Bali has always been a dream destination, since I first watched Eat Pray Love. Finally, in 2014, I managed to make virgin trip to Bali, and now I cant wait to return.
We decided to splurge on an SQ flight, and it was my first time on SQ after 15 years. So I was literally jumping up and down in excitement.
The first couple of days in Bali were to be spent in Ubud. We were initially going to spend all of the 4 days in Kuta, but after being told that Ubud was a must visit, we decided to alter our plans slightly. We were picked up by our driver from Black Penny Villas. I was so impressed by the fact that we were given warm towels and bottles of drinks in the car itself, but of course, that could just me being completely new to staying in high end resorts.
The hour plus drive to Ubud flew by, because every few minutes, we encountered beautiful craft shops and they all had gorgeous statues of Ganesha and Buddha.
Eventually, we reached Black Penny Villas, and this was our welcome drink and dessert.
Ginger Tea, and a carrot concoction of some sort. Now I despise carrots, but I couldn’t get enough of this and had to stop myself from asking for a second helping.
We were ushered to our rooms, and I loved the layout of the rooms. Black Penny has 23 private villas, each with it’s own infinity pool. It is far far away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and was the perfect little escape.
This was the view we walked into as we entered the room. Our own pool, overlooking the mountains. SO absolutely stunning, that we just stood there for a few minutes soaking in the sight before us.
The hotel provided complimentary tea break, and that’s where I met the second love of my life (the first being nutella)
We spent the rest of the day lazing around in the pool and managed to catch our first beautiful sunset in Bali.
Dinner was room service and this was our first proper meal in Bali.
Balinese food didnt’t appeal to me all that much, because it was very heavy in carbo and most of it was fried. Nasi Goreng would be on the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Thankfully we were there only for 4 days because I dont think I could have handled the lack of variety for longer than that.
Most restaurants did have a western menu, to appeal to the palates of the Americans and Australians who spent months there on end, but meh, I wasnt going to spend money on pasta and pizzas in BALI.
The next morning, we decided to hike down to the river. It was a very steep climb down, and because it had rained the night before, the slopes were rather muddy. But the view made it all worth it.
These were the steps leading down to the river, just outside our room.
An aerial view of the river we eventually wanted to reach.
Almost getting there.
Sweet sweet success!
The hike back UP was alot more painful though and at one point, I thought I was going to have to be airlifted up from the middle of the slopes.
Just as I was panting my life away, an older balinese lady came up the steps. She must have been in her 50s. She was dressed in a simple sarong, and had an entire barrel of water (from the river) balanced on her head. It must have easily been 10 litres of water and she was climbing up effortlessly. I suppose it was the utter shame that eventually made me finish the climb. 😉
We then headed off for a drive into Ubud Centre for some shopping, before heading to our next hotel in Kuta. Shopping in Ubud was a very different experience compared to perhaps Phuket. I found that in Phuket, the retailers were somewhat arrogant, and many wouldnt want to lower the prices beyond a certain point. However in Ubud, while they did barter, eventually, in most shops, we were able to get the prices reduced.
I honestly think it is only worth it to get art pieces. The sort of dresses and tshirts they sell are easily available any where else. But the art was stunning and very affordable.
There were very strict about photography and we couldnt take that many photos, but this is my haul.
I spent about 150SGD on all of these, which i think is a steal. I did want to get more Ganesha paintings, but I didnt quite like the fact that he looked fierce in most of them.
So with our wallets considerably lighter, we drove down to Kuta beach, and to our second hotel. We reached there just in time for another beautiful sunset. I don’t mean to be repetitive, but Bali really is the land of beautiful sunsets, and for one who loves sunsets as much as I do, it really is paradise.
The next morning, we woke up to this view. For the life of me, I cant remember the name of this hotel that we stayed in, but that could be because my heart was back in Black Penny Villas, and Ubud.
After the peace and serenity of Ubud, I really couldnt bring myself to enjoy Kuta all that much. I had fun, no doubt. The night life was fabulous and I enjoyed each and every one of the new experiences and memories created there, but if I went back to Bali, it would be to Ubud.
We decided to indulge in a day spa and went for one at a hotel near ours, the Ramayana Resort and Spa.
For the first time in my life, I actually dozed off during a massage. Usually I am wide awake and in too much pain to sleep, but this masseuse was just so good that she managed to knock out all the kinks and still put me in a hypnotic trance of sorts.
That evening, on our last night in Bali, we made the trip down to Uluwatu, and I think it is officially my third most favourite place on the wholedest widest world! (The first being the 12 apostles and the second being Ramboda falls in Sri Lanka).
The temple was about an hour from Kuta and we were told to head there in time for the sunset.
We decided that we had to walk all the way down to the edge of the cliff so that we would be in the best position to catch the sunset.
Photos taken on the way to the edge.
And we were rewarded with this perfection when we eventually reached there.
There was a couple doing their pre-wedding photo there and perhaps, in another lifetime, I will be lucky enough to be able to say I do against such a beautiful background. 🙂
We headed back to the temple to watch the kechak dance, which was mesmerising.
Hanuman was easily the star of the show. He was so cheeky and adorable. He kept going up to members of the audience and knocking their heads and stealing their stuff.
None of these pictures are edited by the way. 🙂
At the end of the performance, we were waiting to take pictures with the cast, when we saw an elderly Indian lady go up to Hanuman, and fall at his feet to ask him for blessings. It really got to us, because her devotion was so strong, that even a man in a costume could invoke such feelings within her. Hanuman himself was caught off guard. 🙂
And that was it, for the highlights of Bali. We spent the next morning in the beach, before shopping and heading back to Singapore.
I now know why Bali has captured the hearts of so many people. Beyond facade of a tourist hub, beyond the clubs and pubs and shopping malls, Bali has a beautiful soul. One fillled with kind-hearted, simple people, and one that is blessed with the best that nature has to offer.
So Bali, I will definitely see you again. 🙂