It’s been over a 3 weeks since I’ve been home from my short, 10 day trip to Bali — but it’s still sticking to me. Typically, after a long vacation I’m rested and ready to get back at it. I make a quick photo album, put it out on the web, tell a few stories and call it a day. I’m not sure if it’s the people we traveled with, or what we did, or that one of our friends is still there, but I can’t kick the Bali spirit and I miss it!
It’s a trek to get out there, all the way from San Diego, but well worth the 21 hour voyage. A good friend of mine was organizing a small group to go — and it’s cheap! So I wrangled up my always trusty travel partner Jen from New York and the tickets were booked in a matter of days! Jen has been my friend since I was like 12. We grew up together and the distance of the USA has not stopped us from seeing the world together. We’ve been to Belize, Barbados, Curacao and now the farthest of our ventures, Bali.
We spent the first few days living it up at the Conrad in Nusa Dua. Despite my demoted gold status, it was an amazing stay! The property is outstanding, the breakfast is the best international Hilton buffet I’ve ever seen! They teach daily yoga classes on site and have a fantastic fitness center. Poolside they bring fresh water spray and serve a variety of cocktails, mocktails and fresh juices. They have happy hour almost the whole night if you shuffle bars and these crispy little chip like things that are 100x tastier than any US bar snack I’ve ever had.
They offer bike tours, water aerobics, you name it. It’s definitely a restorative place. It’s walking distance to a few great restaurants and one of those trippy little nail salons that has the fishies that eat your feetsies. A must do pedicure for $5! Had we spent the entire time there, I think we would have come back 5 pounds lighter. But we would have also missed the gritty bit of Bali that I think, makes it magic.
We moved down to our little villa in Kuta/Seminyak. Much smaller and I called it a “campground” because the main living space was wide open and just the bedroom was air-conditioned. But we grew to really love the space and the location. Thank you to AirBnB, you can’t beat $80 night. They had 24 hours on-site service/security and the owner is super friendly and has a giant, beautiful golden retriever who can’t make you do anything but smile.
We were just a $2 cab ride from our friends. And that $2 is deceiving, because it was still about 15 minutes, but maybe only a little over a mile. Two points here: 1) Taxis are cheap! 2) Traffic is slow! But you could walk right outside our little tranquil couryard into an alley and in 1 min, be amidst the crazy of Seminyak streets/shopping/cafes/bars — it was wonderful!
We loved the Moka Cafe, we had breakfast feasts here every day. The Banana pancake is still something I’m trying to replicate and incorporate int my 21-Day Diet Detox. Everything in moderation, right? From this vila we took day trips to Ulu Watu and Ubud. Both must see areas of Bali. On our way back from Ubud, we stopped at the Bali Coffee Plantation, my new happy place.They harvest and serve the worlds most expensive coffee here — thanks to the hard work of the little Luak monster. I’ll let you read up on that on your own, but trust me the coconut and ginsing coffees are real treats!
The scooters are a real riot. You’ll hear stories of the entire families on them, and it’s not until you see it does it make sense.The traffic is out of this world. It seems like putting lines in the road would ease the mayhem, but nobody seems to have a real sense of urgency. The Balinese are so peaceful and kind, that road rage doesn’t even occur despite some of the worst traffic jams and yahoo driving I’ve seen in my time. Booze are expensive and wine is…um…not so good. But the local Bintang is as good as island beer gets and about $2 at most local spots and never more than $5 in the beach clubs.
All in all, if you want to go you should. It’s far for us Americans, but worth it. But go soon! It’s crowded as it is and they anticipate that the changes to visa on entry (VOE) in 2015 will increase tourism. Bali is second in the world (only to Jakarta — which is relatively near by) for luxury property value increasing the last 5 years. And they say its still a good buy with the changes that are on the horizon. The new airport is opening in September, the locals are getting ready to buckle their seat-belts because it’s already packed! I wonder what Bali will look like in 5 years…I could go on and on.
Here is a little slide show of the highlights that pretty much sums it up.
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