If beauty had a name, it would surely be Bali, which has mesmerised foreign travellers for a century, a mythical and fantasised destination, whose reality always lives up to expectations. The small Indonesian island, so unique, manages to keep despite its success a joyful mix of exceptional cultural heritage and a wonderful natural landscape, where you only have to do one step to the side to see life flowing in the tranquillity of unchanging traditions. Bali, you touch the heart, may you always remain yourself !
Soft and contemplative mornings
Dawn rises over emerald rice paddies, mist envelops coconut trees in the fullness of the pink morning, birds begin their concert in a joyful improvisation and frangipani flowers voluptuously scent the air.
Small woven baskets filled with flowers, fragrant herbs and rice are placed in front of houses and shops, offerings so that harmony may endure in all things.
The penjor, the long decorated bamboo braids form arches under which we stroll through villages ; thousands of pura(temples), whether in the heart of houses, in the smallest villages, clinging to volcanoes, at the crossroads of big cities or on top of cliffs, unveil their lacy stones and the muru (structures like pagodas) soar towards the sky.
We come across processions and ceremonies, majestic dialogues with the invisible powers.
Dawns, in Bali, are moments when the island belongs to those who look with the heart, the soul of the island of the Gods is revealed in all its gentleness, indifferent to the noise the world is making.
A paradise for your own
Because of course Bali has changed, highways are being built fast, hotels continue to pop everywhere, fusion-food and DJ-sets are sunsets companions. It is the beloved destination of digital nomads, personal development gurus, party people of all kinds, international hipsters, who are back, not yet in massive numbers but it is only a matter of time.
But don’t let the grumpy ones convince you that “it was better before”, and go to Bali, because you will find exactly what you came for : calm and softness, walks with your nose to the wind, the discovery of exceptional cultural treasures, creativity everywhere, encounters, but also chic boutiques and incredible restaurants, and the urge to refocus on yourself selflessly.
Choose what you like ! You may want to take photos in all the hot spots to post on social media (the swings over the rice fields will always be a hit !), or hire a bike away from the busy cities to ride down hills through small villages, stopping at roadside markets, responding to happy smiles from children.
Bali will always have this, the idea that all these worlds cohabit in harmony and that everyone goes about their business, crossing each other respectfully but without constraint, and whoever wants to take the trouble to look will also find the Bali of everyday life, of unforgettable beauty, of generous nature which seems to have invented the colour emerald green, in all its purity and simplicity.
Some addresses in Bali that we love
Tian Taru – In the middle of indigo plantations, in a beautiful jungle less than an hour’s drive from Ubud, Tian Taru embraces the slow and patient work of indigo dyeing. Everything is beautiful here, in total harmony with the environment. You can participate in the dyeing workshops that take place from time to time.
Gaya Ceramic – For the last 20 years Gaya has been establishing a dialogue with ceramics in many forms, inspired by Bali’s bountiful nature, and it is superb: custom projects, workshops with ceramists from all over the world, a shop and studio (the later is to be visited by appointment). The brand is based in Ubud.
Atelier TE Sanur – A beautiful guesthouse in Sanur, for rent fully or partially, that skillfully blends the contemporary and the traditional, the sophisticated and the soothing. Many Indonesian craft features add to the charm of the place.
Wapa di Ume Sidemen – In East Bali, away from the hustle and bustle of the touristic cities, in the countryside, a small 5-star hotel nestled in the rice paddies, with the perfect cone of Mount Agung as a backdrop.
The Elysian – To be in Seminyak at the heart of the action, yet in a quiet little cocoon, a boutique hotel where each room is a small, self-contained and beautiful villa.
Aquamarine Beach Villas – A little corner of paradise in Amed, in the far east of Bali, for diving, enjoying the tranquillity of the place and the beautiful villas, and walking through small fishing villages.
The Purist – The magical charm of a small hotel where everything is beautiful, with its different levels, private hidden villas, details and handicrafts that give a wonderful personality to the place. In Ubud, close enough to enjoy the city, but far away enough to enjoy tranquility. Don’t miss the bike rides organised by the team.
Locavore Restaurant – Contemporary and creative cuisine, vegetarian or not depending on your taste, using only local ingredients, and ranked among the 50 best restaurants in Asia years in a row.
Kaum – In Seminyak and by the team behind Potato Head, a superb contemporary restaurant with a beautiful terrace overlooking the sea that showcases the richness of Indonesian cuisine, with recipes inspired by little-known culinary traditions.