Bali, a name that is synonymous with Paradise, couldn’t possibly live up to that reputation. Incorrect. Bali is the single most relaxing place we’ve ever been. Enough activities so you don’t get bored, cheap enough that you never feel stressed, easy enough so you never feel strained, and small enough that you never feel rushed. We are HUGE Bali fans.
Of course, it’s also an incredibly romantic place, which was perfect because it was over our anniversary, and hilarious because Blakely’s little sister tagged along! Thankfully, she’s the perfect travel partner who was up for anything and demanded nothing.
We started in the main city Semenyak. Blakely booked our accommodations beforehand, and they were suspiciously underpriced for such good reviews. The group was a little skeptical as we headed down a dirt driveway with cement walls and shacks on either side. But then, the walls opening up to a gorgeous lawn and pool with a small boutique hotel and outside eating area. We’d arrived at Kubu Cempaka and we were home.
Of course the first thing we needed to do was get our bearings and head to the beach. Thankfully, there are restaurants all along the beach so our dinner option was easy! We soon found out that eating in Bali is spectacular because ex-pats from all over the world move to Bali because it is such a wonderful place to live. They set up restaurants from their native lands so the foreign fare is as authentic as it could be! Add that to local delicious seafood and you’re set!
Soon we formulated our plan. We decided to do a small loop which included Bali and neighboring island of Lombok. After Seminyak we took a ferry to Lembogan, then to Gili Air and lastly Ubud. Here are our highlights.
Yoga. Bali is arguably the capital of modern yoga and you should take FULL advantage (while also paying attention to the types you don’t like. For example, we aren’t big Hatha fans. Too much breathing, too little action). By far, our favorite yoga place and a highlight from the ENTIRE world trip is the Yoga Barn in Ubud. People travel to Bali solely for the opportunity to go to the Yoga Barn and we don’t blame them. World-class teachers in a gorgeous open air studio, this place has a culture completely onto itself. We started plotting our return before we left.
While on the subject of activities, you should also find time to do some surfing and scuba diving. We surfed in Seminyak and loved it, but the opportunities are endless. Talk to your hotel whenever you are near the ocean.
Massages. Take advantage of the incredibly inexpensive massages ($5 for 90 minutes. Seriously.) on every block in every city. Get a recommendation from your hotel or poke your head into a few to find your favorite. Ryan is quoted as saying he wanted to be sick of massages before he left SE Asia, and in Bali he did his best! In addition to full body, we recommend simply getting a foot massage every night, just because you can!
Beachside Drinks. Speaking of drinks, we absolutely loved the fresh fruit smoothies (we recommend the watermelon mint delight!) while looking out on the water. For a more club-ish scene, we liked Ku de Ta in Semenyak, Le Piarate in Lembogan, and Deus ex Machina in Canggu. One of our favorite tricks was to get everything mocktail. We know it sounds lame, but this way you don’t have to limit yourself! And, as you can see, we didn’t limit ourselves!
Lastly, the Art in Ubud is some of the widest variety that we’ve ever seen in one place. Take advantage of the vast array of artists on all mediums and of all subjects to pick some pieces that can transport you back to Bali when you get home.
Bali was the perfect recovery for our wild ride around China, and we couldn’t recommend it more highly. The people, sights, activities, food, and energy facilitate an atmosphere that will be the greatest memory of your time there. We can’t wait to go back.