This is a memoir written from the point of view of a Filipino tourist. Before I came to Bali, i thought Bali was just another beach destination like Boracay and Phuket. It seems I was wrong. Bali is more than just a beach. Let me show. Read more now on pool villas
One cannot separate a building from its environment.
This paraphrase was in a movie that I remembered the moment we arrived at our hotel in Jimbaran, Royal Bali Beach Club. I was drawn to the thatched roof of alang alang (cogon) as we sat drinking our welcome drink. The bamboo poles and burnished wooden frames created a geometric pattern three levels above the lobby on the ground floor. They glowed under the warm lighting. Hindu stone carvings and intricate wood carvings on walls, frangipani in vases, Balinese Masks, Gargoyles, & Water Lilies, all combined with thatched alang alang roof, created a tropical Balinese atmosphere. I was stimulated by the artistic expression, despite my tiredness.
The next day I saw Bali at day. It was strange to me that almost all of the buildings (except for those with thatched roofs) had the same color tiled roofing. I almost believe that the Balinese created a theme and unified look, like the Parisians did or the Israelites of Jerusalem. This gives the city a unique character, in my opinion. Bali is home to the longest art street on the planet.
The “art street”, on our way to Ubud, which is the cultural and artistic heart of Bali, passed through many towns that specialize in different art forms: Tohpati, Batubulan, Mas, Celuk, Ubud, Ubud (paintings, galleries, and the art market), Sukawati, Sukawati. This is an artists’ paradise! We could not stay three days, but were satisfied with the souvenirs we bought, particularly in Windu Sari, Body and Soul, and Just Jeans factory outlet stores in Seminyak, and at Sukawati Market, which all offered discounts. You can bargain up to 70% in Bali if you are able. If not, walk away from the shop and see if it will cave in.
Did I mention the ricefields, rice terraces and art towns surround these? Rice is grown all year long thanks to subak irrigation, which was inherited by the Hindus. The Balinese built their rice fields to surround the water temple. But we couldn’t ignore the ducks that were quacking on the rice paddies. It was the same ducks we had for lunch, deep-fried with Indonesian spices. Yummy. It’s interesting to note that the Indonesian duck (bebek) tastes different than its Peking duck cousin. Bebik Bengil is a must-visit for lunch or dinner if you are visiting Bali. The balinese gardens, rice field, and traditional Balinese music, as well as the duck special, fried ice-cream for dessert, are all exquisite.