Skyscanner – I love that I can choose “to” destination “flexible”. It helps me to find the cheapest destination from Europe to Asia (no matter Thailand, Malaysia or other, from there to go to Indonesia simpler).
Momondo – If my travel dates are flexible it’s great to see all the prices in the chart by dates and choose the cheapest date to fly.
Nusatrip – here I find sometimes the cheapest flights inside Asia.
Tiket – one of the websites that you can find well cheapest flight tickets inside Asia. As well you can buy train tickets, rent a car, book a hotel in Indonesia.
Traveloka – here you can find flights, hotels, train tickets, and much more.
Thorn Tree – many travel advice from local travelers and not only. I like that people most of the time give exhaustive answers to questions.
Couchsurfing – people not only host you but share their experiences, advice. Often organize meetings with travelers and local people.
FB groups – you can find many travel groups by different regions, traveling types and etc.
Darmasiswa scholarship – possibility to study Indonesian culture, live here for 6-12 months. I was selected for this program.
Internship in Indonesia– another possibility to stay in Indonesia and share your academic and cultural knowledge with Indonesian students.
Work away – voluntary program around the world and many possibilities for Asia as well. I already have several projects in my mind that would like to attend.
GoAbroad– providing the most comprehensive international education and alternative travel resource. You can find a study, internship, volunteering programs, and more.
Easy book – largest booking website in SE Asia: bus, train, car, ferry, and local tours in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and more. Often suggest discounts for online tickets.
Klook – car with a driver’s rental, pick up/drop off from the airport, and much more. All around Southeast Asia and other countries. The prices are really good.
12goAsia – boat and other transportations tickets around Southeast Asia.
Tiket – train tickets, car rentals in Indonesia. Easier to buy Indonesian train tickets here.
Go-jek – works like Uber in Indonesia. You can book not only a ride but as well as food delivery and much more.
Grab– similar to Go-jek but works not only in Indonesia but as well in other Southeast countries.
Blue Bird taxi– official taxi in Indonesia that you can order in Jakarta, Bali, Bandung, Banten, Batam, Lombok, Manado, Medan, Padang, Pekanbaru, Palembang, Semarang, Solo, Surabaya, and Yogyakarta. Very easy to use their app “MyBlueBird”.
First of all, I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of cooking. While living in Lithuania, I used to cook (simple dishes) mainly at home, because it was cheaper than eating out and I didn’t have enough free time to go to restaurants. However, since I’ve moved to Indonesia, I stopped cooking almost completely. It is often much cheaper to eat out at local places than prepare meals at home (especially because I know a number of cheap places that serve delicious food), and it is more convenient: you avoid shopping, preparing and washing dishes. Also, I am one of those people who follow a recipe to the letter and who will not start cooking until I carefully prepare all ingredients which takes a really long time. Also, I can only look after one pot at a time! I was always really envious of people who possess that magic touch, who can open their fridge, have a quick look round, and effortlessly create culinary masterpieces.
This long introduction is to show that cooking and I often go our separate ways. And I really wouldn’t have believed that one day I will be the one who not only takes part in cooking classes but also recommends them to others. I’ve discovered that, even for somebody who is not a natural chef, cooking classes in Bali are not only a great pastime, but also an opportunity to get to know Bali and its everyday life.
I’ve taken part in a few different cooking classes and want to bust some of the false myths about them. Do any of these seem familiar and is a reason why you haven’t yet chosen this activity while in Bali?
Cooking Classes in Bali – False Myths
“I cook loads at home already and don’t want to make food while on holiday”
Believe me, you won’t need to cook as much as you do at home. Everything is done much simpler, easier, and quicker. Chefs have their assistants, who will gladly take over from you if you had enough of cooking. You will be able to observe the remaining process and eat delicious food at the end.
“It’s not worth it because I won’t be able to make this at home”
After the lesson, all participants receive recipes with a clear descriptions of the ingredients, exact measurements, and cooking process. During the lesson, chefs also advise which local ingredients can be swapped for products that are easier to come by in Europe.
“I don’t know how to cook, so there will be nothing for me to do”
If you know how to use a knife and can distinguish between a chopping board and a bowl – it’s more than enough. You don’t have to be a master chef. Chefs and their assistants will always be around to show the best way to chop ingredients, etc. Also, cooking classes in Bali are not only about learning how to make traditional food, but also a deeper knowledge of Bali and the opportunity to taste real authentic dishes.
“It will be too hot”
Almost all cooking classes in Bali happen in an outdoor gazebo with perfect natural air circulation. These tents even have powerful fans (although you shouldn’t expect them to have air conditioning). I never felt too hot during the lessons I’ve attended so far.
Do you have some other doubts about cooking classes in Bali or reasons why you wouldn’t try them? Share your thoughts and I’m sure I’ll manage to prove you wrong.
Why attending cooking classes in Bali is a great idea?
It’s a chance to see everyday life in Bali and to know more about local delicacies. Before the class, many chefs offer a trip to local markets where you can get to know Balinese/Indonesian spices, fruit, vegetables, and seafood. Chefs tell you everything you need to know about any unfamiliar products, so you won’t need to stand there guessing “what on earth is this?”.
During one class, you will taste 5-9 different local dishes. So later, when you are at a local restaurant, you will be able to either order something new or go for your favorite dish tasted during the cooking class.
It is very easy to include these classes in your trip. They are often organized twice a day, in the morning and in the afternoon, nearly every day. So, you can choose a time that suits you best. Cooking classes and tasting the dishes (that you have made) takes around 2-4 hours, so you can easily spend the rest of the day doing other things.
Making food will be pretty simple. Chefs and their assistants are always on hand telling you what, when, and how to chop, etc. You will never be left on your own with an unfamiliar recipe and ingredients. And if you ever get too tired, the assistants will happily take over and finish making the dish.
The menu will be adjusted to your needs. If you are vegetarian, vegan, have food allergies, or avoid certain foods – chefs will always offer alternative ingredients or dishes suitable for your eating habits.
With whom I had the cooking classes in Bali?
With chef Ketut (Ubud)
He is the most positive person on earth. Ketut will make sure you have a great time during your cooking class. Before opening his own cooking studio where he employs his relatives and friends, this chef spent quite a few years working in different restaurants. His studio praises itself for its hygienic environment, everybody works with disposable gloves. The space is very simple (as you can see from my photos), but this shouldn’t deter you from cooking with Ketut. Two people share one workspace. What you make together, that’s what you eat at the end. You can add stuff to your own dish if you like it to be more spicy or salty.
The place: 10 min. driving from Ubud center Time: morning classes (8.30 am-1.00 pm) and evening classes (3 pm – 7.30 pm). Monday to Saturday Menu: you will learn how to cook 9 Balinese dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu. Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 30 people Language: English Advantage: free transportation to/from the lesson to your hotel in Ubud (possible pick-up/drop-off from other places but for an additional cost). Includes a visit to the local market. Price: 350 000 Rp (~ 22 EUR)/person. Minimum 2 people.
With chef Mudana (Sanur)
This Balinese chef is very attentive and helpful. Previously he worked abroad and in a few restaurants in Indonesia, and now, together with his family, he opened a small, but very cozy cooking studio at his home. The food is kept and made following strict hygienic standards. They also have a small corner where you can get various cooking souvenirs. Two people share one workspace, but, at the end of class, all food is put on individual plates and shared amongst all the participants.
The place: 10 min. driving from Sanur center Time: morning classes (7 am-2.00 pm) and evening classes (5 pm – 9 pm). On Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays – Indonesian dishes. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday – Balinese dishes. Menu: you will learn how to cook 7 dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu. Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 12 people Language: English Advantage: free transportation to/from the lesson to your hotel in Sanur (possible pick-up/drop-off from other places but for an additional cost). Includes a visit to the local Jimbaran fish market (not possible during evening classes). Price: 750 000 Rp (~ 47 EUR)/person, morning class. 500 000 Rp (~ 31 EUR)/person, evening class. Minimum 2 people.
With chef Wayan (Bangli)
Wayan is a very experienced chef. He is quiet but very professional and friendly. He’s established his cooking studio in a rice field. It is a perfect environment for cooking and then eating the food, you simply don’t what to leave there afterward. Everything is also very hygienic. I especially liked that he donates some of the takings to the local community in his village: to fix the roads, help those in need, etc. Two people share one workspace and, after the class, all food is put on individual plates and shared amongst all the participants.
The place: 40 min. driving from Ubud center Time: morning classes (9 am-1.30 pm) and evening classes (2 pm – 6.30 pm). Monday to Sunday. Menu: you will learn how to cook 7 Balinese dishes. There is a separate vegetarian menu. Number of participants: at one time can participate up to 27 people Language: English Advantage: includes the local market visit. You can watch or even participate in the rice planting process. Near the cooking class, you can also visit traditional Balinese homes, spend half of the day with Balinese people, and help them with their daily activities (but this is a separate service for additional fees). Price: 680 000 Rp (~ 43 EUR)/person (transportation not included). Minimum 2 people.
There are other chefs who also organize cooking classes in Bali. I haven’t tried them myself but heard some good things about them. Here are a few of them:
The cost of cooking classes in Bali differs. So, before booking, check if the cost includes free travel to and from the cooking studio and free water (you will have to pay extra for any other drinks). Also, ask what else is included in the price.
I would strongly advise attending a cooking class during your first days in Bali. It will make it easier to choose meals from restaurant menus because you’ll be all ready familiar with the dishes, or choose to taste something new.
I would recommend going to the morning cooking class. In the mornings, markets are busier and the stalls offer more varied products. Also, in the morning you will have more energy and after a great lunch will be able to continue with your exploration of Bali.
Before coming to cooking class, don’t eat at least for a few hours. Believe me, there will be enough food to not only have while you are there but also plenty of leftovers to take home with you.
If you choose to have your cooking class at the hotel, double-check if it is happening somewhere else or at the hotel itself. Unfortunately, not all hotels have cozy spaces for cooking.
If you enjoyed your class, you can always leave a tip (but it’s not obligatory).
You know, even I, who clearly has a very conflicted relationship with cooking, really enjoyed moving around the kitchen during the cooking class in Bali. And I got to taste new dishes. Maybe I should rediscover my love of cooking also here, in Indonesia?
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS
Do you think a cooking class in Bali will make it onto your wish list now?
Maybe you have already attended cooking classes in Bali and would like to share your experience and thoughts?
Have you participated in any cooking classes in other countries? How was it?
If you haven't decided where to stay in Bali, here are some places I've stayed (click to read):
Manyi Village Ubud– a place surrounded by rice paddies but further from the main streets. It’s not a big place, quiet, intimate. From the balcony, you can see the sunrise, from bathroom window paddies. Other travelers reviews.
Ubud Wana Resort– city type hotel, not too big, with spacious rooms, couple swimming pools, not far from Ubud Monkey forest. Stuff very flexible and helpful. Breakfast buffet type with several options. Other travelers reviews.
Sanggingan Villa and Permana Cottages – Ubud– both places are not too far from Ubud center. Rooms are spacious but the interior of Bali in 80’s (some rooms only with fan, some rooms needs improvement). Very simple served breakfast.
While you are traveling you almost can’t avoid meeting other travelers, tourists on your way. But let’s be clear who is “tourist” and who is “traveler”. The most common definition of “tourist” is “a person who is traveling, especially for pleasure”. “Traveler” – “someone who is traveling or who travels often”. I think (and I use this description in this post): “tourist” a person who comes to a place just to take what he wants, needs, “check” on the “been/seen/done” list. He thinks everything goes only around his needs; “traveler” – a person, who comes to a place to give, understand, be a part of local culture. Who wants to make the trade – take but as well give something in return.
If a tourist wants to get the most benefits of being a tourist, be noticed by local people, other travelers – he should follow these guidelines. Then he can claim to get an award of most annoying tourist in Asia.
How to become the most annoying tourist in Asia
#1 Become a speaker
How will people know you or understand better, if you won’t share how you feel, think without saying it? It’s too tiring to speak with each person about yourself? So just be sure to speak as loud as you can with a person in front of you. Then everybody who is around (workers, other tourists, travelers) will hear you and you will get attention, even if you are not the most important person in that place.
#2 Be proud of your success by showing how much money you have
You feel that people won’t give attention to you if you won’t start to show/tell how rich you are. And because of it, you can get everything you want? So do it! Don’t accept any negative answer to your wishes, just tell people that you have a lot of money and you can buy everything you want: respect, justice, people and etc. Like you believe people in Asia are poor, so money the only way to solve problems, get anything.
#3 Forget your clothes
You have worked so hard in the gym a month before the holiday (just to look good in photos that you will share in your social profiles). So why you should cover your body with clothes? The swimsuit is not only for the beach, walk with it in the city as well. Why you should dress properly in front of local people, respect their religion and culture? Who are they – just locals, don’t care about them. Don’t forget you are the main person!
#4 No need to use simple humanity rules
Local people don’t understand when you are polite to them. Only if you scream, showing disrespect – they will solve your problems. They are not normal people like you or those with whom you deal in your own country. So act differently than you do in your country.
You respect only those who are worth it, right? Who are the local people? You don’t know them, you don’t understand them. So, why you should respect them? Don’t do that, act with them like they are not humans.
#5 Delete words “local rules” from your vocabulary
You should forget the expression “local rules”. You are not local, you are a tourist, just temporary staying for your vacation. You should have a good time, do things that you don’t do in your own country, without thinking about anything. Remember – “rules” are not for you! Drive motorbike without a helmet, as fast as you can, with as many people on a motorbike as you can take and etc. Don’t think that it can be dangerous for you and other people. If others do like this, why can’t you? You don’t need to think, you left your brain at home and want just follow others’ behavior – it’s much easier.
#6 Make a challenge for yourself
Alcohol in your country too expensive? Don’t have reasons to get drunk there? Yes, vacation in Asia is the right time and place to be the drunk the whole day! Get drunk till stage when local people try to help you find where are you staying or call for help like you can’t even stand up (and your friends just left you lying somewhere). A holiday is all about it – be drunk all the time.
#7 Take pictures of local people like in the zoo
While you are completing you “been/seen/done” list, you will meet local people which maybe you will find interesting. So just go to them, put a photo camera in front of their faces, no matter what they are doing at that time, and try to get the best shot. Don’t forget to make as many as possible shots. As well don’t think to be polite and ask people permission to take their picture. Some locals in Asia don’t speak English, so why you need to waste your time asking for permission? Feel free to just behave with them like with animals in the zoo.
#8 Follow your animal instincts
You feel passion here and right now? So have sex straight where you are, for example in the public hotel swimming pool. Who cares if somebody will see you? You feel the passion and want to demonstrate it. After all, you do the same in your country, in other countries outside Asia while you are traveling. So, why you can’t do it here as well? And don’t forget to “order” local females/males for your sex games – like “it’s part of the culture”, “you can help them to earn a little money” and they “enjoy working this job”.
#9 Leave your brains at home
You worked hard for a long time to get these couple weeks of pleasure. So just leave your brain at home and do things that you never do in your country or outside of Asia. Get crazy, do dangerous things, don’t think about anything. Try everything that locals suggest even if you don’t know what this is. Vacation is the time when you don’t need any limits. And Asian countries just waiting for your craziness. Here is one of the crazy things which you can do in Asia.
So it’s all my tips to get an award of most annoying tourist in Asia. Maybe you have suggested other tips?
I hope I haven’t offended any of you. But at least you know now how sometimes your behavior looks like from another point of view. And why local people treat you in a way which you don’t like. Keep in mind that everything is written in a sarcastic way from my personal experience during traveling in Asia.