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My Bali Adventures. Food & Flora..and a Bat

Food, Fruit and Flowers

If you don’t like coconuts then maybe Bali isn’t a place for you :)) Almost everything there is either cooked with coconuts or made from coconuts! They grow everywhere and you can either drink coconut water out of a young coconut or get a ‘normal’ coconut!

Cows are sacred animals in Bali (Hinduism). When I asked the driver why they were sacred he said that cows were like mother figures, taking care of all the people so you obviously wouldn’t want to eat your mother ;)) There’s not much cow milk on the island, mainly coconut and soya milk, that’s why ice cream is all exported from abroad and costs pretty much the same as in the UK. You can get local yummy coconut or fruit lollies made with coconut milk a bit cheaper though.

I spent most of my time in Ubud and as I’ve mentioned before, many places there were vegan or vegetarian. You could get delicious fresh juices and smoothies of all kinds as well as alcoholic drinks (I wasn’t drinking while on the retreat).

Food was delicious and no wonder it was so easy to be a vegan over there: it didn’t cost a lot and the choice was amazing!

I would say that £12 would buy you a very decent almost 2 course meal and a drink. Some people stay away from ice and salad when in Bali as they might be washed in dirty water. I had both and was ok, but I also did eat in good restaurants. Maybe when it comes to street food and suspiciously looking places avoiding ice and salads could be a good idea.

The most popular fruit are dragon fruit, mango, jack fruit, papaya, little bananas, snake fruit and of course coconuts! Needless to say they taste way better than the ones from UK supermarkets.

Jack fruit

The Bali flora is totally amazing! So many colours and shapes and smells! I don’t know the names of all these flowers, but they were all stunning!!

Oh and I also came across a bat size of a dog while in Ubud. It was the freakiest most unusual creature I have ever seen! The wings looked so artificial and when it was moving and yawning it looked like a fox! So bizarre!

Bali is very green and reminded me a bit if Scotland (minus weather!). To see secluded untouched beaches you would need to travel to the neighbouring islands, because most of the southern beaches are too noisy and touristy.

Having been once I know now what I would like to see next time: I would definitely travel to the nearby islands to swim with turtles and to snorkel; I would take a trip to see a magnitude of waterfalls in the jungle and I would also probably crash in Ubud for a few days to do yoga, dances and eat delicious food and meet some like minded yogis!

If you have been to Bali and have any recommendations please post on here – I’d love to hear from you!

Up until next time,

Love and hugs,

Natallia xxx

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My Bali Adventures. Day 6

Monkey Forest in Ubud!!

The place was on my list of things to see before I even left for Bali! Saying that, I changed my mind numerous times whether I wanted to go there or not as I was a bit scared of the monkeys!

I had no vaccinations done before going to Bali so was very aware of all the animal world of the island! Talking about animals, I haven’t met many cats there at all and Bali dogs were totally Zen! Whether it was the smells of the incense sticks or the prayers or the heat.. or the combination of all of them.. they were totally harmless and wouldn’t even move out of your way either out of laziness or the heat!

Monkeys though were a completely different kettle of fish! The sign at the entrance stated to have no jewellery, no glasses, no food and warned against looking them in the eye! So you can imaging that when we entered the jungle I was a bit on edge.

It all turned out to be pretty safe. There were hundreds of monkeys in the jungle of all sizes, ages and shapes. Baby monkeys were super cute and it was really cool to observe them eating, playing and having fun!

The jungle was amazing though! It has a little river and a mini waterfall, as well as loads of beautiful trees!

The whole experience was great and it was so good to see monkeys living in the wild with no cages or restrictions! I’m not a big fan of Zoos as I don’t like seeing animals locked up in cages – it was a completely different story seeing them run around free and happy and it felt good to be there!

It takes just over an hour to go around the place. There are a couple of temples in the jungle, loads of paths and loads of greens! It is very safe as long as you don’t feed the monkeys and there are a lot of staff all over the place as well.

Monkeys also come out of the jungle and you can see them on the cables above your head or out and about munching on fruit and whatever else they can get hold of!

Another fab experience and a great day out!

https://www.monkeyforestubud.com

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My Bali Adventures.

Hello everyone and thank you for expressing interest in my Bali adventures and my Blog. I have tried to be as informative as I could about my travels in Bali and hope you will find the stories informative and somewhat entertaining.

When I was going to Bali I read through a lot of Blogs of people who have visited the country and I found them very helpful.

The blogs cover most of my days in Bali, but there were a few days when we were just chilling, doing yoga and exploring the surroundings so I did not write on those days.

Enjoy the read and let me know if you like the blogs or not,

Natallia 

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My Bali Adventures. Day 11

On my last day in Bali we went to a yoga hub of Ubud – the Yoga Barn. We had breakfast and lunch in there, as well as tried out a Yoga session.

It was like practicing Yoga in a Yoga Paradise! The place was like a mini Yoga village with cafes, massage and spiritual practices places, vegan and raw vegan food, statues (even a Yoda Statue 🙂 and fountains, and with loads of green outdoor space!

There were a few studios there. The one I was in was an indoor one with a floor to ceiling window overlooking the green trees and statues. The rest of the studios were pretty much outdoors.

The timetable had a huge variety of classes and events. I could only manage 1 Power Yoga class due to having to leave in the afternoon.

It was so nice to just sit there and soak in the atmosphere of the place!

I can’t quite describe the feeling and the atmosphere in there except for I knew I would have to go back there and have at least a full week experience of being in that place.

We have had all the yoga sessions at the retreat held outside overlooking the jungle and surrounded by sounds of nature (and occasional bees and not so occasional mosquitoes ). So nice to be able to practice Yoga and meditation outside – very relaxing!

Beautiful experience and amazing memories of the place!

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My Bali Adventures. Day 5

Blooming Lotus Yoga Retreat

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When we arrived to the retreat the first reaction was ‘Wow’: the place was beautiful, calm and felt very safe and ‘at home’.

On the arrival they served us complimentary green coconut pancake things that tasted delicious!!

We all had different accommodation either sharing a smaller or slightly bigger room or having a whole private villa. I shared a more spacious room with an American girl and we had a few neighbours, and a kitchen/sitting room area with a pool.

Every morning we had a fruit bowl and granola with coconut milk for breakfast and a selection of teas and coffees. Coconut milk was freshly made and was delicious!

Lunch was not served at the retreat and we mostly had it in Ubud, but dinner was included into the retreat package. Every evening it was something different and delicious!

The views from the villa and from the yoga studio were mesmerising: overlooking the jungle and a temple. We witnessed quite a few local ceremonies at the temple accompanied him music, singing, and praying.

The retreat was mostly mindfulness focused rather than asana (postures) based. There were loads of breathing and meditation practices, yoga nidra and various workshops covering different aspects of yoga and mindfulness.

We had a session every morning, then breakfast and a workshop just before noon. Every day there was a free shuttle to Ubud – the nearest town and the Yoga/Art/Mindfulness/Vegan Food Mecca Of Bali. Then we had an evening 2 hour Yoga/Meditation session and dinner.

The group was very multi national and the whole vibe, energy and atmosphere of the retreat was very powerful: loads of stories, laughs, tears and revelations came up during the time spent there. People who wouldn’t normally cry – cried and unburdened themselves from the emotions deeply buried inside for years. Everyone had a story and everyone had a reason to be there.

I met many lovely people at the retreat (and before) – some of them have become friends and we will hopefully keep this friendship going for a long time. 

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve known a person. It is so easy to communicate with people on the same page as you, people who share your passion, interests and whose inner world is somewhat similar to yours.

The retreat has taught me a lot, has opened my eyes on many things and I’m hoping to stay on this path for many years to come.

The most difficult part is to take all this experience into the real world. Being there was different. I found it so easy to switch off and relax without any effort. The smells…The energy.. The atmosphere – all that was contributing towards the overall ‘zen’ factor.

I loved every minute of it: the retreat, the people, the exploring of the country and it’s delicious food and drink! I miss my daily fix of dragon fruit, coconut based dishes and yummy vegan food! I learnt to play Polish Poker, watched The Autobiography of a Yogi Movie, penciled down loads of book recommendations and had so many dragon fruits and dragon fruit juices that I was wondering why I didn’t turn purple! 

I managed to stay vegetarian (well, maybe pescatarian as I had prawns twice and a bit of tuna;)) for 7 days and only had chicken once on a plane as was starving! Apart from that I’ve still not had any other meat and it’s day 11 now. I’m not quite sure if I am going to stick to a no meat diet for a long time, but I am going to give it a good go or considerably reduce the amount of meat I consume.

Loads of good memories from the place! I loved it and will hopefully be back there for more mindfulness and yoga in future!

Many thanks to Ashley and Anisha, the awesome teachers who made the retreat so special and all the Balinese staff from the retreat!

Up until next time,

Good bye and Namaste!

Natallia

https://www.blooming-lotus-yoga.com

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My Bali Adventures. Day 7

I planned today’s adventure when I was still in Scotland. Just a week before I left for Bali I saw these gates on Tripadvisor and decided I wanted to see that place.

The Gates of Heaven are a part of the Lempuyang Temple – one of the very first temple in Bali. The place is very secret and you must rent a sarong and keep your shoulders covered when inside. Women on a moon cycle are not allowed on the temple grounds. The entry is on a donation, but you need to pay to rent a sarong (£0.60p!!)

It is situated on top of Mount Lempuyang in East Bali overlooking the only active volcano on the island – Mount Agung. The volcano is very much awake at the moment, but is behaving as we speak and hopefully will continue to only rumble without any eruption! There are two volcanos on the island: Agung and Batur. Batur isn’t an active volcano.

The gates of heaven is a beautiful spot for a cool picture; so you can imagine there’s always a queue of tourists patiently waiting to get their pictures taken. There are also local guys there with a mirror that they use to take super amazing pictures mirroring the image!

Opposite the gates there are 3 flights of stairs leading to the inside of a temple. Nobody is allowed to take the middle flight of stairs only the side ones. Entering the temple at the top is also not allowed. Once you reach the top step the views from the top are amazing! You can see the Mount Agung in all its beauty and grandness!

It took us 2 hours to get there and the road was so steep that the car was struggling to get up the hill at times, but it was worth the visit.

On the way back from the Lempuyang Temple we stopped at Tirta Gangga and Taman Ujung Water Palace.

Tirta Gangga is s former royal palace and is translated into English as Water of the Ganges.

Ujung Water Palace is a beautiful park with loads of flowers, a pond and stunning scenery.

It’s been a pretty long day and coming back to the retreat and joining in the yoga session was amazing and relaxing!

Looking forward to more exploring and more Bali adventures!

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My Bali Adventures. Day 4

Sunday has been a pretty full on day! I’ve visited loads of places and finally arrived to the Yoga Retreat Villas later on in the day.

The day started at 6am with a walk to the beach to see the sunrise. Although the sun was rising from a completely opposite direction to where I was – it was still a beautiful early morning spent on the beach!

I hired a driver for a day and he picked me up from the hotel at 8am.

First stop was Tegenungan Waterfall

As almost everywhere else in Bali – the scenery was stunning! It is about 100 big steps to get down to the bottom of the waterfall. Although it was quite early walking back up wasn’t so much fun! A nice cold post mini hike ice cream definitely helped!

If I had more time I would’ve definitely swam there!

When we were walking down to the waterfall I noticed a few sets of stacking stones and asked the driver what the story behind it was. He said that building these mini stone towers helped to quieten the mind, learn to focus and find a balance.

The overall experience was excellent apart from the fact that it gets very crowded there closer to the afternoon time. I’ll definitely go back there next time I’m in Bali !

The next stop was a coffee plantation.

The plantation is mostly famous for producing Luwak Coffee- the most expensive coffees in the world also known as Cat Poo Chino – coffee beans collected from civet cat’s poo. Cover cats eat coffee cherries, digest the cherries and the pulp, but not the beans, which come out as civet cat’s poo. Farmers then collect these beans, clean, process them and then roast and grind the beans manually. All that special fermentation process is the reason the coffee has a certain taste.

The Luwak Coffee is very expensive and unless you go to the plantation itself there’s a chance you might get served a fake cup of Cat Poo Chino or Luwak Coffee made with the poo beans from farmed cages civet cats (as opposed to wild ones), who don’t eat ripe coffee cherries but whatever coffee cherries they are fed on the day!

I had a cup of the ‘poo’ coffee just for the experience of it. It wasn’t particularly tasty, but I think if you do like coffee and trying weird interesting foods and drinks – this could be right up your street!

Fancy a cuppa of Cat Poo Chino anyone?

After the plantation we visited the Tirta Empul Temple.

That was my first big temple to visit in Bali. It is fascinating how different Balinese culture is from ours. They make offerings to gods daily – mini ‘baskets’ filled with Balinese flowers, food and other stuff with incense sticks.

These are everywhere from the altars and front doors and shops to cars, temples and all the rest of the buildings. Every house has its own mini temple.Balinese people are very religious and pray a few times a day.

Everyone has to wear a sarong and respect the temple.

The purification process takes place in a big water container with water coming out from the ground and refreshes all the time – the holy springs.

I didn’t do the purification ritual, because we would be back there for that event on Saturday morning!

Rice Fields and Silver Making Workshop

The silver workshop was cool and very authentic- loads of beautiful things there and you could see how the jewellery was getting made. I obviously ended up buying a pretty Balinese style silver ball pendant.

Then we had a very short visit to the rice fields, mainly to take a couple of pictures (and partially get embarrassed). They had that big swing there for exciting views and cool pictures of people swinging over the rice fields.

After contemplating whether to do it or not,I am not a big fan of heights, I thought I’d give it a go.

So there was me standing there in my almost floor length dress feeling nervous, but ready to concur the heights (Having a pretty much ‘Bridgit Jones’ moment.. )

And then the ‘swing’ guy picked up a harness and asked me to put on. By that moment he had already taken the money and obviously saw what I was wearing! I had no idea I would need a harness otherwise the decision would’ve been made earlier.

Just to clarify that by putting it on he meant pulling it up and securing it around my legs and strapping it at my waist (remember, I was wearing a dress!) When I realised that with that harness my dress would also go up flashing my tartan knickers (had to take something that would remind me of Scotland just in case I felt nostalgic 🙂 to the Balinese ‘swing’ crew, my guide and all the tourists even before I get on the swing I obviously said no to it.

Believe it or not the ‘swing’ crew said it would be just fine! Amazing what stuff some people can do and say to earn that little extra cash!! I can just picture myself swinging in the air, flashing my knickers and making memories :)) Needless to say I don’t have a picture of me flying over the rice fields.

Saying that, if I went for it maybe then they wouldn’t be asking me where I was travelling from – the knickers would have told the story :))

A bit of the insight into the Balinese history here for you.

Balinese people are very religious. Main religion is Hinduism here (hence they don’t eat beef). They make offerings to Gods to thank them for everything. And it’s believed that if they don’t thank the Gods they would get angry and could initiate Volcano Eruptions, famine etc.!

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The Balinese have a temple in every single house and pray at least in the morning and very often during the day and there are a lot of ceremonies happening here all the time as well as Balinese Dances. They are very grateful and happy people and respect all the tourists and can’t do enough for you as tourism is their main source of making a living. None of the Balinese people practice yoga, but it is very popular in Bali nevertheless amongst tourists or expats. Not many of balinese natives are vegans and vegetarians, but the amount of vegan cafes and restaurants in here is overwhelming simply because many people coming to the country are spiritual, mindful and don’t consume meat! 

Bali natives eat A LOT of rice. They have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner and the national dish is a selection of meats with fried rice or a vegetarian version of it (both are quite spicy). You can either buy it in cafes or as street food. It tastes ok, but was too fatty for my liking – worth a try though to sample the national dish, but I only had it once while I was in Bali.

rice food

They have a silent day in March – Nyepi Day, which is kind of a New Year celebration. Everything comes to a complete halt: no traffic, nobody’s talking or working or coming outside the house. Airport and all the shops are also closed on that day.

Marriages happen only in August and February after 2 biggest national Balinese ceremonies

Most people live in houses behind shops and restaurants. They are nowhere near the posh villas and big buildings that are right by the main roads. They live on as much as $100-300 per month, but to rent an apartment costs about $60-80 per month. And like my driver told me that an employee from abroad can afford coming to Bali, but Balinese people almost can never afford travelling abroad. All the big bosses here are from outside the country and the majority of local people do manual jobs or work in family businesses selling stuff that they make themselves.

Most people don’t have any high education and after finishing school either work in a family business or in tourism or hospitality sector.

Wood carving and silver manufacturing is popular here and they make beautiful pieces of jewellery and wooden stuff.

I’ve learn all this and other stuff from my Balinese driver, who works 2 jobs 7 days a week, because as he said he had a duty to his family to provide for them. It was £27 to hire him for a day and he was both the driver and my guide for 8 hours driving me to places, telling me about lifestyle, sightseeing’s and taking my pictures for me.

It’s a fascinated country and the more I learn about it the more I would like to come back and have more time exploring everything else here.