Virtuoso Traveler - August/September 2018 - 40
narrow, winding roads that feel more like
tunnels carved into surrounding forests
profuse with elephant grass, bamboo,
and banana trees. As we pilgrimage to a
string of the region's cultural gems, white
herons take flight from terraced rice fields,
women stroll through village streets balancing tiered baskets filled with fruit and
flowers on their heads, and incense wafts
from ornate roadside shrines.
By midafternoon, we've visited the eleventh-century Pura Kehen, Bangli village's
oldest and most sacred Hindu temple; the
largely undiscovered Tukad Cepung waterfall (a trek down steep paths and through
knee-deep pools is well worth the effort, as
you're likely to have the place to yourself);
and pedestrian-friendly Penglipuran village to see its traditional homes, gardens,
and shops. The journey also provides
chances to meet with local artisans, such
as I Made Ada, a master woodcarver from
Garuda village whose friendly welcome is
as trip-worthy as his work.
Expect the same focus on Balinese
culture back at the resort. Guests connect
with its artists-in-residence, for example,
during exhibitions and workshops, prepare
flower tower offerings using locally grown
blossoms and coconut leaves, and, within
Mandapa's own rice fields, learn to sow
the crop while discussing its significance
Each of Virtuoso's
13 Balinese properties features immersive experiences
steeped in local customs.
Here's a sampling:
FOUR SEASONS RESORT BALI
AT JIMBARAN BAY Denpasar
Resident experts lead art
walks and reveal the symbolism behind 1,500 shrines in
the resort's water gardens.
THE OBEROI, BALI Seminyak
At its on-site temple, a Hindu
priest blesses sarong-clad
guests during a Balinese full
BULGARI RESORT BALI Uluwatu
Eco-initiatives include mangrove planting and saving
Bali's declining apian population by maintaining bee
colonies at the resort.
Cultural experiences range
from beachside yoga classes
to cruises in jukung-style
SOORI BALI Kerambitan
Customized activities connect guests with locals to
Sacred perspectives: Temple views at Mandapa and (right) Bangli village's Pura Kehen.
Below: John Hardy's Kapal Bambu Boutique.
learn about rice cultivation
and wayang-style artwork.
ROADSIDE ATTRACTION "Everywhere you turn in Bali, there's something
beautiful," says Polly Purser, director of heritage at the John Hardy jewelry workshop. Though she's describing the island's aesthetic, her words could just as well
be about this studio-cum-cultural experience on the road from Nusa Dua to Ubud.
Visitors can take a guided tour of the campus, set amid rice fields and built with
low-impact materials, to see its artisans bring handcrafted jewelry to life (all pieces
are made from recycled gold and silver, and the company is Responsible Jewellery
Council-certified). Allow time for lunch with its staff, almost all of whom come from
local communities. A new half-day master class lets guests design their own jewelry;
the artists will later finish your work and ship it home to you.
40 V I R T U O S O T R A V E L E R