To quote Dr. Seuss, Oh the places I’ve been!
When a chance of a lifetime comes along, I am on board. Pour a glass of wine and come along with me on a summary of all of the spectacular sights I got to see in Bali. As I’ve said before, many experiences in life play into design and that’s why I wanted to share a few posts here about my travels. I process my world visually wherever I go and saw plenty of inspiration to learn from.
I recently got back from a trip to Asia where I saw sights the likes of which I couldn’t have even imagined. I was fortunate to have had excellent guides at each destination who ensured I saw all the sights, best views, and design sources at each of my destinations, and tasted the most exotic delights each destination had to offer. It was a real game changer for me!
I am going to let the pictures tell the story for the most part. Here are some highlights from my trip.
My youngest brother was the best tour guide having previously lived in Jakarta for five years. It was easy to see why he moved back to Hong Kong recently with travel like this at his disposal. Fun fact (for me) I learned he can speak the Indonesian language fluently – which came in real handy at the market when I would fan out my money and ask them what colour they wanted. He swept in and quickly started bargaining on my behalf – whew!
Batiks in a local shop I couldn’t take my eye off. Many of them are so lovely people frame them as art.
A beach is a beach until you swim in the Java Sea. I swear I literally melted into the warm water and it took tremendous effort to pull myself out when I’d had a bit too much sun (read: a lot!).
A day of sightseeing took us up the east coast of Bali to a nearby town called Candidasa where my parents had spent four weeks escaping Canada’s winter a few years back. The resort we stopped at for lunch was jaw-droppingly gorgeous, called Amankila.
Our view while we ate lunch overlooked this tiered infinity pool, the water, and beyond. I’m sure what we ate for lunch was fabulous but I was too distracted by the view – wouldn’t you be?
Dessert was presented in a rather ingenious way. Raspberry and mango sorbet were served in an ‘igloo’ of ice. What a clever way when at the equator to keep a frozen dessert chilled!
I can’t even caption this one!
The monkey forest in Ubud.
A batik shop in Ubud had so much indigo and white beauty I couldn’t slow down to shoot straight (sorry for the wonky pictures) but there were so many beautiful fabrics, I wanted it all! (P.S. that’s my 86 year old mom and my brother walking away in the photo below.)
On another day trip we had lunch at a favourite spot my sister-in-law grew up visiting and described as as her happy place. It is easy to see why. What isn’t evident from this photo is the sensory input. Literally all my senses were piqued to the sounds, aromas, sights, and, of course, tastes.
In this case, the infinity pool overlooked terraced rice paddies.
Terraced rice paddies.
We shared traditional Rejsttafel, an Indonesian dish and presentation influenced by the Dutch, that literally translates to “rice table”. The ceramic piece on the serving platter with the animal face on the front was a tiny bbq filled with coals to keep the sate hot. How clever – yes?
I caption this photo, When all paths lead to bliss.
After a long day of sight-seeing, a massage is necessary. If you happen to be in Bali sight-seeing, then one must experience a Balinese massage (perhaps daily!) or, if you are so inclined, a cream bath. A cream bath is a massage experience unto itself where an intensive deep conditioning treatment is applied to strands of hair and worked through to the ends followed by a complete scalp and shoulders massage. The entire indulgence lasting as long as a typical massage, leaving your hair soft and deeply moisturized.
Keith took us to a spa after the end of the first day to ease our jet lag away and we repeated the ritual again near the end of our stay. This photo is of Keith, my 86 year-old mom (what a terrific inspiration she is!!), and a very bedraggled but blissed-out me!
Back at our resort, a Balinese bed – aka a perfect place to read a book, have lunch, get a Balinese massage, etc. A perfect place for just about anything!
The view from inside the Balinese bed. Trust me when I tell you it was difficult to say good-bye to Bali!
Travel Notes & Recommendations:
My brother worked in Jakarta for five years and my sister-in-law was born there, so I had excellent tour guides who were both fluent in the language (a big bonus when negotiating prices as I was still figuring out how the money worked). That gave me a terrific advantage but here are a few notes to help guide you.
If you go to Bali, Nusu Dua is a great place to stay. It has an incredible collection of world-class, international chain hotels. Ours, the Westin faced a pristine beachfront on the Java Sea with water so warm I just melted into it. Known for a zeitgeist that is artful, and serene, I left a piece of my heart behind in Bali.
The town of Ubud, in the uplands of Bali, is known as a centre for traditional crafts and art forms. Ikats, batiks, wood carving, and pottery to name a few. The surrounding rainforest and terraced rice paddies, peanut and marigold fields, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, are among Bali’s most famous landscapes.
The water palace is a pretty spot along the way well worth visiting to see the abundant koi fish and beautiful property.
For a great outing and special occasion dining try each of the Aman resorts: Amakila and Amandari are both spectacular settings that will pique all the senses. (I finally had Reistafel at Amandari and it did not disappoint)
Thank you for joining me on a review of my travels! More to come. Stay tuned!