#TBT – Bali

IMG_1649Sanur Beach, Bali, Indonesia

One month ago today I was relaxing on beach in Bali, palms swaying, bikes and paddle boards cruising past, Bintang in my hand, Angelique the Sacred Cow mooing in the background. Welcome to Sanur, Bali, a lovely mix of Balinese chill, beach, yoga, and not too many tourists. Frankly, there were few cultural activities on this trip. It was a whole lot of relaxing with family and friends, active outdoor activities, and good food and drinks.

IMG_7190The master sandcastle builders taking a break

We had heard mixed things about Bali – people seemed to either love it or hate it. We were nervous it might be overrun with backpackers and tourists, so we looked around for somewhere that was chill, but not so remote that there was nothing to do off the hotel grounds. Sanur was the perfect mix – only 30ish minutes from the Denpasar airport in southeast Bali, but without the crowds of Jimbaran Bay and Kuta. We found a great, quiet villa on AirBNB only steps from restaurants and shops, and a short walk from the beach. It was perfect.

I traveled with my husband, daughters, and mom, so this was definitely a family vacation. Vacations with two small kids are active, schlepping kids, stuff, and strollers. So we took it easy and did stuff the kids would like – sandcastles, ocean swims, pool frolicking, and feeding the koi that inhabited our villa’s ponds.

IMG_7202Villa koi pond

IMG_1641Luckily, there were plenty of opportunities for fun, outdoor fitness in Sanur. For less than $4.00/day, we rented a bike with kid seat – no deposit, no credit card, just pedaled off and told her I’d return it in a few days. Perfect for quick trips to the beach and chill cruises down the beachside bike path.The fitness highlight was the  Power of Now Oasis yoga studio, and incredible open-air, bamboo building right on the beach. (It’s also home to Angelique the sacred cow, who was a big hit with R and MK.) The coolest yoga studio I’ve ever seen. We took two excellent 90 minute vinyasa classes and one kids’ yoga class with Riley. In between schlepping and yoga, we cruised around on the stand up paddle (SUP) we rented at the Rip Curl School of Surf.

IMG_7281         Tree pose in the garden

IMG_1635Power of Now Oasis          

One of the best parts of the trip was daily breakfast at the villa. We were lucky to have two amazing helpers who made breakfast every morning, from traditional Balinese breakfast of fried rice to omelets, and chocolate crepes, we started each day off right. And the juice! Fresh squeezed orange juice every day. Delicious.

My favorite lunch spot was Malaika Secret Garden Delicious, healthy, organic food in an ideal location – a breezy open air building on the beach (just down the path from the yoga studio).

We had a great dinner at The Glass House, Australian and Asian cuisine inspired by the fresh seafood in Sanur. Cute atmosphere, kid-friendly, delicious food, good wine, and great service.

Another night we ventured up to the Ubud for a date night. The Balinese food at Bebek TebaSari Resto was good, but even better was the delightful ambiance: seated in a private thatched-roof hut perched above a beautiful koi pond, nestled amongst the rice paddies. A truly special place. I felt like I was in the Bali I imagined.

 IMG_1657  View from our private bamboo hut

We had a great time on the Sanur beaches, but these were not the best beaches I’ve seen. I must admit, the beaches in Thailand, Hawaii, and the Caribbean are much nicer than the beaches we visited in Bali. But Bali has a certain je ne sais quoi. There’s something special about Sanur. The backdrop of smiling local people, lapping waves, indigo textiles, and Hindu and Buddhist traditions made for a memorable visit.  My girls thought the huge rainbow that appeared on our way back to the airport was a fitting end to the trip.

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