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Cheap Bali: How to Spend Only 50,000 Rupiahs For One Glorious Day

Forget Kuta. Forget the glam bule spot in dowtown Seminyak. Go to Sanur instead. As a Balinese, I truly feel Sanur is underrated. Too quiet, some of my ‘Down Under’ friends told me when I took them to window shopping along Tamblingan Street. It is true that most of tourists coming to Sanur are already retired with bulging lifetime saving and even bulgier belly but it shouldn’t put you off (consider you don’t have tanned-flat stomached-Billabong clad-surfer in mind).

Sanur, now is to me, is what was left from The Real Bali and even that bits of Bali is fading rapidly in exchange for luxurious villas and shops. So with my kindred spirit friend, I try to spend a glorious day, cheaply. First, we went to Bali Beach Hotel. The tallest hotel in Bali was quiet and I have to lie if I say that the former grandeur is still there. It sorely needs to reinvent itself. It has potential with the history and “fire-resistant room of Nyi Roro Kidul" as selling point. Anyway, the reason why we went there is to safely park our car considering the street was mobbed by Balinese families picnic-ing on Sanur beach (Balinese are going all out on the day after Galungan)

An hour after lazy lay on the white sand, we decided to walk along the pavement. The pavement is the best thing ever happened to Sanur on the last ten years. It covers the long beach, facilitating bikers and joggers alike. Apart from the screaming naked kids running rampantly, it was a nice walk. No holed-cracked-your-neck pavement resembling Kuta’s. A quick stop in franchised Circle K (24-hours shop scattered around tourist area) to buy a bottle of Aqua costed us 2000 rupiahs (1 U$ is around 9,000 rupiahs).

The kind of tourists in Sanur tend to come as individuals. Tanning lady with paperback book, a jogging bare-chested guy in Oakley glasses, family of four dining in one of the beach front café. No loud Taiwanese groups or recent increased visit of Russian bunch yelling nyet in sight. Those who are looking for solitude or those who is a regular visitor of Bali, I suppose.

Our next splurge is a cup of coffee in one of the oldest hotel in Sanur, Griya Santrian. A glass of ice latte cost around 14,000 rupiahs (after happy hour discounts). The sun started to hide and our internal alarm device has begin its protest. Time to refuel. Following the claim of my friend, Miss C, we are heading into one of the restaurant on By Pass Ngurah Rai Road. The restaurant is called “La Pau’ and they serve Padang food (and you just can’t leave Indonesia without trying Padang food).

A mere 24,000 rupiahs gave you a plate full of amazingly delicious food (which you can pick by yourself) and a cold sweet ice tea (the sugar was melted in pandan leaves to create a fragrant tea). The beef stew called ‘rendang’ is to die for. To add the already perfect culinary experience, La Pau is also famous for the Saturday Night Jazz Performance which feature mysterious jazz musician from all around the globe, starting from 12pm until dawn (or the rendang all gone). The building was a typical Javanese pendopo with three small gazebo for the romantics. Jazz and rendang, one just can’t think of a better fushion.

And so our glorious day was ended with a cost of just 40,000 rupiahs. Fresh mind, healthy lungs and satisfied belly. A fine day indeed.

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