We are family who loves to always go to new places, and do new things. But in the case of Bali, our first trip was so superbly enjoyable, that we went back a few years later with Tera’s sister's family, and essentially took the same trip. We started for a few days in the artsy mountain village of Ubud, where we walked through the rice paddies, and biked down the volcano. We ended the week travelling south to the Nusa Dua area, near the airport, staying in a “Bali Villa”, and touring the temples and sights, with a full-day at the Waterbom water park. I would do the trip a third time.
#1 - Volcano mountain-biking
#2 - Bali Hindu Temples
#3 - Waterbom water park
#4 - Bali Villa stay
#1 - Volcano mountain-biking - Our favorite paid tour was the biking tour. They picked up early in the morning and drove us to the top of the volcano for a sunrise breakfast overlooking the crater lake. We then hopped on the mountain bikes and started downhill through rice-paddies and fields, and tiny villages and homes. At one point, we noticed the villagers together for a harvest, so we stopped and walked out to the field. All the kids participated with the locals in cutting the stalks and bashing them against the boards to free the grain from the husk, and gathering and placing the rice grains. The women passed our blonde baby from lap to lap and grinned and laughed with us as we threshed alongside them. We ended the day with a beautifully prepared lunch overlooking a gorgeous rice-growing valley. What a day.
#2 - Bali Hindu Temples - Bali is a Hindu microcasm, within a much larger Muslim country of Indonesia. The Hindu culture and custom pervade every aspect of life on the island, with food offerings being placed every morning outside each door, and woven leaf baskets, and women and men dressed in their colorful finest, bring baskets of fruit on this heads to the temple. The temples are some of the most picturesque in the world, along the beach surrounded by the tide and surf, or placed on the cliff, overlooking the brilliant blue ocean.
#3 - Waterbom Park - We normally don’t go to things like waterslide parks when we’re on vacation, since we can do that at home. We like to do more unique things, specific to that locale. But in the case of the Waterbom park, it was a place we couldn’t pass up. The slides themselves are similar to what you’ll find elsewhere, with a wave pool, and lazy river. But the landscape design and layout was second to none. It was simply gorgeous, as if Disney horticulturalists that been brought down to make it look beautiful. It was a pleasure to be there, and kids begged to go back a second time.
#4 - Bali Villa stay - I’ve never come across a villa stay/design like in Bali and as reasonably priced as Bali. You can rent a fully furnished villa, which is a stunningly beautiful condo or apartment, in it’s own right, well-maintained and furnished and outfitted. But included in the cost of the villa stay are the following: a full-time driver and van to take you anywhere you wanted to go on the island, 2 full-time maids, a butler, a full-time cook. Each morning, you would sit down with the butler to plan the day’s activities and the day’s menu. Then the driver would take you where you needed to go, and the cook would go shopping and make the meals you requested. The table setting, preparation, clean-up was all done by the staff, in the comfort and privacy of your villa. The service was exceptional and memorable.