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Laughing with Buddha in Bali

If you’ve ever read the book “Eat, Pray, Love”, you know that Elizabeth Gilbert had a truly enlightening and magical experience in Bali. After just a few days there, I wholeheartedly agreed that Bali is indeed a very special place (and I wish I would have found someone to read my palm)!

Carly, Marissa and I arrived in Ubud, Bali on April 1st after a great time island hopping in Thailand.


Ubud is known for being the cultural hub of Bali. It’s a very artsy scene with painting shops on nearly every corner, funky cafes known for delightful vegetarian food, cultural dancing and beautiful Balinese Hindu statues and temples. The people are friendly, extremely kind and very spiritual. In fact, you will see the local people setting out small offerings of flowers, crackers, money and other trinkets in tiny pandana leaf boxes on the street every day.

A cool quote at one of our favourite places, Cafe Atman

We loved how many of the statues were dressed up with sarongs and flowers.

A local store owner puts out offerings in front of his shop.


The atmosphere in Ubud is so spiritual and soothing to the soul that it has also become a perfect setting for little spas, yoga studios and spiritual retreats. Our “retreats” were in the form of a foot or back and neck massage for around $8 or $10 Canadian each day we could fit it in.

A must on my list while in Ubud was to visitThe Yoga Barn, a place I had read about when Carly first suggested visiting Bali. The yoga studio we attended our classes in was a bamboo structure elevated on stilts overlooking rice fields in behind the hustle and bustle of the main street. Each time I went to a class there, I left feeling so very happy and at peace…even the day that I accidentally attended a Level 2 Vinyasa Class. Turns out I probably fit in better with the beginners…I had to work so hard not to bust out giggling at myself when we had ten minutes of “free time” to practice poses we were working on and found myself twiddling my thumbs and wondering if spending my 10 free minutes laying like a starfish on my mat would be acceptable. I sure was impressed with some of my classmates headstands…maybe I’ll have that mastered next time I visit Bali.

A Spiritual Oasis in Ubud

My yoga buddies Marissa and Carly

When we weren’t hanging out at Cafe Atman or KAFE (our favourite spots that we highly recommend) trying raw carrot cake or various funky juices and ice coffees, we managed to fit in a day long cycling tour out in the countryside. We cycled through rice fields and learned about the different variations of coffee that are grown in Bali. We visited a typical Balinese home with several families living all together and tried some traditional Balinese foods. It was so nice to be outside of the city. I experienced this same type of calm and gorgeous scenery when I walked back to Sari Organik to sip on a lime squash and take in the beauty of the rice fields. I think I could spend an entire day in front of those fields.

We started our day of cycling with breakfast overlooking a volcano

Roasting coffee beans

Visiting a traditional home. Many families will live together in one compound.

Every family compound has a temple similar to this.

We pass a family compound that is preparing for a wedding!

Visiting workers in the rice fields

Watching a woman bang the rice out of the rice grass. Hard work!


From Ubud we moved on to Legian, known for surfing, beaches and a ton of Aussie tourists. We stayed at The Island Hostel which was a great spot. On the beaches in Legian I saw the biggest waves I think I’ve ever seen in my life. I rented a body board and tried to body surfing in there-it was definitely a wild time. The current was so strong it was tricky to even get out far enough to catch a wave.

Another highlight in nearby Seminyak was visiting the Mr. Potato Head Beach Club. The entire outside of this enormous club is made entirely of old shutters. It has 3 restaurants inside, a pool and a beautiful view of the giant waves, all lit up with flood lights.

Heading into Potatoe Head-the whole exterior of the building is made of old shutters.

Potato Head Beach Club-not a place backpackers usually hang out

Treating ourselves in Legian

Strawberry margaritas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hummed and hawed a little about whether we should move on to The Gili Islands but I am so glad that we went for it (thanks Marissa!!). We took a fast boat to Gili Trawangan, known better as Gili T for $50 and we found ourselves in a place that we could hardly believe was real. In my opinion, this tiny island even trumps those we visited in Thailand. Picture turquoise blue water, clear as glass, white sand and a backdrop of mountains.

My sister the snorkel dork in Gili T.





Our funniest adventure on Gili T was a tipsy bike ride home when we cycled to the other side of the island to watch the sunset. We ordered a drink each but didn’t realize we were getting two for one because of happy hour. The drinks were fairly generously poured and by the time every last bit of the sun’s light had disappeared we decided to hop on our bikes and ride home in the sand. Luckily I had my dorky headlight to guide us home.

Catching the sunset on Gili T



Hard to leave a place like this!


After Gili T, I had a few days to myself in Ubud while Carly and Marissa got clothes made in Hoi An. After nine months of being on the road, I really enjoyed those couple of days on my own. Ubud was an amazing place to kind of reconnect with myself and recharge and for that reason as well, Bali will always hold a special place in my heart on this journey.

Thanks for the amazing memories Carly and Marissa!

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3 Responses to “Laughing with Buddha in Bali”

  1. Jennifer Burton May 10, 2012 at 6:06 am #

    Lovely!
    Jennifer Burton recently posted..Lessons from a Korean mother-in-law

  2. Lawrence Michaels July 5, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    Looks like it was a nice trip. I thought Bali was primarily Hindu with some Muslim, but not so much Buddhist? Can’t say for sure as I’ve never been there.
    Lawrence Michaels recently posted..Top Ten Phuket Beaches

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