Oh, how I love Bali! I fell in love with the place when I first visited in 2010. I was there for a press junket for Pond’s and stayed at beautiful Nusa Dua Hotel. Everything about that trip was magical and amazing–I loved the delicious food, the trendy resorts and restaurants, the super chic retail stores and the overall vibe of the place. I promised myself I would go back for a vacation, which didn’t exactly happen because I went back for my lifestyle/travel show Trending Now, which was still basically for work. I still want to keep that promise and go there with Carlos one day, and hey, maybe we can bring our little baby boy or girl, too.
So I was there sometime in July 2014. I know, this seems like a really late post, but this episode was only shown recently as part of Season 2, which is kind of why I decided to wait this long. I didn’t think it could be possible, but this trip topped my last trip, by a long shot! I truly had the best time, and really got to learn about the Balinese culture while I was there (plus, I was able to squeeze a little shopping, too). I loved this trip, and a big BIG part of why our work-vacation was so memorable was because of our accommodation. We stayed at possibly one of the best resorts in Bali, called AMETIS VILLA.
Ametis Villa is a brand new villa development in its area. It has a relaxed, almost homey feel, and it offers an intimate and private stay while providing the highest level of service. Like the name espouses, Ametis is made up entirely of private villas that are fully equipped with its own kitchen and dining room, pool, lounge/tanning area and of course, spacious and luxurious rooms. Every guest is assigned a personal Butler, who excels in a singular ability to anticipate your every need, and to exceed your every expectation.
Located in Canggu area, it is about 35 minutes from Kuta. Canggu is becoming better known in tourist and expat circles and living in Seminyak, you can feel the way things are moving. Canggu is a place that most surfers will know about, apart from that, it is quiet, very local and offers lovely views of rice fields as opposed to cement in Seminyak. Another plus, the beach is only 5 minutes away!!!
For reservations, go to http://www.ametisvilla.com.
So of course, we went all around Bali to check out their famous tourists spots. One of the first places we visited was Uluwatu Temple. It is officially known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu (yes, that’s the real name: “Luhur” means “something of divine origin” while “Uluwatu” can be broken into “ulu” which means “land’s end” and “watu” means “rock” in the old language). This view was nothing short of spectacular.
I feel like I have to warn you guys about the monkeys at the temple. There are A LOT of them there, and some can be pretty aggressive (I saw a girl have two monkeys steal her neon yellow flip-flops off her feet. Scary.). If you’re going here, it is best not to wear your sunglasses or eye glasses, keep shiny/sparkly things in your purse and make sure your bag has a zipper. These monkeys steal without warning!
Another amazing temple we visited was Tanah Lot. It is a famed temple on a huge slab of rock off the shore from Beraban village, Tabanan. Tanah Lot means: “the small island floating on the sea”. It was used in the Megalithic period as a holy place, and until today people go out here to worship and pray. (Photo: www.podas.info)
The entrance leading to the temple is a tourist spot in itself–they sell all kinds of merchandise, souvenirs, food and refreshments.
Some of the colorful items for sale.
While we were there we chanced upon a procession.
It was nice to see the traditional Balinese attire for an occasion like this.
This was leading up to Tanah Lot Temple.
Back at Ametis Villa, I learned how to make traditional Balinese dishes.
I also learned about Canang Sari, the Balinese Hindu tradition of placing daily offerings of flowers, herbs, rice and incense on their front doors.
Canang sari is made of the following parts: there are peporosan, ceper, raka-raka, and sampian urasari. Peporosan or the core material is made from betel leaf, lime, gambier, prestige, tobacco and betel nuts. Material of peporosan is symbolize the Trimurti, three major God in Hinduism. Shiva symbolized by lime, Vishnu symbolized by betel nut, and Brahma symbolized by gambier. Canang sari are covered by ceper (a tray made from palm leaf) as a symbol of Ardha Candra. Raka-raka is topped with sampian urasari, which are in turn overlaid by flowers placed in a specific direction. Each direction symbolizes a Hindu God (deva). Bali has these offerings everywhere.
Next, I visited the 9th generation medicine man Ketut Liyer, who was made famous by the book: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (it was made into a movie starring Julia Roberts in 2010).
I was very, very excited about this visit/reading. I am a huge fan of the book and I really wanted an Eat, Pray, Love experience of my own.
The compound was bright and airy, and there were so many different kinds of birds (the unison chirping was very calming). It was very cheerful, and from what I heard you can rent out one of these villas.
I finally met Ketut! He was apologetic for his poor English, which I didn’t think was so bad. He was actually quite good, as he made jokes about his age and memory (he claims he is 90 years old). I have to say I expected a lot from the reading, which I thought was kind of repetitive and overly simplistic. He kept saying the words, “you are very pretty”, “you are very lucky” and “you will be very successful in all your work” A LOT. It was encouraging at first, but I guess I was waiting for the “Elizabeth Gilbert experience”, which didn’t happen. He read my palms, my face, shoulders and legs, and he basically concluded that I was the prettiest and luckiest person on the face of the earth. I’ll take that haha. One thing stuck though, he said I would have three children: one girl and two boys. Ack! Lets see if this will come true.
There’s plenty to see (and to shop in Ubud). The area is dotted with shops and galleries that make great souvenirs. If you love a good bargain and love to haggle, this is the place for you! I was doing my spiels here, which is why I look funny. And notice my pinkie haha–that’s the way to host!