Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Memorable holiday highlights in Bali

After our action-packed week in Singapore, we eagerly packed our bags again and headed to the airport for a relaxing getaway in Bali.

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{ Daily swims @ our private pool }
We stayed at Villa Kayu Raja in Seminyak. I booked a one-bedroom villa which was decked out with the standard luxuries in Bali, including our own private pool. This was the absolutely number one perk for the kids. Every single morning right after breakfast on the dot without fail, they would pop the same question “Please can we go swimming?”. And because we were on holiday and there was no particular agenda, the answer would usually be “Yes, of course!”.

I snapped this picture looking down at our pool from the balcony of our bedroom upstairs. My hands were almost shaking as I held the camera the balcony. What if the camera just happened to slip out of my hands at the moment? I was gripping the camera as tight as I possibly could as I snapped this picture.

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{ Afternoon tea @ Biku }
The first day after our arrival, we explored the narrow, winding streets of Seminyak around our villa. Our main intent was to track down a hidden gem called Biku for afternoon tea. It was not easy navigating the almost non-existent sidewalks along the roads, and avoiding the cars and motorbikes zooming by just inches away from our toes. But as you can see, it was definitely worth it!

The menu was a fusion of English afternoon tea and local flavours. My favourites were the date scones with mango chutney, and the pineapple and mint agar-agar. While the curried egg finger sandwiches, samoosas and spring rolls were satisfying tummy fillers.

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The kids were well looked after. Upon seating, they were immediately presented with colouring pages and markers. And there was a special kids afternoon tea set which looked absolutely delightful. I was tempted to order a set for myself too.

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{ Hindu temple @ Ubud }
We hired a driver to check out some of the touristy highlights in Ubud. Most of the places were nothing remarkably new for me. Batik painting. Wood carving. Paddy fields. But the highlight for me was seeing this centuries old Hindu temple. It was mind blowing to learn that are over 3,000 gods and deities worshipped in Bali. I found it incredibly fascinating to watch worshippers wearing batik sarongs and kebaya tops, as opposed to saris and dotis. It’s interesting to observe Hinduism so permeated in a traditionally Malay/Indo-type culture and see how it has endured through the centuries amidst the newer religions now dominate the Malay archipelago.

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Nathan and Grace were captivated by something more ‘hands on’ at the temple. I think I was trying to tell Nathan to play the instruments more quietly. If that were even possible. The instruments were so loud, each banging and gonging sound resonated and carried through into every corner across the entire temple. And as you might guess, kids are usually not very good at curbing their enthusiasm.

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{ Canang sari offerings }
These are one of the everyday sights that show the unique Balinese Hindu culture. Placed in front of every home, shop, restaurant and even in taxis, were one of these beautiful little daily thank offerings to their deity. Each element, colour and positioning of the items in the offering have a specific purpose and significance.

I always pause to look at these offerings whenever I see one of these canang sari offerings, simply because they are so beautiful and such a pleasure to look at.

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{ Sunset dinner @ Jimbaran }
One lazy late afternoon, we hopped into a taxi and headed to Jimbaran to check out the beach there and have dinner. The beach itself was just alright. What really caught our interest were the numerous beachside restaurants stretched across the whole beach, with tables and colourful umbrellas and parasols looking out to the sea.

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We took a leisurely walk along the beach and checked out the menu offerings of the various restaurants there. Eventually we settled on a spot and sat down for a seafood dinner with a sunset view. It was just lovely sitting back, enjoying the sea breeze, savouring the grilled fish, clams, prawns, and sipping on our coconuts as we watched the sun sink lower and lower until it dipped right into the ocean. It was the typical perfect romantic evening… even if we were flanked with two children at each at of the table.

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*****

And finally, here is my favourite snapshot of this entire holiday. Just  the four of us, happy, together.

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