Bali…it was always alluring to me.  Everyone speaks of this little island like it’s heaven on earth.  I visualized it as the ultimate tropical paradise.  Beautiful water, palms swaying in the breeze….balmy, lush….so of course it was on the list for my journey.  This was also the first “New” place on our itenerary as we’d visited Australia and New Zealand before.

The first impression at the airport…? This place is HOT!  It’s not a dry heat either…high temps and high humidity actually create the Bali-style.  Less clothing or preferably just a bathing suit, no fussing with hair, no need for makeup!  Fantastic!  Flip flops….sand on your toes and a feeling of relaxation, slowing down, appreciating the beauty.

Bali is beautiful to look at but there’s another kind of beauty there that made the strongest impression on me.  The people are beautiful; beautiful hearts, beautiful smiles, beautiful actions.

 I will attribute this to the fact that the majority of the Balinese people are Hindu and, in my very basic knowledge of their religion, that means they believe in karma.  They seem to walk through life gently giving respect to God, to all humans and to their environment.  It is a pleasure to be surrounded by these people and it made me feel like a better person  as well.  Maybe this is part of the magic Bali weaves.

We began in Seminyak Beach at the Hotel Oberoi, the oldest resort on this beach. The place is absolutly magnificent!!! The grounds are lovely and dotted with temple relics and green, green, green foliage. Also….Green, green drinks!!!

 This part of the island seems to move at a pretty fast pace when you leave the peace and serenity of the resort.  Scooters EVERYWHERE, darting in and out amongst cars, buses, pedestrians and dogs that seem to enjoy laying on the roads.  It’s a breathtaking experience, literally.

Seminyak is home to really popular Beach Clubs that morph into cutting-edge dining with house music provided by world class DJ’s at night.  Potato Head and KuDeTa  are the two big boys.

Potato Head by day.

KuDeTa by night.

 We visited both and fell in love with KuDeTa.  As much as we travel, I’ve never had better service….and not the stuffy, make you feel un-comfy type.  This was like being warmly welcomed into someone’s quite posh home, and being greeted with the same warmth 3 days later. Kudos to the managers and servers. By the way…did I mention the food is totally delicious and beautifully presented??  The chefs are rocking it!!

Pan Seared Scallops in a Spicy Broth with Sauteed Greens

Parmesan and Sumac crusted Pork

Northern Style Lamb Dumplings with dark roasted Chile Jam

Days in this area were spent with long beach walks in the morning, delicious fish for breakfast, lunch and dinner, reading by the pool with “cool off” swims and the most tranquil gym known to man.  Healthy, fun and really my kind of happy place.

After Seminyak, we relocated to Ubud.  Up in the mountains and trees, a little cooler and a whole lot more art and culture oriented.  We had a guided tour to orient us with the area.  There are complete districts associated with different forms of Art. Carved wood, statues, more statues, blown glass in driftwood, and more statues just to name a few. Beautiful jewelry, sarongs, and some sweet little clothing boutiques round out the retail picture.

Rice terraces have a big place in the life of the people in this area.  They provide food for the families and in some cases, some income.  

Finally, we made our way to Pura Tirta Empul, the holy water temple.  The structure is so intricately adorned and feels like a place full  of locals with some tourists thrown in for good measure.  People go there to bath in the holy springs for many different reasons…some fountains are for prosperity, some for health, eyesight and there are two, specially  reserved for ashes after cremation.

 You can definitely feel the communion between the people and their Gods and Spirits

We decided to move to the Jimbaran Beach area for our last night.  It brought us closer to the airport and the famous Rock Bar at the Ayana Resort.  This place is a major Sunset destination as it’s literally on a rock 14 meters above the Indian Ocean. Quite a spectacle and very chaotic with a 750 person capacity.  

Bali was very hard to leave for me…it will always make me feel happy to remember my time there and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.  I cannot recommend it highly enough and would just emphasize that there are many different “personalities” on this little paradise, depending on which area you visit!!!