We had the pleasure of seeing the new year in while on a trip to the beautiful volcanic island of Bali.
Bali is home to some of the happiest and hospitable people in the world. Helpful, honest (where else in the world could you leave your camera in a taxi with your entire trip’s favourite moments only to have it returned with a smile a couple of hours later after only one phone call? Or after leaving your passports in an Ubud resort safe, have them driven one hour to you, then because the driver wasn’t happy about leaving them with strangers, he tried again the following day…amazing), calm and gentle…they will go out of their way to ensure your trip is outstanding.
The Balinese practise a unique form of Hinduism- Hindu Saivism fused with Buddhism, ancestor cults and local spiritual beliefs which they hold on to furiously, despite Western and Muslim influences…their spiritual practises can be seen all over the island in regular colourful festivals and ceremonies. The temples in Bali are stunning.
Bali contains a wide variety of stunning natural features from picturesque rice terraces, dramatic coastlines, lush jungle and palm-fringed tropical beaches. There’s so much to do in Bali and many of the resorts are amazing- beautifully maintained and luxurious, providing service of the highest standards at a fraction of the price you’d expect to pay for a similar property here in Australia.
There are too many highlights to mention but we really loved Ubud and the Purist Villas and spa, where we stayed, is really, very special. The food and service, as well as the gorgeous villa was incredible, well worth a peek if you’re planning a trip to Ubud. Ubud itself offers so many wonderful activities including cycling, hiking and white water rafting.
We also loved the Ayana resort at Jimbaran Bay- the Rock bar is a jaw-dropper. Sundara restaurant at the 4 seasons Jimbaran is fabulous too.
As you can see we really enjoyed our few weeks in beautiful Bali…however, I will say that it isn’t a place for narrow-minded travellers. You can’t expect to find the infrastructure and high standards of living that you often take for granted at home, it is, after all, a developing South East Asian country with a heavy reliance on tourism. Having said that, I must admit, the rampant development and millions of international tourists, did make me ponder the cultural and environmental impact on the island. Massive traffic jams plague the island’s mostly narrow roads and what’s especially unnerving is the amount of rubbish from increased commercial activities piling up on the beaches at Seminyak and Kuta, not that we visited Kuta, but can only imagine if Seminyak was anything to go by. There are vast parcels of land on and around rice fields in Ubud being converted into even more tourist facilities. It’s wonderful that Bali has become more prosperous because of tourism but I can’t help but think that if it isn’t contained, much of Bali’s charm and spirit will sadly be lost.