Category Archives: Bali, Indonesia

Bali Travel Guide

bali

Bali is a special sort of place, a tiny island that has thrived on tourism for decades and yet has managed to keep much of its cultural heritage in tact. It satisfies just about every type of traveler, from adventurer to meditator, sightseer to beach bum. Here are some of the fabulous places and faces…

A Thousand Words: Sunset in Seminyak

sunset

If you’re staying in the popular beach towns of southwestern Bali, watching the sunset is a must-see spectacle. When the clouds are out, as they often are on this tropical island, gorgeous swirls of pinks mingle with the otherwise perfect blue sky.

Bali restaurants, from traditional to contemporary

baliresto

Despite having cooking techniques, ingredients and customs spanning many generations, Balinese restaurant culture as it stands today has really only evolved in the last 40 years. For many years, these islanders didn’t see restaurants as a place of social gathering.

The spirit of Kecak Fire and Trance Dance

kecak

A low chant rings in the distance. “CHEE hee oh ee CHEE hee oh ee CHEE hee oh ee…” Dozens of men, enrobed only in a plaid sarong, emerge onto the stage and form a circle, their hands waving in the air. The multiple concentric circles formed, the chant breaks into the chatter of a hundred monkeys.

A Thousand Words: The Art of Ubud

ubudart

You will hear over and over again in the travel guides that Ubud is the cultural and artistic capital of Bali. This is not an exaggeration. Here in the city is where you’ll find hundreds of traditional and contemporary paintings, drawings, sculptures by the island’s best artists.

Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive crap… coffee

kopi

When a foodie is told the tale of kopi luwak — the coffee brewed from beans that were eaten by a Asian civet, shat out, then collected, cleaned, roasted and sold for $100+ per pound — the foodie invariably asks “how much of an arm, a leg and my first-born child can I spend to sample this rare and exotic treat?”

Visiting Besakih, the Mother Temple of Bali

besakih

Pura Besakih is the most important of all temples to the Balinese Hindus. Unfortunately too much tourism has resulted in locals attempting to squeeze every rupiah they can possibly get out of a visit here. But don’t let that take away from a pleasant, enlightening visit to Besakih.

Sunrise hike to Mt. Batur

batur

There are many different tour companies offering excursions to Batur, but the easiest and simplest thing to do is just to hire a driver for the day starting at around 2 a.m.. The driver will take you to the base of the mountain to a stop run by The Association of Mt. Batur Trekking Guides.

Perasi’s Pasir Putih: Bali’s best secret (for now)

perasi

In the heavy heat of the mid-afternoon, East Bali was beginning to blur. As our driver Ketut zoomed past temple after temple, the only indication that there was anything more to this small village than some nondescript buildings and wandering dogs was a small handwritten sign nailed to a post: “WHITE SAND BEACH.”

Sambal: Indonesia’s “Ketchup”

sambal

Sambal. In Bali, most menu translations simply call it “Balinese spicy.” They serve it just about everywhere and with just about everything in Indonesia, along with those ubiquitous shrimp crackers, or krupuk. The recipe is quite simple. Start with chiles. Lots of them.

Reflections of Bali: Tirtagangga & Taman Ujung Water Gardens

watergarden

For some quiet reflecting time in in Bali, look no further than the crystal pools of Tirtagangga Water Garden and Taman Ujung Water Palace. These beautiful complexes are born of Balinese royalty, back in their pre-WWII heyday of the early 20th century.

Kubu Carik: Experiencing the “Real” Bali

kubucarik

For all the bungalows and villas that Bali has to offer, there isn’t another place on the island like this one. Tucked deep into the hills of the rice paddy fields of East Bali, Kubu Carik is an oasis in a sea of a green. It’s not really a hotel, but rather a beautiful Balinese-style home — in the middle of nowhere.

A Thousand Words: Celebrating Death

death

There we were, getting our Ibu Oka roast suckling pig fix in central Ubud, when we saw a large crowd of people gathering in the street. Groups of percussionists sounded polyrhythmic beats on their drums and gongs while priests chanted in Balinese.