Celebrating Love in Bali

I just got back, about a week and a half ago, from my three week excursion to Bali  Indonesia, France and Italy ( post about Europe coming soon). It was my very first time in Indonesia, and Asia in general, and I had a blast! I was so humbled by the Indonesian people, their honesty, pure hearts and genuine smiles. Bali is an island located in the westernmost end of the Lesser Sunda Islands. It is the largest tourist destination in the country, popular for its expansive rice fields, unique temples and highly renowned arts (sculptures, paintings, music, etc.). While Bali was incredibly beautiful, with distinguishable architecture and breathtaking beaches and wildlife, the people are relatively poor making only about $150-$200 a month (and that’s with an education). However, their low standard of living was a striking contrast to their witty sense of humor, warm smiles and overall welcoming personalities. The Balinese people are very spiritual (about 90%  of the people practice Hinduism). They enjoy the simplicity in quiet living and are adamant in their belief to do what is right and treat others with the utmost respect and kindness.

I initially went to Bali to attend the wedding of my cousin’s boyfriend’s brother. They are Indian, and traditional celebrations are several days long (4 days in this case) ! Because I was only in Bali for  about 6 days it gave us an extra two days to sight see and familiarize ourselves with the island. It was not much time…  Nonetheless, I took every opportunity to explore. I hope to one day come back and check out all the sights and attractions that I missed on this trip.

Enjoy the below pics of the wedding, rice terraces, animal encounters and beaches and let me know what your thoughts are of the island =)

*All pictures are mine unless otherwise noted

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Experiencing an Indian Wedding in Indonesia

The first 6 pictures are of the resort, Ayodya, located in the province of Nusa Dua. This is where we stayed for the duration of the week and also where the wedding was held.

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The super intricate fountain that greets you when you first enter the resort
Hanging with some new friends at the pool
Hanging with some new friends at the pool!

The following pictures were from the first night of the wedding celebration. The set up was amazingly gorgeous with a traditional balinese temple, located near the beach at the resort, lit up vibrantly, and traditional balinese dancers to entertain guests. I was completely blown away.

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They even had live fire breathers/ dancers! it was crazy!

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Don't know where I was staring off into lol but with dome of the lovely ladies of the party
Don’t know where I was staring off into lol but with some of the lovely ladies of the party .. My apologies for the blurriness

The second night consisted of a beautiful outdoor set up complete with a DJ and dance floor, henna tattoo artists and  a table set up with an array of giveaways which included bangles, hand painted scarves, rings and cute indian wristlets.

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There were also women dressed in Balinese attire ready for guests to take pictures with them
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My fam and I!

The third night we were transported to another hotel about 30 mins away in which they provided a famous live Indian band ( that was super good, Btw!) stilt walkers, an impressive backdrop composed of real flowers and the most colorful ambiance I’ve ever seen in my life! I think this night was my absolute favorite.

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pic taken by my cousin, Daniela Camarena
pic taken by my cousin, Daniela Camarena, of the bride and groom

Lastly, the fourth night! The ceremony was held on the beach, followed by the reception in a beautifully lit white tent, fireworks, live singers, a DJ and stunning saris (traditional Indian garments) that were provided by the bride and groom for every guest.

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I was in love with my blue sari !
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My gorgeous cousin and I!

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Did i mention the groom arrived on a horse?? (lol who celebrates like this?!)

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In addition, the bride and groom hosted a mini “holi” festival. Holi is an ancient Hindu religious celebration  held annually in India.  The festival has many purposes, but it is primarily held to celebrate the beginning of spring. Everyone is given bright powered color and and it turns into an all out war, chucking color and water at anyone that comes your way! It was so much fun, and I was so glad I got to participate in such an awesome and  traditional event.

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pic taken by my cousin, Daniela Camarena
pic taken by my cousin, Daniela, of the bride and groom participating in an Indian wedding ceremony which involved the smearing of mud on their faces and bodies followed by water raining down on them to wash and clean their bodies

Hiking Through the Rice Terraces

After the wedding celebration, we tried to make as much of our two remaining days that we possibly could. The first thing we did was visit the Tegallalang rice terraces that are famous for their rice paddies and subak (traditional irrigation systems). We also met a girl that offered to take us hiking throughout the terraces for a small fee (deff worth the walk). It is a top tourist attraction on the island and a must see when visiting.  After the hike, we headed to the local town of Ubud to have dinner and do some souvenir shopping.

My cousin, her parents, my mom and I standing in front of the rice terraces
My cousin, her parents, my mom and I standing in front of the rice terraces

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a local friendly farmer that took pictures with tourists for a small fee

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Another local farmer enjoying a cigarette whilst checking out tourists lol.. i dunno why but I loved this pic
Another local farmer enjoying a cigarette whilst checking out tourists lol.. i dunno why but I love this pic

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Elephant Riding

The last day, I went elephant riding with some people from the hotel. This experience is probably, not only one of the coolest things I’ve ever done, but one of my favorite moments in my 22 years lol. When we first got there, the workers allowed us to take pictures and play with and feed the animals. They later rallied us up for our 30-45 min ride. The establishment in which we did this, The Elephant Safari Park Lodge, is actually a hotel. The tourists that stay overnight are able to watch the elephants roam while eating breakfast. They also have the opportunity to swim with the animals ( daily visitors did not have this privilege =( wommmp ) However, it does motivate me to consider staying here if I’m ever back on the island!

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My baby friend !

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As you can probably tell, the elephants were super friendly!!! I loved interacting with them, I wanted to take one home =) <3.

Another animal experience we had was walking through the monkey forest. In Bali, they have a park in which you pay a small fee to enter and walk around while wild monkeys roam around you. It is actually a little scary as you first walk in because the workers give you no information/ details on how you should handle/ encounter the monkeys. The only thing they tell you is to be careful with cameras, jewelry, glasses, hats, etc, (anything that can be easily taken off) because the monkeys can climb on top of you and steal your stuff! It was kind of crazy lol I wasn’t able to get too many pics because of this rule.

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One approached my uncle and pulled at his pants pocket thinking he had food
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So funny! Walked right past a monkey picking flees out of his friend’s butt! #noShame

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Enjoying the Balinese Waters

And lastly the ocean! Ahhh I could have probably stayed one more entire week and solely dedicated those 7 days to beach bumming it. The water was so refreshing . It was a turquoise/ greenish color, incredibly clean and slightly transparent. It was so nice to kick back and take a break from our hectic schedule to enjoy the natural beauty that was the ocean and take in the blessing of our surroundings. If anything, I truly wish I had more time to do this.

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Overall, I really enjoyed my time in Bali. I only wish the trip would have been longer! hah But I was ecstatic that I was able to experience such an amazing cultural event and also that I was able to explore a new place on a completely new continent. It was a rough time getting there (27 hours of flight time with transfers in Paris, Doha (Qatar), and Singapore) but deff worth the journey.  I recommend a visit to anyone who is eager to get away and relax or who isn’t afraid to get a little outdoorsy and participate in the various activities/ attractions that they offer (such as, surfing, elephant riding ;), temple tours, wilderness day hikes, etc. ).  The locals are incredibly peaceful and hospitable and enjoy showing tourists the beauty that  encompasses their home.

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Making our connecting flight in Paris to Qatar
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