Bali is more than an island, or a pretty picture or a paradise holiday destination - it's a way of life and a state of mind. No wonder it's often called the Island of the Gods! If you haven't yet made it to Bali we don't blame you - it takes full commitment to fly all the way across the world, but be humbled: it's not in vain. A trip to this relatively small (compared to its neighbours) island in Indonesia is a microcosm of a whole separate world, one completely different to the vibe which runs through Java, or Lombok. No, we don't blame you for not making it to Bali, because once you experience life here, you'll never want to leave.
We’ve curated a list of five everyday things which have a whole new meaning in Bali, just so you know what you're committing to when you decide to finally book that ticket:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Whilst the whole routine of waking up early in the morning may still feel the same, doing so in Bali (especially Ubud) has a different feel. We'd never usually be ones to advise an early rise, but we almost definitely recommend it in Ubud. Wake up early, take a leisurely stroll to the nearest local market and pick out fresh fruit for breakfast. An exotic, colourful feast for the eyes, and an even more exciting one for the palette, stack up on dragonfruit, guava, star fruit, watermelon, pineapple and some of those tiny, supersweet bananas, and indulge in a fresh cup of Balinese coffee.
Whilst Bali has its fair share of extravagant restaurants, hotels and beach resorts, it's all the more rewarding finding a local restaurant with an authentic menu from a true Balinese kitchen. Try the aromatic Sate (skewered, grilled meats served with a spicy or peanut sauce), Nasi Ayam or Nasi Kampur (rice dishes with chicken or vegetables), Tempeh salads, Babi guling (slow spit-roasted pig) or Batutu (stuffed chicken, wrapped in banana leaves and husk and cooked for 6-7 hours). A long way away from your regular sad desk lunch for sure...
A hub for well-being, Bali inspires your inner health nut. Though there's an endless call to relax, something almost everyone who visits Bali must try, is attending a few yoga classes. Usually just another exercise class back at home, yoga in Bali is a completely different experience. Working on your breathing, chanting and core isn't just a Thursday night routine here - how can it be when you're surrounded by rice paddies, an organic farm or a jungle ravine as you peacefully 'Ohmmm' to the sound of the pattering rain on large, dark green leaves just beyond the platformed enclosure? The locals take the transformative power of yoga and chanting very seriously here, as part of their Hindu traditions and beliefs, which takes this well beyond your daily exercise routine - it's a way of capturing the essence of the island...and, well, exercising! Don’t think it’s for you? Take a beginner’s lesson; maybe it can change your mind.
Though you can drive a car around in Bali, the only true way of getting around to almost anywhere on the island is via a moped. It's the locals' transport of choice, and it is so for a very good reason - why would you want to put anything between you and the gorgeous surroundings you're encompassed by constantly? With the warm wind running through your hair and brushing vigorously past your face, and the sun warming your back, you'll soon see why mopeds are the ideal choice for any commute through Bali. Whether it's a day trip from Ubud to Tanah Rata, or to a prime surfing spot like Uluwatu, zigzagging through lush green tropical landscape, cruising along rice paddies and whizzing past peaceful villages, your commute in Bali is nothing like navigating the Central Line on London Underground at rush hour, that's for sure.
Interacting with the people we see every day can start to take a very stagnant pattern. One of the biggest things which you come face to face with in Bali is how you interact with the people around you, the locals and the culture. "Om Swastyastu" is your common hello - the 'Om' a holy thread which connects you to the universe, then 'I hope good comes at you from all directions'. With a conversation starter so spiritual, no wonder having a conversation in Bali has so much more meaning than any idle small talk you might strike up at home.
The gentle breeze blowing on a warm evening, as the horizon is lost where the sky and flooded rice paddies kiss; a group of children kicking about a football as a monkey or two jump overhead in the lush jungle trees leaning over the narrow, windy streets - a calming air settles in amongst the greenery and scenery making Bali the ideal place to relax, because, quite frankly, over here it's just in the air.
Kicking back your feet and settling into a hammock, taking a stroll through Ubud’s greenery, laying on a remote beach or even spotting some of the sights – Bali will completely revolutionise the way you define the word ‘relaxed’. Trust us on this one.
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