Christmas in Bali
Having grown up in the Northern Hemisphere, I grew accustomed to a white Christmas. Cool weather, a light dusting of snow on the ground, and large Pine trees with their green needles poking out from the cloudy snow piles that rest upon their branches; these are the signs that Christmas is nigh. The day begins to darken earlier and indoors becomes a haven from the frigid air. A place of refuge with a hot drink and warm fire. For the last two years I have not required shelter from the cold. The light dusting on everything around me has been tinted with a hue of sandy red and does not collect on tree branches but rather in the bottom of my shoes and against my oily sunscreen limbs. The indoors is still a haven but not from the freezing air rather the scolding sun that shines bright from early morning until late evening. 2015 marks the second year I have spent Christmas on a tropical island.
Last year I enjoyed relaxing in Koh Samui, Thailand. This year I soaked up the sun on another East Asian island; Bali in the Indonesian archipelago. Bali presented a similar experience to that enjoyed in Thailand, relaxing, adventurous and full of sunshine and sand. One minor difference; Bali hosts a predominately Hindu population and therefore does not recognize Christmas as a statutory holiday like many Thai businesses. Despite what Fox News might have you believe however, Christmas is omnipresent. TS Suites had their plumpest staff member dress up as Jolly Old St. Nick. Vendors who routinely exclaimed ‘Hey Boss’, were instead wishing ‘Merry Christmas’. Culturally they may not celebrate Christmas but economically it is ‘Ho, Ho Ho’. During Nyepi (Balinese Hindu New Year celebrated near the end of March) Bali practically shuts down, lights are dimmed and fires are forbidden. Nyepi is a day for self reflection, no distractions, no driving, one should not even leave their home let alone do business. In Bali Christmas is a joyous time when presents are exchanged, merriment is exclaimed and copious amounts of food are consumed. Hindus, Muslims, and Atheists alike can all rejoice in Christmas, even if it is only to help sell a few more souvenirs . The Balinese made Christmas special despite the fact it is not Hindu and for that I was thankful.
Bali really provided a wonderful experience. TS Suites pampered us with inexpensive spa treatments, full buffet breakfast, a relaxing soaker tub in our room, and a roof top bar complete with infinity pool and shishas. Day trips took us to ancient temples, waterfalls, rice terraces, a monkey forest, and white sandy beaches with breaking waves crashing into the shore. We saw a lot and wished we could have stayed longer and seen more. Two divine weeks of rest, relaxation and exploration. We ate too much and saw too little and if given the chance would do it all over again. Look through the photographs, read the captions for details, watch this short time lapse video taken at the Monkey Temple and come back soon for more ramblings on my blog.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
P.S. I fell asleep at 9pm on NYE and woke up in a New Year, at 8am, despite our hotel doing its very best to keep me awake with a all night party right outside my balcony window.
Everybody is a millionaire in Bali
This is great, I highly recommend letting these little fish feast on you. I later put my hands in as well.
Who needs an F-150, just give this guy a few tarps and some rope and he’ll get it from A to B in no time.
NYE noise makers.
Gitgit water in North Bali
Unfortunately the battery on my waterproof camera was not fully charged that day so I didn’t get any action shots here, in fact we passed on swimming here altogether.
A beautiful temple at the lakes edge.
‘and the green grass grew all around all around and the green grass grew all around’
Lake Bratan swells and floods the area around the temple giving the impression that it is floating.
Main entrance to The Royal Temple
Shame and I was so looking forward to a dip.
Second entrance to the Royal Temple
Second entrance to the Royal Temple
These little luck offerings can be found allover the place, shop fronts, temples, hotels everywhere. They are replaced daily and supposed to bring good fortune.
The Royal Temple.
The trees decorated themselves red and green for Christmas
A beautiful cliff top temple. Nance referred to the wall on the left as the Great Wall of Bali.
On the “Great Wall of Bali” (Nance’s nickname for this location). The sarongs mandatory on holy ground.
Looking good in her sarong.
The Kecak dance told an ancient story of love and reduce and that monkey on the left saved the day by lighting his tail on fire and burning down the demon’s fortress.
The infinity pool provided an excellent view.
Looking North into the heart of Bali
At high tide the ocean turns this little temple into an island.
This big snake was just lying their unattended until a couple tourists sat near it for a photo and then all of a sudden the owner seemed to come out of nowhere to wrangle his snake. I later realized he was there selling photos with the snake.
Sunset in Bali
Sunset in Bali
You shouldn’t stare directly at the sun, so I made sure a tree was in your way.
Being a tourist with the rest of them
Temple by the ocean
Close up of the ‘island’ temple
Tanah Lot Temple at dusk
Tanah Lot Temple
Nance Loves fresh coconut and this one was huge.
Not suitable for young viewers.
Young monkey at the monkey temple.
Had them eating out of the palm of my hand.
Apparently the best way to get a monkey to sit on your back is not to have the guide hold all the peanuts.
Having a good yawn after a little snooze. She has a very impressive wingspan.
A colourful roadside shop full of various bric-a-brac
Why are these here? And they are everywhere in Bali, not on people mind you just for sale on every shopping street. These are so far from their origin it’s ridiculous.
Yellow Absolut Vodka and yellow snow share one thing in common, they are not for drinking.
RipCurl Surf School Session
Back ally entrance
We ate at the hotel and this came with the meal. The first glass was coldish but the rest were so warm. Fun concept but ‘not my cup of Coke Zero’
This is how I look before two Mojitos, the smile doesn’t last after they are done. # alcoholfree2016
full moon swim
These little temples are everywhere and have some amazing art
relaxing on the second night with a shisha
Lounging in the room with a beautiful view.
Lounging pool side
Bali is great but relaxing in Bali is wonderful
Dusk at the pool
Unless they are giving away that couch I fail to see how they are open
This little guy helps make some of the worlds most expensive coffee.
We stopped here for a free tea and coffee sampling. This is a sot of the garden where everything they brew is grown.