November 11, 2017

Elephant Safari Ride at TARO

Being the world’s largest sanctuary for Sumatran Elephant’s, the Elephant Park at Taro Ubud offers fun experiences such as the 30 minutes safari rides in the well protected jungle, completed with many other not to be missed activities such as museum visits and talent show.

The half-day experience starts with the park guide’s welcome and guide you to meet the Sumatran elephants. You will have a chance to hand feed and take pictures with them as well as learn about the park history. Next, your 30 minutes rides begins, the trek takes you through the well protected jungle atop the friendly mammals and you can get to know them better through their Mahout followed by Elephant Talent Show.

Afterwards, it is time to enjoy your sumptuous lunch buffet at the park restaurant continued by free time to explore the parks facilities such as elephant museums or take more pictures with them.

Transfer back to your hotel at around 14:00 hrs

We travelled today in 15 passenger vans. Our regular guides had the day off.

We arrived at Taro in time to see the elephants being bathed.

First they were brushed off and then sprayed down in the water.

and then we were sprayed! Note the water heading our way!

Next we got to meet some more of the elephants and buy food for them.  Very much a contrived ‘tourist’ experience but it was fun interacting with the elephants.


We rode in pairs through the jungle about 2kms.  Each elephant has a trainer that works with them and most have been with them many years.  They appeared to be well taken care of.

The elephants did a short talent show – including an elephant painting. You can then buy previously painted art in the gift shop.

Buffet lunch was also included in this visit – another enjoyable open air experience.

After lunch we headed back to our hotel. It was another warm, humid day.

So a swim seemed to be in order.  We started in the larger pool with swim up bar.

Then moved over to the infinity pool.

Not quite the glass sided infinity pool on the top of a cliff that we have seen pictures of since getting home but an incredible view out into the jungle.

Although I didn’t see them Shelley captured some amazing video of monkeys playing by the yoga studio at our hotel.


November 10, 2017

Oleh Oleh – Ubud 

Bali is famous for its music, art, history and culture. Everywhere you turn there are workshops and galleries, or performances of gamelan and traditional dances. Generations of sculptors, actors, musicians and painters have crystalised the culture of this paradise island into vast array of artifacts, keepsakes and customs, making it easy to take a piece of paradise home with you. This tour will take you to some of the best spots for souvenirs, where you can see the finest creations of Bali’s famous artistic traditions, finished off by an unforgettable performance. The memories of Bali will stay with you forever.

Bali also is a shopper’s paradise. If you want to go shopping at all the right places in Bali, then this tour is your way to do it. Look for some authentic handcrafted souvenirs in the places they are actually made.

Batubulan Village is renowned for its stone carving art. The most famous silver and gold craftsmen are found in Celuk Village, while in Ubud you will find many paintings, both in traditional and modern style. Drop into one of the many galleries and take a stroll around the city’s art market.

We were a little nervous about today as each day if we asked about something we hadn’t seen Sudiana would say November 10th.  How much could we fit into one day!  This was also the day to move hotels – away from the ocean.

Last time heading across the toll bridge for a while
If the market didn’t turn us vegetarian this might. Raw meat and fish being transported under a tarp in sweltering weather.

Stone carvers.


Another silver factory.


Very intricate work!


It was all beautiful jewelry needless to say I shopped a little here.

Art collective down a very narrow street where the bus couldn’t stay – I understand why so many people ride mopeds or motorbikes – they can get many places that cars cannot.


Waiting for the bus – up against the wall to try and find as much shade as possible – it was another hot one.

Another neat spot for lunch with beautiful scenery.




After lunch we were given free time in Ubud.  A neat town with many boutique type stores, bars and restaurants and a hectic tourist market.

Afterward, we take you to watch the famous Kecak & Fire Dance, where a group of male dancers will enchant you with an almost hypnotic, trance-like performance.

Another fascinating performance with many dancers.  It was amazing to see these traditional performances.


Transfer to Kamandalu Ubud for overnight.

Our new hotel is amazing – away from the hectic pace of Nusa Dua amid tranquil rice fields and jungle what a change.  Pictures to follow.

We were tired so ordered room service which came very quickly.

We were then ready for sweet dreams in our mosquito netted beds!

A little something left on the bed when they turned down our room for the night!

November 9, 2017

Free to explore at leisure

I am going to add a few pictures from our resort today too – although not all taken on November 9th.

Breakfast buffet.


Views and scenery around hotel.


We had heard that some of our fellow travellers had a successful day shopping while we were batiking. So we copied their lead and hired a taxi to take six of us down to the fabric shopping district. The taxi would then stay with us while we shopped – we basically hired the taxi for the day.

We started at Maju’s as they were opening their doors as we arrived.m

The other group started at CV Dewi’s an then arrived at Maju’s when were just about to leave.  Both stores had beautiful batiks by the metre – each about $2.50 or $2.60 Canadian.  As well as Fat Quarter bundles, jelly rolls and layer cakes.

The parking by these stores was a sight to see – luckily there was a parking attendent as at times they were blocked.  When we went to leave there was a car parked right in front of us.  They just pushed it out of the way!

Start the car!

We had enough by now (most of us – Shelley returned another time with other die hard shoppers!)

My finds!

Back to our hotel to relax, swim, have massages and pack ready to switch hotels.




Another great day!

November 8, 2017

Batik Making Lesson

Discover all things Batik during this half day excursion in Ubud. Get an insight into this ancient technique of applying patterns with different colors to a piece of cloth through one day of practice and take your new traditional skill home with you.

Pick up at your hotel by our guide and drive towards Ubud to arrive at Nirvana Batik Center, home to the internationally recognized Batik artist, I Nyoman Suradnya.

The class starts with a brief history of Batik, learn the interesting fact of where this form of art originally came from and its evolution in Bali.

Next, you will be introduced to the materials and tools used to accomplish the creative steps before being guided to try the different techniques of Batik making; applying the wax with a canting and or brush followed by the dyeing process of 3 to 4 different colors to get the wanted result. Final step is to remove the wax and apply some final touches to your own Batik creation. Lunch is at leisure before transfer back to your hotel.

Shelley and I started the day walking along the beach and capturing some very pretty sunrise pictures.

IMG_3118After breakfast we headed to our Batik making session at Nirvana in Ubud.  We had been divided into three groups so that we had a manageable group and to be able to get better one on one instruction. We were the first group to go .

Through a narrow passageway

To a small oasis amidst the hustle and bustle we have become used to.  Open workshops with tile, stone and plants.

As I have no artistic skills I was a little concerned about how I would accomplish anything worth hanging during this session.  However there was a wonderful artist I Nyoman Suranya who was ready to do a pencil drawing for any of us that needed. I asked him to combine a sunrise picture I had taken that morning with a scene including mountains and rice fields etc.  I was happy with the results.

After a few practice runs, we started the process by adding beeswax outlines over the pencil drawing. This would then resist the dyes and colour added and stay white in the final product.  The wax was melted in small pots beside each of us and was very hot.  It was applied in a tool called a Tjanting.  You have to work fairly quickly with the hot wax as it starts to cool immediately and thus hardens.

Once the guides were sure there was enough wax in our outlines we added paraffin wax with a brush anywhere we wanted crackle with no added colour (my sky).



Next step is to add colour.


If you wanted some of your coloured sections crackled you add a layer of paraffin wax over the section and then distress that.

Then the fabric is added to a dye bath and fixatives before putting in boiling water to remove the wax

I have to thank this young man for the vibrant colour combinations in my batik.  He did a great job.


Once we were done they had lunch ready for us and the second batik group arrived for their lunch too and then ready to have their lesson.

Our final creations from the first group.


Second group from afternoon.


Third group from November 13th.  I hunted and creeped to try to find this picture as I am sure I have seen one but had no luck.  If anyone is willing to share I will add.

After a great morning we headed back to our hotel with a quick stop on the way back to look for Batik fabrics.  We found beautiful fabrics but still not what we are looking for to sew with.

We were back at the hotel in time for some beach and swimming time before heading for supper.

To go across the street in front of our hotel to where the restaurants were was an interesting feat.  There was a security guard who would help by blowing his whistle, waving his baton and stopping the traffic.  We really appreciated his help.

November 7, 2017

Threads of Life

In line with the efforts to revitalize Indonesian’s traditional techniques of textile weaving; Threads of Life, one of Ubud’s textile galleries presents two insightful classes showcasing the roles of fabrics in local cultures.

Pick up from your hotel to Threads of Life gallery. Discover a little bit of the gallery collection as you are waiting for the class to start.

At 10:00 hrs, it is time to gather and explore the history and traditional uses of textile in Bali and Indonesia in general. Find out how the trading activities influences the indigenous motifs; a portraits of the country cultural evolution.

Learn more about Bali’s fabrics. Conclude the day with lunch at a local restaurant and transfer back to your hotel.

It was another interesting walk to get to our destination as the bus couldn’t take us right to the door as the streets are too narrow.


William Ingram – one of founders of Threads of Life gave us a fascinating talk on the history and origins of textiles in Indonesia.

William also gave us some insight into life in Bali from a non-Balinese perspective.

As well as information on ikat weaving. This a process where both the warp and the weft threads may be dyed using resist processes.


We then went for lunch in another open air restaurant.  This time we had a set meal of mushroom soup followed by a meal with duck.

We were once again right beside the rice paddies.

We stopped at a large souvenir shop with lots of interesting finds.

We also stopped at a silver factory.


A stop at a beautiful orchid garden.



Stone carving in one of the car parks

Once again time for a swim. Supper off resort and a little shopping in a local supermarket/convenience store.


November 6, 2017

Another early morning start we are ready for our day!

Cooking Class by Anika

Learn the techniques and become familiar with the fresh herbs, spices, and other ingredients that make Balinese food delightfully tasty as well as nutritious and cleansing.

Begin with early morning visit to traditional market.

This lady was selling the offerings made by the Balinese Hindu each day.  They each contain several components including a flower, money, food, and usually incense.  Many Balinese spend quite a time during their day making these offerings but we also saw them ready made in several places.

This young man Tommy toured us through the market and stopped and pointed out several interesting things.  The market was quite a shock to some – if you have never seen meat being sold uncovered with no refrigeration etc.

Here he is with the lady that started this market with her husband many years ago.  On this day she made good sales of mortar and pestles made of volanic rock.  Mine will add a lot of weight to my suitcase but will make a great useful souvenir.  Luckily it isn’t as big as the ones we used in our cooking class.


This was in a very busy area of Bali and so even getting to the market was an adventure!

 Then through demonstration and hands-on experience, you will learn to prepare lunch on an assortment of exquisite dishes, from satay and grilled fish and curries to black rice pudding dessert. With the assistance of the professional cooking teachers, prepare a complete menu based on regional recipes- nine main dishes and dessert, followed by lunch based on the prepared dishes, accompanied by traditional drink (Hibiscus Tea and Balinese Rice Wine).

We headed back to Anika’s ready for our lessons. First we had a snack of fruit and a tasty rice pudding with coconut and a corn dish.

Then all the different spices and vegetables were explained. We were given demos on how to use their large pestle and mortar to make or own fresh mix of spices.

We were divide up into three groups each at a table with a cook station.  Each table would be making about 9 dishes.  The vegetables for each dish were on a separate plate.

 First we chopped.



Then we used the mortar and pestle to grind and mix.


Then mix, assemble, wrap in banana leaf etc


And cook.


Presentation is important!


All our dishes – Satay manis (Beef satay), Pepes ikan (fish in banana leaves), Kare ayam (chicken curry), Kangkung pelecing(spinach with tomato salad), Gado gado (vegetables in peanut sauce) Nasi goreing (fried rice) Acar (carrot and cucumber salad)

Sadly I found most of these dishes to spicy for me. If I was cooking them again I would cut back on the chilies.

They also made us desert – Bubur injin (black rice pudding)  and Dadar unti (green pancakes with coconut filling) both very tasty (no chilies!)


Enjoy your 90 minutes massage in the afternoon.

The afternoon started with a foot bath and massage.

Followed by a full body massage.

November 5, 2017

The Beauty of Kintamani

This tour gives you a fantastic introduction to the best Bali has to offer; from stunning views of lakes and volcanoes, to traditional dances and intricate Balinese artwork. Taking in highland adventures and lowland villages, the Beauty of Kintamani tour will provide a cross section of all that is beautiful about Bali.

Bali is famous for its traditional dances. One of them is the famous Barong & Keris Dance telling a story from the ancient Ramayana Epic. Our first stop during this tour is to enjoy the beauty and gracefullness of the skillful Balinese dancers. The dance expresses the eternal fight between good and evil spirits and ends with the magical Keris (dagger) dance.

They had a troupe of men playing for the dance.

Then we will proceed to the Village of Kemenuh to visit the talented Balinese woodcarving artists in their traditional workshops. You will see how they carve beautiful statues and works of art from a single block of wood.

Sudiana explaining the process and telling us about some of the different kinds of wood. Crocodile wood was an interesting one it has the bumpy bark you see in the picture of a tree.

Inside the store before I realized the signs said no pictures.

The journey then continues to Kintamani to view the breathtaking Lake Batur and the active volcano called Mount Batur (1,730 meters). 


Here is an opportunity for you to have lunch with an amazing view. 

Our view was not as amazing as it would have been on a clear day but still an awesome sight.  Less fog and rain would have been better.  Here we were recommended to try the pumpkin soup and the black rice pudding.


Our next destination is Tampaksiring, Tirta Empul temple, ‘The Fountain of Youth” and Holy Spring.

Again we had to wear sarongs to enter the temple so some borrowed from the Sarong counter.  They had green ones if you were entering the Holy Spring.

The temple compound consists of a petirtaan or bathing structure, famous for its holy spring water, where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. The temple pond has a spring which gives out fresh water regularly, which Balinese Hindus consider to be holy or amritha.



Above the temple up the following stairs is The Tampaksiring Palace one of 6  Presidential Palaces of Indonesia.



When we went to leave I was surprised (I am not sure why as seems typical) that we had to pass through a very winding path through many tourist market stalls.


Our last stop for the day was to a coffee plantation. There were also many other plant species.  Including some we had learned about since our arrival in Bali.

Another wonderful view and here we got to sample many kinds of tea and coffee.  These samples were free.  This is also one of the places where you could taste the famous Luwak Coffee.  Luwak is the Indonesian name for the Asian Palm Civet(kind of cat).  Another name for Luwak coffee is cat poop coffee as it includes part-digested coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the the Luwak.  So of course we paid to have a cup brewed for us to share.  It was an interesting way to brew too.

Brewing the Luwak coffee.

We headed back to the hotel and decided to check out one the restaurants across from our hotel. The even had live entertainment singing songs we all knew. It was a great end to another good day.