Dreams are a funny thing. They can be stories of visiting a certain place where your imagination goes wild. Unfortunately, images that you have garnered by living vicariously through someone else’s captured moments are not reality.
The idea of visiting the “Island of the Gods” was something I dreamed of for many years. I heard and read of others’ experiences and I likened them to the islands of Hawaii. Hawaii happens to be one of my favorite places in the world. I love the spiritual feeling I get when visiting. I love the green lushness, flowers, ocean, and the island vibe. Island life has a slower and more chilled out pace compared to San Diego. The people and culture are comforting to me.
In late March 2019, Dan and I traveled to Bali. It was finally time to pack our bags and head to Manila. A quick transfer in Manila and we were on our way to Denpasar, Indonesia eventually making our way to the city of Ubud.
We spent just over a week in Bali - plenty of time to see and experience everything. If you have more time and money to play with, I would recommend spending as much time as you can exploring more of Bali.
Reasons to Visit Bali
- Natural Beauty/Lushness: The place is so green! Beautiful flowers of many different natural colors and elements adorn the city of Ubud. The orange colored marigolds are amazingly beautiful in Bali. Rice paddy fields look like something out of the movies. Fresh fruits and veggies are everywhere filling the air with unique aromas. Dan and I only traveled to the coastal regions of Bali one time during our stay. I wish we had more time to spend on the beaches. The beach in Canggu was decent- we discovered a nice little beach bar Al Boon to chill and drink because the popular Finns Beach Club was too loud and crowded - not the Zen vibe we were going for.
- Food/Drink: Healthy Drinks, Healthy food (taste the rainbow), refreshing cocktails and mocktails/shakes/smoothies/wellness shots. Some of our favorite spots: Clear Café, Laughing Buddha, The Udaya Resort & Spa, Kismet Bar Lounge, Muse Cafe, and Bali Bohemia. There are so many coffee/tea places, and restaurants (“Warungs” for Indonesian in nature, often family owned/small business). Have fun exploring and ask around for what the locals, expats, and other travelers have found that they love
- Culture/ and Architecture: The temples, the colors, the historical buildings. Live music at Laughing Buddha and Udaya!! Women walking with flower offerings and baskets on their heads. All the carvings and handmade work in the traditional Balinese style are so colorful and rich
- Relaxed vibe: I experienced one of the best massages of my life at Sang Spa! Get the 90-minute combination massage- we loved the massage therapists named Pipi and Darli. Another favorite of ours and a great spot to relax and indulge is The Udaya Resort and Spa. The 24-hour Kaveri Spa at The Udaya is where I experienced my Om-azing flower bath. I felt like a beauty queen having Dan take pictures of me in the flower bath. I love flowers, and I just loved the colors and natural beauty surrounding me and the Zen feeling at Kaveri Spa at Udaya Resort.
- Yoga community is a huge part of the wellness experience in Ubud. There are so many yoga studios- if you are not there for a yoga retreat, not to worry- you can do yoga just about anywhere. The Udaya has a beautiful room to do yoga- call ahead for their offer. You can meet lots of new people in Ubud, or any of the other coastal cities. Bali attracts people from all over the world in search of new experiences and personal growth.
Fun Activities and Experiences
- Bali Swing(s): There are so many to choose from! I would ask around for the local favorites of those you speak to or do a google search for reviews. Locate the best one closest to you to save time. You can also ask around for the going rate, because some of the vendors may try to overcharge you. I loved the swing because it built up anticipation and I felt so cool and free like a bird flying through the sky. I was surrounded by beautiful green and lush trees.
- Monkey Forest Visit: (many to choose from). It was fun to watch the Monkeys interact and run around, but a little intimidating as well. The monkeys come super close to you and we even saw a monkey jump on someone. You can walk through the whole thing in about 20 minutes or so.
- Hiking: – Campuhan Ridge hike and waterfall hikes – Leke Leke waterfall was an easy hike and not too far to get to the waterfall, but there were a lot of people down by the waterfall.
- Temple Exploration: – Temples have so much detail and beauty, you could spend hours enjoying the numerous Temples.
Wellness Tips to Save Time and Money
- Be prepared for the humidity and heat- it is one of the hottest places I remember visiting (we were there end of March into early April).
- Bring your wellness A-game - Essential oils and Ener-c and any other natural things to help you fight off germs (vitamin C, echinacea, etc.- and take these before your trip and on the LONG flight), drink water and OJ on your flight and get up to move around and use the restroom often to keep your body moving), bring your essential oil bug repellant and/or bug spray for the mosquitos. It is a good idea to bring light and breathable clothing, hats, sunglasses, sunblock- you most likely will NEVER be cold unless it is in your room while sleeping.
- Research your Exchange/Transportation Hacks - Be sure to exchange only enough for the cab ride to your next stop (large bills only) at the Denpasar airport and the rest once you reach your destination (find exchange places that say “no commission”). Make sure you go to one with the best rate (compare the rates you read on the signs, or ask around), and negotiate your cab fairs with a driver. Find a clean car with a good air conditioning system (trust me). The Balinese people are known to be kind, but just like any place, be aware and be cautious of people up-charging you for anything. Understand the going rate for taxi cabs, swing rides, etc. and it is OK to negotiate anywhere you go.
- Beware of Motorbikes - Be prepared for the streets- there is no order to driving and streets (not like America)- they are used to it, but you will see for yourself how crazy it can be. Take your time and do what makes you happy out there. You traveled a long way to get here (most likely), so just enjoy and spend your time doing what you love, surrounded by people you love.
If I could summarize Bali in a few words, I would say it is a lush and spiritual sanctuary. I am so glad we made the commitment to visit Bali. It is such a beautiful and special island and has so much to offer. My wish for you is that you embrace mindful travel and slow down to enjoy Bali and try out some new foods, activities, tours, beaches, meet new people, culture, music, dancing, and yoga. Make some new friends. Be good to yourself and each other!