By Kimberly Ngo | VIP Travel Coordinator
Bali truly is a living postcard, an Indonesian paradise that feels like a fantasy. I think the first time that I ever saw a photo of Bali was back in 2009. It was rolling green terraces of rice paddies and I learned later that this was the Tegalalang rice fields in Ubud. Having grown up in the same area of Southern California all my life, this photo resonated with me because it was so different than anything I had ever seen before. It was so beautiful and vibrant – almost calming to me. I had yet to even travel out of the country but I knew that Bali was going on my bucket list. Cue one decade later and I’m finally packing my bags to visit one of my dream destinations.
I was fortunate to have ICS Travel Group, our partner who has local experts & guides on the ground in Bali guide me on my recent & first visit to Bali. Upon arrival in Denpasar, we made our way to the newly opened Six Senses Uluwatu. This resort really impressed me with its dedication to sustainability (see our featured post to learn more). Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets we just drove through, the resort provided me a warm welcome after almost 24 hours of traveling. Watching the sun rise the next day from my villa plunge pool and seeing it set behind The Cliff Bar are two experiences that I’ll never forget. I could already feel the magic of Bali.
We made our way to Ubud where I finally saw the lush green jungle that everyone raves about. It’s an almost dreamlike feeling when you finally experience something in person that you’ve only seen before in photographs. We were to fortunate to experience Viceroy Bali, which was recently voted #1 Resort in the World by Conde Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards. The incredible thatched roofs on each villa set against the backdrop of the trees makes you feel like you’re in a completely different time and place. This property is family-run and we were able to chat with the people who keep things running smoothly over an exceptional 8-course chef’s tasting dinner at Apéritif – their newly opened fine-dining restaurant.
Although I wasn’t ready to leave, it was time to head over to our next destination: Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. This resort is absolutely stunning (you can read more about our day here). From the moment you enter the lobby, you are treated to a panoramic view of its natural surroundings – rolling hills, rice paddies & the steady sound of the Ayung River. One of my fondest moments on this trip was learning to make flower gebogan, a Balinese offering. Learning about this sacred ritual & the importance of spirituality in Balinese culture was an eye-opening experience that I’m so appreciative of.
Bali is a very popular destination for health & wellness retreats. Resorts like COMO Shambhala Estate offer holistic programs that are personally tailored for you to achieve your most optimal, healthy lifestyle. Practice yoga out on the sundeck or from the comfort of your outdoor patio. Nourish your body with the colorful flavors of Indonesian cuisine at Kudus House & enjoy your meal amongst the distinctly beautiful Balinese décor.
No trip to Bali is complete without visiting many of the public temples. We stopped by Tanah Lot Temple and enjoyed strolling through the surrounding marketplace. There were so many dresses I wanted to buy but knew that I was already pushing the weight limit on my suitcase. However, it was a fun experience interacting with the locals & learning some entertaining Balinese phrases (“Sing ken-ken” which translates to “No worries” – this phrase got the most laughs whenever I said it).
Our last stop was in Seminyak, holding up its reputation as a stylish, upscale beach resort area. Shopaholics and foodies will find bliss here as there is an endless abundance of stores and restaurants lining the streets. I loved walking through the stands and exploring the area. Before I knew it, it was already time to say goodbye. Watching my last Bali sunset from the penthouse suite at Alila Seminyak Bali was such a perfect way to end the trip. Until next time Bali!
A sincere Thank You to ICS Travel Group on behalf of Luxury Ventures Travel & myself for the generous invitation & wonderful opportunity to experience Bali first hand. It is truly a special place with some of the kindest people I have ever met and such a beautiful culture that I will always hold with me.
Bali is the perfect place for a getaway with a group of friends to explore and enjoy great photographic opportunities while it is a place that truly does feed the soul. I encourage you to promise yourself that one day you too will wake up in Bali.
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin planning your dream getaway to Bali now.