Bali Soul Shine

rice terraces

Do you want a peaceful, picturesque getaway in the countryside with lush greenery and nothing but the sound of nature? Head to Ubud, Bali. It only takes two planes and 22 hours in the air. But the journey also involves in-flight movies, tiny meals at random hours in the middle of the night, compression socks, a comfy travel pillow, a blow up foot rest, blanket and an eye mask. Traveling isn't as glamorous as it may seem, my last trip to Asia was 9 years ago and I forgot how grueling the long travel was, 12 time zones later it really takes a toll on your body. You can read about the part of my trip in Bangkok here.

airplane map

Bali has everything - beautiful beaches, temples, jungle, rice terraces, delicious food and friendly people.  It’s a very popular travel destination for Australians because if you look at the map Indonesia is right on top of Australia. I split my stay in Bali between two hotels, one at a beach resort at the south of the island and one in the interior on the outskirts of Ubud. To enter that hotel you had to drive through a rice terrace to enter as it was in the jungle but with an infinity pool in a property surrounded by tropical birds, frogs and 2 monkey families that roamed the property. My bathroom was partially outside so when I showered there was no wall, I could see all the trees. Each room is a separate hut with no TVs so waking up to the sound of nature was so amazing.

I spent my first few days in Bali visiting with the locals and learning more about Balinese culture. I visited several temples, and since it was during one their holidays I saw lots of  traditional Balinese offerings.  I also watched a Balinese dance performance in which they wore beautiful costumes. I saw lots of rice fields, and was shocked to discover that a 11 lb bag of rice in the grocery store costs only 50cents! The rice farmers allow duck farmers to bring over 100 ducks to sit in their rice paddies to eat, they ducks stay put in one spot just because of a stick.  Did you know that Bali is surrounded by a coral reef and has both white and black sand beaches? The black sand beaches come from their active volcano. Bali is also a popular spot for  night surfing as there are great waves then.  I took a leisurely bike ride along the beach, just like I did in Santa Monica.  There were Mandarin oranges all over the island that produced green skin ripe oranges. The most unique thing I saw was that they dyed the feathers of hens neon bright colors for cock fighting which they use as an offering to the gods. Because the island is so densely populated there are few gas stations so people sell roadside gasoline  out of absolute vodka bottles. There seemed to be more motocycles than cars, saw very few helmets on children and babies, and tweens drive motorcycles. The government subsidizes gas and one liter costs only 60 cents! I visited a few factories to see local handiwork, they make amazing wood carvings in Bali and batik clothing. Because of Dutch colonization, the Balinese use the latin alphabet. 

lotus flowers

where's waldo?

temple offerings
black sand beach from island volcano
I exchanged $100 and instantly become a millionaire! lol

free wifi at Starbucks

Tanah Lot

as the sun set the water came up further into the land

I watched the sunset from the sky into the sea 
Campuhan Ridge Walk

The next few pictures are from my sunkissed bicycle ride along the breezy beach, isn't this the prettiest scenery you've ever had on a bike ride?

wedding on the beach

watching surfers
hotel signs along the beach
I decided to do the quintessential Bali activity in Ubud during my visit - I took a yoga class at the Yoga Barn which has an open air yoga studio covered by a traditional Balinese roof and set on a lush property.
2nd floor studio
pink chicken

ceremonies make up the most unique aspects of this island

I came home from Bali feeling relaxed and renewed and with lots of wonderful memories. 

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