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BALI - The Exotic Hindu Island - Trip Report

Bali is an enchanted island.  It is a place of Hindu culture with its ubiquitous and colorful processions, offerings to the gods, exotic dance, temples,  sculpture, lush flora, and exuberant enjoyment of life.  While it has changed somewhat from our first visit in 1987, it is still an exotic and beautiful destination.  One we will always revisit.  This is a report on highlights of our trip to Bali in February 2017.  

Terraced rice paddies of Bali

Four Seasons Sayan in Ubud.  We stayed at the Four Seasons in Ubud, the arts and crafts center of Bali.  All Four Seasons resorts are Virtuoso properties.  Our villa looked like a Balinese thatched hut nestled into the lush vegetation.  We had our own pool and we were right on the river that runs through Ubud.  See the Four Seasons website.

Ubud.  Ubud is a town noted for Balinese artists, and locally made clothes, stone statues, woodcarvings, jewelry, and more.  It has hundreds of shops, markets, art galleries, restaurants, bars, clubs and spas – and always a lot happening.   We took advantage of Ubud to do some shopping, get awesome massages.

Hindu culture.  What make Ubud (and Bali in general) so interesting is that Hindu art and ritual is so pervasive.  In the midst of a street crowded with shops – about every 100 feet there are intricately carved and decorated ancient Hindu temples, and/or statues– all incorporated into an eclectic mix.  And everywhere on the ground are little offerings of food to the spirits

Balinese music and dance.  Bali is famous for its exotic traditional performances of plays, dance and music.  Young girls perform ritualistic dances in exotic dress, while a Gamelan orchestra plays music featuring many gongs and bells.

Rice farming.  There is an actively farmed rice paddy on the grounds of the Four Seasons resort and we participated in a “day in the life of a farmer.”  We cut some rice ready for harvest, we winnowed it, we prepared a paddy for planting and planted rice seedlings.  

The Monkey Forest.  Of course we had to visit the monkey forest in Ubud. 

Memorable dining.  Eating places in Ubud have lovely settings.  Stop for a beer – and there is a temple behind you. Dinner at Indus, overlooking the river valley.

Rice paddies and temples.  We took a trip to see the rice paddies in a Unesco World Heritage site visiting a royal temple on the way.

Lake temple, countryside.  We visited a temple on a lake, greeted by these dancing umbrellaed deities.  We passed through some beautiful countryside on the way back.

Amankila.  Then we got a couple of days of beach R&R at the incredible Amankila resort on the southeast coast of Bali. Amankila is one of three Aman resorts on Bali - all Virtuoso properties.  See the Aman website.

Tandjung Sari.  We then traveled to Jimbaran Bay on a rainy day, stopping at Tandjung Sari, a gem of a boutique resort in a very lively area in Bali.  Great beach.  Lovely two story cottages with breakfast brought to you balanced on the serving young lady's head.  Mick Jagger used to stay here. 

Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay.  We arrived at the Four Seasons resort in Jimbaran Bay - another Virtuoso property.  Ater a greeting ceremony we were brought to our lovely room overlooking the water with our own veranda and pool.  The grounds are designed as a series of 8  Balinese villages connected by stone lined paths.  Lush and beautiful.  See the Four Seasons website.

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