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Bali /


Flying east from a New York February, Bali is an elemental shock. In the midst of its rainy season, the island is lush with green, muddy underfoot, and resplendent when golden light breaks through the quick storms.

We stayed in a lovely villa at the Alam Shanti Hotel, which serves delicious fruit smoothies and rice for breakfast.

The quickest way into town from the hotel is through the Sacred Monkey Forest, a huge nature preserve full of monkeys that are very used to humans - they will climb on you! When the park closed at night, we saw them trudging out the back for their commutes home.

At the end of the forest is Monkey Forest Road, a main thoroughfare full of shops and cafes, including Cafe Wayan, where we took a Balinese cooking class. 

One of the food highlights was Locavore, which serves a tasting menu (either omnivore or vegetarian) with course after course of amazingly inventive dishes. And then what seemed like 14 small desserts, all delicious. Reservations fill up months in advance, so be sure to book early.

Nearby is Folk Pool and Gardens, a restaurant and swim-up bar with private daybeds and a backyard party atmosphere.

On the other end of town, closer to the hotel, Mother is a great breakfast spot with wifi. It’s in a lovely neighborhood, with residential, flower-lined streets.

It’s worth it to hire a driver to see temples. Know that you’ll need to wear a sarong to enter any of the temple complexes.

Gunung Kawi Temple is accessed by going down (and later up) a long flight of stone steps. Don’t just go straight to the temple though – take a right down what feels like a secret pathway. You’ll pass a waterfall and some amazing views. And we didn’t pass a single person the whole way.

Tirta Empul Temple, built in 960 AD, is centered around a holy spring, and is a pilgrimage destination to bathe in the purifying waters. 

The iconic Tegalalang Rice Terrace is breathtaking for its sheer verticality. It’s especially gorgeous after the rain breaks, and slants of light hit the fields.


Signe Schloss 2019 — Brooklyn, New York