The world is bigger than we could possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. I am inspired by each of your stories, just waiting to be told.I have traveled to over fifty countries but Bali stands out as one of my most favorite places to visit. It has this special aura about it that has captured visitors for centuries. Since “Eat, Pray, Love” came out in 2006, tourists have flocked to Bali to find their spiritual selves. Bali, an island in Indonesia stands out for being a cultural hot spot with beautiful beaches, lush green rice fields, volcanoes and the most amazing people.Ubud streets decorated for Galungan, an important celebration.The majority of Indonesians are Muslim, but most Balinese practice a Balinese-Hinduism. From the minute you arrive in Bali you see how devoted and spiritual the people are as every home and business will have offerings on their doorstep.You can’t help but be enchanted with the purposeful and peaceful way of life here and it is for this reason that so many expats and digital nomads never leave.
The great thing about a trip to Bali is that there is something for everyone, from mega luxury resorts to backpacker guesthouses. Many tourists only make it to the beaches along the southern coast, but to truly experience the beauty of Bali, you need to head inland.
Where to Go
In the ‘80s, Kuta beach was where all the tourists visited and while Kuta still exists, there isn’t much Bali left there anymore. If you want time on the beach, head to one of the quieter areas like Sanur, which still retains some authentic Balinese elements.For me and many other visitors, it isn’t the beaches that endear me to Bali, but the heartland. Ubud, located an hour from the airport and the built up south is the Bali that Gilbert wrote about. Set in breathtaking rice fields and rolling hills, Ubud is a feast to the mind, the heart, and the eyes.Much has changed in Ubud over the past thirty years as this secret mythological place is out of the bag. Yet it still retains that exoticness that grabs hold of all visitors and leaves its mark. In Ubud, soak up the rich culture. See some of the local craftspeople honing their trade.Walk or cycle among the rice fields and maybe catch a glimpse of a festival procession. Visit Bali’s active volcano, Gunung Agung. Take a walk through the Monkey Forest, but watch out for the cheeky, food stealing monkeys. Do a day trip to the neighboring villages and include a stop at the beautiful Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave).You can even try coffee made from civet poo if you desire, called Kopi Luwak.Since Ubud is home to so many foreigners, you can cap off the day with a yoga session, cold pressed juice and luxurious spa treatment.
Where to Stay
Our favorite hotel is Saren Indah Hotel, located just 100m from Monkey Forest. Rooms start from $45/night and are an excellent value. The hotel is set in the rice fields and we loved eating at the open air restaurant and cooling down in the pool. Since you are on the other side of Monkey Forest, you feel like you are in a village, instead of bustling Ubud proper. We can’t say enough good things about this hotel.Dawn Nicholson loves traveling and blogging about her adventures traveling and living overseas with her three kids at 5 Lost Together. She has visited over 50 countries and believes strongly in traveling now with kids by any and every means possible – backpacking, sailing or living as expats overseas. You can follow her adventures and musing on: Facebook and Instagram.
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Have you visited Bali before? What drew you to this destination?