Monday, January 27, 2014

Beautiful Bali

Bali, Indonesia, is one of those places I have dreamed of visiting since I was a child, probably because of some movie or something that I read or heard about an Island Paradise called Bali.  It is one of those expat vacation destinations we hear about quite a bit in Korea.  So when we realized Christmas this year would be the first that Bob and I would spend alone, I began planning a tropical island retreat for the two of us.  Because we would be in Singapore on business the week before Christmas, it was the perfect time for us to fly from there to Bali for the holiday.

Bob's only request was that we go somewhere pretty "laid back" where he could just relax by the pool or beach and "do nothing".  We found that in Candidasa, a small remote town on the east side of the island.  The resort and spa we stayed at was a beautiful, relaxing place to be, although in retrospect, I would have moved to another place mid-week to provide a change of scenery and pace.  We're just not the type to vacation in one place for a whole week.  We were definitely far removed from the crowds and tourist destinations, and Bob found plenty of time for R&R.

On Saturday, December 21, we arrived in Bali and after a two-hour taxi ride to Candidasa, we were greeted with flower leis around our necks and shown to our cute little ocean-view bungalow. The resort provided daily activities, occasional entertainment, and morning taxi rides into town which was just 5-minutes away.

The View From Our Bungalow

The first few days were rainy and wet, but that gave us time to relax and enjoy the resort.  The restaurant served some delicious Indonesian dishes, complete with a flower placed behind our ears, as well as a variety of international selections.  These cute Balinese dancers performed for us on a couple of occasions.

We went into town on Monday morning, and one of the things I noticed right away was that all the homes were surrounded by a stone fence with a beautiful ornate gate welcoming you into their family compound.  The family property always contains a personal Hindu "temple", and every place you visit, including businesses have some kind of altar where a daily offering of flowers and fruits is to be given to one of their Gods. Sometimes, the animals wandering the streets get to the offerings first!  There is a lotus pond in the middle of Candidasa, along with a small temple, and central market near the coast.  We even noticed food services being sold from the back of motorbikes.



On Tuesday we hired a car and driver to take us to Ubud, which is one of the main tourist centers in the middle of Bali. Our tour that day included a visit to the art village where we saw "Mas" (wood carving), "Celuk" (gold and silver jewelry), "Batuan" (painting gallery), and "Tohpati" hand-made batik. The most interesting visit was to the wood carvers who create very intricately detailed carvings of every shape and size.  They use several types of wood including mahogany (dark), hibiscus (multi-colored), and a "crocodile" wood (light) with it's bumpy textured bark.  Some of the carvings we liked were one of a couple which they refer to as an Indonesian "Romeo and Juliet", the rice-goddess masks, and a goddess of learning.  Bob later bought a mahogany mask as a souvenir, and I found a silver monkey charm and a batik sarong to bring back home.

We stopped to visit a typical Hindu Temple in the town of Batuan.  They were having a festival of some kind at Pura (temple) Puseh, and the streets were adorned with "Penjor", which is a long bamboo pole decoration.  The split gate entrance to the temple is common to all Hindu temples, and visitors are required to wear a sarong which they provided for us with a nominal donation.


We headed to Tegalalang rice terraces where we enjoyed lunch with our driver, I Kadek Moyo. A truck load of pigs passing by caught our attention.  Although the terraces were slightly shrouded with fog, they were truly a beautiful sight!

  (The beauty of Bali continues in the next post . . . )

No comments:

Post a Comment