Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Trip to Bali / The Daughter's Wedding / Part 2

Bali is an island and province of Indonesia.
Indonesia is an archipelago comprising thousands of islands with an estimated total population of over 252 million people. It is the world's fourth most populous country.
The population of Bali is approximately 4.3 million and the island is home to most of Indonesia's Hindu minority with 85% adhering to Balinese Hinduism.

Our accommodation was at Mahatma House on Seseh Beach. The villa had all we could ask for and turned out to be a wonderful wedding venue. Great luxury accommodation for up to five families, a beautiful garden, huge swimming pool and very attentive staff. The area is rural so not any places within walking distance to eat. But the villa has a resident chef who can cook up a storm. The menu had a selection of national cuisines but we stuck with Indonesians food for all meals apart from breakfast.
On our first morning we were up early because of the time difference. We did a small beach walk then, after breakfast, the villa driver took us to Ubud which is in the uplands of Bali. It is known as a center for traditional crafts and art. The surrounding area of rain forest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, is among Bali’s most iconic landscapes.

Our main aim here was for the co driver to participate in some yoga classes at the Yogabarn.
I spent a lot of the time wandering the streets and taking in some of the sights.
I have to say I was a little disappointed. The town is very touristy, very noisy and a little chaotic. "Eat, Pray, Love" and Elizabeth Gilbert maybe have a lot to answer for.
A redeeming aspect of the visit was a great late lunch at the Alaya Resort. We ate traditional Balinese food for very reasonable prices in their really nice restaurant.

 A later visit to the surrounding area showed us that the town was indeed the least attractive part and getting out into the countryside is essential for seeing the best scenery.
Another lesson for the day was that getting anywhere on the island takes time due to the narrow roads and high traffic volume which consists of a huge number of motor bikes. So what looks like a 20 minute trip on a map can take one and a half hours.

On our second day we decided just to hang around the pool and catch up with the other guests.
That night we went to the Chedi Club which is set among the rice paddies outside of Ubud.
We had a great meal in the most amazing restaurant in the most beautiful setting.

The third day was the wedding day.
The ladies headed out to a nearby resort for a massage and spa in the morning while the men had a relaxed lunch of nasi goreng washed down with cold Bintang at the spectacular Nirwana golf club.

Later that afternoon an Australian celebrant performed the simple ceremony.
The bride looked beautiful and the groom handsome. It was a very informal occasion (note the bare feet in the pic). The guests wore tropical casual.
After celebratory champagne, we all enjoyed a specially prepared dinner.....and, of course, more champagne.
It turned out to be the perfect wedding that the couple had hoped and meticulously planned for.

Day four started with a walk along the black sand beach past small fishing villages and Hindu shrines. The surf was quite big and a number of off shore reefs were pumping. No wonder Bali is a bit of a surfing mecca, particularly for Australians looking for uncrowded waves.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing by the pool followed by drinks and nibbles at dusk and our final dinner together.
Day five was an early morning trip to the airport. We had given ourselves 2 hours to get there but made it in 50 minutes.
Denpasar has a new modern terminal so it was a quick check in with minimal exit formalities and a pleasant flight back to Singapore.
The couple continued their round the world honeymoon trip via Singapore, Dubai, Paris and New York.

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