I had come to Bali second time around, not to experience the upbeat and frenetic pace of Kuta or Legian, but to completely relax at a resort located in Tanah Lot around 23 kms from Kuta. My aim was to cleanse my body, clear my mind and reinvigorate my soul, after having a busy year to date. Sounds cliche I know! But seriously this body needed some respite!
There was no better place to do this than at the Pan Pacific Nirwana Resort located in Tanah Lot, Tabanan adjoining the famous ‘Sea Temple of The Earth’ – Pura Tanah Lot, constructed on a large rock jutting out into the Indian Ocean, paying homage to the guardian spirits of the sea. You can simply sit at one of the many prime locations at the resort and soak in the majestic views of this temple with the sunset being the most spectacular.
Of course we know that ‘nirwana’ or ‘nirvana’ is a Buddhist word that means “an ideal condition of rest, harmony, stability, or joy” – right? If this is what you are after during your holiday then the Pan Pacific Resort is the perfect sanctuary to relax and unwind completely.
I’m talking five star luxury at this resort! It is located over a sprawling area that encompasses an 18 hole championship golf course featuring some of the most scenic ocean views, three restaurants, four pool areas with play areas for the kids and adults – such as basketball, volleyball, water slides and floating toys.
Bales or cabanas are located around the pool areas and by the seaside that you can reserve for a romantic dinner for two, if you are feeling that way inclined. There is a kids club, day spa, two tennis courts, extensive pathways for walking or cycling, cycle hire, a Sunset Bar, library, gym and a couple of shops.
In addition to the above the Pan Pacific Nirwana offers seven unforgettable ‘nirwana’ experiences during your stay, called the 7 Secrets of Nirwana:
Out of the seven experiences I was fortunate to be part of the baby turtle adoption and release program which I have to say was awesome. After a quick traditional Hindu blessing and a couple of photos, my Olive Ridley turtle, who I called Tommy, made his way safely down the black sandy beach until he was swept up by a wave and taken out to sea. Bon voyage Tommy!
Our days here passed quickly in a haze – sweating in the heat and breathing in the thick humid air, dipping in and out of the pool in an abandoned way, eating healthy Indonesian food and a large variety of local fruits, sipping sweet and sickly cocktails at happy hour at the pool bar and strolling around the undulating terrain around the grounds of the resort, sometimes walking across to Tanah Lot Temple to watch the sunset. I felt completely at peace after a few days of this.
Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most photographed and sketched temples in all of Asia. From your clifftop aspect you can watch the hypnotic sunset of this oddly shaped rock silhouetted against an orange-ade sky. Otherwise you can walk along the black volcanic rocky shores at low tide beside the temple – but beware there are scores of poisonous snakes (ular suci) sleeping in sandy holes just above the waterline along the beach. This fact I only learned after I had walked along that beach!
Bali does possess some of the most picturesque temples in South East Asia. If you have more time in Bali there are 20,000 temples to see on this Indonesian island paradise.
The resort provides a free daily shuttle bus service into Kuta and Seminyak that gave us enough time to walk around, stroll on the beach at Kuta, do a little shopping or pamper ourselves with a cheap massage or manicure/pedicure.
My husband had last been to Bali in 1980 with surf club friends and had his photo taken in front of the Kuta Beach Club with a mate who has since passed, so we were trying to find this building without success. This photo had to suffice.
From the resort you are able to hire a driver to take you to Ubud or elsewhere on the island for the day for around $40, depending on the distance.
The Ubud area is around 200 – 300 hundred metres above sea level and surrounded by terraced rice fields, which makes it noticeably cooler than the other tourist destinations in Bali.
The centre for Balinese Arts, Ubud is where artisans and craftsmen create their magnificent pieces of art. You will find an entire area dedicated to factories where craftsmen turn slabs of timber into furniture and housewares – all ornately hand-carved. There are also factories where stone is sculptured into beautiful Hindu-inspired Balinese statues and figurines.
Strolling around the town centre you will find hundreds of shops selling antiques, woodcarvings, crafts, textiles, paintings and jewellery as well as some of the best art museums in the country, dozens of art studios, an excellent local craft market and galleries.
One of Ubud’s most popular attractions is Ubud Monkey Forest, also known as the Sacred Monkey Forest of Padangtegal; a natural forest sanctuary that is home to a horde of grey long-tailed macaques. There are also beautiful ancient temples with guardian statues covered in moss throughout the forest.
Just a hop away from the Ubud Art Market is the palace of the Ubud royal family, referred to as Puri Saren Agung. The Ubud Royal Palace is one of the most prominent places in Ubud.
Kintamani volcano or Mount Batur, is a popular sightseeing destination in Bali’s central highlands. The magnificent views of the Batur caldera lake serves as the main attraction, surrounded by the captivating Mount Batur range.
We set off on a day trip to this area, on a sometimes hair-raising, 40 km downhill bike ride tour beginning at Kintamani Volcano and ending in Ubud. After around 2.5 hours drive into the centre of the island in the Bangli District you are treated to breakfast and then it is another 2.5 hours downhill through rice paddies, vegetable farms, tropical rainforest and small villages.
The tour includes a short walk into rice paddies where you can experience first hand what it is like to grow, harvest and process rice. Plus you are introduced to a coffee plantation and some of the magic plants they have in Bali. At the end of the tour, with a sore rear end and legs like jelly, you are treated to a traditional luncheon in a Balinese home in Ubud.
Eight days was the perfect length of time to spend at Tanah Lot. I certainly saw a very different side to Bali than my previous visit – far removed from the busy tourist centre. I was completely relaxed and in tune with Bali – this beautiful peaceful country full of delightful Balinese people, Hindu Temples, rich green rice fields and a nice laid back atmosphere. It was with a heavy heart that I had to say Selamat tinggal (goodbye) to this place of reawakening.
If you’re looking at coming to Bali and not sure where to stay, check out A Guide to the Best Locations to Stay in Bali
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 4 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now 60. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Gold Coast in Queensland. She enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, movies, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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merry christmas 2017