Sunday, January 4, 2015

A new favorite location- Bali, Indonesia

When we sat down to plan our next trip we decided that we both wanted to visit Indonesia. Although Indonesia is pretty large, we wanted to visit Ubud, which is in Bali. We had heard that this was a great destination to really see the culture and experience the Balinese people. We were also pretty excited because this would be Samantha’s first trip out of China! We decided to split our time this trip between Bali and Chiang Mai, Thailand. (Separate post to follow!)





 The first day we arrived we decided to be low key and explore on our own. Our hotel was amazing and I will recommend it til the end! We stayed at the Hotel Tjampuhan and it is one of the oldest hotels in Ubud. We had our own little bungalow and it was so beautiful.









I was surprised by how green Bali was. It was different than any other place I have been to. We went on a walk down through the city and saw a random sign that said rice fields- turn left. We decided to check it out and took a walking trail that went straight through the most astonishing rice fields. I am embarrassed to say that I did not really know how rice was made before going to Bali. (That is especially embarrassing since I live in China and eat it almost every day!) Seeing the vast field of rice and walking straight through it was incredible. There were people out working in the fields and picking the stems and then banging it over a gathering contraption, which would then be added to a large pile. Walking through a random rice field was a highlight from our trip to Bali. We have realized that the greatest experiences are usually when we are not with a tour/driver and when we are just out exploring the location on our own. I am glad we stumbled upon it!


I didn't realize how low Samantha was sitting until looking at this picture. That must have been some nap! 


We also went and visited the monkey forest. I was a bit leery about this place because I had read that the monkeys are fierce and not cute or cuddly. Since it is a tourist attraction they are used to taking food out of your bag and sometimes even jumping on your back. A worker told us before entering that we should not look the monkeys straight in the eyes. Well, that’s supportive! I actually never got too close to the monkeys. I made sure to have Peyton document my close enough encounter.



One night we went to a Keckak Fire dance. It is a cultural performance called a trance ritual that had a large chorus of males. The performers chant, dance and depict a story. In the end a performer walks on fire, which was extremely eerie to me. I think I asked Peyton four times if those were his real feet.



Bali is known for its religious temples and we decided to hire a driver/tour guide to take us to see some. He took us outside of Ubud to see more of the island. The temples were very ornate and the Balinese culture is really symbolic. 






We ended the day with a sunset at Tanah Lot temple. We had heard it was a must see activity. It was so hot that day that I thought we were going to sweat out our insides. I was excited for the sunset just so that it would cool down a little.




The hotel we were at had an amazing spa where Peyton and I got massages by a big waterfall. It includes a grotto made of stone where you can go into the warm water. They even set up babysitting for us! See! You CAN travel with a baby! I am so glad we got to relax. Bali is very cheap, so we actually got a few massages. 







Bali was beautiful, I would definitely go back someday.