Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali!

Tripoto
25th May 2016
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 1/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Tanah Lot - The Eat, Pray, Love temple
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 2/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 3/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Where cinematic Love reunites - Tanah Lot
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 4/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Oh, Monkey Love!
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 5/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Rice terraces of Ubud at sundown
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 6/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Verdant green rice fields
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 7/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Watch that pout!
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 8/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Monkey Forest at Ubud
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 9/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Ulu Watu at sunset
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 10/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Dramatic Ulu Watu
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 11/15 by Mohana Talapatra
A Balinese Ramayana unfolding...
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 12/15 by Mohana Talapatra
And Lanka burns
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 13/15 by Mohana Talapatra
The Bali Surf - by day and night
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 14/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Oh Eat, you Destiny's Child, Eat!
Photo of Eat, Pray and get down to Monkey Business - at Bali! 15/15 by Mohana Talapatra
Ramayana - the Balinese way

So, of course Bali is Eat, Pray, Love country. Don't let Elizabeth Gilbert have her way about it - find out for yourself!

And of course it is the private villa (affordable, might I add) capital of Asia! So, here's an example - I stayed at the very luxurious Tiga Samudra Villas near Seminyak and Kuta - with 3 bedrooms, a pristine blue plunge pool right outside my master bedroom (so I could jump from the bed to the pool in one swift swoop, truly!), a gazebo with thatch-covered roofs for massages by day or night and any number of options for bathing myself - the plunge pool (yes, that again), the open air shower, the massive stone tub in the master bath and failing all else, the ocean. All of this for a mere 400 Euros for 3 nights. I would totally consider that a steal - add to that, a 2,000 square foot villa and sure, you've landed in your version of private heaven, blue skies and plunge pools with frangipani flowers floating on them by day, and scattering the light of a dozen old lanterns hanging from the private trees in your private villa by night.

As my first time in Bali, I have to say there's something about the place. The pace of life slows down; the blood in your veins runs just a little slower than usual, your heartbeat calms down to a steady rhythm and nothing matters more than just being. And giving in to Bali. Sure, one could give in to the crazy madness and shopping/ eating / clubbing/ dancing / pick-up party frenzy of Seminyak/ Kuta, but there's a lot more to Bali than that. There's everything BUT that in my view. And my biggest mistake was not staying at Ubud - the culture capital of Bali, the artists' brushstroke of a slow quirky town, where one can watch monkeys get down to monkey business by day, and enjoy a sundowner by dusk over the rice fields, with Gamelan music floating up from the nearby temples. Bali's hinterland and its soul.

Bali needs at least 2-3 weeks to do any justice to it. For that, one needs to get away from Seminyak and Kuta further up north. 

It has the world's best surf breaks and deep sea diving, snorkeling, dolphin watching after all, the hiking up Mt Batur, Kintamani, and other volcanic mountains and crater lakes, spectacular sea temples of the Tanah Lot kind, wonderful art and amazing galleries at Ubud, batik factories, woodwork factories, royal palaces, divine sea beaches (of course), the kecak evening fire dances, rice field views and of course the yoga retreats, countless Balinese massage spas and oh the making-your-tastebuds-come-alive food! 

And if you have a significant other to visit Bali with, then it would be unforgivable to come away from Bali without an evening spent at the Rock Bar - a bar jutting out into the ocean (literally!) perched on a sheer rock face! Let's add some risque factor to that romance, I say! Go, live on the edge a bit, like, literally!!

That is, if you can force yourself out of the villa and its luxurious comforts at all!

But above all, there is Culture (with a Capital C), and there are the temples. Tanah Lot, made famous by the movie/ book of well, you-know-who. But then there are so many others. Visit Tanah Lot once by dawn when the tide is high and you can catch the temple surrounded by sea - just like in the movies. Wondering if you were to take a boat out to it, would your lover fetch you (or not!). And then once again by sunset - at low tide, when you can wade/ walk up to the temple and say a little prayer for your love (or to invite one into your life), have holy water sprinkled on you by the Hindu priests and a marigold or jasmine stuck behind your ear as a flower-blessing. Bali will charm you thus. One of the best views of Tanah Lot is not actually from Tanah Lot temple precinct, but from a pricey but oh-so-romantic restaurant on the cliff overlooking Tanah Lot. Most definitely the best way to spend your first evening in Bali - atmospheric in every way.

But my favorite temple was Ulu Watu. By far. The most dramatic and the most atmospheric. The inner sanctum is right on top of the cliff, but a lot of the crowds come here by evening just to witness the spectacular sunset! As should you. And oh, let's not forget the "Eat" of it all. Do stop by for the best Rendang curry at this little nondescript restaurant called "Cikgo" on the way to (or back from) Ulu Watu, towards Seminyak. You will be surprised at the magic of the food here!

And if you are so inclined at all, do stay to watch the Balinese re-telling of the Ramayana and the conquest of good over evil, just to lend your own personal journey a cosmic happy ending, after all. There was the word "Pray" somewhere in there, wasn't it?

On my last day in Bali, on the way to the airport, at a city temple, I suddenly came upon the resounding chimes of a dozen Gamelans playing to the most melodious composition ever. I asked the taxi to stop, ran up to the temple, and to my sheer joy and amazement, found a dozen children under the age of 15, all learning to play the Gamelan with their awkward little hands but making the most mesmerizing music I ever heard. (The Gamelan is Bali's most traditional and most beautiful musical instrument, predominantly strings and percussion all together in one). If I weren't already, that's the moment I fell truly in love with Bali and knew I'd be back - not once or twice, but over and over again.

Let there be Love, we say. Let there be Bali.

A very luxurious villa. For 3 nights, I paid about 400 Euros. The villa also arranged a driver with a car upon request and was served by a very polite, hospitable and gentle butler at all times, even though meals were my responsibility.

Ulu Watu by sunset is spectacular, as is the Kecak dance of the Ramayana

2 Comment(s)
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Bali is mostly a cash culture, much like India, so you do need to have the local currency on hand. You may take a forex card or if you have an international VISA debit or credit card that can work just as well! :) @ Raggae
Fri 06 23 17, 12:23 · Reply · Report
What do you recommend, a credit card , forex card or exchanged money to cover the expenses while in Bali?
Sat 04 01 17, 07:14 · Reply · Report