A Taste of Bali
Me and my partner in crime Hema, have been friends for over a decade. We met at a volunteer music event during university and the rest was history. We partied it up in our twenties and always managed to make the most of whatever situation we’re in with plenty of laughter, inside jokes and banter. Whilst reminiscing, we sparked the topic of how we’re no longer 22 and the big ‘3’ ‘0’ was looming. Whaaaatt! How did that creep up on us? We embrace this milestone and felt it warranted a pre-thirties trip and because, why the hell not?!
After tossing ideas back and forth we came to the conclusion, Bali would make a perfect winter escape. Tropical, beach, sun, sand, surf and cocktails. Tick tick tick!
We booked our flights and counted down the days until we arrived to our first destination, Canggu – a surfer-hipster beach village north of Kuta. This place is so much fun and just heaven for food lovers, beach goers and surfers (or people who like to watch surfers). There’s plenty of restaurants, shops, local treats and healthy eateries with lots of of vegetarian options – so it’s really easy to travel here if you’re a herbivore!
We were staying near Echo Beach in Canggu which is dominated by surfers but shifts to an ambient dining scene with seafood barbecue restaurants overlooking the water and beautiful sunsets. The seafood barbecues are an affordable $7NZD and a tasty way to dine. You simply choose what fish you want grilled and there’s an unlimited array of vegetable and salad sides you can help yourself to.
If you’re keen to experience the night life, or just head out for a drink, there is the Lawn Bar which is an awesome space decked out with bean bags, beach umbrellas and overlooking the ocean.
Next we headed north to Ubud! A tranquil rain forest gem. We were here for a day trip so we only received a very brief sense of the place. First impressions – it had a very spiritual, relaxed and culturally-rich vibe. There were plenty of market stalls, antiques, woodcarvings and arts and crafts with gorgeous Hindu temples and shrines dotted throughout the village.
Whilst in this tranquil town, we of course had to experience a yoga class! We were told The Yoga Barn was the best in town and it was a pretty amazing experience. This yoga sanctuary is nestled in downtown Ubud and offered a serene escape from the township, attracting yogis from all over the world. Following the 1.5 hour class, we stopped at Sayuri Healing Food Café. Sayuri is renowned for its vegan and raw food recipes (I’m not vegan) but I did see this chef’s cookbook in various stores throughout Bali and it was enough to entice me to give it a try.
For our third and final stop we headed south, jumping on a modern motorway with organised lanes and improved infrastructure, to Bingin Beach. Upon arriving to our cliff top resort, we are welcomed with the friendliest Irish lady who leased the accommodation and had been living in Bali for about four years. She conversed in Balinese with the locals and gave herself a lot less credit than she deserved! We’re gobsmacked with the supreme views over the Indian Ocean and see multiple surfers making the most of the breaks.
From our accommodation, we navigated ourselves down the steep stairways towards the strip of white-sand Bingin Beach. As you weave down the steep pathways, there is stylish and eccentric housing and clifftop cafes along the way.
Alike Canggu, Bingin Beach is a hot spot for surfers and often hosts surf competitions and professional surfers from around the world. This is a fantastic location to be in for soaking up the rays, swimming, sunsets and taking in all the breath-taking unique cliff top views.
Having only visited Bali for a week, this trip was truly a taster and I cannot wait to go back there and explore more of this beautiful island!
Not only is it the landscapes that are beautiful about this place, but the locals made my experience so unforgettable. The Balinese are such friendly and happy people and this short trip was a good reminder for me to not sweat the small stuff. The locals are truly blessed and appreciate what they have in their lives and are just, simply put, content. Contentment is something I struggle with every day. There is always better, bigger, richer, finer and more. I can definitely take a leaf out of their books!