Traveler: Begüm Başoğlu – Writer
What is your latest escape? Ubud, Bali.
What was the purpose of your travel? Celebrating the joy & relief after our wedding. I guess people call it “honeymoon”.
With how many people did you travel? We were two.
Where did you stay? We stayed at The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah. The former estate of Hendra Hadiprana, one of Indonesia’s most respected art collectors, has been transformed into an intimate luxury retreat with twenty individual villas.
What did you most like about the trip? Enjoying what I love the most in life in a totally different culture: love, serenity, solitude, books, writing, finding hand-written notes on your bed and good food. It was a great combination. I must as well add the kindness of Balinese people, the impeccability of the service and their approach to life.
Could you share an unforgettable memory about the trip? Me crying out of joy and excitement when I finally could touch a baby orangutan after all those years of adoration and love.
Your most surprising find during the trip? To see Canang Sari’s (the daily offerings made by Balinese Hindus to thank the Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa in praise and prayer) everywhere. It’s touching to see the strong belief of theirs.
Favorite restaurant(s) or food you have tried during your trip? The Balinese food was really amazing and we also had lots of Asian specialities. One of the unforgettable tastes was wagyu beef with tempura oysters. We tried a lot of different fruits as well. The delicious breakfast at the hotel with the beautiful rice fields view was a true gift.
But if I would have to choose only one taste which reminds me of Bali, it would definitely be lemongrass. After we got back to Istanbul we experienced “Proust’s madeleine moment” with a lemongrass gin and tonic.
What are the must tries of the city? Be there with all your senses. Walk through the rice terraces, through the streets of a village, meet local people and see a Kecak dance, but whatever you do, stay away from your cell phone.
Any hidden gems you could whisper to us? The hotel itself was a hidden gem, I guess.
Would you go back? Oh yes!
Could you list a few of your favorite finds you came back with? Bracelets carrying special meanings, the rice from the hotel’s fields as a very chic present with of course a great recipe and a brilliant art piece which will hang on our bedroom’s wall and remind us the serenity of Bali mornings.
Any tips that might be useful to know before going there? Be sure that you have the best mosquito spray with you. And never ever try to rent a car in Bali.
Next stop you would like to visit? Vietnam and Japan.