Saturday 28 December 2019

Phuket 5D4N Itinerary under RM2K

Hello y'all! Can you believe we're just a few days shy from 2020??? Anyway, I hope you had a very Merry Christmas and wishing everyone an early Happy New Year! 

I haven't been blogging much  for the year because adulting but still wanted to post something before the end of 2019. What better timing than my return from a trip just last week, at least I have something to post hahahaha! This trip was a rather last minute plan, Japan didn't happen because I can't seem to find a time to get off work! (T⌓T) Still, I'm grateful I could afford money and time to go someplace! Sharing them with y'all in this post!


Where to stay

As always, I opted for AirBnB because it is more affordable and there were very limited options in the other sites since it was such a last minute thing. I stayed at New Life Phuket Classic, a hotel at the quieter end of Patong. It's a 10 minutes or so walk away from the bustling Patong town and beach. I'm quite glad we did because it seems come Friday and the weekend, it can get really loud! We could still feel the beat of the music from our room, I cannot imagine what's it like staying closer! I also appreciate that my AirBnB contact person was very responsive. Plus we were allowed to check in earlier that what's stated and could even leave our luggages after we checked out at noon (our flight was at night).

I do have one complain, the toilet/washroom isn't exactly private you can hear others doing their business so I had the toilet kinda 'stage fright'. Probably why I had constipation during my trip
( ̄□ ̄) FML. If I gained weight from the past week, it's just cause I'm full of shit.

Staying connected 
with local SIM card

I'm a bit kiasu and need to stay connected. Glad I did this because many times I had to rely on Waze and Grab. I have to admit, this time I was not fully prepared having just worked on the itinerary (big responsibility!) two weeks prior to the trip! I booked a local sim card from Klook for RM20 and then had to reload 100TBH / RM13.90 on one day I needed to make a call to my tour group because they were late to pick me up ( TдT ) Definitely cheaper than roaming with a Malaysia sim card which will cost RM10-RM40 per day!

Getting around Phuket

Tuk tuks are one interesting way to get around but boy, are they're pricey. A 10-minute ride from Patong to Karon will easily set you back by 400TBH. For comparison, that's thrice as expensive as getting around in Penang island! So this is not the best option for those on a budget. If you insist to experience them, I'd recommend you going to No. 6 Restaurant and inform the staff you'd like to go to the No. 6 by the hill. They offer free rides to their branch well, on the hill with a view of the town and more tables so you wouldn't need to share. Expect a bumpy ride up the crazy steep hill, my friends and I had quite a shock when the tuk tuk stopped abruptly at our destination almost sending us rolling out the tuk tuk and down the hill!

Another option is to use Grab, which is best when exploring the central or east coast. You can negotiate with the drivers to stop at multiple destinations for additional fees. Price vary depending on tuk tuk drivers but the best offer we've got was 300TBH per hour so you'd definitely need to budget for that. I had to muster up some courage (because my friends weren't helpful) to negotiate with our Grab driver who was thankfully, open to that. Super grateful!

Many times during the trip I wished I had motorcycle license, it'd probably save us a lot (I've seen 350TBH per day rental deals) and is more convenient.

Another affordable option is by getting around with the local buses whether it is the Smart Bus (covers the west coast), Blue Bus (covers the central & west coast) or Pink Bus (covers Phuket Old Town). My friends and I had bought the Rabbit Card for the Smart Bus ride from the airport to Patong where our Airbnb were. We didn't utilized it until the day before we left but it got me thinking we should have experimented more to take advantage of the discounted fare! The huge downside of this Rabbit Card is there are very incomplete information online and even tourist information centers weren't helpful, therefore leading to some inconvenienced (and annoyance). For your convenience, I am listing down what I found out about the Rabbit Card, you're welcome!

What to consider 
purchasing the Rabbit Card:-

1) In Phuket, the Rabbit Card can be use for the Smart Bus with possible minimum of 170TBH. Or when purchasing items from partner stores such as McDonalds, 7Eleven, Family Mart, etc. with minimum balance of 300TBH.
2) The card can be reloaded with value of 100TBH-200TBH-300TBH-and so forth.
3) The card can be purchased at the airport's local bus stop for 300TBH whereupon 100TBH is the card fee and 200TBH is the available amount to use.
4) With the Rabbit Card, passengers are entitled for discount and fees will be depending on distances and destination. Without the card, every trip for each person will be 170TBH irregardless of the destination.
5) The Smart Bus only covers destinations along the West Coast of Phuket.
6) Rabbit Cards can be used in Phuket, Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
7) The most complete details about the Rabbit Card can be found here.
8) The Rabbit Card is NOT refundable/exchangeable.

Fees by destinations for passengers with Rabbit Card

5D4N Itinerary
& recommendations

I prepped my itinerary rather last minute and somehow during the trip, plans changed to cut down on transportation cost and for the sake of exploring the part of Phuket. Besides that, my friends and I spent a lot of time walking as means of getting around. For those who choose to charter a tour van or have their own motorcycle, you'd definitely be able to cover a lot more places in a single day!

*Day 1
Arrival in Phuket & checking into New Life Phuket Classic
Lunch at Da Number 6 Restaurant
Exploring Banzaan Fresh Market, Patong Beach & Kamala Beach
Dinner at Malin Plaza then exploring Dragon Night Market & OTOP Night Market
*Day 2
Breakfast at The Pad Thai Shop, Karon
Karon Beach
Khao Rang Hill, Tunk Ka Restaurant & Wat Khao Rang
Phuket Old Town
Dinner at Chillva Night Market, Yaowarat Road
*Day 3
7Eleven breakfast
Full-day Islands hopping around Phang Nga Bay (James Bond & 5 other islands)
Dinner at Banzaan Night Market, exploring Chillva Night Market & Bangla Road in Patong
*Day 4
7Eleven breakfast
Sightseeing at Chalong Pier & Big Buddha
Kata Noi Beach & Kata Yai Beach
Kata Night Bazaar & Night Market
*Day 5
Breakfast at Sam Chor
Free & easy souvenirs shopping day around Patong
Lunch at No.6 Restaurant on the hill
**Links to daily travelogue coming soon!

My favorite part besides the island hopping where I had the first opportunity in years to kayak (i super miss this!) is Chalong Pier and the Big Buddha. There's something about the combination of blue blue sea and blue blue sky and boats and cool breeze that is just super relaxing. I also noticed I love highlands because it's cooler which was where the status of the Big Buddha is stationed, overlooking the beautiful Chalong Pier.

What & Where to eat

Pad thai, tom yum soup and local Thai cuisines are a must! Other novel food I have tried include crocodile meat, baby crickets & sago worms, parrot fish, sea grapes and gac fruit juice. Some may sound cringe-worthy but don't let that stop you from trying! Judge only after you ate them.

Also, what's better than rolled ice cream on a sunny day. Totally recommending a mix of mango & lemon flavor! ( ̄¬ ̄)

Family Mart and 7Eleven are a common sight in Phuket, there are a branch in almost each rows of shops! Definitely do drop by to grab some burgers or sandwiches which the staffs will assist you to reheat. I super love the cream puffs that are available in original and salted egg creams, yummy!

Will post in more details in my daily travelogues (coming soon!)so don't forget to check them out!

Souvenirs shopping

My top 10 recommendations will be dried mangoes, traditional massage oil or balms, melon flavor or original milk candy, Harnn massage oil, snail body care, beach dresses, white beach tops/dresses, swimming suits, waterproof bucket bags and gold masks.

Seen in a shop along Kata Road. The dresses and tankinis are so cute!

Patong Central has the best offer for dried mangoes, at 50TBH per 100g pack (but only sold at bulk in 6-12-18) and 6-pack Siang Pure Oil for 740TBH. On the other hand, the best deals for the snail beauty products and health foot patches at Fruit Paradise, a beauty & souvenirs shop along Phangmuang Sai Kor Road in Patong. It is not far from the malls but for convenience, you can simply get them all from Patong Central.

You can also find fruits & chocolate flavors milk candies in Patong Central's Big C.

There's even a guide prepared in case you're wondering what to get!


Budgeting for Phuket

Overall, I spend approximately RM2K for my entire 5D4N trip.

Prior to the trip, I have pre-booked the following:-
Kuala Lumpur à Phuket Return Flight with Air Asia
4-Night AirBnB Accommodation
Full-day Phang Nga Bay (including James Bond Island) tour experience with BJ Canoeing Tour bought from Klook
RM246.30 / 1,772TBH
DTAC 8-day Unlimited Data Plan (also from Klook)

I brought 7,000TBH in cash, just slightly under RM1K and I'd say that was exactly what I spent! A big chunk went to public transportation, food, shopping and some donation to the Big Buddha temple. I bought few souvenirs _ 6 pack of 50g dried mangoes, 3 pack of Siang Pure Oil, 10 packs of milk candy and a dress _ so if you're a bigger spender, you'd want to consider a bigger budget. I'd also recommend you budget for tours around Phi Phi or Similan islands and experience Phuket's Fantasea, things I wished I had done.

The one extra thing I swiped with my card (because I ran outta cash) was a bottle of Choya Yuzu from the duty free section in the airport. Die die want it because I have never seen it around Malaysia! True enough, there weren't any in KLIA2 or in the supermarket!٩( ^ᴗ^  )۶

In conclusion

Phuket is a place for those who truly want to enjoy to take your time and relax. The people are welcoming, there are many beautiful islands and beaches to explore. I also feel safe walking around the island during the day and at night _ you get more hamsap stares in KLIA2 by foreigner security guards. 

Food and transportation can get a bit pricey. I think islands hopping, kayaking and snorkeling should be considered especially around James Bond/Phang Nga Bay, Phi Phi or Similan _ at least I wished I've done more!

Friday 2 November 2018

Is Air Asia's ASEAN PASS worth it's value?

Its almost a year and I'm finally posting this up OMG I'm so efficient. At the end of 2017, I made plans with my friends to travel to BOTH Bali and Singapore. That was the first time I have been to multiple destinations and 2 countries in a single vacation! So far, Air Asia has been my only choice of flying so obviously I opted for Air Asia for my trip.

The idea to visit all these places came from my discovery of Air Asia's ASEAN Pass, a unique flying pass which allows you to travel to multiple destinations in several countries for a much more affordable price, as Air Asia claims. With a quick search on Google, I found that this pass was launched way back in 2015! Therefore, I am dedicating this post to share with y'all on how you can use this to your advantage, whether this is something you should opt to get,  the pros and cons and so on. Just a disclaimer, this is NOT a sponsored post but simply a review to share with y'all my experience in using the ASEAN Pass.

How does the ASEAN Pass work?

You first have to decide whether to purchase either 10 or 20 credits ASEAN Pass. From here, you can start booking your flight ticket using these 'credits' instead of cash.

Here is a table illustrating the list of destinations you can head to FROM KUALA LUMPUR with 1 and 3 credits respectively.

Here are some of the suggested itineraries from Air Asia's website to illustrate how the pass works.

What you want to note is that the credits will differ depending on where you are departing from and where are you heading. 

Aside from that, while some destinations are available say if you fly from Kuala Lumpur, will not be available in another country. For example, you can fly to Bandung, Indonesia from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore BUT that is not possible from Bangkok, Thailand. Thorough planning is required if you want to fully optimize the credits!

Where did I travel?

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Bali, Indonesia

Kuala Lumpur

Initially, I was very ambitious and wanted to include several more destinations, simply to utilize the credits I have. In the end, I only decided on Bali and Singapore which was quite an experience nevertheless! 

With the pass, I also bought an additional flight ticket from Lombok back to Kuala Lumpur. This was my contingency plan in case Mount Agung erupts and I definitely don't want to be left stranded. Thankfully, I didn't have to go forward with this but prior to my flight, I was so concerned. A bit kiasi of melah but I'd rather be prepared. The volcano's activity reduced in October 2017, and even when it erupted a month later and again in January 2018, it did little damage to Bali's tourism and the major tourists' sites.

Just for comparison sake, I checked on Air Asia's normal flight routes for flights in November to December 2018 for the routes I took last year and my findings are as below:-

*Air Asia’s 
Flight Tickets
Air Asia’s 
Kuala Lumpur à Bali
 3 Credits
Bali à Singapore
  3 Credits
Singapore à Kuala Lumpur
   1 Credit
Lombok à Kuala Lumpur
3 Credits
**10 Credits

* This is the cheapest flight tickets on random dates between Nov-Dec'2018 as of 29th Oct'2018
**In-flight meals, luggage check in and other surcharges are NOT included in the amount mentioned above

At first glance, the prices gap in the table above seem rather huge, but is it really the case?

How much does AirAsia ASEAN Pass 
really cost

The pass that I chose the Rm499 for 10 Credits which I must use within 1-month period from my first flight bookings. I made a one-way journey from Kuala Lumpur to Bali for about 10 days before heading straight to Singapore for two days and back to Kuala Lumpur.

I looked back into all the receipts in my purchase history and summarize everything in the table below.

Air Asia's ASEAN Pass
Fare fees & taxes
Airport 15KG Baggage
Total Additional Fares 
Kuala Lumpur à Bali




Bali à Singapore
Singapore à Kuala Lumpur




Lombok à Kuala Lumpur





Conversion rate as of at Oct'2017: 1M Indonesia Rupiah = RM329.81 and 1SGD = RM3.2713

HOW TO READ THE TABLE ABOVE: "ASEAN Pass Ticket" is the price illustrated in the receipt, I DO NOT pay for this amount. For what purpose they are listed in the receipts, I have no idea. However, looking into it, it appears that the ASEAN Pass is more affordable at just a fixed price of RM499. What I paid for is the amount in "Total Additional Fares" = "Fare fees & taxes" + "Airport 15KG Baggage".  Adding these with my initial payment of RM499, I have spent a total of RM1,223.23 to two different countries (with return flight). Assuming I have paid for the normal fare prices of RM840.73 AND for the same additional fares of RM724.23, I would have paid RM1,564.96 instead.

Tip #1: If you are travelling more than 5 days, pre-book your Air Asia's additional 15kg baggage weight together with your flight. Best if you can share the luggage fee with your family or friends.

Tip #2: Remember to check out Air Asia's ASEAN Pass' Terms & Conditions prior to deciding on purchasing this pass.


The Good

#1 This is an affordable option when you are travelling to more than one destinations. Like just YOLO, you know.

#2 This is a cheaper option especially if you're booking tickets last minute. I know because I compared the prices then.

#3 In addition to my observation in #2, I noticed there are extra seats seemingly allocated for ASEAN Pass when normal tickets run out (This is my assumption from observation, I'm not 100% sure). Though to be on the safer end, I would usually checked in my flights online as soon as I can. I have never experienced being told that I cannot get on any Air Asia's flights because the plane's fully booked but have read about such horror stories and am aware that some airlines over book themselves in case some of their passengers didn't turn up. But then, I have not flown very frequently.

#4 Pass is valid to use within 1-year period after purchase, so plenty of time to plan!

#5 Affordable if you do not add on the other services offered by Air Asia or you will be travelling light.

#6 When travelling to and from neighboring countries over a short period and flight costs more than purchasing your tickets separately, this is an option to consider


The Bad

#1 I needed luggage space but did not pre-booked them, so I ended up paying about the same to the usual flight fares as the regular flight fares.

#2 Limited destinations. Why no Japan?!

#3 You cannot use the pass for the same routes twice so proper planning is a must! For example, flying from KL to Singapore twice is not possible.

#4 For reason in #3 and because the credits require to travel to the same destination vary depending on your where you choose to depart from, planning can be a headache!

#5 Validity one or two months which means unless you have a lot of leaves to clear or longer holidays, this is not the best choice especially when if your company doesn't allow month-long leaves typically in Asian company culture.

#6 Travelling a lot can get tiring and boring so this travel style is not for everyone! From my recent experience, I realize I do get bored and tired when going on long vacay. Or if my holidays involved spending a lot of time heading to multiple destinations or countries. Perhaps it would have been different if I am travelling around Japan hahaha.

 #7 If I remembered correctly, there was no option for seats booking, as in you can't decide on aisle or window seat. While I was flying towards Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, I ended up with the aisle seat and that was no fun!


To conclude everything, was the ASEAN Pass really worth it? With proper itinerary plannings and pre-booking luggage, this pass may be worth it for travelers seeking an adventure. Myself, I wouldn't opt for Air Asia's ASEAN Pass in the nearest future mainly for the reason I discovered I prefer to travel at a pace I'm comfortable at and I am the kind of traveler who is contented with spending time at a place/state/country to soak in the local cultures and lifestyles. Perhaps I may have a change of heart if I'm feeling adventurous! As of now, I am not too keen on airport-hopping. If you cannot or have not decide what type of traveler you are, might as well give this Air Asia's ASEAN Pass a try for the experience!

Saturday 14 July 2018

1-Week Bali & the Nusa Islands Itinerary

I come to like writing about these genre, so here is another itinerary from my 2017 Bali & the Nusa Islands vacation! Hopefully with this guide, you get an idea of how to plan for your next travel to Bali. You're welcome.

By the way, I say 'the Nusa Islands' a lot because it's too long to say Nusa Penida, Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan repetitively in the blog!

As you can see, Nusa Penida's the largest island among the three.


Where to Stay..
.. in Bali

There are no shortage of hotels, villas and hostels in Bali, it seems everyone is doing this business! They do get booked out quickly, so I would definitely recommend you booking online to secure a room and to get the best prices. I have opted mostly hotels with private rooms and even though the rooms are simple, I am quite contented with most of them. I spend most of my time out of the room anyways. 

I do have one problem _ the water! Because of the geography, most of Bali and the Nusa Islands, their main source of water is from the sea so tap water and showers have really strong sea water odor which is really uncomfortable to brush teeth with and it isn't so good on my hair! The good news is, not all hotels I have stayed in have such problem, I don't know what's the difference...

In Sarma Homestay, Kuta.

In Flamingo hotel and the Legian Sunset Residance in Bali. the Nusa Islands

These are the places I stayed in Nusa Penida. I'd definitely recommend Abian House for many reasons, read my Day 3 travelogue for more of that.

Super cute cottage in Bintang Bungalow, Nusa Penida.

This is probably the first and last time I stayed in so many different stays in a single vacation. It was ridiculous and troublesome to say the least! However, it wasn't an option either because of how my itinerary was arranged and the whole island hopping going on..  Well, at least next time I know!

Tip #1: Plan your itinerary to reduce the number of AirBnB bookings and the time needed to check into each hotel.


Getting around Bali

In Bali, you can find taxi drivers and unlicensed ojeks (moped riders offering pillion rides). For the latter, there are even apps such as Uber Ojek and Gojek offering similar services. Because Bali's so commercialized, it is not hard to rent a car or moped (~70kRupiah) for your own use.

I do not have the nicest things to say about taxi drivers and unlicensed ojeks because of some unpleasant experiences with these unruly people who are more than happy to charge foreigners exorbitant fees! In fact, almost all simply threw in 100kRupiah when quoted for a less than 5-minute rides! For the later half of my vacay, I relied mostly on Uber whose rates are much more reasonable ranging from 10kRupiah - 20kRupiah for short trips. Hail Uber! the Nusa Islands

I'm going to include a How-to-get-to-the-Nusa Islands guide here LOL. I took a speedboat ride from Sanur to Nusa Penida. If you are planning to return from the same island, you can purchase the return ticket from the same speedboat operating company for about 450kRupiah. I didn't do that instead, island hopped from Nusa Penida to Nusa Lembongan then heading back which cost me 500KRupiah for the return ticket to Sanur and 70kRupiah to get between the two Nusa Islands.

Table to give you a better picture:-

Sanur ↔ Nusa Penida
Nusa Penida ↔ Nusa Lembongan
Nusa Lembongan ↔ Sanur

As for getting around the Nusa Islands, you can rent moped, at price similar to in Bali, 70kRupiah per day.. I tried asking around and found cars are scarce so renting them is out of question, at least for now. I wouldn't recommend doing the former for reason the road condition in Nusa Penida is horrendous and dangerous for those not use to them! I supposed the Nusa Islands are relatively new to tourism compare to their neighboring archipelago island, Bali and so roads were not made to cater for large traffics. They are working to improve that, according to my host Made which was why they are charging entrance fees to the attractions around the island. 

My suggestion is to go in groups and hire a tour van. If you are going solo, ask your local staff in the hotel. A lot of them are out of their shift by 3PM and offers ojek services for 70kRupiah. Not bad at all but at the end of the ride your bum and thighs will most probably hurt!

Me riding pillion around Nusa Ceningan


Bali & the Nusa Islands 1-Week Itinerary

If you would like to read about my experiences in Bali & the Nusa Islands, you can read about them by clicking the links below. I also include some recommendations of additional activities you can do and places you can go. These were some of the places I wanted to check out but couldn't!

Click on the * link to my daily Bali & the Nusa Islands travelogue

Summary of Places to Go
Day 0
Departure from KLIA2
Arrival at Ngurah Rai International Airport at night
Flamingo Hostel, Kuta
Head to Legian & check into room
Explore Legian & Seminyak by foot
Lunch at Ocha Warung
Explore Arjuna Street
Dinner at Apartment Red
The Legian Sunset Residence
Breakfast at Shelter, Bali
Boat ride from Sanur to Nusa Penida to Dwi Menunggal Harbor
Lunch & Dinner at Bintang Bungalow's cafeteria
Kelingking Beach, Angel Billabong & Broken Beach in Nusa Penida
Bintang Bungalow, Nusa Penida
Morrning hike down & up Peguyangan Waterfall
Lunch at Penida Roadside Warung
Explore Goa Giri PuriCheck into Abian House & short break
Night chatting with host
Explore the nearby seaweed farm and town
Dinner at Warung Dukung
Abian House, Nusa Penida
(Half-day in Nusa Penida)
Take ojek to Atuh Beach and TreehouseLunch at Warung Makan Boga Segara
Rest in room
Take dukung boat ride to Nusa Lembongan
Dinner at Sanghyang Bay
Suba Guesthouse, Mushroom Bay in Nusa Lembongan
Breakfast at The BAR
Morning explore Dream Beach, Sandy Bay & Devil's Tears in Nusa Lembongan 
Lunch at Blackwood Coffee Shop
Gala Gala Underground House and Panorama Road & Beach, Nusa Lembongan
Marvel at Blue Lagoon, Nusa Ceningan
Dinner at Warung Mola Mola
Breakfast at TS Hut
Board boat back from Mushroom Bay to Sanur, Bali
Lunch & dinner at roadside warung
Do nothing evening~!
Sarma Homestay, Kuta
Explore Ubud, Bali
Brunch at Warung Lokal in Ubud Art Market
Continue exploring Ubud
Breakfast at Babi Guling Karya Rebo
Walk at Jimbaran Bay (Best to come at night!)

Shop at Oleh Oleh Krishna
Shopping in Matahari Department Store and along Jalan Pantai, Kuta

Recommended to check out Uluwatu Temple & Tegal Wangi Beach if you have the extra time
Day 9
Departure from Ngurah Rai International Airport to Singapore
Take a tour up Northern Bali to Tanah Lot, La Laguna, Lovina Beach / Yeh Leh Beach
Hiking at Mt Batur or Mt Kintamani
Sanur, Nusa Dua & Jimbaran Bay, Bali
Head to Lombok from Nusa Lembongan
Diving or Snorkelling around Nusa Penida

One of my regrets is that I didn't snorkel or dive in the most beautiful diving spots in the world! From underwater temple and shipwrecks to diving with sharks or stingray to beautiful corals! Corals, I must see them!!

I have read online that Bali waters are homes to the huge Mola Mola fish, also known as Moon fish or Sun fish. I was telling my friends how I wanted to swim beside the gigantic fish and have even looked up several videos. I don't know why I chicken out in the end. Partly because after seeing how big the waves are in Bali and that scares the hell out of me. I am no swimmer and freaked out even when wading in waters thigh-high. Mind you, I'm also fun size so there are possibility of me getting swept away by the waves and that thought scares me!

Diving and snorkeling. My bucket list. Will I ever conquer my fear of water? *Deep breath*

What & Where to eat

Like Malaysia, there is no shortage of good food in Indonesia. Moreover, Indonesian cuisines are generally quite similar to Malaysian's though I learnt from my friends that some are influenced by the Dutch (they shared lotsa food with me! woots!)  during the colonization era. Though, I don't remember seeing the latter around Bali... I would have love to try those! Some of the must-trys in Bali are the babi guling, bebek, ikan nyat nyat, ikan bakar and lots other seafood! 

From Warung Mola Mola, Nusa Lembongan

My 'mixed rice' from the roadside warung

I was introduced to this dish, Ikan Nyat Nyat by my host from Abian House. This is in Warung Makan Boga Segara.

Tip #2: Get along with your host or locals for insider's opinions on the best places and what to eat.

Babi Guling set meal from Babi Guling Karya Rebo, Bali.

Bali is also a haven for vegans, there are so many trendy cafes and you'll find all the hipsters-ish, meals or fruits bowls, stuff like that. I only went to one because my friend wanted Insta-worthy photo spots. I didn't mind going once in a while but not everyday LOL! It's too boring!

Hipster vegan meals in Shelter, Bali

Souvenirs to get

The best places to purchase souvenirs are along the street of Legian, Ubud and Jalan Pantai in Kuta. My favorite got to be the latter because there are rows of Art Markets and Matahari department store in one row of street. The department store has almost everything you probably want to find _ batiks, traditional toys and decorations, wooden cutleries and diningwares, coffee and so much more! Check out my souvenirs haul in this post.

Budgeting for Bali & Nusa Islands

I don't have the breakdown of each and every expenses because I'm too lazy to keep track! In fact the receipts are still left on my working desk unattended... However, I can tell you my biggest expense aside from flight and accommodation is transportation! My friends and I relied heavily on tour guides almost daily, especially in the Nusa Island. Not to mention, getting to the Nusa Islands by speedboat makes up a large part of my expenses.

Food-wise, I am a simple traveler and contented with eating at roadside warungs which mostly charge me under 50kRupiah per meals. Even with a bottle of Bintang beer, still under 100kRupiah. Of course, there are times I dined at the more expensive warungs. The most expensive one at 250kRupiah! It's really for the sake of one-time experience. The other one-time I splurged on, is for a woven based batik tote I really liked.

Money Changers and ATMs availability 
in Bali & the Nusa Islands

I have literally an entire rows of money changers along Jalan Pantai Kuta, and supposed this is the best place for you to change enough currency! In fact, I would advice you to do so before heading to the Nusa Islands where you will most likely get lower rates compare to what you can find in Kuta! 

In Nusa Penida, you can check with locals but you won't find many and if you do, they are unlicensed operators. In the neighboring Nusa Lembongan, Blackwood Coffee Shop offers such service and is the only one I know off. Again, you won't get better rates than in Kuta. 

As for ATMs, there are MEPS ATMs again in Jalan Pantai Kuta, Bali and nearby Mushroom Bay in Nusa Lembongan (not too far from Blackwood Coffee Shop) if you're in need for one.  In Nusa Penida, ironically despite being the larger Nusa Island, have only one local, non-MEPS ATM near the market.

Tip #3: Prepare enough local currencies to avoid paying for more especially before heading to the Nusa Islands where currency exchange rate is lower and there are fewer to none money changers.


In Conclusion

Albeit some uncomfortable incidents I think Bali & the Nusa Islands are one great place for a relaxing getaway. The Nusa Islands being my favorite because I felt the safest and experienced the greatest hospitality from the locals! If you have time to spare, I would DEFINITELY recommend you taking your time island-hopping around the Nusa Islands, perhaps even Lombok. Or visit these places on another trip, because even in Bali there are so many places to explore!

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