Southeast Asia travel

Sanur Boardwalk and the Night Market

Bali Happy
The BaliHappy sign against tonight’s sunset was perfectly placed! Taken while en route to Sanur’s Night Market.

More on that market down the line — first, let’s rewind to morning.

On our little artwalk
We continued our streak of catching the sunrise before a long day of doing nothing on a beach. Today’s bonus feature: our friend B joined us for a post-breakfast stroll along the boardwalk. We took him for a southern jaunt to see tourist boats and the makings of potpourri.

Sanur Beach Boats

How Potpourri is made

I’ll pass over the gajillion pictures I took from my chaise, and skip ahead to:
for lunch, we walked into town with A & B.


hey, new villa for rent!
Fancy a villa?

Warung Pregina

My first Kopi Luwak
We lunched at Warung Pregina where I chose the very average Fried Duck Special. Lunch highlight: our first Kopi Luwak. Good, but as worldly Seattle-ites we were simply whelmed by our cups of the supposed most expensive coffee on the planet. B declared the one he ordered in Venice by St. Mark’s was still his priciest ever. (A cup there comes with charges for the band, the seat, and supplemental food.)

I’d like to give a shout-out to Dave Barry, for teaching me cat coffee existed in the first place, way back in ’97. I remember thinking then that this was ridiculous that anyone would ever buy such a thing but in those post-college days, I’d never had coffee before.

Warung Jawa
When I read Lonely Planet’s blurb of the local night market months ago, I knew we’d end up there for dinner. It met all of my hopes — though we were far from the only westerners, there were plenty of locals stopping in for dinner. Some of the dishes we’d been trying in the warungs were easily recognizable here, and ridiculously inexpensive by comparison.

We followed the lead of some locals and picked out some novel offerings, fashioning our own Nasi Campur. Mr. T & I visited Warung Jawa (cart pictured above) for our main meals. After a chat with the affable purveyor, we selected bites from several dishes. These plates were our best meal yet. Our total charge for dinner for two adults: $3.50.

My plate at the night market

Though I knew intellectually that the standard of living here is different, this market is where I began to GET how different Balinese local life is, away from the beachfront. I didn’t grapple with these first thoughts, my place, or how I’d feel about it until tomorrow, when we visited the countryside. Today, I was still in the bubble.

Night Market, Sanur

Night Market, Sanur

The Dessert Cart

Southeast Asia travel

Settling into Sanur

On the beach, Sanur

In a break from tradition, I was up for sunrise for the second day in a row. This is so unusual for me that I found myself often referring to the sunrises as sunsets whenever we talked about our mornings.

Double Rainbow!!!!!!!
Double Rainbow!!! Before the westside cloud burn-off.

Our friends, A & B, were set to arrive mid-afternoon. We spent all morning in the sun, moving only to walk into town for lunch.

Green Leaf Organic Warung

We found Green Leaf Organic Warung by happenstance, a restaurant west of our hotel by about a 10 minute walk into Sanur. I went for the Ayam Lalapan (fried chicken!) and guess what Mr. T ordered? Nasi Campur! He’s a loyalist, that one.

Fried Chicken - Ayam Goreng Nasi Campur #3

This meal was spectacularly fresh. Happy and well-fed, we walked back to our hotel to discover our friends had arrived and set up camp on the beach. I ordered celebratory Coconut Juice, with extra limes. Like all the watermelon juice I’ve been ordering for breakfast, this made me feel particularly detoxified. And also very very full. There’s a lot in that coconut.

Coconut Milk!

We put in more beach reading time before another serendipitous find for dinner at Rasa Senang.

Beef Rendang
I would later put in good effort hunting for fantastic Beef Rendang again.

We took a post-prandial stroll to the grocery for aloe vera, lotion, and more SPF 50. Some of us are real white and burned through all our sunscreen in two days. Locals even expressed concern about my SPF strength, in between solicitations for mani/pedis. Their comments strengthened my resolve to try to stay as pale as possible and not be silly and try to tan which NEVER EVER EVER works for me.

I missed sections, as you do, so at the store I bought lotion along with the SPF. The next day I discovered a key ingredient in the English Translation of the lotion was “skin whitening.” This explains why the salesgirl giggled a lot when she escorted me to the register. Girl, I’d giggle too if I was selling that kind of body creme to the whitest lady I’d ever seen. Well, it was soothing lotion anyhow.

I couldn't stop giggling at the notion of an Irish band for tourists in Indonesia
The leprechauns playing were of Indonesian descent. I found this charmingly amusing.

Husband Daycare Center
My husband did not take up my suggestion for him to pose in front of this, even though this venture would be perfect for him. (He does not share my love of foreign grocery shopping.)

Southeast Asia travel

Our First Full Day in Sanur, Bali

More sunrise from my pagoda
The upside to falling asleep before dinner is that if you keep on til morning, you’ll get 14 hours of sleep AND be up in time for the sunrise.

La Taverna's Private Beach at Sanur
We kept today low-key: we stuck around the hotel mostly, but also wandered into townto check out some local food.

Come Sail Away

This sign is as old as film.
Fuji film sign photo by Mr. T

Sanur, Bali, has a 5 km boardwalk. We wandered the southern half on that into town to visit Warung Belanjung (aka Warung Blanjong) for more Nasi Campur (Mr. T’s beloved mixed plate) and Siap Betutu. Siap Betutu is chicken cooked in Balinese spices, wrapped in banana leaves with a side of rice and green beans. Later that evening at the Bonsai Cafe, I tried a similar dish, but this time with fish. Both would be worthwhile recreating at home.

Nasi Campur #2 Siap Betutu

Mostly, we relaxed into our surroundings today. We spent hours on the beach where I skillfully sunburned a single kneecap.

From our lounge chair, to the left

From our lounge chair, to the right

It was a delightfully lazy day.

A Happy Beach Bum

Southeast Asia travel

Arrival in Bali — Jetlag: 1, Us: 0

Somewhere over the Bali Sea
We flew into Denpasar on Bali by noon, via Air Asia. I’d never heard of them before this trip and now I can tell you they’re much like a cross between Virgin America in style, with a dash of RyanAir low-cost thrown in. We splurged the extra $5 to reserve in the front section, but passed on any of their meals or shopping deals. I was impressed overall with Air Asia and wouldn’t hesitate to book with them again.

See the world in green and blue

Our hotel, La Taverna, sent us a driver with an air-conditioned SUV. He was a welcome sight after a humid, 30-minute wait in the Visa line. After another half hour drive, we checked in, cranked up our AC immediately to counter the oppressive heat, and made hunting for lunch our first order of priority.

We only made it one more hotel down the boardwalk to Tandjung Sari before realizing it was not within us to trek further. I ordered my first Mie Goreng with Satay. (“Put an Egg On It!” would be my de facto request for the next few days.) He ordered his first Nasi Campur of many of the trip — an Indonesian mixed plate consisting of rice and a variety of other tastes.

Mie Goreng with Satay -- put an egg on it! Nasi Campur #1

And then we both crashed for 14 straight hours.

Southeast Asia travel

Singapore Changi Airport – Ambassador Transit Hotel – Terminal 1

The Best Airport Idea
27 is my lucky number

For years, I’ve read Singapore’s Changi Airport recommended as designed for long layovers, and today we finally put that advice to the test. We were lucky to have a quick 2-hour connection at Tokyo, but conveniently direct 19-hour routes from Seattle land you in Singapore very early in the AM. As in, 1 AM early with an 8-hour layover before our next leg to Indonesia. This makes for a very long journey, I tell you what.

I followed the great Internet’s advice and reserved ahead at the in-terminal hotel. I didn’t know what to expect. What this place going to be gross? Was my luggage going to be stolen? Was this going to agitate Singapore customs and immigration if we didn’t show up right away to collect our luggage? I was very nervous about the arrangement. We’d have to head directly to the hotel from the gate. No customs, no immigration, no picking up baggage because you can’t re-enter the terminal once past a checkpoint.

I emailed the hotel manager beforehand about the luggage –> Is it safe? Did people do this routinely? I was assured yes. Google backed me up. Mr. T wasn’t too worried about our bags being stolen and reminded me the city-state was famously strict. I wasn’t sure if this would work for or against us.

We gambled for the solid 6 hours of sleep. We arrived on schedule. Lo and behold, our gate was one escalator from the hotel. I’m glad we made a reservation because we watched someone get turned away as we arrived. We whisked through check-in, showered in a private room, and were asleep within 15 minutes. (Bonus: I felt pretty pleased with myself for having remembered to pack fresh sleeping clothes in my carry-on!) It could not have been easier, plus they provided coffee, tea, and TV! Make no mistake, it was no frills and basic. We had a good laugh over the fact that the curtains didn’t actually cover any windows but hey, nice touch! The water was hot, everything was CLEAN, and the bed was better than some you’ll find in certain central European 3-star hotels.

When it was time to answer our wake-up call, we moseyed out to immigration. We found zero lines and zero hassle. Next, we found baggage claim. Our bags were kept safely in a secure area — we showed our boarding passes and baggage tickets to leave with them. This was a detail missing elsewhere on the internet, so I’m sharing that knowledge here.

In minutes, we were on our way to our first Asian breakfast of Laksa and Chicken Rice, before our next ride to Bali!

Above Singapore

Above the Java Sea

Southeast Asia travel

Off We Go

Off We Go
This afternoon, we took off for points in Southeast Asia: to Bali, Indonesia, via Tokyo and Singapore. This is somewhere over Puget Sound.

(More to come, after I make it through the first week of jetlag.)