A frequent flier's views on flying and travel

7 days in Bali

Seven Days in Bali – a Photo odyssey.

This trip originated as a spontaneous idea suggested by my friend Jessica after a dinner we had in Malibu, and it ended up as 3 of us, (Jessica, Breanna, and myself) spending 7 fun packed and busy days in 2 locations on the island of Bali. We basically tried everything we could think of in those 7 days, including white water rafting, hiking a volcano, riding an ATV thru the jungle, massages, a yoga retreat, horseback riding on a beach, swimming under waterfalls, going to hot springs, a Balinese cooking class, sampling local markets, henna tattoos, fine dining, local dining, and yeah… some pool and beach lounging too.

So here goes…

Arrival day, we all land in Bali to one of the coolest “Welcome signs” ever;


Arrival area, Denpasar (DPS) airport, Bali

Followed by what ended up as a 2 hr drive on typically tight rural Asian roads to the Chapung Sebali resort property, near the central Bali city of Ubud. Note – everywhere we went in central Bali involved walking, usually steep, often a lot of stairs, and most of central Bali is definitely NOT handicapped accessible.

Chapung Sebali (Chapung link) is simply breathtaking. It is carved into a hillside over a river valley, and we had our own private villa there, with two incredible bedrooms (each in their own structure, with their own bathrooms), our own private pool, and a private lounge area with a mini bar & extra tables.

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The grounds at Chapung Sebali resort


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Typical view walking around the property…


One of the 2 bedrooms in our villa (photo Bree Watkins)


Our own lounge, with its own bar and dining table (photo Bree Watkins)

And our private and secluded pool (perfect if you feel the need to go skinny dipping…)


A private pool for just our villa

Arriving in Bali involved about 30 hours of travel, so after unpacking, we spent some time in our own pool relaxing, took FULL advantage of the free 30 minute “welcome” massage they offered us, and ate a wonderful meal (split 3 different dishes between us) at the resort restaurant, Di Abing, with a million dollar view.


Table and a view – an everyday event at Chapung

Nothing special, because every table at Di Abing has a view like this

And from there to bed – we all needed sleep.

Day 1 in Bali, up at dawn, to watch one of many wonderful sunrises.

03_10 ChapungSebali 1

The main hotel pool at sunrise

Followed by the ladies doing an early morning yoga and workout while I lounged at the pool.


Very nice exercise room, right by the hot tub, with massages in a room underneath. (photo Bree Watkins)


Morning sunrise Yoga (photo Bree Watkins)

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Breakfast table view, for real… This place is stunning

After breakfast (included in room rate), we had a driver hired for the day and started on a tour of the Ubud area. First stop was the Angseri hot springs – where we also found a surprisingly wonderful waterfall to swim under.

03_10 Angseri 1

The unpublished (?) secret waterfall you can swim under at Angseri hot springs


In the hot spring, looking at the waterfall, and living in heaven

Leaving the hot springs, we headed for the Jatiluwih rice terraces for some of what we later learned was going to be ‘typical’ Balinese upland scenery. However, for sheer impact and range of vision, the Jatiluwih terraces were unsurpassed.

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One of our first views of the Jatiluwih rice terraces. Layers in a green cake.

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Just truly beautiful. And so ‘typical’ of upland Bali

The colors, this vibrant green, the textures, an amazing beauty is everywhere.

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My favorite garden gnome at Jatiluwih

A bit further up the road, lake Bratan and the very impressive Ulun Danu Bratan temple complex, spread out on acres of land beside the lake. Admission is inexpensive, but this is a Balinese temple, so all visitors are required to keep their shoulders covered, to dress respectfully.


Like a missing scene from Star Wars, the battle of the green light-saber umbrellas…

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Dragons! And Panthers! And Tigers! Oh My !!!


Once Bali grabs you, it may be permanent

Next stop, was unexpected and unplanned, a walk-thru area with wild swings built out over the jungle, woven love nests, and even more waterfalls. Desa Wanagiri

03_10 Desa Wanagiri

Just one of the Desa Wanagiri waterfalls


One of many platforms and view areas


2 pretty butterflies share a jungle swing

Another of the birthday surprises staged that week for Jessica; The hotel staff secretly inflated a bunch of glow in the dark balloons and slipped them into the bedroom…


Not just balloons – these glowed in the dark!

And to cap off the day, once we returned to Chabung Sebali, a dip in the hot tub, and we finished the day as 3 friends sharing 3 glasses of wine.


On Day 2, we started early because Jessica had heard about sunrise at the nearby Tegallalang rice fields. Got up early, and glad we went, but not really what we had expected. Honestly, we found better views just ‘at random’, but this location is well known because (for a fee) you can actually walk around the rice. We didn’t…

However our trip to Tagallalang worked out great, because on the way back we passed a local market, only open 7 AM – 10 AM, that was preparing for a temple holiday the next day, so everyone was out selling flowers, fruit, and preparing small offerings. We spent a wonderful hour there, everyone was super friendly, and the ladies got to taste jack-fruit, durian, rambutan, and dragon-fruit for the first time.

(all 4 of these photos by  Bree Watkins)

Breanna and I then headed out to go ATV riding with “Jungle Buggies” on their really TIGHT and TWISTY and EXCITING jungle course (3 laps, each lap 4.5 km) which was an absolute blast, and it included a lunch and access to the Koko Bambu resort property and pool.

Probably should mention that Bree is a professional stunt woman (ie: Hollywood), so she drove, and she had that ATV up on 2 wheels and airborne. I basically just held on for dear life… I may have screamed. A bit… lol


Breanna in control (hold on tight!)

While we were roughing it in the jungle, Jessica headed off to the Yoga Barn for a session of pranayama (breath control yoga) carefully watched over by a benevolent Yoda, followed by a massage and spa treatment at the Zen Bali spa.


Yoda in the garden (photo by Jess Lipowski)

(all 3 photos by Jess Lipowski)

All of us got back together and headed out for the evening for a cooking class (with about 10 other people) at the Paon Bali cooking school, where we jointly made a variety of Balinese dishes, from soup, to appetizers, to main course to dessert. Everyone had a blast, the sunset was spectacular, and we all left totally full!

Day 3 was our longest, strangest, and probably most fun experience in Bali, starting with waking up at 2:30 AM for a 3 AM departure and the hour long ride to Mt. Batur and a dawn volcano hike. Hike up the side of a 1,700 m (5,600 ft) volcano, in the dark, on a narrow steep trail, using flashlights, just to see the sunrise up top…  Oh My God !!! It was worth it. Just take care with/around the monkeys!! They are little thieves!!


Sunrise at 5 AM from the slope of Mt Batur


After all that exercise (it is about a 4 hour hike up and down Mt. Batur) we stopped at a local coffee shop for a really interesting coffee tasting session. Roughly a dozen different teas and coffees were shared and enjoyed by all of us. Have to admit, my favorite was not a coffee, for me it was their sweet and hot ginger tea. Clears your head right up.


A selection of different teas and coffees

Our next adventure started right after lunch, white water river rafting down the Ayung river. The walk down to (and back up) from the river is long, but the river was perfect. A nice mix of Cat 1-2 rapids, the water is warm, there are just a few short calm stretches, and it was perfectly fun for anyone aged 6 to 80. During the rafting, there was one place where the guide drove our raft directly under where a 20 or 30 ft waterfall cascaded in from a side canyon. Hey, we were all already wet anyways, and what a rush!! Sorry but no pictures of that…

That evening we headed to downtown Ubud to watch the local cultural dance troupe perform at the palace, followed by a really super tasty Balinese meal at Coco’s featuring a ‘tasting menu’ (“Rijsstafel”, or Rice Table) of about a dozen different local dishes.


Rijsstafel (“Rice table”) sampling platter at Coco’s in Ubud (photo by Bree Watkins)

That was a long day… Out by 3 AM and back to our villa sometime after 10PM…

Our 4th day in Bali was our last in Ubud, as we were going to have to check out and head south to the Canggu area. But instead of driving straight there, we hired a driver to do more touring around Ubud, along the general path down to Canggu. So the day started with our last (and most amazing) sunrise at Chapung, then a nice breakfast, a drive to a bamboo forest, a stop for Lawak coffee, and a visit to a wood carving shop. Then finally on to our new destination, the amazing Villa Tirtu in Canggu.

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Chapung Sebali breakfasts – amazing views (the fruit is snake-fruit, very tasty)

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White orchids, poolside, Chapung Sebali


The poolside view from our new place, Villa Tirtu in Canggu

My impression was that if Chapung was Olympus, then Villa Tirtu in Canggu was Eden.

Day 5, our first full day in Canggu, started out rainy, so we focused on some stay at home activities that day, which started when we hired two masseuses to come to the villa and give all of us amazing massages. About $100 US ($35 each) for 6 hours total for 3 of us.

Wow. Actually Wow is an inadequate word, and they have not yet invented the word that conveys the sense of relaxation and comfort achieved after a long Balinese massage with warm oils, soft jazz playing, while enormous tropical raindrops are hitting the roof of the villa.

The rest of the day we did a bit of local shopping, ate locally for lunch, rode the mopeds provided by our host, played cards, listened to music, talked and laughed, and mostly lounged around at our private pool just stunned by the view.


Our poolside view, Villa Tirtu

Bree put together yet another birthday surprise for Jessica that night. An impromptu votive Balinese offering involving an orange, some candles and flowers, skittles, and some gummy-bears and a birthday card I had brought from the States.


Happy Birthday again to Jessica (photo by Bree Watkins)

What a way to end the night. Thanks for organizing this Bree !

The next morning, Day 6, was our last full day in Bali and with our batteries fully recharged we set out with a driver for a full day of exploring and adventuring in the Canggu and beach area. First things first, an hour long horseback ride along a Balinese beach. Oh Yeah. Do it.


Thanks to Tarukan equestrian center, Canguu Bali

We also drove by (and to) and checked out some of the high-priced (5-star) beach resorts in the Kuta area that are popular with the cruise ships. OK, we were not impressed, and our driver ended up taking us to a really nice and quiet rather secluded beach area known as Geger. Not crowded at all, lots of beach chairs, umbrellas for shade, and several small bars and restaurants. We ended up spending the entire afternoon enjoying the sea, sand, sun, and maybe a few tropical drinks on a section of Geger beach that we basically had to ourselves.


Beach drinking, Geger beach Bali

Then a change of clothes to something more appropriate as we were headed to the world famous Uluwatu temple complex to walk around, and to enjoy the Balinese Fire-dance spectacular that they put on every night at sunset… What a wow ! Not just the sunset – the performance, and the temple grounds too. A triple play of WOW.  Again, proper dress is mandatory, this is a religious temple site.

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Before the sunset, at Uluwatu temple


The middle of the actual Fire Dance, Uluwatu

But still we were not done! That night we celebrated our last dinner in Bali with a 4-star charcoal grilled seafood dinner on the beach in Jimbaran, complete with surf, moonlight, fireworks, & a birthday celebration involving spraying each other with the 3 cans of ‘silly string’ that Breanna had brought with her all the way from Vancouver BC. Now THAT is planning! Yes, everyone was watching us, laughing with us, and we sure had fun.


Silly string, silly friends, serious fun

Day 7 and we wake up realizing… Oh No!! Our last day in Bali is today! Bree and I were up very early, drinking coffee, and watching the sunrise over the rice fields. I joked about the old poster “Expose yourself to Ireland” where the guy has his back to the camera and his raincoat open.

Expose Ireland

Well, she decided we needed to replicate it…


Expose yourself…. To Bali

And with that –  the end of the trip approached. A noon flight out of Bali, a 20 hour stopover in Singapore (had to have some chili crab) and then back home for all of us to Vancouver, LA, and Houston.

But WOW, what a trip!


Flying home, non-stop SIN LAX on United Polaris in a B787


3 friends, 3 hands, one grasp. Friends forever… Bali 2018


This Bali memory will never fade. 3 friends together…

PS: More Bali photographs are on my photography web site at RoehrPhotography


4 comments on “7 days in Bali

  1. Sounds like you had a fabulous time in Bali Jeff! I can’t wait to get there myself at some point. Chapung Sebali really does look stunning! Pretty good spot to relax after 30 hours – crazy amount of travel! Jatiluwih rice terraces are on my bucketlist – something I really want to see at some stage. They look so lush too 🙂 I would totally put that garden gnome at Jatiluwih in my yard!

    Lol and you can’t say that you get to go ATV flying with a professional Hollywood stunt woman everyday right :D!

    I’m personally not a morning person, and it takes something VERY special to get me up before the sunrises, but sunrise at Mt Batur seems worthy 😀 Christ though those monkeys really do look crazy!

    What an awesome trip 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • jlroehr
      April 3, 2018

      Truly was amazing Megan, and you have got to get there!!! Highest possible marks for Chapung Sebali, but what we heard was that there are many equivalent places in the uplands of central Bali. Next time, for sure (!) will be exploring further west, even farther from Kuta and the airport. Plan on a week minimum, if you are as busy as we were. 10 days probably ideal.


  2. capnaux
    April 5, 2018

    OMG what a fabulous trip, especially for birthday girl! Man, it must have seemed to last about 48 hours to you! Have to say, my favorite is the Yoda statue. Caught me completely by surprise! 😀


    • jlroehr
      April 6, 2018

      Have to thank Jess for the Yoda, yes quite the surprise (she took that picture during her pranayama breathing yoga class). But Star Wars was a recurring theme with all of us, the island was so amazingly “out of this world” beautiful.


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