I had always heard of Bali from other fellow travelers. They would rave about the beaches, waves, pristine diving, the temples, cultural enlightenment, and soul seeking to be had. So when we decided to plan our next trip it was at the top of the list. Oliver and I were determined to have a trip that was the perfect mixture of low key relaxed luxury and adventure.
Tanzania – my husbands idea!
A road trip across the US
So we had some varied choices. When it came down to it though we were able to eliminate every single one except and Tahiti. Morocco seemed more of a party town to both of us, we prefer a more low key environment. Tanzania was really only on the list because of my husband, I didn’t think a safari sounded romantic. Oliver (my husband) had been to France/Italy, Thailand, and had no interest in Ireland for much the same reason as I didn’t have interest in Tanzania, he just didn’t like the sound of it. So we had it narrowed down. Tahiti was closer to get to, he knew I would love it and had enjoyed being there before and Bali looked romantic and exotic with a combination of both adventure and culture that we would enjoy. What broke the tie was the idea that we both wanted to be experiencing the location for the first time. So that every time we thought of that place we would think of this special time in our lives. We were doing one big trip before settling down to more local trips after having children. So it was settled, we were off to Bali.
As soon as we landed we were in awe. The heat and humidity hit us first, we left the airport to search for our waiting ride from the airport to our hidden oasis The Komeneka: Tangayudda. After exchanging our cash for a ridiculous number of bills (their money has at least 3 zeros too many given that nothing is below 1000 rp) and finding our ride we were off. The first thing we saw were the huge intricate statues EVERYWHERE. Like literally we weren’t even out of the airport yet and we found gorgeous statuary.
Once at our hotel we settled in to the incredible luxury of our home away from home for the next 4 days. The Komaneka at Tanggayuda was about a twenty minute dive from downtown Ubud or as they called it city center. The hotel was a labyrinth of vine covered walls with stone walkways and stairs, infinity pools beautifully cared for, and scenic views of the rice patties and mountains in the distance with a screen of jungle around every beautiful private villa. Everyone was so incredibly kind and friendly and it seemed that every person that worked their knew our name. One of my favorite things about staying in Bali was the friendly greeting, “Hello Ibu Liz! Good morning Baba Oliver!” everywhere we went in the hotel structure. Add to that every person there would give you the inside scoop on where to visit, what to see, and their culture.
Our first day out we took the shuttle into city center to explore Ubud and visit the Monkey Temple. The markets are legendary, busy, with people everywhere, dogs and monkeys hanging out together on corners and GREAT shopping.
Sometimes if you want to get to know the locals, you have to bring a gift. These guys love bananas.
Here I tried my hand at making batik fabric prints with wax and dye.
After our day visiting the markets and monkeys we decided to get a bit more adventuruous. We were mostly recovered from jet lag and ready to get wild, so we took a day to do both white water rafting (my favorite) and visiting the Bali Elephant Reserve. The white water rafting was incredible, unlike any we had done before. It was a class 4, and felt like that scene from the Mummy where they fly the balloon down the slot canyon. Carved walls and lots of falls for us to scream and push through.
Then we went to see the Elephants. Our elephant was named Lady Gigi and she was sweet and calm and placid. We even got to feed snacks to the babies.
After all that excitement we were ready for the next leg of our trip, Northern Bali. Come back and see part two soon!