How I Fell in Love with Bali

I’m not gonna lie. I had low expectations for our time in Bali, Indonesia. I knew we would be traveling at the rainy season, so I expected lots of rain and lots of indoor time. I was leery of the water and the food. I was worried about getting the dreaded Bali Belly. I had never been to Asia before and just didn’t know what to expect. But, I ended up loving it! Bali far exceeded my expectations! This is how I fell in love with Bali…
First Impression
We arrived in the wee hours of the morning. After being herded through to immigration where we were yelled at to “SPLIT!” into different lines, then to the baggage claim, and to cranky customs, we were all so tired. It was dark, rainy, and kind of eerie as we drove through the city to get to our hotel. Our driver spoke little English, so it was hard to communicate. From what we could see, the streets looked dirty and busy. I was a little worried. I started giving myself pep talks that I could do hard things and that we were only in Bali for 2 weeks. I could do this.
We decided to stay in a hotel for the first two nights because it was close to our church and easy to adjust. We loved going to church in the tight quarters with the Balinese people! They sang hymns in Balinese and the meeting was translated for us so we could understand the talks and lessons. After our first day of just going to church and then walking around the street of our hotel, we drove into Ubud for the rest of our stay at our Airbnb home. As we drove the 2 hours to our home, we saw lots of litter, lots of traffic, lots of people, lots of scooters. I still wasn’t seeing the charm of this place. I didn’t understand why everyone loved Bali so much! And I was still giving myself pep talks.
But the longer we stayed in Bali, the more I grew to love it. The more I grew accustomed to the food, culture, and sights.

As soon as we drove up to our Airbnb home, things started looking up. It was a home surrounded by tons of rice fields. We were welcomed with a bright blue sky with puffy clouds, a gorgeous green yard, royal blue pool, and a bright and clean home. It was a sigh of relief and relaxation soon set in.
Even though our home was a little piece of paradise, it still took some getting used to. The kitchen had just a few cooking items to use. There wasn’t a dishwasher and the kitchen faucet didn’t have hot water. I was grumpy that first day trying to figure out how to make things work. But after I got my system down of boiling pots of water after every meal to do our dishes and to use the cookware that we had, it all worked out. We didn’t have a washer or dryer either, so we had to pay to get it cleaned for us or I washed a few loads in the sink. You become more adaptable when traveling. You get used to making do with what you have. You make things work.
But we absolutely love love loved the home we stayed in! We lived in the pool. The yard and pool were so relaxing! We lived with the doors open because the weather was so heavenly. There weren’t bugs everywhere and we weren’t afraid of coming across a dangerous animal or critter like we were in Australia! We had friendly geckos staying in our home. They had a loud laugh that always cracked us up! We had a small bat fly into our home one night and that was a highlight for my kids! But the most magical part of the home were the fireflies! You could see fireflies dancing around the rice fields at night and it was pure magic!

I didn’t have high hopes for the Bali food, but boy was I surprised! It was flavorful and delicious! The food was so cheap that we ate out a lot. We could feed our family of 6 for $10-20. I was really worried about getting Bali Belly, so we were just really careful about what we ate. We only ate fruits and vegetables that could be peeled or cooked. We didn’t drink the water or the ice. We didn’t eat any dairy products. We took Probiotics every day to ensure a healthy belly.
We loved trying the awesome variety of fruits! I fell in love with the snake fruit! We tried so many things and kept an open mind. Just thinking about the food is making my mouth water! We probably spent half of our grocery money on fruit because we went through it so fast. It was definitely a highlight of our time in Bali!

The Balinese people were very humble, hardworking, and easy going. They aimed to please. We hired a few drivers during our stay and came to love them! It was so fun getting to know them, their background, their story. It was a great way to get to know the culture of the area really well.
It was cool to see the respect they had for their religion and culture. There were offerings laid out everywhere for their temples and worship. They are a devoted people to what they believe. It was neat to see how they were not consumer driven, but happy with what they had. They took pride in their little yards and swept their front steps and road daily. And every driver took great pride in the cleanliness of his car!
The owners of the home made sure to check in on us daily. The wife was especially smiley and friendly. She even brought us some delicious Balinese treats a few times. For people that don’t have a lot, they sure are very giving.
The big cities of Bali are busy, bustling, and dirty. But once you get out to the country, you are surrounded by green trees and gorgeous rice fields. There are crops growing everywhere from fruit trees to rice to vegetables. You can see the hard work right before your eyes.
Bali is full of beautifully crafted sculptures, gates, walls, and doorways everywhere. Their scared temples are so pretty and ornate. Their talents are shown throughout their towns. Their homes are simple, but their sacred edifices and walls are gorgeous.

I loved walking the streets of Ubud, browsing the shops looking for souvenirs. I loved seeing all of the beautiful temples, rice fields, stunning beaches, and sights of Bali. It was definitely more fun being on a scooter, letting the wind blow through my hair! We fit 4 of us on a scooter to shuttle into town. It was hilarious and fun and all part of the memory of seeing the sights of Bali.

My favorite sights were the beaches on Nusa Penida! Wow! They were stunning! We took a quick boat ride over to the small island for the day. The roads to our stops were the bumpiest I’ve been on! It was a hot and sunny and the water was turquoise and beautiful. We got to see a huge manta ray from a cliff overlooking the ocean. We hiked down a super steep cliff that was walled off by bamboo railings. My legs were in pain for the next few days from the workout but it was worth it because that view was unbeatable! We snorkeled at a local beach and saw pretty fish and coral. It was a long day of beautiful sight seeing.

I came to realize that first impressions aren’t always the lasting impression. It took me a few days to start to fall in love with Bali. But once I started, I fell fast! I fell in love with our home, the food, the culture, and the sights. We had such a relaxing and peaceful time and would go back in a heartbeat!
What I’m Wearing:
Swimsuits: Hapari
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