Bali: The Party Island, The Quiet Island & The Best Of Both Worlds

20120416-235213.jpgThis is part two of Kristin's journey through Bali.

A Day of Silence

My “Silent Day” was spent catching up with friends and family through video chats, reading, and writing.Admittedly I was not so silent in the morning, but in the late afternoon I sat out on the balcony of the hotel and watched the sky turn from blue to pink to deep purple. As it got dark candles were lit around the hotel since lights were not permitted.Most people sat silently outside their rooms watching the night and listening to the wind. There was no better way to ring in the new year, it was peaceful, beautiful, and serene. I sat in the dark, thoughts drifting on those I love, wishing everyone a happy new year from afar.

The Eat, Pray, Love Bali

I left Seminyak the next day to head up to a village in central Bali called Ubud. This is Bali’s second most popular tourist spot and has been made even more popular by the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love.Ubud is a dream town for yoga lovers, so much that they hold the annual “Bali Spirit Festival” here, touted as a celebration in yoga, dance, and music.It is an amazing place to visit for some healthy time off with its array  of Balinese culture activities and sites, healthy food joints, yoga studios, and peaceful mountain backdrop. There is a good amount to do: walks in the rice paddies (my favorite) mountain hikes and cycling trips, museum/art gallery visits, traditional Balinese dance shows, yoga, meditation, shopping, movies, exhibits, parks, temples, cooking and art classes, the list can go on and on.The great part about Ubud is that it can also serve as the perfect place to do nothing and just chill out in the jungle of Indonesia for awhile.It is relaxing, exotic, and has most of the western comforts one might crave.

A Home-stay in Ubud and The Gili Islands

While there I stayed at a place called Mumble Inn, a beautiful home-stay in central Ubud. My balcony overlooked a river valley filled with jungle plant life and bridges to other home-stays and some restaurants.I left Ubud right after I arrived there because my cold had gotten much worse and I wasn’t able to do any active things (like walking) without a coughing fit, so I decided to head out to the Gili Islands, off the coast of Lombok, the island next to Bali, for a few days to relax on a beach and do nothing.

The Party Island, The Quiet Island, and Gili Air

Gili had the beaches I dreamed about. The Gilis are three islands: Gili Trawangan, known as the party island, Gili Meno, known as the quiet island, and Gili Air, where I went, a balance between party and quiet.We (my traveling buddy Michaela, a wonderful girl from California and I) took a beautiful boat ride through the Bali Sea, riding parallel to deep green mountains with rice paddies carved into the sides that looked like steps toward the sky.The boat coasted toward the shore in Gili Air, and there is no dock. It is a tiny island, takes about an hour to walk around the whole thing. Passengers sort of shimmy their way around the side of the boat and jump down into the shallow water.And boom, in paradise.20120416-232820.jpgWhite sand, blue water, old fishing boats, coconut trees, and no roads or cars. Just sandy pathways, bungalow hotels, and beachfront cafes with thatched roof lounge couches with tables and pillows. It is such a beautiful place.We spent four days here, staying in beautiful beach bungalows, soaking up the scenery, watching the sun rise over Lombok’s active volcanos, snorkeling, riding bikes around the island, and taking walks along the beach.20120416-232457.jpgReluctantly leaving Gili, we headed back to Ubud and I spent the rest of my time in Indonesia there. I loved going on walks in the rice paddy, it is such a peaceful place and feels like the essence of Bali. The fields are beautiful and reflect different colors throughout the day, and the only sounds are running water rolling down from field to field and the breeze making its way through the rice plants up through the palm trees.

A Walk in the Rice Paddies of Bali

I went on a sunrise walk through the fields on my last day in Bali, admiring the work that goes into creating, maintaining, and harvesting the rice.In Bali, there is no separation from work and spirituality.Each rice field has a shrine and each morning a different offering is made to the gods, depending on what stage of growth the rice is at.20120416-235247.jpg

Balinese Medicine and Remedies

I went on an herbal walk and learned all about traditional Balinese herbal medicines and remedies. One takeaway: fresh ginger is good for everything. Sore throats, cleansing, stomach issues; it helps all.After that I went to see a Balinese healer and was super excited to cure whatever ailments I had. He checked me out, pressed on some pressure points, and in the end didn’t have much to heal, which is good, just slightly anticlimactic.Looks like I am healthy according to Balinese medicine, so don’t worry, Mom.

Fountains and Chakras

On my last night my guide, Dewa, took Michaela and me to the Holy Springs. They were beautiful and sacred, we dipped our heads under 7 fountains that all signified something different.One was to open chakras, another to ward off evil, another to send peaceful energy into the world, and my favorite: one to ward off nightmares.I have been having them on and off on this trip, but haven’t had one since the Holy Springs visit.Side story, I did slip on the steps getting out of the Springs, quite ungracefully, and injured my toe. Not my best moment, but I did get a good laugh at myself once my toes stopped bleeding and throbbing.

Good-bye to Bali: A Beautiful Gateway That Captured My Heart

Bali is a truly incredible place. Almost every corner of it spills some kind of aesthetic pleasure from the exquisite religious offerings, to the mesmerizing Hindu temples, to the bright, dramatic natural setting it captured my heart.The people are welcoming, even when trying to made a buck, and it felt like the most beautiful gateway to the rest of Asia for my trip.20120417-001408.jpg

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