Exploring Bali: Part Two

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I walked into the hotel room, dropped my suitcase on the floor and proceeded to cry.

My husband looked at me, half-worried, half-confused, full of love:

“What’s wrong?”

“I don’t know. They (the hotel staff) are just so beautiful. It’s all so beautiful.” (sound of husband’s brain exploding goes here.)

This is what Ubud does to you.

Well, let me elaborate on that. I can’t actually guarantee this lush cultural heartland-slash-haven for spiritual seekers will literally bring you to tears… but there’s no denying there’s a special something woven into the fabric of this town.

While my tears were born out of an intense sense of love and oneness and joy and connection, I’ll admit there was something else going on too. A handful of them were born out of good ol’ fashioned frustration.

I’d been battling with a strained neck for two days before we arrvied in Ubud (and by strained, I mean, completely, painfully locked up) and it seemed a cruel twist of fate to be staying in a hotel next door to the famed Yoga Barn – a spot at least 20 people had said I ‘MUST!’ visit.

Active holidays are my bag. Movement is my bag. Yoga has over the past while, become a soul essential.

But – as is the exquisite nature of life – we’re always given what we need, and just because I couldn’t practice yoga physically didn’t mean I couldn’t practice yoga.

Blazing awareness. 

Conscious observation of the wandering mind.

Detachment. Surrender. Releasing the binds of self-judgement. 

Yes. Yes. And yes.

And so it was that in a town where it seems every second sweat-gleaming, mat-toting person wandering the streets was either going to or coming from a yoga class, I wiped away a few tears and found my peace sitting on a hotel bed gazing out at the rice fields doing absolutely nothing at all.


UBUD

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EAT

Ubud serves up a whole lotta vegetarian and organic options (hurrah!) and we loved:

Kafe: Home to the yoga crowd, Meg’s salad bowl and super tasty buckweat pancakes. Add it to your Ubud list, my friend. (there’s also one at The Yoga Barn.)

Clear Cafe: we got hydration crazy here with juices, tonics and smoothies. Such a gorgeous rainforest-y setting (sitting upstairs is the best).

On the list for next time:

A lot. Namely, Mozaic | Sari Organik | The Yoga Barn (+ ecstatic dance party) | Alchemy

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STAY 

We stayed at Alaya Resort and you can probably read between the lines here to deduce it was absolutely DIVINE. Love love love. The decor had me swooning as much as the staff did.

A spa treatment at the beautiful on-site Dala Spa is also blissfully recommended.

[Photos: Wandering the streets of Ubud x 3; Kafe x 2; on our balcony at Alaya; Dala Spa, Alaya; Clear Cafe.]


THE BUKIT PENINSULA 

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Our stay in Ubud was (way too) short this time around and before we knew it, our driver had arrived to take us back to the beach. Destination: the Bukit Peninsula.

More specifically: Bingin. 

The theme of our stay on the Bukit was ‘chill.’

And chill we did.

Reading by the pool. Lazy lunches lounging on the day beds at The Cashew Tree. Beach hangs. Creative sessions snapping photos. Beach walks. Rock climbing. Giggling at monkeys ‘surfing’ down the sloping concrete support beams underneath the bridge at Padang Padang.

It was total bliss. 

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EAT 

The Cashew Tree. This café/ restaurant/ bar was our main hang out when we we stayed on the Bukit Peninsula – in fact, we could usually be found here twice a day ordering green juices, salads and Mexican munchies. Thursday night is all about The Par-tay and scores of surf-bronzed babes and dudes seem to wriggle out of the Bukit woodwork (where are these peeps hiding during the day? Oh, right. The surf. Gotcha.) As the sun went down, this sleepy café came alive with tunes and cheap drinks.

CIRE restaurant at Alila. A spectacular location for a special anniversary dinner. Contemporary, pristine and unbelievably stylish and the food? OH EM GEE. Two small suggestions from me to you if you’re going to check it out: the night we were there the restaurant was super quiet so it would be best to experience it at full capacity on a weekend. Also, arrive earlier in the afternoon to take in a sunset over the cliffs. We’re kicking ourselves we missed it.

Single Fin. Whether you go here for a night out, a bite to eat or simply to snap a sunset pic from the huge outside deck, Single Fin is an Uluwatu mainstay and THE place to be on a Sunday night.

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STAY 

We stayed at The Shack and adored it. Check it out here. (and ps: Bali Retreats is fantastic for booking accom in the Bukit area.)

[Photos: Bingin x 3; Padang Padang; Uluwatu x 2; our villa; Buddha Soul; Bingin x 2]

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RANDOM SIDE NOTE: Looking to get a leather jacket/ boots/ bag made in Bali? Look no further than @thebalitailor on Instagram. I got a fab jacket made over there and the whole process was so effortless!


There you go, beauty, Part One and Part Two of our Bali trip! I hope you enjoyed these little insights into our island adventure.

As always, I encourage you to jump on in to the comments and share/ ask away – if there’s anything I can help with, you betcha I will.

And before I go, don’t forget to share this post around the webs using the buttons below. Terima Kasih!

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37 Comments to “Exploring Bali: Part Two”

  1. If all I could read was your writing every single day Rach i’d be in a very happy place :) Beautiful words and amazing photos – I am in love with your trip to Bali! Counting down the days until I go in 9 weeks – thanks for sharing yet another soul warming post – you made my day xx

  2. Oh Bali. Take me back.
    I’m vision boarding NYC – this post has me lusting after a tropical chill fest Rach.

    Glad you fell in love with it.
    Those ocean pics – divine!

    C.x

  3. Looks soooo good! I can’t wait for our trip <3 thanks for the posts honey! It's so good to have some recommendations in such a foreign and choice abundant place! I'm particularly excited for ubud. I adored the jacket btw. I was curious as to how much it typically costs to have something made? (They/she/he?) are so talented! I'd love to organise it if budget permits! Again, thanks for being you and so glad you had such an enriching experience up there! Mwaahhh xo

  4. Just like you say in your opening sentences, this little write up almost brought me to tears. I guess because I am at the point where if I encountered such beauty, I would explode into a waterfall.
    I loooove the idea of having a theme for travel, depending on where you go. How fun is that? I have no idea when I’ll ever get to Bali (hopefully in the next year if the move to NZ happens) but now I know exactly where to go to find travel inspiration.
    So beautiful, Rach. So inspired by your words, once again. <3

  5. Wow – this is taking me straight back. Thank you so much for sharing Rachel! Bali is such a magical place with so much to give – I cannot WAIT to get back there to check out some of these places. Time to start planning! xx

  6. Oh how I love Bali. And your mentioning of Bali being the ‘Heart Chakra’ in your last post was SO bang on. Beautiful Bali – good for the soul. Beeeeautiful post Rach x

  7. Craaaaaazy! I must of stayed at Alaya just days after you! I recognised that rice field instantly.

    How freaking incredible are the staff there? I was so so so in love with the resort, the pool, the rooms, the staff, the location. Just everything!

    Love your pics xx

  8. Hellow, I’m Sandrine from Indonesia. Very nice trip. Even though I’m an Indonesian and have been to Bali several times, i’ve just realized that Bali has such a nice place like Bingin Beach. Thank you for sharing. I should learn a lot about my home country :D :D :D

  9. Hi Rachel! First of all, your pictures of Bali are absolutely stunning and make me want to hop on a plane to Indonesia immediately. I LOVE all of the details and moments you captured there. Second, I’m a travel crier too. :) When my boyfriend and I went to Costa Rica this past May, I had been so stressed out in the preceding months. We checked into our little nature cabina, pushed open the French doors, and were greeted with the awe-inspiring view of Arenal Volcano… right in front of us. The end-of-day sun was hitting it dramatically and the only sounds I could hear were the chirping of exotic birds and the wind in the rainforest trees. I sat down and cried and smiled and laughed and cried again. It was a beautiful moment, and I understand exactly how you feel. :) Love your blog; wish you all the best! Caylee – gutsygirlwellness.wordpress.com

  10. This is beautiful! Ubud is somewhere I am itching to go, and I know that feeling exactly. I experienced the same thing when in Phuket several years ago. First day – tears! Such a great post.

  11. Wow! What a beautiful trip you two had. Those views! The food! The yoga-centric way of life! It all sounds incredibly divine. Hoping to visit Bali within’ the next couple of years– our next travel destination will hopefully be Europe! Maybe a pit stop in Ubud? ;)

  12. Love this! I’ve been living in Bali for about a year now and there is still so much to explore. No wonder so many people never leave! Thanks for the tip about The Bali Tailor. My friends use a small place in Seminyak but have had a couple of bad experiences there so I’m keen to try your recommendation out before I move home at the end of the year. :)

  13. This makes me happy, I am a crier too. Always when I’m frustrated and often when I am just simply overwhelmed. Which can be quite often. Planning for the biggest trip I’ve ever been on is around the corner, and there have been tears in planning, tears in packing, and will be tears while there. Hopefully Hubby will forgive me.

  14. I’m on the countdown to our Bali holiday in less than 2 weeks! So excited. We’re off to Yogyakarta in Java to see the Borobudur Temple, the Bali Mountains and Ubud. Hoping to fit in a class at the Yoga Barn. Thanks for the tip on the Clear Café, we’ll have to check it out. Looks like you had a wonderful time Rachel, thanks for sharing your holiday tips and beautiful photos.

  15. Hi Rachel! I love reading about your travels. I was just wondering if you take any crystals or stones with you when traveling overseas? If you do, which ones would you take, and have you ever had issues with airport customs/security?
    I love traveling and have just recently started using crystals – my next overseas adventure will be at the end of this year, and am thinking about taking some crystals or stones with me, but am not sure where to start!
    Cheers,
    Michelle x

  16. What a beautiful write up, both your posts really capture the magic that is Bali. It’s so refreshing to see a post which focuses on what Bali is all about- beautiful culture, relaxation and living in the moment.

    thanks for bringing back some lovely memories. xx

  17. Hi Rach! I’m really loving your notes on Bali (about to go next month) but what I’m really captivated by is your photography…is there some special amazing filter you used on these? Would love to know! x

  18. Some good to read this! Pretty unbelievable as we are staying at the Shack!
    Going in July/Aug 6 days at the Shack, 3 in Ubud and 12 in Gilli T as my stepson left the UK to be a dive instructor there!!
    Great blog

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