I was in Antigua a couple of weeks ago when I received a nudge from a friend on Facebook reminding me to share my experience in Bali this past summer so here it goes. Bali was the second stop on our two week vacation in South East Asia where we spent 5 relaxing days in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle Bangkok, the prior city on our four city tour. Our arrival into the resort compound set the tone for one of our best travel experiences yet. After clearing several armed checkpoints we arrived at the luxurious Sofitel Resort where every space was an invitation to relax and enjoy the ocean views.
We were intentional about spending a couple of those days during absolutely nothing except lounging by the pool and beach ordering food and cocktails and taking naps. Days where the most difficult decision of the day is whether to wear the white bikini or the green one; whether to order the mojito or the caipirinah. I needed those days when I can turn my brain off from the serious stuff and let my mind be free to dream or switch all the way off.
Between days of doing nothing we arranged two days of private touring to see some the highlights of Bali. The first excursion was to Tanah Lot Temple, an ancient temple accessible only at low tide, hence it is immensely popular at sunset. On our way to Tanah Lot we stopped at Kuta square for lunch and light shopping where I enjoyed some of the best and freshest seared tuna of my entire life at the most unassuming corner restaurant. Kuta square is a major shopping area where I purchased several beautiful snakeskin purses and sandals. Once we arrived at Tanah Lot we quickly understood why it is such a popular destination. Even though the overcast weather denied my picture perfect sunset, it was definitely worth the trip.
We had an early start on our second day of touring to cover everything from a traditional Balinese show, temples, monkey forest, rice terraces and a tour and tasting at the luwak coffee plantation. The show was a beautiful performance of a local folktale with music and costumes unlike any we’d ever experienced and my children really enjoyed it. We didn’t spend much time at the temples as we were templed out after seeing what seemed like every temple in Bangkok but we happened to stumble upon a traditional Balinese funeral where entire villages come out periodically to celebrate the lives of several villagers that have died within the period.
Due to the funeral we were forced to take several back and side streets to get to the monkey forest. The monkeys were more aggressive than I expected which made me and my children slightly nervous so needless to say we didn’t linger there very long. After the monkey forest we made our final stop at the luwak coffee plantation and rice terraces. Luwak coffee is made from a “special organic” process which involves a civet, which is a cat like animal eating coffee cherries which are then digested and collected from the excrement to be processed and brewed to make luwak coffee. It is the most expensive coffee in the world and isn’t a taste that I care to acquire but I was happy to have tried it once. While sipping on our flight of teas and coffee at the coffee plantation we enjoyed amazing views of the rice terraces. They were more lush and peaceful than I had imagined or saw in pictures and the perfect way to punctuate our stay in Bali.
Bali was absolutely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited and a place that I would definitely return.