|Padang Padang beach where Eat Pray Love was filmed|
We spent just more than a week in Bali over the Christmas break, and I can tell you it really is paradise! It's not that you can't find beautiful weather with palm trees in many other places in the world. It's the combination of things that just seem to go right here. I found that coming to Bali makes you want to be a better person- to eat healthier, ride a bike, do yoga, meditate, be grateful, waste nothing, be kinder, and try new things. The people are so loving, generous, and kind.
Getting there is not for the faint of heart. It took us more than 2 days because my husband found "a deal" in business class which required us to go through Toronto and Amsterdam to save a couple thousand dollars. Emirates Airlines often runs specials in ecoonomy class for about $700, but face it, sitting in a chair for more than 20 hours is killer, so we opted for paying a bit more and using KLM business class. It was still exhausting, and then we arrived without luggage. But all of that is forgotten once you're poolside with a fresh made juice in hand.
|Every hotel in Bali makes these great drinks|
|The Balinese minivan equivalent|
Omar is 10 now and pretty capable, so we set up some great adventures using Bali Tour Planner. If you don't know what you want to do, this is a good option. I bought a travel book about Bali, but never needed to use it because Wayan at Bali Tour Planner listened to our interests and planned the tours with that in mind. We probably paid a bit more for this individual service than if we had waited until we got to Bali, but it was helpful since we had not been there before and don't speak the language. We ended up doing 2 day tours in Bali and 3 at Lombok using him. We also used a couple independent agents for shorter tours. In each case, we had a private vehicle with air conditioning which was really necessary because we weren't used to the heat and humidity, which was stifling at times. Ubud was cooler than the southern beaches though.
Ubud is known for its art scene and monkeys. At least those are the two things I'd heard about that before doing any real research. We spent an hour at Ubud's sacred monkey forest, because everyone does it. We saw monkeys at other places on the island, but this was perhaps the most concentrated population (600 macaques), which also meant crowded with tourists. They normally leave you alone unless you bring bananas.
|This monkey seems to be having a nap on the handrail|
|Loved this bridge in the Monkey Forest|
|$10 gets you a souvenir photo|
|Everyone looks to be having a good time in the professional photo|
|Here's the spontaneous waterfall photo from my iPhone|
|Completely made of bamboo|