Like I said, my trip to Bali was amazing, and here are some of the elements that made it that way:
We spent our time at the Island at a small, I guess you could say resort called the Chillhouse. Now I hesitate to say resort because that brings to mind massive hotels on the beach in Maui or colossal compunds among golf courses in Flagstaff. This place was small, quaint and truley unique and I LOVED it. Set back into a small neighborhood between rice fields the Chillhouse feels very secluded and as the name suggests you can truely Chill here. Couples can be set up in one of a couple bungalows they have available and there is also a larger house called the surfers house that has several rooms as well as a living space in it. There is a nearly identical house at the front of the compound (the literal Chillhouse). This is where the owners live and also where the dining room and pool are. My friends and I stayed in the surfer house while we were there. The rooms were gorgeous. Large wooden bunkbeds with billowy misquito netting surrounding them. The attached bathroom was actually outdoors. The walls and floors of the bathroom were made of stone and there was a tropical tree separating our toilet from the shower. There is also another room in this house on the second floor which is different from the others. There is one large four poster bed in the middle of the room and the walls are wide open with balconies lining two sides (of course there are shudders you can close). It also has a long ladder which goes up to a crowsnest at the top of the house where you can just lounge and maybe read a book or even fall asleep.
Staying at the Chillhouse is pretty much a package deal. The fee you pay (depending on the package you choose) will not only come with your lodging, but also gourmet organic dinners every night (so amazing! it was worth it just for the food), at least one day of surfing and also transportation places. In the dining area there is a large chalkboard that lists the activities for the week. There is usually at least one activity listed everyday. While we were there we went to a shoreside temple and saw a Kecak dance and we also went to Ubud where we saw rice terraces, Volcanos and got to do some great shopping. Like I mentioned the transportation to these places is free but once you get there you will have to pay for the activities yourself.
We spent two of our days in Bali taking surf lessons with the Ripcurl school of surf. I’ve taken surf lessons elsewhere before and this was by far the best setup. They supply you with board shorts and a rash guard, as well as a helmet, the board of course and water and sunscreen during the whole lesson.
Each lesson started out with a streching a warm up session then before we knew it we were in the water. In each of the classes we had around 15 people and almost as many instructors so we got some pretty good one on one instruction. You can also pay for private lessons but I’m sure those cost a little more.
An added bonus with buying at least two lessons together is that you get a free t-shirt or tank top and there is a selection of several that you can choose from.
Something else that is totally worth the money are your surf pictures. While you are out surfing your heart out, catching narley waves and hanging ten there’s a guy on shore catching the moments which they proceed to put on a disk to sell it to you for an exhorbitant amount but, it was totally worth the money. You can prove to your future grandchildren or your disbeleiveing coworkers that you really did surf in Bali and you really did stand up.
There are also many temples on Bali which you can visit. I only got the chance to see one, Pura Luhur (Uluwatu) Temple, which is located high on a cliff. Beware of the monkeys here, they are super agressive. They actually stole my friends wallet which was hanging from a lanyard around her neck. Some small children came to the rescue trowing candy and various other things at it but here credit cards almost made a long dive over the cliffside. Also know that it is best to dress modestly when going here. If you are wearing shorts or a skirt they’ll probably make you tie an ugly blue or purple sarong around your waste. Totally unflattering.
At this temple around sunset time they also have a Kecak dance show which lasts about an hour. It’s a presentation of a scene from the Ramayana accompanied by a chorus of men clicking and clacking the whole time. I’m amazed that they can make those sounds for a full hour, I can’t even make them once!
While on Bali spend at least a day inland, away from the beach. You wont regret it. Ubud is a lush and beautiful region full of rice terraces and foilage. Our hotel arranged a trip for us where we were able to see a traditional Balinese dance show displaying the myth of the Barong Monster, go to a volcano viewpoint and also go shopping in Ubud (there was an awesome market). If I went back however I would definitely do a sunrise hike on the volcano. It’s one thing to see the volcano, it’s another thing to climb it. I’ve also have had several friends that have done this activity and totally loved it.