Thursday, February 16, 2017

#Travelogue - Eat Pray Love, Bali (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1... When i told my friends I’m visiting Bali for the first time, they mentioned to me that there are certain food dishes that i must try and i managed to cover most of them in this trip! Did my research online beforehand and also told Agus (my driver) that i would like to go to these places to try their food. He also recommended other places which serves better and authentic version of the dishes we wanted to try! Without further ado, here are 6 food dishes/places to try when you are in Bali! Do note that the addresses that are stated below might not be the actual places that i went, they are the more “famous” ones in Bali which i found online and are highly recommended.
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This place is not exactly famous and in fact, it's just one of the random place that our driver brought us to have breakfast. I have come to realized that these "random" places are where you can get authentic local meals at cheap prices because your driver, being a local probably knows where are the best places to have good or even better food.
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My favourite chicken congee or what the local call it - "Bubur Ayam". It's basically chicken porridge served with condiments such as shredded chicken, slices of egg omelette, fried onions etc. Even though it seem like a simple dish, it was absolutely delicious! It was so tasty that i called in for a delivery the following day via this Bali food delivery app.
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"Mie Ayam Jamur" - Yellow noodles served with diced chicken and mushroom. I think what makes these local food so tasty is the seasoning/ sauce that they use in preparing the food. Even though I'm quite sure there were lots of MSG, LOL

Bebek Bengil
Bebek Tepi Sawah Restaurant - Jalan Raya Goa Gajah, Br. Teges Peliatan, Ubud
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One of the must try dishes in Bali, the "Bebek Bengil", a traditional Balinese deep fried duck, accompanied with sides (Rp 95,000) I initially did my research on where to have this dish but our driver recommended us this restaurant instead and apparently this is one of the more famous place in Ubud to try this dish. I'm personally a fan of duck meat and this duck was so crispy and tender. It went really well with the rice and side dishes, really enjoyed it and worth the $10.
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Other than the food, the ambience was also awesome! The restaurant offers outdoor dining in their nice and quiet private pavilion surrounded by paddy fields. Highly recommended for those intending to try Bali's famous crispy duck!

Naughty Nuri's
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Naughty Nuri's apparently serves the best barbecued pork ribs and some would say that they are the best they have ever eaten anywhere else. Ordered a portion and the rack of ribs came glistering with a slight charred on the surface. The smell is heavenly and you simply can’t wait to dig in when it arrives at your table. The meat is so tender that it slides off the bone with ease and you get to taste the succulent meat in your mouth. Apparently there is an outlet in Singapore at Capitol Piazza so if you are wondering how good it is, you might want to head down and  try it out yourself?
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Babi Guling, also known as Suckling Pig is the most well known Balinese dish and apparently you can only taste the most authentic ones in Bali. At first i thought i’m just gonna be served a portion of the suckling pig with crispy skin on a plate (like a typical Chinese roast pork dish, lol) but my Babi Guling was served together with a lot of random items...
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Honestly, i had no idea what i was eating other than the obvious suckling pork and rice. I then read online that the other items were pork satay skewer, pork loin, blood sausage and mixed vegetables. The taste is a bit confusing but taste pretty good when mixed together. The pork skin was really crispy and the pork was delicious. Just not very sure if i want to have it with the rest of the items and i would definitely prefer to have more of the pork than the other items, HAHA

Made's Warung
One of the more well known establishments in Bali for Indonesian Food. They serve pretty decent food but can get a little pricey. Based on their menu, i would say they cater mostly to tourists with their wide range of food items, from authentic Indonesian/ Balinese food to western food. The presentation of the food, the taste and the overall ambience of the restaurant kinda justifies the price though, it's a great place for gatherings and chill over a some chilled drinks. 
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Jimbaran Beach
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Jimbaran Beach is one of the best places in Bali to watch the sunset and the best part is, you can have your meal by the beach while watching the sunset so the best time to head there is in the evening at around 5pm and i heard it can get rather crowded at that timing. There are several seafood restaurants along the beach but based on what i researched and read, there isn't one restaurant that really serve awesome seafood and... guess what? The reviews were right...
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Missed the sunset timing but nevertheless, we decided to have our dinner there and chose one of the seafood set menus which consist of 2 crabs, squids, prawns, mussels, vegetable sides, rice and it also comes with 2 complimentary beers. The cheapest set would set you back at Rp 1,000,000 which is about SGD100? Quite pricey for that meal i would say.
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The meal does look good in photos but it's actually quite meh. Not worth it for 100 bucks (which you can use it for much better tasting food in Bali) but it was a good experience dining by the beach. I'm quite sure it will feel more worth it if you are having it while watching the sunset with your loved ones, LOL
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Jalan Pantai Kuta No. 204, Kuta, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80361, Indonesia

What's a trip to Bali without having at massage? There are quite a number of massage parlour in Bali (including those sleazy ones) so you have to keep a look out for those authentic ones or ask around for recommendations. I was introduced to Smart Salon and it was so good that i went back the next day. The masseurs were professional and i enjoyed the ambience of the place. Had the full body massage with oil (Rp 175,000 for 60 mins) and it was so relaxing, especially after a day of outdoor activities under the sun. Not the cheapest massage around, but one of the better ones.

Water Activities at Nusa Dua
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When it comes to going to destinations with nice beaches and clear waters, you probably will think of doing water sports, so prior to this trip, we booked a water activities package from online and we thought it was quite worth it! For about $60 per person (if i remember correctly) we got ourselves a package which consist of a Turtle island tour, Parasailing, Banana boat, Snorkelling for 30 mins and "flying fish". That's quite a lot of activities for just one afternoon! 
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I have always enjoyed snorkelling but this time it was pretty scary because i went into the water without a life vest. So i had to constantly keep myself afloat and it was quite tiring. There was some point i was like oh my tians, should i just go back up on to the boat, LOL Last time got life vest, will auto float and can just enjoy the view of the fishes and coral, this time... just lots and lots of bubbles everywhere because of all the struggling, HAHAHA Ok lah, got enjoy a bit lah.
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Hanging on to my dear life at the side of the boat because i was so so so tired. Had to fight against the current and swim all the way back to the boat. Oh my tians. Don't know how much salt water i drank that day. #remembertouselifevest
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Banana boat which at one point they ask us to not hold the handles and they do a steep turn, making us fall into the water. No photos of para-sailing and flying fish because everything happened too fast and we video-ed everything instead. I always enjoyed para-sailing because the view at the top is always awesome, a bit scary at first (for someone with a phobia of heights) but eventually you will get used to it. Just don't take too long to overcome cos the entire experience only last for like about 5 mins? LOL First time trying "Flying fish" and it was so awesome when we lifted up!
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As the tour title suggest, our package includes a "turtle island" tour which they brought us to this island about 15 mins boat ride away. Saw lots and lots of turtles of different sizes, some were really huge. Other than turtles, there were also other animals and reptiles like eagle, snakes etc. It's like a mini zoo in short. Always loved visiting the zoo, lol.

That's all i have for my 2 part Bali travelogue! Hopefully it's quite interesting and infomative to you guys and those who stumbled upon my blog which researching for your Bali trip. Guess what's after this travelogue? It would be my Taiwan trip! #amiatravelbloggernow? LOLOLOL I wish. Till the next post.

Eat, Pray, Love.                                

Thursday, February 2, 2017

台湾: My stay at Orange Hotel, Ximen!

If you have been following me on my social media, you would know that i just came back from Taiwan a couple of weeks back and before i officially start my travelogue (wait, i haven't even finish my Bali one! Opps.) Anyway, let me share more about my stay in Taipei which was sponsored by Orange Hotel. To sum up my Taiwan itinerary in short, it was a 7D6N trip and i spent 1 day at Cingjing, 1 day in Taichung and the remaining 5 days in Taipei. 

I think when it comes to deciding on accommodation, the most important questions that you would ask yourself is definitely the location and the rate. As for me, other than the two mentioned factors, i would also read up on reviews to determine if the hotel is worth staying/ paying for. I have come across hotels which are affordable, good location but based on the reviews, the facilities are not well maintained or lousy service from the staffs etc. Ok, let's not digress further since the main point of this post to share more on my stay at Orange Hotel, Ximen.
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Orange Hotel, Ximen. No.166-2, Sec.1,Zhonghua Rd., Wanhua Dist., Taipei City 10846, Taiwan

Orange Hotel has a total of 7 hotels in Taiwan, of which 4 are in Taipei and the others located in Taichung, Chiayi and Kaohsiung. What's really good about these hotels is that they are all located at prime locations, just minutes away from famous landmarks/ night markets. The orange hotel that i stayed is just across the famous Ximending street.
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...and it's just a 5 mins walk (or even lesser!) to the nearest train exit (1)!
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In conjunction with the eco-friendly beliefs, there will be no toilet amenities like soap, tooth brush etc available in your room but instead, you can ask for them at the check-in counter. I thought it was a rather good idea because you only take/ ask for what you need and they would not need to replenish for you every day. 
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I stayed in their standard guest room which is about 13.2sm which i don't deny is small but it has basically everything that you would need, even a king sized bed so i'm not complaining. The room is tastefully designed and in fact, rather cosy since they made use of every available space for the amenities but still ensuring room for comfort. I stayed on the 10th floor and was quite surprised to see the Taipei 101 building when i drew the curtains, LOL
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Located in the basement of the hotel is a 24 hour snack bar! I was quite elated to hear that because it was something that i did not expect prior to checking into the hotel. (Probably because i didn't read their website) so the first thing i did after checking in was to take the stairs down and find out what exactly they meant by snack bar. #SoSingaporean
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Hot drinks machine, bread, cereals, fruits, yogurt etc which i thought was a good gesture from the hotel! I remember there was one late night when we went to the nearby 7 eleven to get supper (psst, the cup noodles in Taiwan is damn awesome. You have no idea.) and we brought the food back to the hotel basement to consume it since there is hot water to cook the noodles and we had hot drinks, snacks to go along with it. One of the reason for this 24 hour area is also for travelers to interact with one another, who knows if you might make a new friend or two in a foreign country *wink*
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Psst. You can't exactly bring up your food/ breakfast and have it on your bed. 
requested for special permission to bring a tray of food up just to take this pretentious shot. HAHAHA

Overall i'm really pleased with my stay in Orange Hotel, Ximen and i'm quite sure the rest of the Orange hotel is just as good or even better (I'm not saying this because my stay was sponsored but because i really enjoyed my stay there) The staffs were friendly and greeted everyone with a smile regardless if we were entering or exiting the hotel. 

Location, checked. 

Service, checked. 

Good review, checked.

If you are intending to head to Taiwan and is looking for accommodation, do checkout their official website at http://www.orangehotels.com.tw to find out more on Orange hotel as well as their rates :)


Till then,