When you go back to a place you love, it’s quite easy to stick to what you know. For me, the ‘usual suspects’ in Bali are Ubud (for its beautiful temples and many traditional dances), Seminyak (for shopping and the best restaurants in Bali), Canggu (for surfing and partying) and Uluwatu (for its beautiful beaches and the laid back vibe). During my last trip to Bali, I visited Sidemen for the first time, which is in the east of Bali. Though Sidemen is beautiful and has prettier ricefields than, for example Ubud, it took me out of my comfort zone because it was not crowded with tourists and with things to do and sights to see. It got me thinking about visiting places in Bali that are overlooked by the crowd and I got in touch with Gabrielle Cepella, co-founder of Gemtrack.
Gemtrack is a team of passionate travelers who are on a mission of making slow & sustainable travel accessible to travelers from around the world. They have spent time living or traveling long-term in travel destinations like Bali, Lombok, Goa and Sri Lanka and can provide travelers with the best insider tips. Together with their team of explorers they have selected the most unique and memorable travel gems in each of their destinations. Based on my interests and previous experiences in Bali, they have created a custom made Slow Travel Plan for Bali. A Slow Travel plan by Gemtrack is a custom made travel plan and it includes a travel plan (a travel route, information about sustainability and community projects that you can visit) and a slow & sustainable travel guide.
In this guest blog for bali bliss, Gabrielle shares the Slow Travel Plan Gemtrack has created for me and the travel gems you too can experience in Bali.
Loraine’s Slow Travel Plan
Ever wondered what Loraine, the wonderful woman behind bali bliss, loves about Bali? And why she keeps coming back? We spoke to her about Bali and recommended three travel gems which we think she will love. At Gemtrack, this is what we do: we create custom made travel plans, based on the wishes of…the traveler!
Gemtrack: What do you love most about Bali?
Loraine: ‘Every time I come to Bali, I am amazed at how religion and spiritual practices are so intertwined with daily life. You see symbols of religion everywhere; in the shape of Hindu temples, offerings and flowers. To me it feels like religion is practiced from a place of pride and devotion. This is in contrast to the more restrictive religions you experience in the rest in Indonesia, for example in Sumatra and Java, where my family lives.’
Gemtrack: What is your travel style?
Loraine: ‘I love to immerse myself in the culture of a country. For example, in Bali I love going to a pasar malam (evening market), and having a chat with people I meet. I also love the Legong dance, I think Balinese dance is incredible and it has a special place in my heart. I used to do a lot of dancing when I was young. Three years ago, I actually took a traditional Balinese dance class for the first time. I was amazed at the complexity, but I had so much fun!’
Gemtrack: What place is still on your list to visit?
Loraine: ‘I’ve never been to the North of Bali, but it is very high on my list, since I love being in nature and especially… snorkeling! When I was in Flores, I’ve seen some of the most incredible marine life while snorkeling. I would love to do this again.’
What do we recommend?
Natural View House in Klungah (near Sidemen)
Run by a quirky, friendly Balinese family, Natural View House is their attempt to bring the best of Balinese nature and culture to travelers. Lisna, the mother of the household, gives cooking classes which begin with a walk through the local market and the farms, where you go to pick up fresh, local produce and then learn to make simple, homely Balinese dishes. Mirei, the little genius daughter will take you on long walks through the rice fields and introduce you to the village children.
She will tell you everything about what life in Bali is like!
Shankari’s Artist Residency in Balian
Shankari, your spiritual host, has created a place for people to be creative and free. She wanted to create an environment that inspires; a place where you feel at ease and can find the time to do what you normally cannot. Shankari loves to dance and wants to share this passion with anyone who is open to learning. She also runs a dance school for local children, with the aim to preserve traditional Balinese dances.
Sumberkima Hill Retreat and Metamorfosa in Sumberkima, North West Bali
The Sumberkima Hill Retreat is the perfect place when you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Southern Bali. The views are absolutely spectacular, the great open space and lush vegetation stretch out over the Sumberkima Bay glistening in the distance. It is a place of serenity and comfort. They have recently founded an NGO called Metamorfosa, which focuses on developing the bay of Sumberkima in a sustainable way. Together with an artist they’ve created an underwater art gallery, that they use as a base for the newly propagated corals. A true one-of-a-kind snorkeling experience!
Curious about Gemtrack’s Slow Travel plans? You can read more about them here. The Slow Travel plans are for all types of travelers and for every budget (and the travel plans are super affordable). Once you have received your custom made travel plan, you will be ready to experience slow & sustainable travel!
Photography by Gemtrack