One night at Rock n Reef, Uluwatu

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Uluwatu was a part of Bali I’d not explored until recently so  I thought it was worth a visit this time around. Known for its stunning cliffsides, I knew I wanted to spend some time at one of the beach front hotels there although adamant I wanted somewhere that wasn’t a big resort; something small, unique, boutique. I ended up using Google Maps to see what lined the beach and soon came across Rock n Reef. It ticked all my boxes.

As I learned from my BBQ on the beach a couple of days prior, getting from the top, down to the beach in Uluwatu is no easy feat. The paths are steep and rocky, often leading through abandoned sites with no idea where they are going to end up. I had to trust Google Maps more than once this trip, but as I got closer to the beach and passed through a small door, suddenly I found myself in the safe haven of the reception area. And relax.

I had booked a room called "Sunset," and it was perfect. Open plan with a bed on one side and an open stone shower on the other. I unbolted the doors and swung them both wide open onto the balcony overlooking the ocean. It had a straw roof and a hammock and was pretty magical. 

As soon as I walked in, I knew I wanted to stay an extra night, but of course, it was fully booked; unsurprisingly so. 

After a couple of hours listening to the waves from the hammock, I started getting hungry so headed downstairs and grabbed a sunbed as the evening drew in. There were only three or four beds, and they were all empty so I had the area to myself. 

I actually wasn’t planning to eat there, but there was no way I was going to bother with the stairs more often than absolutely necessary, so I ordered a plate of fried rice (and dessert, of course) and dined at what felt like my own private, beachside restaurant.
I retreated to my room just in time to shoot some golden hour content before settling in to watch the sunset from the hammock. Very pleased I'd chose the sunset room over the sunrise one, the sky turned orange as the day faded into night.

Once it got dark, I laid inside with the doors open, listening to the sound of the waves until I fell asleep.

I woke up early the next day as the morning light flooded in. After spending most of the morning lazing around on the hammock, I got up for breakfast served on the balcony. A very nostalgic banana pancake circa 2017 baby backpacking Georgina, accompanied by tropical fruits and honey, tea and fresh pineapple juice.

With the tide out for a couple of hours, I grabbed my chance to take a walk alone the private beach. It was totally empty apart from one woman selling bracelets who I couldn't say no to. I finished my exploring with just enough time to shower off the sand and take one last hour in the hammock.

After checking out, I was planning to hang around in the communal area for a little bit longer, but the idea of tackling the stairs again was playing on my mind so I couldn't relax and ended up heading out for lunch pretty soon after. Despite that, I would 100% recommend this amazing hotel. It provided me with such a special experience, that I will never forget.

Spiritual Healing in Bali

Wednesday 20 March 2024

As I mentioned in my roundup, my recent trip to Indonesia was about grounding myself; and maybe a little bit of closure - for the year I’d had. It was some of the hardest months, emotionally, of my life and Bali was a chance for me to put a physical finish on it. 

Asia had healed me before I needed its help again.

A healing ceremony; I told my friends as I showed them TikTok videos of girls screaming into the abyss. A traditional Balinese Purification ritual known as "Melukat"

I woke up at 3 am that morning, crying about something that I didn’t think had affected me, so that was a good start. It set an emotional tone for the day.

Arriving at Tri Desna felt eerie. The dark wood structures and purple fabrics set an unfamiliarly dark ambience, heightened by the distant echoes of other girls' screams.

That’d soon be me.

Sitting in a wooden cabana, I sipped my tea and waited. We started with a tarot reading which did not relate at all, so I came out of there in a huff. We’ll just breeze over that part.

I was then asked to pick an outfit from a wall of sarongs and ties that lay in front of me. By the time I had gotten changed, another girl had arrived so we sat together and shared stories of what brought us there.

I told her how eerie it all felt and she quite wisely said, 'people come here to dump their trauma and leave, of course it felt weird.' It made so much sense. The dark, moody sky all added to the atmosphere.

The videos I'd seen, had shown girls screaming their hearts out at this part and to be honest, I thought it was a load of rubbish. Surprisingly, I wasn’t told to scream, just to let it all out as and when. 

I could feel myself tearing up as it was happening. I'd had a really hard few months.

They poured water full of flowers over me and as chants filled the air, the emotions I had suppressed surged to the surface; so I did let it all out. Screaming, sobbing, releasing what had consumed me for months. I felt terrible afterwards.

After sitting there for a little while, we moved to another corner of the garden - which was now a sunny spot. A sanctuary of vibrant fruits, flowers, and swirling incense. Together we said prayers as I was blessed with holy coconut water and offerings of rice and fruit.
As you can you can tell by the photos, I was feeling very sorry for myself at this point. 

Before I left, they tied a traditional Indonesian bracelet of red, white and black thread around my wrist; representing love, life and death. Told not to remove it, I am still wearing it now, 5 months later.

The weird feeling lingered for a few days after the ceremony, I was emotionally drained. Sitting by the hotel pool that afternoon, I called home to talk it though amidst the haze of emotions that clouded my mind.

Adhering to instructions, I also refrained from showering for three days to let the holy water sink into my skin. Like a good little girl, I arrived back in the UK with dried flowers stuck in my hair, still smelling like Bali.

Returning home, the haze slowly lifted and was replaced by glimpses of happiness which I hadn’t felt for months. Tri Desna gave me what I had come for.  Looking back on my trip to Bali - and all my adventures of the past year, I was thankful to have them as happy memories during the worst year of my life.
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