Bali is an island in the Indonesian archipelago. Bali is the only island in Indonesia - the world's largest Islamic country - that is dominated by Hinduism. Everyday life revolves around religion. Tourists flock to Bali because of the fascinating culture. We avoided the main touristy destinations like Kuta Beach because we were told they were trashy and commercialized. We booked a hostel in Canggu (pronounced Chan-goo) in an area called Echo Beach. While somewhat secluded from touristy sites and temples, it was the perfect place to relax and unwind after busy days of tours and traveling. Canggu is a "hidden gem" of Bali because it lacks tourists and hawkers but is well-known for its black sand beaches and surfing.
|Bali is located between Java and Lombok|
|Echoland, our hotel in Echo Beach|
|Echoland at night :) It was perfect!|
|Black sand ECHO BEACH|
Unfortunately it rained on Monday, our first day in Bali. We slept in late and had a delicious breakfast at our hostel. The hostel owner, Jenny, recommended we check out a local store called Krisna to do some shopping. It was fantastic! Krisna is the store where locals go to buy traditional Balinese souvenirs in bulk and then sell them on the streets for double the price. We were the only tourists there and got some serious retail therapy in. I bought two shirts, a dress for my cousin, coffee, jewelry and lots of gifts for family for under $20 US dollars! We had a delicious breakfast in Echo Beach and went to bed early because we had booked an all-day tour of Bali on Tuesday.
Our tour guide was named Wayan and he was absolutely fantastic. Feel free to check out his website here. He spoke perfect English and his tour was the highlight of the week for me. He took us all over the middle part of island. We didn't realize how massive Bali actually is! Even on our twelve hour tour, we had only covered the middle part of the island. Between the mass amount of traffic and actual size of the island, we didn't get to see all Bali has to offer. Oh well, just an excuse to go back :)
We first toured local villages in central Bali. Celuk is the silver and goldsmith village. The jewelry making skills are passed from generation to generation. The locals dedicate their entire life to their craft. It was amazing to see the intricate details and designs obtained from simple hand tools. We also visited a woodcarving village and a Batik village.
|Silver and goldsmith village|
|Wood carving village|
|Closest I would get to a monkey|
|Sure, they look cute in pictures... but in real life, they are evil.|
|Leah and me in Tegalalang|
|Lunch at the floating restaurant|
|The freshest lunch I've ever eaten|
|Classic jumping picture in front of the rice terraces at Gunung Kawi|
|Sampling our free drinks -- coffee, hot chocolate and tea|
|My toothless, ancient lover|
The next day we were exhausted. We took a cab to Seminyak, a beach town about 30 minutes away. We spent the day lounging at a restaurant that had a pool called Cocoon. We rented lounge chairs at Double Six beach in Seminyak and spent the afternoon reading, napping, eating peanut butter sandwiches and ignoring hawkers. It was lovely!
|Lounging at Cocoon in Seminyak|
|Double Six beach|
|The PERFECT start to a day|
|I <3 surfer boys|
|Learning to salsa|
|They put rice on our foreheads and flowers behind our ears when we got blessed|
|Final dinner in Echo Beach|