|One of my favorite Lovina eateries|
I arrived in Bali on April 6th and bounced around for two weeks until I finally found a comfortable spot in Lovina, a small tourist town on the northern coast of the Indonesian island. Although geared to tourism, it is quiet and the people are laid-back. I’ve been here a week now, with another to go before I head back to the US. So, Bali truly is the end of the line for this, my first foray into international travel – an eight month quest.
Bali has the misfortune, in my travels, of following Melaka, Malaysia – a place I shall always regard as a second home and where I found myself again as a writer. It has also suffered from overblown expectations.
I don’t know how much of that to blame on Eat, Pray, Love – the book and movie which I happily consumed – and how much to shell out to the urgings of those who have absolutely loved their Bali experiences.
|Seminyak Beach - surfers and vendors|
My experience of the first two weeks was deeply disappointing. I found the beach towns over-crowded, filled with aggressive vendors and hampered in one by a filthy beach. Ubud, a tiny artsy town in the hills of central Bali, was a nice relief from that and after four days there and an unfortunate two-day return to another southern beach town, I asked my driver to take me to Lovina. Here I found the peace and quiet I sought from Bali.
|Rice terraces - Ubud|
It took me a couple of days to nestle in and find my stride again, especially in writing, but I’ve done that and found simple pleasures: poolside and at the area restaurants – eight within a few meters of my hotel.
|The Monkey Forest - Ubud|
So, while I cannot actually recommend Bali in total, I can tell you that if you’re looking for relaxation, a quiet space to enjoy island beauty but still have lots of dining options and with plenty of water-related activities available, head towards Lovina.
|One of the many temples in Bali|