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.
The bathroom/closet area. Overall I was very happy with my room. It was a very good size for one person. Quiet, and I had a nice view of the courtyard.
My second night in Bali I saw a Kecak Fire & Trance Dance by Taman Kaja Community. What makes the Kecak special is that the accompanying music is provided by the human voice, the gamelan suara, a choir of a hundred men or more sitting in concentric circles, swaying, standing up, lying prone as the story develops. Amongst the swaying masses the voices of the storytellers can be heard telling the unfolding tale. I’ll have videos of this on my instagram soon so you could see for yourself.
A temple at Batubulan Village, in Gianyar – Bali. I had one day of site seeing and this is where I started.
Gong Kebyar (the orchestra of traditional Balinese instrument) to accompany the performance..
Images from the Barong Dance I saw in Batubulan Village.
Barong Dance is an exciting dance involving a giant lion played by two people. Barong is a symbol of our good side (upper body, spirit). This dance is always performed with the two sides of us between ‘good and bad (the ego)’.
Rangda (a mythological monster) represents the bad/evil side
I’ll have videos of this on my instagram soon so you could see for yourself.
I visited Batuan Paintings Village and this was at the entrance of the paint coop i visited.
Pictures were only permitted at the entrance but I saw hundreds, maybe thousands of paintings. Batuan is a village noted for its artwork and style of painting which originated in the village in the 1930s and has since emerged into a major Balinese artistic style, known as a Batuan Painting.
This is a ceremonial bed, inside the gallery, used to give birth, in times of sickness and as a death bed.
@ Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple
Some merchandise at one of the many shops at the temple
Satria Coffee Plantation, the plantation is located in a jungle so it was pretty cool
The making of the coffee
12 assorted Bali coffee and tea
Here was my spread of samples. I tried them all and bought several to make at home.
@ Batur volcano and lake. The volcano is still active but hasn’t erupted since 2000.
Dewa made sure we got some great shots.
@ Ceking Rice Terrace Tegalalang
A rice field worker who takes donations for you to try on his gear for a photo. I didn’t partake.
@ my Batik making class, I was the only one there
I didn’t know what I wanted to paint but I knew the colours I wanted to use.
my glass is always full, living in abundance
Lynda and I
my last morning in Bali
I got a tattoo of a lotus on my last night. Lotus flowers were found in Ancient Egyptian mythology to signify the sun, creation, death/rebirth, unification of upper and lower Egypt. For me it signifies the resurrection of my Afrikan heritage. A unity of my upper and lower self. As well as, the death of my ignorance.
Dewa was my driver to and from the airport as well as my tour guide and photographer. So thankful for him.