Like so many others, the huge success of Eat, Pray Love put Bali on my radar until, finally, I was able to explore this charming island myself. I expected it to be beautiful—what with deep green rice terraces, temples carved out of rock and white sand beaches—but I soon discovered that the real beauty of Bali isn’t what’s staring you in the face; it’s all those precious details hiding underneath.
No matter why you go to Bali or with whom, these tips will hopefully remind you to look at the world through a positive lens…and believe me, you won’t need any filter on these Instagrams!
Find your secret oasis
There are so many special places to call home in Bali so keep that in mind when you’re booking your stay. The two times I came to Bali, I opted for low-key bungalows rather than 5-stay, all-inclusive hotels but to each their own. The nice thing about Bali is that almost every property, whether luxurious or humble, feels secluded and serene. For example, the Inaya Putri Bali (pictured below and bookable via www.traveloka.com) has a swimming pool network that connects one one suite and villa to the next without while still feeling extremely private.
Wherever you decide to stay, make it feel like home. Unless you’re hotel or homestay is in Ubud, you’ll likely need to take a car or motorbike wherever you go, so don’t worry too much about the location unless it’s important for you to get around by foot. I personally really like Balangan Beach, which is in the very southern top of the island but it does require planning more time for getting around.
Appreciate the little things
This might sound rather intuitive but you’d be surprised by how many little miracles you completely overlook in your everyday life. Coming from New York, there’s always something happening and it’s kind of made me numb to a lot of my surroundings. Well, don’t let that happen to you in Bali! The island is brimming with beauty, from the picturesque beaches and high-standing temples to flowers every color of the rainbow and ornate traditional garb.
While I have no doubt that you’ll fall in love with Bali as I have, try to make a little “me” time each day. Sure, there’s a lot to see and do around the island but you also want to have time to detox your mind from the daily stresses of work and interpersonal relationships. For some, that might mean reading a book by the ocean for an hour while for others, maybe it’s visiting a temple at sunset and savoring the view.
Channel your inner child
If you’re a long-term reader of Bohemian Trails, you already know that I’m basically still a kid…at least, at heart. Sure, I have real responsibilities like the rest of us but I try (and sometimes I fail) to see the world through the innocent lens of a child. Easier said than done, I know, but there’s a certain magic about Bali that makes it easier to feel like a kid again.
For me, I feel most childlike when I’m around animals, which is a little sad considering I’m allergic to many. One of my favorite attractions in Bali is the Sacred Monkey Forest in Ubud. At first, it frightened me to see so many monkeys wandering about but once I assimilated to their home, I felt more at ease. After a few minutes, there was no chance the smile plastered across my face was leaving any time soon. If you’re not into monkeys, maybe you’ll like bunnies? There’s a really cute cafe a few blocks from the Monkey Forest where cute bunnies wander about while you sip Happy Hour cocktails.
Break old habits. Form new ones.
Bali is such a spiritual destination, you’ll probably wind up doing some type of wellness therapy, whether it’s Reiki, seeing a Healer or detoxing from alcohol entirely. I didn’t do any of these things on my first trip but on my second, I decided to refrain from drinking alcohol for the duration of my seven-day trip. I hadn’t intended to do it but I felt like my body was almost asking me to detox. The first three days I found myself craving a Bintang but come day 4, I was completely over it. Of course, I did drink once I returned to Hong Kong last summer but it was such a refreshing break and one that I try to replicate every few months.
Whatever your personal goals are, try to make at least one new resolution while in Bali. Maybe it’s to be more physically active; or, perhaps you want to begin each day with a mindfulness session. It might be as simple as making a journal of 5 things you’re grateful for each day or shifting from coffee to tea for a week. No positive change is too small.
Share the gift of a smile.
Yes, I know this sounds cheesy but smiles are the universal language! Ever notice that when someone smiles at you, little fireworks go off inside? As both and introvert and a New Yorker, I’m used to avoiding eye contact when I’m on the street. In other cultures though, that’s not really possible. So, even if it’s easier to look away or stick your earbuds in, make an effort to connect with the people around you, even if it’s a small nod of your head.
One thing I learned while in Bali is that most citizens practice Hinduism and as such, they have a caste system (although, only four so there are no “low” castes). They also believe in Karma, meaning that it’s rare for someone to steal another’s belongings. It does happen from time to time just like any other destination, but it’s not common here.
From my experience, Balinese people are pure in the sense that they give without ever expecting anything in return. I remember there was one time where my husband and I needed to park our motorbike. A young woman working at a nearby shop offered us space and when we gave her some money as a thank you, she looked horrifyingly embarrassed and insisted we pick out a painting to take back home.
What place helped you appreciate the little things in life? Tell me in the comments below.
*This post is in collaboration with Traveloka. All opinions are my own.
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