Bali was beautiful and somewhat overrated.

As expected, Bali was beautiful.

I had a few days off the first week of May, also known as golden week here in Korea, so I broke the bank back in February purchasing my plane ticket and accommodations. Flights from Korea, at that time, were much more expensive because of the holiday.

I was in Bali for 4 nights and 4 days and I made the most of it. I stayed at a yoga retreat, in Ubud, called Ubud Aura Yoga Retreat. The grounds were beautiful and clean. The staff was friendly and helpful.

I must be completely honest about my experience in Bali, Ubud in particular, was predominantly European and “touristy” amongst other things. It often lacked in an authentic Balinese feel. You’d think because everyone is so zen’d out from all the yoga that people would have been friendly and warm. Au contrary! I experienced very little eye contact or looks right through me… just cold.

The Balinese people, on the other hand, were very friendly and warm but then I realized that it was because they were trying to sell me something. When they asked a question like “where are you from?” it wasn’t because they actually cared to know where I was from it’s so they can build rapport. Often the next question was “taxi?” or “you buy?” This part was a little disheartening because I spent my first full day thinking it was genuine friendliness.

It wasn’t until my second day when I took a, private, full-day tour of various sites when I really saw how much I was just another tourist to the locals. A lot of hustling on the streets, forget window shopping, or browsing, for the most part. There is always someone there trying sell you something.

I’m someone who likes to make a connection with my surroundings and the people I encounter, whenever possible, and although Bali had this spiritual vibe about it, (I enjoyed the constant scent of incense in the air), I did not feel a connection.

Still, i did really enjoy my Kundalini yoga classes– people were friendly in there. I’m also very thankful that a friend of mine who also taught in South Korea, and is black and from Toronto, happened to also be in Bali at the same time so we got to hang out during our free time. She also had a similar experience, it being her first time there, and she spent longer there than I did.

You hear about Bali on tv and in movies (Eat, Pray, Love anyone?) and expect to go and have this culturally rich and spiritual time but that wasn’t the case for me. Mind you, if I ever visited Indonesia again it would be in a different part of it. I saw all I needed to see during this trip.

I hope I didn’t burst your Bali bubble and that you’ll go and see for yourself one day too.

Keep scrolling for pics and let me know about your experience in Bali.

Hetep~

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