By the time I got to Bali, four months into my trip, I experienced the inevitable “travel burnout” that happens to many long-term travelers. I know, serious “first world problems,” right? But constant bus and air travel, packing and unpacking every 4 or 5 days, and not having a consistent eating schedule really does take a toll on your body and emotional health. And so after Zack packed for the final time and flew back to the US, I decided to take it easy in Bali. Instead of cramming my days with sightseeing, temple hopping, tours, and diving, I simply took a break from traveling and spent my time going to yoga, coffee shops, and walking around. And to be honest, Ubud, Bali, is the perfect place to do that–I spent the most consercutive nights (10 nights) of the whole six month trip in Ubud. While I’m bummed I didn’t get to see more of Bali, the Gilis, and Lombok, a short pause on moving and grooving was exactly what the doctor ordered, and by the time I eventually got to India, I was well rested for a chaotic sightseeing whirlwind tour of Rajasthan.
Since I spent most of my time in Ubud, that’s where the majority of these pictures were taken. In line with my break from traveling was also a break from lugging around my 2 pound DSLR camera. While photography is a passion of mine, sometimes I get tired of carrying such a heavy piece of equipment around and instead snap a few shots with my Iphone (all the photos taken here are from an Iphone 3GS). My favorite app for photos is Hipstamatic–unlike Instagram, where you choose a filter after the photo is taken, Hipstamatic has you choose a lens and film (filter) option before you snap the photo. I generally find this helps me find more interesting and color-appropriate subjects as I’m looking for whatever will look best in the filter (for example, my favorite combo, Kaimal Mark II lens with Ina’s 1969 film makes whites really stand out). Although I love Instagram too (find my profile here), Hipstamatic generally has more of a dramatic effect that I love. I had so much fun photographing all the details of Ubud and Bali with my phone–hope you enjoy the results.
My first night in Bali was spent at a cheap hotel right by the airport–I only wish I had left time to swim in the beautiful pool! The hotel was a perfect welcome to Bali.
I was absolutely in love with all of the handmade lace in Bali. The most upscale store, Uluwatu Lace, had so many gorgeous pieces–I wanted to buy everything!
Another shot from Uluwatu Lace.
Bali is rightfully famous for its shopping: you can buy anything from huge Buddha statues for your lawn, to random home decor items, like this hand carved cow skull, to trendy Australian designer clothing.
Another shopping opportunity: essential oils and body lotion. I spent a number of my mornings and afternoons window shopping in Ubud, looking at all of the beautiful things for sale.
Yet another snap of a window display in Ubud.
Bali is also well-known for its abundance of healthy raw food restaurants and cafes. After not seeing a vegetable for about 3 weeks in the Philippines, salads and kale smoothies at Soma Cafe were warmly welcomed into my body.
I loved this textured wall.
Bali is a bit of an anomaly in Indonesia: the Balinese aren’t Muslims, but Hindus (though fairly different from Indian Hindus). They worship thousands of gods, including Ganesha, the son of Shiva and god of good luck.
The Balinese form of Hinduism has also adopted elements from Buddhism and the animist traditions of the indigenous people, so the religious practices are very unique to the island. My favorite tradition? The flower offerings placed on the street and shrines several times a day.
I stayed at the Kori Bali Inn 2: it was perfect. Nyoman, the manager, is so helpful and makes your breakfast to order every morning (along with 24/7 tea and coffee). The building is beyond beautiful (I couldn’t believe I was actually staying there), and the location is ideal. I soon realized how clean it was as well when I stayed at a different home stay the last night I was in Ubud and two cockroaches crawled up out of the shower drain (while I was showering). Kori Bali Inn 2 is highly, highly recommend!
A photo of a “Balinese minivan,” complete with flower offerings attached to the license plate. It’s not uncommon to see a mom, dad, and three kids on one motorbike at once! I’m also pretty sure I saw a 12 year old driving one home from elementary school.
Carvings are so common all over the buildings and temples of Ubud–I couldn’t stop taking photos.
Two more shots of the intricate carvings around the temples and houses.
Here’s the door (!!!) to my room and my balcony area. I loved having a afternoon coffee or tea here each day.
I could not ever get used to this beautiful door–why doesn’t my door at home look like this?
Although Uluwatu Lace was a little out of my price range, I found an amazing tailor selling Balinese lace pieces for a fraction of the cost. I couldn’t help but pick up a few items– I always get compliments on this shirt!
I loved this little set up at a cafe in Ubud. Bali has some of the best food I ate on my travels, and that’s saying a lot!
Another favorite Balinese tradition of mine was the abundant “welcome drinks.” I got this floral iced tea, complete with a frangipani flower, at the Blanco Art Museum.
I found this repainted reclaimed wood table at a gelato shop.
Like I mentioned, I did a lot of yoga in Ubud. I took Christine’s advice and tried Yoga Barn–it was fantastic. I especially loved Emily’s vinyasa flows, which were challenging but fun in the 90 degree heat.
The Yoga Barn overlooks a rice paddy– a nice view while you’re sweating it out.
Another shot of the beautiful studio at the Yoga Barn. I loved practicing outside!
What’s your favorite shot of Bali? Do you ever leave the big camera at home and shoot with your phone instead?