Bali – A true ‘zen’ holiday experience!

The trip to Bali was a much needed holiday escape in 2010!

My good friend Diane – who has a true gift for planning adventures – arranged this getaway during Thanksgiving week. She planned the trip through Singapore Airlines Vacations at a price that was TOO good to pass up.

The adventure started with a 24-hour, 3-plane ride over to this tiny oasis in Indonesia. Once we arrived at the airport we were greeted by our driver and whisked off to the Grand Nikko Bali Resort in Nusa Dua. Jet lag hadn’t yet set in so we explored this exquisite resort and headed down to see the beach, pools and surrounding area. This hotel is one of the most beautiful places I have ever stayed at – everything was so perfect, the customer service, the food, the atmosphere and ambiance – just the best!

While staying at the resort was nice, it was a bit time consuming to get to the things we had planned so we had to be ready early for our driver and tour guide each day. It wasn’t so much that we were far away, it was that the roads and traffic take a while to get to places.

Balinese Show

Balinese Show

On our first day we went to a Balinese show followed by a trip to an authentic Bali jeweler. From there we went to a silk batik shop where we got to see the artisans make authentic silk items. The make everything with this fabric, shirts, skirts, purses, etc. We got to purchase some items while we were there.

 

 

 

Luwak Coffee

Luwak Coffee

I personally enjoy tea and coffee – so the group joined me as I tried the Luwak Coffee at a tropical shop. Luwak coffee is billed as the “most expensive” coffee in the world so it was worth a try. The coffee has an interesting history and my friends enjoyed our little adventure here.

 

 

 

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Snake Fruit

While at the Luwak shop we had the opportunity to buy spices in the shop. Our tour guide knew I was looking for unique things so he threw a fruit to me from across the room, I caught it, threw it back and screamed – pretty loud… Yikes, what was that awful feeling thing? It was snake fruit – the fruit actually tastes sweet and is good for you (high in fiber) but the skin feels EXACTLY like a snakeskin. Tour guide 1 – Sandra 0.

 

Anika Cooking Class

Anika Cooking Class

The following day Diane, along with our friends Shawn and Marcy went white river rafting while I took a cooking class. The Anika Bali Cooking Class in Kuta was so much fun – the chef brought us to a local market and we had the option to purchase cutlery, sample the local cuisine, and try different types of balinese plates.

 

 

 

 

 

25 mile bike ride through Bali

25 mile bike ride through Bali

Our next adventure was a 25-mile mountain bike ride through Bali villages. This wasn’t a technical ride, it was very much downhill with stops in villages to take photos. The locals would run out and scream “hello” as we passed by. The ride was very scenic and ended with a nice lunch. After this we were in Ubud, the capital of Bali,  and got to visit shops and walk around.

Monkey Park

Monkey Park

We concluded our day at the Monkey Forest which was exciting and scary at the same time. Monkeys roam freely and you can purchase bananas to give to them. The monkeys have become accustomed to tourists so they walk up to you, hop on you, and steal bananas when you aren’t looking.

 

 

 

Temple in Bali

Temple in Bali

While in Bali we visited temples and experienced the deeply rooted culture the Balinese are known for. The temples are a very relaxing place with plenty of photo opportunities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We spent our final day in Bali going to the famous rice fields, visiting markets, and ending our day at the famous Tanah Lot in West Bali for a nice sunset excursion on the eve of our last night in Bali. Before you enter the area there is a market where you can buy lots of stuff, food, souvenirs, etc. I only bought a coconut drum and it is one of the most cherished souvenirs I have.

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On the morning of our departure, our tour guide Made (pronounced Mod-day) greeted us at our hotel and brought us to the airport. Bali was such a nice place and I will never forget seeing Made almost cry when we left – we really enjoyed him as our tour guide and he was a GEM! He showed us around Bali and really went above and beyond to show us everything we experienced there.

 

 

 

Bali2010-1469We enjoyed our last lunch with Made trying Babi Guling – a traditional Bali dish.

 

 

 

 

My only regret is that we took a 5-day trip here and not a 2-week trip. Bali really deserves a sold two weeks to enjoy all that it has to offer. I definitely plan to return here one day!

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