Oh by Golly Have a Holly Jolly Bali Holiday
Some places make you happy. Some even make you downright giddy. Bali is such a place. It refuses to be anything less than an annoyingly cliché travel brochure of sunshine pictures that make you smile.
Although I claimed to have no expectation for visiting Bali, I secretly did. In fact, it was the number one place I wanted to see when I moved to Asia. Bali is just so…Balinese. It always looked like it had it all – volcanoes, rice terraces, jungle, gorgeous water, culture and that infamous architecture I’d seen glimpses of in every yoga studio ever designed. So while I didn’t quite know where we’d we go or what we’d do in Bali, I figured it’d be good.
It was. In fact, it was incredible.
We joined JD’s brother and sister-in-law in the Big B to celebrate their honeymoon. Goodbye romance, hello visitors. Oops, sorry guys.Our gracious travel companions put away the candle lit dinners and got out their snorkels and maps. In just one week we went here, there and everywhere all over this special (not so little) island.
For those of you looking for a romantic vacation – or at least romantic until your little brother and his girlfriend show up and spoil the mood – here’s where to go in Bali.
Monkeys, monkeys and a side of history are here in this old-meets-tourist town in the center of the island. There are markets and shops to help you check souvenirs off your list and beautiful architecture to remind you how special this place is. The monkey temple in the middle of town enters you in to an ancient-feeling jungle. Just be ready to take those monkeys seriously. Cheeky rodents are less afraid of you than you are of them.
Bat Cave Temple
Bali has so many temples you can quickly begin to confuse one with the other. They’re all gorgeous, interesting and full of stories. But a lesser visited, more unique one to check out is the Bat Cave Temple on the east side of the island. Not one, not two, but probably 400 bats have made the main cave of this temple their home. The python that lurks nearby is a big, fat guy thanks to his winged food court. It’s something you’ll definitely remember.
Awww…Tranquility, thy name is Gili. In between Bali and Lombok are three tiny dots of tropical beach paradise. No cars or scooters here, just horse drawn carts, simple bamboo beach huts and the most breath-taking turquoise blue sea you can imagine. The Gili Islands are a holiday within a holiday.
Yes, she is the mother of all Balinese temples. The Mother Temple is not just big, she’s big and lovely. Located at the base of a volcano, the Mother Temple is a pilgrimage site for many Hindus from around the island. We were lucky enough to visit her during one of the biggest annual Hindu celebrations and were treated to seeing culture in action. Thousands of believers were all around in various versions of white clothing, praying, worshipping and picnicking in the open spaces. Make sure to check out the incredible terraced rice fields nearby, as well!
Many people are drawn to the coast of Bali, and for good reason. It’s beautiful. The water is warm. There are even temples built in the sea! But the interior of Bali should not be forgotten. It’s here where Exotic slaps you in the face with incredible waterfalls, volcanoes, markets and small towns, rice fields and white water rafting.
It’s one thing to read about Bali, but a whole other to see it. So stop reading and get a move on. Go on, go!