Upon waking our first morning in Bali, I was both exhausted and yet, absolutely elated. WE WERE HERE! A dream of mine since I was 13 had finally come true!
Our bedroom was dark, with black-out curtains pulled across the French doors. I slipped between the curtains and slid the door open. And literally cried as the view met me.
If this is ALL we’d done in Bali, sat around this gorgeous villa with this amazing view of the fishing boats, drinking wine while floating in our amazing infinity pool, and having food delivered to us every meal, I would have been absolutely, completely content.
And we did this for the first few days as we fought off the jet lag and got back into a normal sleep routine. Eat, pool, nap, coffee, repeat.
By day 2 we were ready to venture out and start exploring.
The Stairway to Heaven was a short walk from our Villa, and attached to a tiny, remote and gorgeous beach.
On the 3rd day, we arranged for our driver, Robbie, to pick us up and take us out for the day to a few local attractions we wanted to see. We started the day at the Tirta Gangga Water Temple, about a 20 minute drive through gorgeous scenery.
This Water Temple was built for the royal family in the 40’s, and restores after some destruction in the 60’s due to an eruption from Mt. Agung. A place for the family to cool off and refresh themselves.
It was a warm day and being among the water was so refreshing, and the architecture was amazing.
On our way in was a family with a few captive pets: bats, a large anaconda, etc. For a few bucks, you could hold on to and hang out with them.
BUT, let me tell you - I LOVE BATS. Stellaluna was one of my favorite books growing up! This experience was truly another bucket-list one. I was so excited and nervous and happy and entranced. Here’s a video if it loving my natural-mosquito repellant bracelet, along with the owl, the iguana, the snake, and some sleepy civets.
After touring this gorgeous temple, we stopped at a local coffee grower and roaster called Tuna’s Bali Coffee, where we were given a tour of how they grow, roast and process their coffee.
We sat down for a sample of all of their coffees and teas, and ordered a cup of civet coffee, which they brew in an extra-fancy way.
Tuna's, little did I know AT THE TIME, is known for Kopi Lewak or civet coffee. Lewak coffee is considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, and is the most expensive coffee you can buy in the world. This coffee includes partially digested coffee cherries, eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet . Fermentation occurs as the cherries pass through a civet's intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected.
That’s not a problem when the animals are wild and their poop is collected from the forest floor. The problem is, like any industry, the animals are captured, kept in horrid conditions, and suffer high mortality rates. I didn’t know this until after we toured their facility, drank the coffee, and bought a bag. I literally was in tears after Googling it that night at the villa. I was imagining happy marsupials bouncing around from tree to tree, pooping naturally, and the owners of this company spending hours collecting the wild poop as they found it. Wrong.
So please, if you go to Bali or the Philippines, DO NOT buy civet coffee, don’t support the businesses that sell civet coffee, and if you hear anyone talking about civet coffee, ask if they understand the high price that was paid for their fancy coffee.
On our way home, we stopped for an early dinner at Bali Asli, an absolute foodie experience! Most of the food we ate was at local warungs, small, family run establishments that are really low-key. Bali Asli was high up in the mountains with a menu that was absolutely exceptional.
We ate like kings and slept like BABIES that night.
We tried to balance being busy tourists and also experiencing maximum relaxation. So if we had a busy day sightseeing, we followed it up with a relaxing day at the Villa, lounging around by the pool, and ordered food in.
Our Villa was so perfect, there really was NO need to go anywhere, but again, we were in gorgeous Eastern Bali, and there was a lot we did want to do and see: like snorkeling, Lempuyang Temple, hiking, jet-skiing and stand-up paddling in the ocean. But that’s for another post!