1 pair

Sandals – 1 pair (Xero, very light & comfortable)

Thongs – 1 pair

Jacket – 1 No’s

Hankies – 2 No’s

#Gadgets Gadgets

Surface Pro Laptop, Mouse & power adapter

Go Pro & spare SD card

JBL Clip 2

Power bank  – 20000 Mah

Cables – USB Type A,C

Adapters

Torch

Tripod with Selfie stick

Passport wallet

#Toiletries & Medicines

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Brush & Paste

Shower gel/Shampoo

Moisturiser

Pain relief gel

Vicks vapo rub – for colds

Band Aids

Paracetamol, Body ache, Cough & cold – Tablets

#Backpack

backpack

I could not take my Baby(BMW) along with me this time, so gonna take her presence in form of bagpack and wallet. Yes, always thankful to my Bose headphone which cuts the noise in flight and keeps me calm.

All the above things came to a total of 6 Kilos! wow managed to get that below 7 Kilos!

Hope this helps you all in packing your bags and starting your adventure, share your travel stories with me and also keep watching my blog for more updates!

Suggest, Support & Share!! 🙂

 

 

How to manage Work, Travel, Leaves and Expenses ?

The most asked questions from most of my friends, How do you manage to Work, travel, plan leaves and expenses ?

My honest, basic & proven suggestion – Lead a mindful life.

Planning
Plan ahead! I know its a conflict between living one day at once vs planning future….but planning ahead might help you in saving a bit!

Jot down what you want to see, To be precise “A Bucket List”

I know how it feels to see those facebook and instagram posts and imaging of packing and driving/flying right away.

To be honest, the things which you see and things you know about the place and then exploring it makes all the difference. Be a traveller not a tourist (Still your choice)
Sit down, relax and write down what you want to see or do. Do a bit of research by following Travel Bloggers, using social media to connect people to discuss & share opinions.

Saving
Save first spend next quote sounds good to be on quotes, In reality that does not work as it states (Especially in my case 😛 )

Buy things for your NEED rather than GREED.

Don’t claim your telephone, internet, transport, food, other monthly allowances on monthly basis Instead do it on yearly basis (probably a month before Financial year end or beginning),This gives you a pretty decent amount to plan your next vacation.

If you are sure you can save a fixed amount per month, try to open an recurring deposit or any other saving scheme account where your money is safe and also the interest buys you a drink for your vacation 😉

After all the home, vehicle, education, personal Loans, Transferring money to Parents, Siblings, cousins, Fixed deposits and you still have more money and wondering what to do ? Don’t worry I have a savings account which always craves for money or if you are generous enough you can also sponsor my world Travel 🙂

Last but not least, Remember to make Memories!

Follow my blog and social media posts for more updates also do share it so that it might be helpful for someone out there.

 

 

 

New South Wales(NSW) – Making it Happen!

Editing in progress…..!

Each state in Australia is uniquely beautiful in its own way.

You can say Sydney is the heart of Australia and most happening place of NSW state.

Public transport is well connected to far distant places as well.

Few of the places which you must not miss to see.

Harbour Bridge: You can see harbour bridge from multiple places, the closest being Milson Point but my love for harbour bridge if from Opera house/Circular quay.

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Sydney Harbour bridge

Opera House

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Opera house during super moon

La Perouse

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La perouse bridge
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Sunset at La perouse

Bondi Beach

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Ferry ride to Manly beach

National Parks

Stanwell tops

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Seacliff Drive

Whale watching in Darling harbour

Helensburg Temple

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Skydiving in Wollongong

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Sand Dunes in port stephens

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Wine tour to Hunter valley

Kiama Blowhole

Bombo Quarry

Jervis bay

Powerhouse museum

Figure 8 pools

Westhead lookout

Blue mountains

Jenolan caves

Hillsong music band in Parramatta

Gurudwara in Glenwood

Auburn Botanical Garden

Pitt street – Street art and other activities

Sydney fireworks – NYE

Sydney tower Eye , Torango Zoo, Madame Tusadds ,Wildlife sydney

 

 

 

 

Photography!

Pictures will be made available to purchase soon, working on payment links to get activated and also selecting pictures to put up for sale.

Also would like to recommend Srinu Sunkara photography managed by my friend Raju for Birthday parties, Pre and post Wedding shoots, Maternity , New Born photography.

Travel – Checklist

  • Book flight tickets at least 3 months prior to your travel unless if you are fine paying extra at last minute bookings or who knows you might end up getting great deals in last moments.

  • Forex exchange – Currency exchange of destination country – Do it before a day to avoid excess fee by doing at airport!

  • Pack bags on day before your travel with the following checklist.

  • Read/Get to know about the destination country weather and get prepared accordingly!

Cabin Bag:

Travel Wallet: Passport, Flight tickets, Travel agent details doc.

Headphones/Ear plugs

Mobile and camera chargers

Wrist watch

Pen & paper

Chocolates/Biscuits/Chips

Mouth freshener

Money

Cash (Foreign & local currency)

Emergency money in luggage bag

Credit card/debit card

Wallet

Documents 

Passport

Visa copies

Photo identification proof  like Driver’s license/Passport

Travel Journal

Reservations & Itineraries

Copies of tickets/passport/etc.

Luggage Bag:

Clothes

Polos / T-Shirts / Casual shirts

Jeans / Casual pants / Shorts

Tank tops

Short sleeve shirts

Clothes: Outerwear

Beach towel

Footwear

Shoes

Walking shoes/Sneakers

Dress sandals

Heels

Flip-flops/slippers

Accessories

Raincoat

Scarf/neck warmer

Gloves/mittens

Cap/Sun hat

Belt

Sunglasses/case/strap

Watch

Padlock

Compact/micro umbrella

Extra bag pack for local loafing

Toiletries

Toothbrush / Toothpaste

Deodorant

Feminine hygiene, tampons/pads

Toiletry bag

Hair brush/comb

Sunblock

Baby wipes (Towelettes)

Shaving gel/foam

Razor/electric shaver

Cotton swabs (Q-Tips)

Nail clippers

Dental floss

Perfume/Aftershave

Make-up

Makeup remover

Shampoo/conditioner

Soap/cleansers

Towel/washcloth

Hair products (wax, mousse, gel, spray, etc.)

Cotton balls

Mouthwash

Mirror

Lip balm

Moisturizer

Nail file

Tissues/toilet paper

Travel hair dryer

       Body lotion for after-sun

Insect repellent spray

Reviews

Movie Mania!

Whats Cooking!

Music – Swaragala Madhurya!