In Bali, things feel a bit more surreal, the air a bit more permeable to possibility of things happening beyond logic. Whatever it was, I soaked it in and loved the colorful, alternative cultural and inner explorations offered on each street corner. You can deepen your yoga practice here, your meditation practice, get your fortunes read and aura cleared by one of the many shamans in town. You can visit a Balinese healer, you can discover ayruveda, sound medicine, and wrap up the evening with a traditional Balinese cooking class. You can eat each meal vegan, raw, organic, gluten-free, all natural given the high number of restaurants that cater to these diets. You can give an offering at one of the many beautiful temples, buy stacks of inscence, pick frangipani flowers and place them in your hair.
While I found Ubud rather developed (almost uncannily Berkley-esque with all the yogis, hippies in dreds and crystal healing shops), it still retains an authentic cultural quality to it. Ornate Hindu temples with animist gods adorn every block. Daily Hindu ceremonies are still conducted by all members with much fanfare, pomp and circumstance and the women dress so beautifully in traditional ornate lace tops, sashes and sarongs. The cute little Indonesian kids, wide-eyed with curiosity, wave at you. The beautiful small offerings bearing inscence and sweets, given the day before, litter each street corner. And when there is a ceremony--boy, does it stop traffic for an hour or two (as any good celebration should)!
There are certain ancient traditions, wisdom, medicine and healing that will forever belong to the island itself, some that I was lucky to bear witness to.
What you seek here finds you. After a good few months constantly moving from place to place, Ubud was where I based myself out of for a week to relax. It was the perfect, lush, tropical retreat.
Beyond the inherent wisdom and intuition, the island itself has many secluded spots that I fell in love with. I haphazardly made it to Bingin Beach and, after an hour there, put it on my "Must Go Back Every Time You Are In Bali!" List. Being along the Uluwatu coast and surrounded by its scenic cliffs, it's a popular surf spot and frequented by a handful of surfers and locals. It's harder to get to which makes it less touristed, more rustic and beautiful.
You have to get to the Parking Lot then follow the spray painted signs down to the beach. Down, down the steps you go and you are met by beautiful lush foliage, straw-thatched roofs and a peek of the sparkling blue ocean below. Past the handful of hand-painted signs for "Ding Repairs," you spot another peek of that sparkling crystal blue speckled with small human dots--surfers and paddlers--and hints of where the ocean meet the horizon. Until you finally reach the small section of sandy white beach and are met with fresh fish grills, and views of the surrounding high cliffs on all sides.
For the best views of the ocean, grab a fresh juice smoothie, local (kopi) coffee and chicken burger at any of the handful of thatch-roofed bungalows or warungs (restaurants) all perched in the cliffside overlooking Bingin.
Such a lovely place to perch, watch the sunset, and know how lucky you are to walk so many places on this beautiful earth.
Photo Credits: All Photos Are My Own. All Rights Reserved.