The warm air kissing my skin, a gentle breeze gently nudging my hair, carrying on it the sound of rolling waves and the odd tinkle of a cowbell in the distance. The faint smell of incense – a morning greeting to the gods. A vision of vivid colour and lush, floral life against a backdrop of a sun streaked sky blending effortlessly into the endless Indian ocean. A moment of clarity and understanding. Good morning, Bali. I can feel you.
I’ve heard others talk of the soul of Bali, and now I have felt it for myself. Yes, it is a tropical island full of beaches and beautiful resorts, but it’s a lot more than just an exotic holiday destination. There’s a feeling in the air; an essence. It’s a soulful paradise where the purity and beauty of the thriving natural surroundings meet a happy and humble people in perfect union. Life is happy here. The Balinese are genuinely warm and friendly, and you’ll never tire of their mischievous smiles.
Balangan Sea View Bungalow was our home for the duration of our stay – a homely resort that overlooks Balangan Beach. From a turquoise swimming pool, lined with blooming flower bushes and palm trees, to thatched bungalows and shaded massage beds, it had everything we needed to relax and take in the island life. Early morning surfs on some of the best waves, relaxed afternoons around the pool sipping freshly squeezed fruit juice (or something a little stronger)…this was something special.
Of course, Bali has a lot more to offer than just lounging around the poolside. If you feel like a bit of a razzle, you can lose yourself in the chaos that is a night out in Kuta, or enjoy a more swanky dinner in one of the many stylish restaurants in Seminyak. Actually, sundowners in Seminyak are a must. Visit La Plancha, a hipster beach bar where you can sip on a cocktail while sitting on giant beanbags, dotted amongst bright coloured, ornate parasols – a cheerful, colourful silhouette against the striking vermilion and tangerine palette of the sunset sky. If seafood is your thing, it doesn’t get much fresher than straight off one of the fishing boats at Jimbaran Bay. Enjoy a meal under the stars, with your toes in the sand, at one of the many restaurants set up on the beach.
A trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ubud. It’s a creative hub of artists’ workshops and galleries, and streets lined with craft shops, boutiques and cafes. Away from the beaches and the surf, here you’ll find real Bali culture. From intricately detailed temples in the town to terraced rice fields along the rivers, there is a general feeling of well-being and spirituality here.
It’s hard to not fall in love with this place, and I definitely feel better for having experienced it. We left feeling grateful for life and love, and thankful that these beautiful people had welcomed us to explore their home. We will see you again, Bali.