Relaxing in Bali

I recently was lucky enough to enjoy a relaxing getaway to Indonesia. Our first hotel in Bali was the Beskih Beach Resort and our first stop was a sunset stroll through the monkey temple at Uluwatu. Uluwatu is a Balinese sea temple, not far from the popular beaches of Kuta and Sanur (where our hotel was located).

Overlooking the Uluwatu Temple in Bali
Monkey at the Uluwatu Temple in Bali
Monkeys at the Uluwatu Temple

Just after the sunset we were lucky to see the Kecak performance, a sort of live theater without instruments. It was simply amazing and was a once in a lifetime experience that completely blew me away.

Kecak Dance at Uluwatu Temple

To end the evening we chose a live seafood dinner on the beaches of Jimbaran. The pictures don’t do it justice as it was so dark, but the experience was unparalleled – especially because we spent the day on the beach getting manicures before devouring the shell-fish as though it were our last meal. But on vacation, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Sunset at Uluwatu Temple in Bali

Our next Bali destination was Ubud, a type of magical place that is hard to put into words. Known as the cultural center of Bali, it is best thought of as the destination featured in Eat, Pray, Love.

Street Parade in Ubud Bali

Our first stop in Ubud was a visit to a nearby farm where we sampled the most expensive Luwak coffee in the world. We then washed the coffee down with Arak, an anise flavored alcohol likened to grappa. After being dropped off at Ubud Dream B & B, our home for the week, we were instantly greeted out front by the cutest little boy. I highly recommend this spot if you are looking for a homestay sort of experience.

Coffee Beans at Bali Pulina in Ubud
Roasting Coffee Beans at Bali Pulina in Ubud

A few other activities we enjoyed in the area included going to the main market to see exotic spices and buy souvenirs, visiting a renowned mask maker to learn about masks and to see how Balinese families live on shared compounds, and enjoying a traditional massage and flower bath at Putri Bali Spa.

Homes in Ubud Bali
Narrow Alley in Ubud Bali

Behind Balinese homes live miles of narrow paths nestled between acres of rice paddy fields, accessible only by moto or foot. If the jungle and country had a child, Ubud would be it. We discovered a few of these infinite rice paddy fields just before sunset and were instantly smitten. Our post–paddy discovery was rewarded with drinks templeside at Cafe Lotus. To top off the our first evening in Ubud, we then stumbled upon a more informal, village cremation. Little did we know that this would be just the beginning of an amazing journey through Bali.

Rice Paddies in Ubud Bali
Rice Paddies of Ubud Bali
Pura Saraswati Temple in Ubud Bali


Beskih Beach Resort
Jl. Danau Tamblingan No. 45,
Sanur, Bali 80228

Ubud Dream B&B
Jl. Monkey Forest , Gang Mandya no.2
Ubud, 80571, Indonesia

The Details

  • Trying the notorious (and expensive) Luwak coffee when in Bali is a must. We recommend the Bali Pulina farm, which places a strong emphasis on sustainability and fair treatment of animals.
  • Putri Bali Spa. At $40 for a 5-hour spa treatment, the price cannot be beat. I highly suggest the rose bath!

Helpful Hints

For those wanting a local guide, I definitely recommend Made Mudana ([email protected]). He is English speaking, cheeky, and incredibly knowledgeable about Balinese culture. At the last minute we told him we wanted to go to the village healer and he took us to the best guy he knew. We ended up being the only Americans there!

Ilene Squires specializes in destination weddings and lifestyle portraits and shares her time between Harlem and Los Angeles. With a seasoned passport, capturing the essence of time and place has become a huge influence on her body of work.

Vacation Type


  1. Miguel ~ Trip Bitten Avatar

    Wow. The pictures look great. I was just watching a show on Bali and I thought it looked really nice. I did notice that it looked a little overrun with tourist. Did you find this to be true? I see in the 4th picture many tourist watching a ceremony, did it seem overrun or was it still enjoyable?

  2. Andrew Garfield Avatar

    Bali is the place where i can be more relaxing and feeling amazing with the help of these nature.

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