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Two men fish in Jimbaran, Bali. One is in the boat, another is on the beach.
Two men fish near Jimbaran.
Spiritual offerings accumulate near the entrance to a small temple.
Balinese dance class
Children practice hand movements at a dance class.
Our new friend, Mariana, dresses me and Shawn in traditional Balinese sarongs.
A Balinese spiritual offering (flowers, incense and a cookie) sits on the pavement in Jimbaran.
A Balinese spiritual offering containing flowers, incense and a cookie sits on the pavement of a Jimbaran street.


  • Shadow with an experienced local as she makes flower-filled canang sari spiritual offerings. Also, be on the lookout for processions, when locals balance baskets of spiritual offerings upon their heads.
  • Explore Ubud’s traditional art market, where you’ll find everything from batik and silk scarves, to hand-painted masks and puppets.
  • At a coffee plantation or café, savor a cup of Kopi Luwak. It’s been dubbed ‘poop coffee’ and is said to be one of the priciest cups of coffee in the world.
  • Take in dramatic nighttime and daytime views of the Uluwatu Temple at a kecak fire dance.
  • Brush shoulders with the real-life characters from Eat, Pray, Love. We chatted with the book’s charismatic medicine man Ketut Liyer one afternoon, and all the locals seem to know who in the community has a connection to Elizabeth Gilbert’s book.
  • Saunter through rice paddy landscapes. We encountered coconut harvesters scaling skinny tree trunks, rice farmers at work, and families of ducks.
  • Visit a Balinese art school. We left with a tiny painting depicting Saraswati, the goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
  • You needn’t take a formal cooking class to learn Balinese food specialties. When I expressed interest, our bed & breakfast owner, Ayu, taught me how to make her green banana pancakes.
  • Hold tight to your accessories as you dodge mischievous monkeys resident in Ubud’s Monkey Forest.
Balinese women carry baskets on their heads containing spiritual offerings.
Women gracefully transport baskets full of spiritual offerings on their heads.
Legong dance night show Ubud
A Legong dance performance.
Colorful magnets for sale at Ubud’s traditional market.
Balinese macaque monkey Ubud Monkey Forest
Monkeying around at Ubud’s Monkey Forest.
With a wooden pole, a young woman grinds 'weasel coffee' beans at a coffee plantation in Indonesia.
A young woman grinds Kopi Luwak (‘weasel coffee’) beans at a coffee plantation not far from Ubud.
Balinese green banana pancakes
Our guesthouse owner, Ayu, showed me how to make her legendary green banana pancakes. The pancakes were so good that Ayu asked that I not share her secret recipe.
A couple stands next to the holy water spring at Bali's Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah).
The holy water spring at Goa Gajah (the Elephant Cave).


We spent three weeks in Bali — one in Jimbaran, and two weeks in Ubud. We would happily revisit these two properties (affiliate links):

  • Jimbaran –  Nestled in a semi-residential area not far from the beach, we had a pleasant stay at the Villa Puri Royan. Though the rooms were not fancy, our room’s views of the neighborhood were pretty, and the staff was incredibly friendly. On days when we needed to stay inside and catch up on email, it was convenient eating in the in-house café. We were happy to have stayed in a more understated place like Jimbaran (at least circa 2011), as Kuta was a bit too hectic for our tastes.
  • Ubud – For two weeks, we stayed at the pretty and tranquil Nirwa Homestay, run by Madde and Ayu. The family-run guest house was surrounded by a panorama of rice paddies, and our soundtrack was that of nature: soprano crickets, confident roosters and babbling canals. When you go, be sure to order Ayu’s legendary green banana pancakes for breakfast. If she has time, Ayu might even show you how to make them!
A rice farmer tends to his rice fields in Ubud, Bali.
The stunning view from the terrace of our guesthouse in Ubud.
A red Hibiscus flower is placed in the hands of a statue in Ubud, Bali.
Each day, Ayu, the co-owner of our bed & breakfast, placed a fresh flower in the hands of this Buddha statue in her courtyard.

Additional Indonesia Resources

Motorcycles and cars drive past Udud's Royal Palace at night.
Ubud’s Royal Palace at nighttime.

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