My husband and I visited Bali for the first time in June. There are so many great elements to this lovely island – the people, culture, art and religion – all of which combine to make a heady travel elixir. There’s so much to see and discover, I found it hard to settle down and relax on what is arguably one of the most beautiful islands in the world.
We spent a couple days in Seminyak near the beach in a great place called Wolas Villas. It was gorgeous – private pool and outdoor living room. I wasn’t complaining.
While not exactly walker friendly (take a taxi because the traffic is fairly heavy) it’s close to the beach and shopping. I had fun hitting the shops – lots of fashion designers call Bali home, and there are a lot of trustafarian beach hippy/Ibiza-style clothing stores. Seminyak is one of the trendier areas of Bali and prices really span the spectrum. We didn’t have time to spend on the beach, other than a sunset drink at Ku De Ta, but the villa we stayed in was gorgeous in it’s own right and my husband didn’t want to leave.
The next couple of days we stayed at the Hanging Gardens, about 30 minutes outside Ubud. Perched on the side of a jungle hill, and accessible by funicular (or an arduous climb), the Hanging Gardens was one of the more spectacular places we’ve stayed.
Across the river gorge from the hotel, sits a beautiful Hindu temple which is lit up at night. It’s a place where you could spend days and never leave. But with a town like Ubud waiting to be explored, I couldn’t sit still.
Ubud is a located in the center of Bali and for years has been the island’s center of arts and culture. The town itself is surrounded by rice fields, art and craft communities, and ancient temples. It’s a great mix of high and low – backpacker pizza parlours next to temples, fake D&G stores next to art galleries selling old Balinese masks. And don’t get me started on the massages… I think Ubud has the best, most relaxing massages in all of Asia. Should I mention you can get a 5 hour spa treatment for under $45 (hair, nails, scrub and massage!)?
And finally there is the Monkey Forest in Ubud. Balinese Hindus revere monkeys (in particular the Monkey God Hanuman) and I’ve never seen so many baby monkeys. It was fun watching the women in their temple finery balancing offerings on their head, while navigating these cute, but often pesky, creatures. One monkey made off with a basket to everyone’s great amusement.
I’ve been told there’s so much more to see. Hopefully there will be a next time – soon!