Holidaying in the Lap of Luxury beaches, sunsets, spas and food…Bali has it all. A complete holiday was something I was totally looking forward after completing a hectic shoot schedule. The travel is a bit exhausting considering it is almost 10 hours away, but when one is with friends then time really does fly by.
As we walked across the tarmac I was astounded by the intricately carved stone entrance that stood majestically like the gates to a kingdom waiting to be discovered. Smiling sweetly the lady at the immigration handed over our passports in a jiffy. “Kapunka” (thank you) she said, no long wait here and that itself was bliss.
As we drove towards our hotel, the Ayana Resort and Spa, along the road there were various handicraft shops. It was as if God said create and the people of Bali didn’t stop… it’s a haven for artisans. Each better than the next, the wood sculptures were so unbelievable that I had no option but to stop. The shop itself had a huge patio with dragons flanking the stairs with a Garuda perched on the top. …. Once inside, it was like Madame Tussauds in wood. Devotional evoking life-sized figurines of Lord Ram and Sita from various intercepts of Ramayana, the Garuda and statuettes of Lord Ganesh. Another section of the shop had an entire section dedicated to just animals where the life-sized iguana scared the life out of me. A casual stroll wasn’t enough to satisfy me. I was determined to buy some artifacts to adorn my home, so we left promising to be back soon and well-prepared to shop.
I knew I was going to have a wonderful time as I rolled down my window to smell the freshly cut paddy. I closed my eyes and sighed, we miss these beautiful invigorating senses when we live in cities. The soft glow of the setting sun had just disappeared when we entered the Ayana. We were welcomed with a warm “Swadika” (welcome) and garlands of fragrant white champa flowers before being escorted to our rooms. After a relaxing drink at the Martini Bar and delicious seafood at the Dava restaurant we called it a night. Yes, this could be paradise, I thought and I was a princess as I climbed into my 4 poster bed with wispy white drapes, taking in the fragrance of the champa flowers that adorned it.
Well rested, we woke up early next morning to enjoy the well manicured lawns and the spectacular view of the resort. After enjoying a scrumptious breakfast at the Padi restaurant we lazed by the poolside before indulging ourselves at the Spa on the rocks. What a view of the crystal blue sea as the expert therapist kneaded our knots away!
All set we decided to explore Bali. Jimbaran (where we were staying), Nusa dua, Ubud, Kuta and Amed are the main happening areas. On our way to the Pura Tirta Empul located close to Ubud we passed this street where all the houses beautifully engraved structures with exotic plants in their small but tidy gardens. It was heartening to see that everyone kept their houses clean and beautiful. At the temple we had a dip into the bath pond created there, the water of which was supposed to have medicinal properties. I don’t know if that’s really true but then going to any place of worship is all about faith. For me it was just what I needed – awakening all my senses.
Next on our list was the Temple of Uluwatu perched on a cliff with a spectacular view (we decided to do that the next day as we were famished). We decided to eat authentic Balinese food on our first day and so we picked Bumbu in Kuta. The chefs there were kind enough not only to share the recipes but also allow us to see as they cooked. There was a variety of spices on sale and I had my hands full as we headed back to the Ayana.
A refreshing afternoon siesta got us in the mood of lazily enjoying the pool with chilled coconut water. Then we showered and dressed up to hit The Rock Bar at Ayana for a sundowner party. Music and the ambience got us grooving in no time. My holiday had begun on a perfect note.
The trip to the Temple of Uluwatu was a long journey but totally worth it. We passed a small restaurant on the way and I quickly looked at my hubby who had already signaled the car to stop. Well! A few perks of being married so long is that he can sometimes read my mind before I can say it. A typical Balinese Dhaba if I can call it that, made on stilts, overlooking a paddy field, a boy sitting on a water buffalo playing the flute…I felt I was in a movie scene. The food was spicy with flavours that danced a lambada on my tongue. We were surprised with a special coconut water mocktail as appreciation for the generous tip we left him. But it was the way that it was served that actually got a wow from me.
There is no public transport to the temple so one has to be well organised before hand or be stuck among the monkey bandicoots. The winding road to the temple top was like arriving in a monkey kingdom, through the forest till the mountain top. The view from there was indeed breathtaking and if we hadn’t taken the effort we would have missed the beautiful sunset which made time stand still. I wished I had my camera with me but our driver with his warning about the monkey burglars had scared me enough…I wasn’t ready to lose what my camera lens had already captured… I had unfortunately left the camera behind.
In the days that followed, afternoons were spent either by the poolside cafes in Ayana or browsing through the various shops in Ubud. In one such place I found my Beautiful Stone Ganesha, which is now the pride of my home.
Every evening we would have our appetite all fired up and would try out the restaurants and lounge bars in the Seminyak region and by the beach. We had a long list… Sarong, Ku De Ta, Chandi, after all we were on a holiday.
On the last night we went to Metis – we were simply transported to a land of make believe as the restaurant opens onto a lake full of strategically lit lotuses in full bloom, making us almost feel like we were in the garden of Avatar. With delicious cuisine and the finest wine, we were pampered by the best chefs with exquisite prepared lobster ravioli, wild arugula salad, and yellowtail sashimi. I curled up satisfied on the back seat of my car dreaming that this holiday would never end.
About the author
Bhagyashree is best known for her spectacular Bollywood debut in Maine Pyaar Kiya opposite Salman Khan. However, very few know that she is an avid traveller. Having been around the world she has penned down few of her memoirs. She took a break from the silver screen to spend more time with her children who were growing up and recently returned with the television serial in 2014.