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Two Weeks in Bali 

I was lucky enough to live in Bali for an entire school year while my kids attended Green School. But now I find it kind of hard to write about Bali. It almost feels like an amazing love affair that I had, but we broke up for long distance reasons. I will always have a special place in my heart for this time and place, as it was probably one of the most profound periods of my life. It was incredibly scary and daunting at first. I was forced out of my introverted shell to make a whole set of new friends. I learned to let my kids go and enjoy their lives without me micromanaging and fretting about every detail. I learned about different religions and ideas and reconnected with nature in a way that filled a hole in my heart that I didn't know I had. I braved countless mosquito attacks and calmly removed gigantic bugs from the house back into the air. I learned to ride a scooter like a local- complete with sweeping down the crowded streets on the sidewalk. I watched countless beautiful sunsets and chanted with the full moon. There are so many things- tiny little moments- that I bet I've already forgotten, like how the water doesn't turn on when the power is out. And the power is out a lot. Bali has a caste system, so it would be hard to forget my favorite people's names... Kadek and Ketut and Kadek and Ketut and Wayan and Made and Putu and Wayan. 

I am hopeful that I can go back to visit soon, but in the meantime I am going to write my perfect 2 week itinerary that I've sent to numerous people who've been planning trips to Bali. 

First stop, Ubud

Ubud is definitely the cultural center of Bali. It is very developed with tons of shops and restaurants, a lot of award-winning 5 star hotels, yoga classes and everything in between. In addition to the modern amenities, there are a lot of traditional experiences and sights worth seeing in and around Ubud.

Things we loved

  • Tirta Empul Temple. This Hindu Balinese water temple is not only beautiful, but also such a unique place to experience. It is famous for its holy spring water, where Balinese Hindus go to for ritual purification. I had the good fortune of going with a local who led me through the different steps of the process. I highly recommend finding a guide so that you know what to do and why you're doing it. 

  • Campuhan Ridge Walk. This easy walk is right off the main road in Ubud. It is a lovely walk early in the morning. 

  • Monkey Forest Road is the main drag in downtown Ubud. It can be very crowded at times, but you can pop in and out of a lot of different temples and/ or shops. If you continue walking you will get to the Monkey Forestwhich is my idea of hell on earth (lots of aggressive monkeys used to tourists) but to each their own. 

  • Green School and Green Village Tour. I took these two tours before we moved to Bali and was so impressed with both the school and the community of bamboo houses that make up the Green Village. You can easily do both in a morning. If you go to the school with your kids, then be prepared to pack up and move to Bali. 

  • Rice Fields: Tegalalang Rice Field is closest to Ubud, but also to more touristy option. It is beautiful and great if you're pressed for time. They have the Insta-famous swings where you can soar over the rice fields for the perfect photo op. The one we really loved was Jatiluwah Rice Fieldwhich is a UNESCO Heritage Sight. 

  • Pyramids of Chi is an incredible place for sound healing. Bali is ground zero for interesting experiences and I highly recommend indulging in all the offerings when you're here. Pyramids of Chi offer a lot of different experiences from group sound healing to special ceremonies. 

  • Gaya Ceramics is not only a beautiful shop for buying incredible ceramic pieces, but also a place where you can take classes. You will learn the basics and make many of your own wobbly bowls. 

  • New Earth Cooking offers an immersive experience in their jungle garden. The owner, Simon, is incredibly passionate about farming, nature and food. He is truly a gem and this class culminates with an amazing meal shared with all the members of the class. 

  • Threads of Life also offers a truly unique batik class. You will have a profound appreciation for the art form after creating your own indigo dyed piece. The lunch they serve is also delicious and you will love the whole experience. 

  • Yoga Barn is the local spot for all things self-care, from yoga classes to meditation and massage, to ecstatic dance. 

I'm sure there are a lot more interesting things to see and do, but this list will get you started. Here are a few shops worth going to when you're in the area: 

  • Ikat Batik. After doing your class at Threads of Life, you will be amazed at the offerings here. 

  • Cloth. This store could easily be in Los Angeles, except for the price tags. The array of pillows, blankets, and home goods are all so extraordinary that it's really hard to choose what to get. 

I didn't eat in Ubud nearly enough, so my list is limited, but here are a few good lunch places:

  • Warung Falafel. This little falafel stand has the most amazing pitas and homemade lemonade. 

  • Zest is the restaurant opened by Simon, of New Earth Cooking. The setting is gorgeous and the vegan food is so good. 

  • Alchemy. I ate here quite a few times. It is so nice to lounge around in this space and enjoy all of the amazing food and drinks they offer. 

  • Gaya. We ate a lot of this gelato, both in Ubud and Canggu. It's the perfect antidote for the heat.