Bali - a peaceful island

Trip Start Feb 18, 2011
Trip End Feb 17, 2012

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Where I stayed
Suly Resort and Spa
INDORA Homestay
A little pond - Homestay
What I did
One day trip to Bandung

Flag of Indonesia  ,
Monday, June 27, 2011

The first thing we experienced in Bali was a heavy traffic jam from Denpasar airport to our bed in Canguu. The roads were full of cars. Motorbikes were crazily driving in the gap between the cars, although sometimes whole families were on one bike. (the father is the driver, the youngest kid in frond of dad, another kid and mother on the back seat!) We have never seen so many scooters at once. Imagine ten groups of scooter gangs gathered together. Just like that.

Except the busy road and polluted exhausted gas, everything else was just beautiful on this island. We rented a scooter and did tandem ride to drive around Canguu and Ubud area which are surrounded by vibrant green colored rice fields. That was real fun!

 Bali is a small island (1/3 the size of Shikoku-island in Japan), however it is so rich in tradition and culture that it is very different from the other parts of Indonesia. One of the reasons would be that most of the people on the island (more than 90% of its population) believe in Balinese Hinduism. At the time of our visit, they had a celebration of "Hari Raya Galungan". According Wikipedia, it is the time to celebrate the coming of the gods and the ancestral spirits to earth to dwell again in the homes of their descendants. (I think it is similar to “Obon” festival in Buddhism for Japanese) On the celebration day, we saw people in traditional cloth, tall bamboo poles (called "Penjor", representing a dragon, decorated with coconut leaves and flowers and set up in front of every residence entrance) and a lot of offerings everywhere. The offering is called “Canang”, a small square of coconut-leaf basket decorated with a combination of colorful flowers and rice, sometimes with candies or cookies. I had a chance to talk to a Japanese women married to a Balinese guy who gave Govinda a wood carving lesson. She told me that her step-mother prepares 120 offerings every morning! During our stay, we went to see the traditional Balinese dance called “Kecak dance” , beautiful sunset at Tanah lot temple and Bratan Temple on the lake, Taman Ayun palace, monkey forest and more. Everywhere we went, we experienced their beautiful culture and hospitality.

 While in Bali we spent most of our time in Ubud. Ubud is now one of the most popular destinations in Bali for people who were inspired by the movie “Eat, pray, love”. This is where Julia Roberts met Ketut and fell in love with Javier Bardem. The town itself is less busy than the Kuta area and there are a lot of Hindu temples and nice little shops with a relaxed atmosphere. We indulged ourselves for 6 nights in Suly Resort Hotel, swimming in the pool and doing Yoga in the morning. This resort is connected to an orphanage and an ashram. The orphanage also has a school for hospitality management so that the students are helping the resort and learning on sites. They were very friendly and always gave us lovely smiles. After staying 2 more nights in a homestay, we finally left Ubud and stayed in Sanur for 4 nights near the beach.

In the end, let me write about food! We only found excellent food, even on the street food stalls. I (Sayo) especially liked Nasi Goreng and had eaten it every meal for 5 days, but still couldn't get enough. Every restaurant has their own taste and all were very delicious! Here is the list of our favorite restaurants in Bali…
Lemon Grass - Jazz live on Wednesday at 8pm. Lovely little garden and crispy apple cramble cake with ice cream…
Bali Buddha – great selection of Vegetarian and vegan meals. The interior with style.
Kafe Kedai – relatively cheaper than restaurants on Monkey forest road. Nasi Goreng in a bowl made out of pineapple was delicious! Also loved their fruit salad with yoghurt which cost only IDR15,000(=EUR1.20).
Juice Ja café - professional food served by friendly staff and a nice atmosphere.
Café Dewi @ Tegalalan– We enjoyed the great rice terrace view in a quiet café without annoying souvenir vendors. Gado Gado(vegetable salad with peanut sauce) was awesome!
Lava Lava café – We can’t forget the thick sweet banana milk shake… mmm…
Terang bulan (thick pancake with chocolate) from a food stall is one of Govinda’s favorite.

We loved this fascinating island with beautiful culture and nature, superb food and above all, extremely friendly people who have a real hospitality mind.
We will be back soon!

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