Visiting Ubud, Bali

Bali was on my bucket list of places to go to this year so when my boyfriend got a press trip to Ubud, yoga capital of Indonesia, he kindly invited me along. We took a red eye flight from LAX for 14 hours to Taipei and then another 5-hour flight to Bali. The overall 24 hours travel time was brutal, but worth it the minute we stepped foot into our resort Kamandalu. If you want to see what paradise looks like, check out this five-star resort in Ubud. With 180 degree views from the yoga deck, breakfast in an infinity pool, and restaurants overlooking rice terraces, there is no shortage of beauty that emanates from this place.

Our first day was jam packed with tours of Campuhan ridge walk, Tirta Emplu (waterfall temple), and Cepung waterfall. We woke up early to get sunrise photos of the ridge walk, but the overcast weather made it challenging to capture the beauty. We still managed to take beautiful photos overlooking the jungle and continued to the waterfall temple next. The temple compound consists of a bathing structure famous for its holy spring water where people cover themselves in sarongs and emerge into the water for ritual purification. Incense are burned and offerings are given to the spirits.

One of my favorite cultural experiences was partaking in Fire War and Ogoh-Ogoh, both festivities leading up to Nyepi the Balinese New Year. Fire war is exactly as it sounds. A group of village men throwing blazing hot coconut pieces at each other’s body. It was quite scary to watch the flying coconuts whirling at each other, sometimes missing and hitting bystanders. As nerve wracking as it was, it was also adrenaline rushing to watch.

Ogoh-Ogoh are statues built for a parade by groups of children in each village on the eve of Nyepi. The creation of the Ogoh-Ogoh demons represents spiritual aims inspired by Hindu Philosophy. The main purpose of the creation of these demons is the purification of the natural environment of any spiritual pollutants emitted from living beings. During the ceremonial parade, Ogoh-Ogoh is rotated counter-clockwise three times representing the contact of the bodies with the spirits. It is intended to mystify evil spirits so that they cease harming humans.

Today is Nyepi, the Balinese New Year reserved for silence, fasting and meditation. This Hindu holiday restricts people from working, traveling, and for some not talking or eating. We are observing the holiday in our resort with morning yoga and meditation practice. Today we rest, and tomorrow we will watch sunrise and Ceking, visit Ubud market and palace, and see the Hidden Canyon. The first few days of the trip have been magical. Looking forward to what tomorrow brings!