by Lisa Loverro
When I decided to travel to Bali, the only Hindu country in an otherwise cluster of Muslim islands comprising the country of Indonesia; I imagined beautiful beaches, magnificent sunsets and umbrella drinks. What I discovered was something completely different. Yes, the beaches are nice (although I’ve seen nicer in the Caribbean) but that’s not what pulled me into this tiny island. The people, culture and lush vegetation are what I have come to love here. As I traveled the streets, there was a constant reminder of their deep-rooted Hindu religion. The smell of incense engulfs the air along with flowers burning in the streets; both of which are offered up daily to their Hindu Gods.
Ubud, a small town in the middle of the island, is the cultural center for the arts in Bali. During the day I strolled the streets lined with art galleries and wood sculptors practicing their craft; and in the evening, I attended Balinese dance performances at the Ubud palace. Although Ubud is a spiritual town, I decided to travel off the beaten path to find a place not often frequented by tourists. On the east coast of the island I found Candi Dasa, a tiny town with few tourists and no large resorts. There, I spent the next two weeks exploring rice fields and temples, attending religious ceremonies, listening to Candi Dasa’s local rock bands and consuming the national drink of Bali—Arak, a very potent alcohol made from palm sap. Needless to say, not only did I open my soul to a religion completely foreign to me but I also had fun in the process!
Places to Stay:
Chedi Club at Tanah Gajah Luxury Resort
Set in rice fields complete with plunge pools and your own butler!
Maya Ubud Resort & Spa
Just outside of Ubud proper surrounded by rice fields.
In Candi Dasa
Private villas and breathtaking view of the ocean.
Places to Eat:
Hip and trendy serving French-American cuisine
Hidden on a charming side street. Serves a combination of Indonesian and European
In Candi Dasa
One of the best restaurants in town serving a combination of Asian and Western dishes.
Located in the Kubu Bali Hotel, the menu here is heavy of a variety of seafood dishes.