First published by International Living Magazine.
I’m not a morning person. But waking up in the plush surroundings of an ocean-view room in a luxury resort on the island paradise of Bali is a breeze. I happily left my cozy bed to take in the view from my private terrace as the soft orange and purple hues of dawn breaking lit up the ocean beyond.
Sipping steaming Bali coffee and watching the sky move through a kaleidoscope of colors, I could have stayed there all day… But breakfast was calling and I knew what lay in wait was too good to miss.
Every kind of fruit imaginable…freshly squeezed juices…custom-made omelets with bacon, ham, and potatoes…made-on-the-spot waffles…and all delivered to your ocean-view, open-air table. My coffee mug was never less than half full and—total transparency—always accompanied by a cinnamon roll.
With such an enormous breakfast, it won’t surprise you that I often turned down lunch. And just as well, with so much to see and do here, I had a lot to pack in, starting first with legendary yoga. There are lots of great yoga retreats in Bali.
I took in the colorfully-costumed cultural dance performance of the Barong and Kris, an oddly humorous story about the fight between good and evil spirits.
A scuba-diving course brought me to the coral reef off Tulamben—a small fishing village on the north-east coast—where I explored the wreck of the USAT Liberty, a U.S. Army ship torpedoed by a Japanese submarine in 1942. I was joined in this underwater labyrinth of concealed and partially opened rooms by darting fish and curious sea turtles.
On less action-packed days, Bali’s sister islands—Nusa Ceningan, Nusa Lembongan, and Nusa Penida—are just a ferry ride from the coast. Here you’ll find deserted sugar-sand beaches, glistening aquamarine water, and great snorkeling opportunities.
One of my favorite Bali experiences was sunset at Pura Tanah Lot, perhaps the most photographed of the island’s temples. Perched on a rocky outcropping, the striking temple is ever-popular, even though access to it is limited to low-tide.
And, of course, the rice paddies here are legendary. Row upon row of exquisitely designed basins. High in the mountains, I looked down on this stunning panorama while indulging in a complimentary multi-course Balinese meal, including the traditional dessert of black sticky rice with freshly grated coconut, drizzled (or in my case, drenched) with sweet palm syrup.
Perhaps one of the best things about my adventure-filled Bali break was getting to enjoy the five-star experience without paying five-star prices…I got a huge discount on my ocean-view room and didn’t have to pay a cent for my meals or excursions…all thanks to my income as a travel blogger.
Revised; first published in International Living, January 2018.
There’s so much to do — you could easily spend 2-3 weeks in Bali!
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