I had always mulled over taking whomsoever he would be—to that serenity. To let him know me better. So I led him by hand to bone-warming sun, soft sand, towering palm trees and a spiritual escapade. We had seven days and six nights that weren’t really enough to explore 5,780 sq kms of an island. Bali is more than just a place; it’s a mood, a state of being. In a nutshell, Bali is all about its five different feelings through its five different zones, and some quirks and secrets.
My trail will take you through the cultural hub that is Ubud, Nusa Dua where five upscale resorts come together, to Seminyak that doubles up as the cool corner, to white sand and crystal clear water at Kuta, to Uluwatu for some inner peace, and an enchanting closing to help you cancel out all the noise. The list, however, is not exhaustive. You’d need a much longer holiday to prepare a list of 101 places to discover!
Ubud is the art village of this island. This cultural centre is far removed from the beach party scene in Kuta. Such is the creativity there that one tends to get overwhelmed by Bali’s multi-faceted art. We recommend that you chalk out good number of hours if you plan to buy some pieces to adorn those walls back home. Also, take your time to mentally convert their asking price to your currency back home and then quote a price lower than half. That’s how crazy the bargaining gets in Bali.
This arts and crafts hub is also known for the several coffee plantations it houses. What we learned there was quite fascinating. So, as folklore has it, civet coffee or Kopi Luwak was discovered by plantation workers in the colonised times. Forbidden from sourcing coffee from the plants, the locals picked, cleaned up and then roasted the excreta of the wild Asian civets that feasted on the ripest coffee cherries. Turns out the Dutch plantation owners were hooked. Over the years, Luwak coffee has become the most expensive coffee in the world as only 500 kgs of it is collected annually. So, when in Bali, be careful of what coffee you ask for!
Seminyak is the place where all the crazy is. It is known as the spa and upmarket shopping district of Bali. A shopper’s paradise, designers from all over the world have set up boutiques here, so you will find some really well-made stuff. It’s chic and offers a rich diversity. Expect to spend many, many hours on these streets. It is like Bali’s cool corner. One night out was blocked for the Potato Head Cafe here suggested to us by so many people who had been to Bali before. First things first, don’t forget to make a reservation beforehand and by that we mean, a few weeks prior [Yes, they are that packed] as you don’t want to be caught up in the seemingly neverending line outside the club. In Seminyak, the cafe is the perfect location for sunset drinks by the beach. This is the place to relax, unwind, go for a swim, enjoy a couple of drinks and soak in the sparkling blue lagoons.
This is one of the famous tourist destinations of Bali. It is a temple set on a cliff bank, and stands opposite the Indian Ocean. It features a spectacular show performed by the locals communicating the story of gods and goddesses through traditional song, dance and fire. They do it every day with a lovely sunset backdrop that shows you a myriad of colours in the sky. It leaves you mesmerized. And the tranquillity takes your mind off the hustle and bustle. Just a little heads up. The temple has a lot of monkeys. They won’t play nice if you try to feed them. And as the temple is on a cliff, keep off the edges. Interestingly, the tranquil day didn’t end here as we then visited Alila Group of Hotels, where we were hosted for a calming Balinese massage session going into drinks and dinner by the beach. Bali spa options are seemingly infinite. We strongly recommend a traditional Balinese massage. They rarely disappoint you. The Villa is placed between sinuous rice paddles, and a shimmering black-sand beach. The food there is one of the best among Bali’s luxury resorts, with haute Indonesian cuisine at Cotta and superb western dishes at Coast where you can even ask for a torchlight barbecue by the water.
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