real life

TRAVEL: Bali. My own Eat Pray Love journey


“Are you free for four days?  I want you to go to Bali and write about the experience …”

It was the type of question I dream about being asked. The chance to do my own mini Eat Pray Love adventure!  And so 10 days later my suitcase was packed with shorts and sarongs and I was in a cab and on my way to the airport to meet my eight fellow traveling companions to road test a Bali adventure.

A mere six hours later and we were at Denpasar Airport.  Now you can forget long queues at passport control. When we disembarked, we were met by a representative from Creative Holidays who told us to bypass the throngs of people and meet him at the front of the Customs line!

This is a VIP service that Creative Holidays offers … for $38/adult (less for kids), they will take care of your visa on arrival (which can only be done at this end and must be paid in US Dollars only) and Immigration formalities. The visa fee is an extra $25 per person. The process, if done on your own, can take hours, so this is well worth the nominal charge.

Our first night in Bali was spent at the Laguna in Nusa Dua. My favourite part was that the pool was accessible from my balcony!

My first morning in Bali was spent having a walk on the beach and a leisurely breakfast before we were on the bus and headed to Como Shambhala in Ubud – a wellness retreat just a two-hour drive away.

We were met at Como Shambhala and whisked away to the restaurant where we had THE most wonderful lunch. Their food is exactly what I love: fresh, healthy and simple but very tasty.

We were treated to a massage after lunch, and then I was shown to my villa (Hello? I could get used to this life VERY easily!)

It was beautiful. A huge room with high ceilings and an outdoor bath, which I decided I should immediately try out.


I didn’t have long to laze around. Before I knew it, it was time to go to the Elephant Safari Park for dinner. Some of the group were staying there and had been hanging with the pachyderms while I was hanging in my tub. Initially I was dismayed to see the elephants were chained but it was quickly explained to me that this was only during the elephants’ meal times.  Who knew elephants grappled with food envy? Apparently they get a tad violent if they think their food is being compromised. All the elephants at the park have been rescued from Sumatra where they were used for logging and treated brutally. So this new life for them is wonderful. The males even have their tusks, which is something you don’t see often anymore.


I was excited the following morning to be able to watch monkeys bickering over coconuts while I was eating breakfast in the restaurant at Como Shambhala. It really added to my Bali experience. Apparently the monkeys also fight over the white mangoes when the fruit starts to ferment … also known as drunken monkeys!

Seminyak was our final port of call. We arrived at our hotel, The Seminyak, another divine hotel with gorgeous villas and – again – our own private pools.  We had just enough time to shower and then it was off to a fabulous dinner next door at the Legian.

Little did I know that our final day in Bali would provide the most memorable experience. – we spent the afternoon at Bali Kids.

Bali Kids was set up in 2005 to provide clinic, health and education to the thousands of disadvantaged kids in Bali, many of whom are orphaned and have HIV, Tuberculosis or other serious health concerns. They have outgrown their present facility and are in the process of building a new one. Creative Holidays is a huge supporter of the project having made significant and ongoing donations to the new property. My heart melted when we met the kids. They’re so young and their stories are pretty horrendous, but they were still smiling. Still so full of joy.

The next day we were back at the airport preparing to fly back to our real lives.  But my trip to Bali was pure magic … Elizabeth “Eat Pray Love” Gilbert would have been proud.

Nicky was a guest of Creative Holidays.

Have you been to Bali? What did you love about it?

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