On the fourth day of our honeymoon, we have underwater scooter planned for morning activity. It sounds amazing and definitely new to us. They have a pick up transport ready for us at about 8 in the morning which will take us to Tanjung Benoa. This is the place for all kinds of water sports like parasailing, banana boat, underwater walker, underwater scooter and many more. Our agent for today’s activity is from Aquastar Bali. The whole trip takes approximately 1 hour from our villa to Tanjong Benoa water sport spot.
When we get there, we are gathered with other tourists who are about to do the underwater scooter in the same batch as us. They are 2 couples of Chinese Malaysians. The staff who welcomes us is a local who speaks English badly but in a fast understandable pace. I remember this distinctly because it makes me think that you might not need to be 100% grammatically correct to speak a language, just so long as the other person understands you well.
The staff offers us a key to a locker and tells us to keep our items there. The place is like a little abandoned cafe but not the one to make you feel icky or something, it’s just not as what I imagine it would be. She then tells us to go to the bathroom if we need to and put on our bathing suits. Don’t forget to put on your sunscreen too, she said. After all the preparation is done, she guides us to a boat by the beach there and leads us in. Two other male staff appear and they are the ones operating the boat and also be our guides for our underwater scooter.
They take us to the ocean where they have like a floating port as a base. They prepare the scooter and so yeah apparently there is only ONE scooter. We ought to wait for our turn to be riding that particular scooter so Jacky and I let the Malaysian couples do it first. When they get ready near the scooter, the guide tells them about the water pressure and how there will be oxygen under the scooter hood. He also tells us about the hand signal for OK and not OK situations. The first couple get in the scooter and we see that the scooter has a rope attached on top of it.
Once they lower the scooter down, they are submerged and we spend our waiting time chatting and taking pictures. Then our turn comes. We get ready as the guide tells us and position ourselves inside the scooter. Jacky is being a sweet guy that he is and he lets me to ride in front while he be the passenger. As we sit on our scooter, we realize that the guide tells us nothing about steering it. As it turns out, we won’t be riding the scooter ourselves, we will be just sitting in it while the staff would drag us along underwater. The whole thing is just like being in a small aquarium except that we become the fish and the fish is us. Also, they give us bread in a small plastic bags for the fish food.
Though it is quite disappointing to know that we are not the ones actually riding the scooter, the environment underwater is still amazing. The staff takes a lot of pictures with our camera and they bring us to their “tourist spot”. This spot has so many fish and it has coral refs too. It even has a statue and a walking path for the underwater walkers. We spend some time in there and just be mesmerized with our surroundings. After about 10-15 minutes being underwater, it’s time to come back up to the surface.
They return us to the beach and back to the “abandoned cafe” where they ask us if we want some fried rice for lunch. Because we actually have plans to have lunch somewhere else in the city, we don’t want to full our stomach on a random fried rice. We order one instead for both of us and Jacky eats most of it.
Back in our villa, we pack our stuff and bid goodbye to our lovely villa and friendly receptionist. We get our Uber driver and go straight to the city where we have decided to have lunch in this restaurant called Biku.
This place is not so big and doesn’t look fancy but it has a glamour ambience to it. The design is rather traditional with the waitress wearing traditional costumes. The food is not as fantastic as I was hoping for but it turns out that they are more famous for the high tea menu. They have various kinds of cakes and muffins and tons of choices for tea. It kinda tears me apart because I really need to eat one proper lunch meal but I also want to try their high tea menu and I can’t have them both. I decide to stick to a proper meal and it was okay.
All around the dining area, there are many little booths which sell products like crafts and magnet pins, incense and water bottles. So many things so unique with fascinating ideas behind it. Though interesting, I did not buy anything because we need to go to Ubud right away after this.
We get Uber again to take us to Ubud. This time we get the chance to have a female driver but frankly she seems like she just got her license in the last 3 months or maybe she is driving someone else’s car which she is not comfortable with because she hit the brake like it’s an emergency every time. Because the whole trip to Ubud takes about an hour and a half, I sleep at the back seat and wake up a little every time she hits the brake.
After what it feels like a 3 hour trip, I wake up just to find that the car is still moving in the middle of nowhere. Apparently the driver doesn’t know the exact location of our hotel, Alila Ubud. And after some time, after we get lost in a traditional village, we ask one of the residents if he knows the whereabout of this Alila Ubud hotel. It turns out that we need to take a U-turn in that small village roads and because the car is quite big, it takes the driver a little bit extra time to make the turn. A few attempts later and it is still stuck. Jacky takes over the wheel and flee us right out of our tough spot and speed away to find our hotel.
Seemingly, we actually have passed the hotel sign before but we were just not sure if that sign leads to the hotel or just an advertisement.
The road leading to the hotel is so long that it makes me think if I probably can go to sleep again. Alila Ubud takes their concept and holds it dearly to their heart. When you stay at Alila Ubud, you would know that you will be staying in a jungle-like, a very secluded peaceful, paddy-fields surrounded luxury resort.
Instead of tall buildings with square windows on the side, this complex is more like a campus of bungalows and blocks with labels for room numbers, spa place or the gift shop. Between the row of rooms, there really are tall trees which make a giant green umbrella for everything beneath it. We even saw a couple of monkeys hanging around on the tree in front of our room, it’s the cutest thing.
The room is rather small and simple with only a king bed as the center, a dressing table, a cupboard for clothes and the other side of the room is the shower and toilet. There is no TV. There’s a little balcony outside with one table and two chairs. We know better as an Indonesian not to spend so much time outdoor in this area because of mosquitos.
We are done admiring our room and the lovely area and we continue the night with having dinner in Naughty Nuri’s. This brand has quite some branches over the years all around Bali but we go to the first place they opened it. It has a backstory of how a foreigner is traveling to Bali and falls in love with a local girl and struggle their way in opening this pork ribs restaurant. The place is still left as it is since they first started it, I suppose.
The pork ribs served here is just the best. For about IDR200,000 you can get a huge chunk of pork ribs that is juicy, delicious and keeps you wanting more. The sauce is dripping and the meat is soft. Some people may need to share one portion of pork ribs for two but not for us. We have one pork ribs and one roasted pork and finish almost everything with two plates of white rice. In total we spend IDR331,400 for all the food and drink and we are definitely too full to move for a few minutes after we finish our meals. It’s worth it.
Additional information about Ubud: unlike Seminyak or Kuta, this city is still rich in traditions and the roads are not as big. Transportation might be hard to find and Uber is definitely even harder to contact. Everybody is offering “taxi” service with their own price and they might get mad if they catch us riding in Uber cars. Playing hide and seek with Uber drivers in Ubud is way more trickier than in Seminyak or Kuta.