THINGS I LOVED:
» Ubud: The city of Ubud and the surrounding area is one of my favorite places I’ve ever traveled in. Everything about it was beautiful. We enjoyed mountain views, beautiful Balinese art & culture, Western foods we had been craving and amazing excursions around the city. I could go to Bali and never see a beach. I loved this area THAT MUCH!
» The Lush Natural Beauty: I have never seen a place so green, so lush and so tropical. It seemed no matter where we were- the beach, a temple or even on our Home Stay patio –we were surrounded by tropical flowers, vines and trees. It was stunning.
» Every Detail is Beautiful: Not only is the landscape beautiful but even the cities are beautiful. There are a lot of small family temples ornately designed, the gates into houses are intricately carved and figures of gods and goddesses are placed all over. I loved all this attention to detail. It truly made for a constant treat for your eyes.
» The Spirit: Indonesia has the largest Muslim population than any other country, and then there’s Bali… This little island next to Jakarta is made up of a mostly Hindu population. We got a lot of experiences in Balinese Hinduism. We had a Hindu lesson from a guide, saw dozens of family temples & visited a handful of different public temples and took part in traditions there. I have never felt more spiritually connected to a place in my life. There’s just something about it and I wouldn’t trade my experiences there for anything.
THINGS I DIDN’T LOVE:
» Obnoxious Selling: This was the only thing we truly didn’t love about Bali and this dislike comes in 3 parts. 1 – We were instantly yelled at with “Yes, lady! You buy!” just when walking across the street not looking at anything. 2 – The pricing was ridiculous. When I looked at something and they said 250,000 and I put it down, their next offer immediately jumped to 50,000, which made us question the price of everything we bought or did and it got so exhausting after a while. 3 – They were physically aggressive. They would chase us down the street with all kinds of things, shove things into your hands & not take them back and a lady physically grabbed Stacey over & over trying to keep her booth. It was crazy!
» Indaprastha Homestay: We paid about $19 ($9.50 per person) a night here and we were right in the heart of Ubud. We loved the people who owned it- they were extremely helpful & super friendly! It wasn’t a massive room but it had a comfy bed, a private bathroom and a patio. The grounds looked like an estate garden; they were well groomed and beautifully tropical. Also, we had breakfast delivered to our patio every morning. It was incredibly cozy and we loved our stay here.
TOP THREE SITES / EXPERIENCES:
» Holy Spring Temple: This was one of my Top 10 things I wanted to do on this Southeast Asia trip, so I was very eager when the day finally came. It’s just a short drive from Ubud and I will never forget my experience focusing and meditating in line to cleanse my spirit in order to be open and ready for blessings in my future. What an experience.
» Rice Terraces / Jungle Trek: This little over 4-mile trek through rice fields and a small part of the jungle was so enlightening. We had two phenomenal guides who introduced us to farmers, taught us about Balinese Hinduism and fed us one of my favorite meals from the entire trip! It was a really great tour and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
» Rocky Temple: This was just one of the top 10 most aesthetically pleasing places I’ve ever been in my entire life. Surrounded by rice terraces, you walk down near a river with a waterfall above, and there are all of these beautiful temples built into the sides of cliffs. It was just breathtaking. I mean, they don’t call it “Probably the most beautiful view in the world” for nothing.
BALIISMS (“oddities“ and culture shock):
» Being Greeted with the Word “Yes?!”: This was just annoying more than anything. I’ve never been badgered to buy something more in my life! It was craziness! Plus, it’s totally crazy to me that this is the selling method, to come at you saying “Yes?!” and hand you things that you don’t want at all. But it was everywhere we went in Bali.
» People You Genuinely Meet Are Eager to Talk to You: Despite the slightly annoying sales method, once you talk to anyone they’re incredible. We had nothing but amazing experiences with the locals. I’ve never met a more people genuinely interested in making sure you are comfortable, happy and seeing the things that you want to be seeing.
» Poverty Looks Different Here: We’ve seen a lot of poverty, but here it seems different. The joy in people’s eyes, the smiles on their faces and the conversations I had with them make me feel like they’re just happy to be alive and healthy. It was so beautiful to watch people being happy with our without money.
» Barter, Bargain, Deal: Everything seems to be negotiable here: rooms, souvenirs, rides, etc. I had a price drop from 250,000 rupiah to 50,000 rupiah in five seconds! It’s so bizarre. To be honest, though, by the end I found myself just walking away because I didn’t have it in me to have to bargain myself down to a fair price.
» Learn to Drive a Motorbike: My new dream is to rent a motorbike and just cruise all over the island of Bali for an entire spring. It seems like the way to go, the issue is getting comfortable on one of those bad boys.
» Breakfast was Included with all of our Accommodation: This was amazing because it took our cost for breakfast all the way down to $2.14 because we left too early to eat two days. It was incredible and a lot of times it is delivered to your door, patio or balcony. It’s so ritzy feeling!
» Complimentary Appetizers: We got these more in the two weeks we were in Bali than any other time! It was crazy! We had peanuts, bruschetta popcorn and garlic bread brought to us for free! It was crazy and really amazing for budget travelers!
» Do Your Research Traveling From Island to Island: We originally had a flight out of Jakarta and were going to make our way there by land until we discovered that it takes almost 2 days to get from Bali to Jakarta depending on where you are. We were afraid of missing our flight, but had waited until about 36 hours before we needed to be in Jakarta to look up how to get there (A travel fail on our part!) so we ended up booking a last minute flight from Bali to Jakarta. If we had done our research we would’ve saved two wasted days traveling: one to where we thought we needed to be and another to where we decided we did need to be, and money getting to both of these places, plus a last minute flight. Lesson learned.
BALI IS EASILY ONE OF MY FAVORITE DESTINATIONS THUS FAR. I LOVED HOW SPIRITUALLY CONNECTED TO MYSELF & OTHERS I FELT AND I WILL NEVER FORGET THE MOVING EXPERIENCES I HAD THERE. BALI FORCED ME TO FACE SOME FEARS AND DO MORE SOUL-SEARCHING THAN ANY OF THE OTHER PLACES HAVE. I’M GRATEFUL FOR THAT PUSH & I’M VERY EXCITED TO BRING SOME PRACTICES AND FEELINGS HOME WITH ME!
WITH LOVE, FROM BALI