This past Christmas, 2014, was the first time in my life I would not be spending Christmas at home, with my family. Instead, I would be spending it in Bali!!! What an awesome place to be on Christmas though! While in Ubud, Bali I stayed in the Balibbu Hostel which, as far as hostels go was pretty standard. However for the mere price of 100,000 IDR/night (~$7 USD), over Christmas, it was a deal I couldn’t complain about.
A light breakfast of fruit was served each morning at the hostel. On Christmas morning everyone gathered around the common dining area exchanging Chistmas pleasantries in the process. It was a beautiful, sunny, 30+ degree day here in Bali! As we had our breakfast everyone discussed things that we could all do that day together, spending the holiday with each other and forming our own sort of little family away from home. That’s one thing I absolutely love about hostels is the sense of community and the amazing people you usually meet at hostels. I’d much rather stay in a hostel now when travelling alone than a hotel. Even here, half way around the world, in Indonesia you have a group of people from all different countries and walks of life who meet up, start a conversation and end up spending Christmas together as if we have been friends for ages!
We decided to rent a couple of vans with drivers and head to the south coast of Bali and make it a beach day! Beach, in Bali, on Christmas, yes please! Oddly enough I didn’t miss having no snow on Christmas! 😛
It took a little over an hour to make it from Ubud to the south coast of Bali. We stopped first, at a Hindu temple – Uluwatu Temple which is perched on the edge of a cliff over the Indian Ocean (which now looking back reminded me a lot of the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland). There were also a ton of monkeys running around here too and you had to watch your things or the monkeys could and would take them from you.
Visiting Bali certainly requires a visit to at least one of the MANY Hindu temples scattered around the island. It is a way of life here and provides insight in to the Balinese culture. They are holy places of worship so traditions and practices must be followed. Both men and women are required to cover their legs inside the temple grounds. For this, a sarong was provided at the gate to wear.
We were at the temple from around 12-1pm. By this time it was absolutely SCORCHING outside! It was time to leave this temple in the rear view mirror ad get to that beach ASAP! We went to the Padang Padang beach for the afternoon which is a rather small beach tucked in along the massive cliffs overlooking the ocean but it’s Christmas, I was with some amazing people in a beautiful place so really there is nothing to complain about!
At about 4:30pm we got back in the vans and headed on our way back to Ubud! Our mission for that evening was to try and find a restaurant in Ubud that served a traditional turkey dinner (western style)! I had little hope that we would find such a place here in Indonesia where the Christmas holiday isn’t really even celebrated or recognized. However, being that Ubud (and Bali itself) is such a tourist destination we were in luck and managed to find one at the Bali Buddha restaurant!!!
It wasn’t quite the turkey dinner I was used to at home (it had a little Bali twist to it) but that completely fine to me and the dinner we did have only added to the feeling of Christmas here in Bali. This Balinese turkey dinner consisted of:
- Shiitake and Ruccola salad
- Roasted turkey
- Italian nutmeg dressing
- oven-baked vegetables
- Grandma’s cranberry chutney
- Cake for dessert
The dinner itself cost 180,000 IDR (about $12.80 USD) which by Bali standards is a fair bit higher than most meals but hey, it’s Christmas!
The sign promoting the turkey dinner had said you had to order 3 days in advance with a 50% deposit. We went to the restaurant near the end of the night so we were able to get the dinner without a pre-order since they still had remaining dishes. It worked out great and was the perfect way to end a beautiful Christmas day in Bali with new friends! Now, to find somewhere even more amazing to spend Christmas next year!