The Bali everyone should experience
WE'RE two-and-a-half hours north east of Seminyak, but it couldn't be more different.
Gone are the latte-sipping crowds, the boutique shops, trendy cafes and restaurants and the endless and frustrating traffic jams.
In its place are verdant rolling green hills, farmers tending their crops, cows grazing serenely beside the road, cheeky monkeys clambering for attention, towering coconut trees, but most of all there's peace and tranquillity.
As we make our final descent onto the coast and into the tiny village of Jasri, we stumble upon a Balinese ceremony as it winds its way towards the sea temple.
Beautiful women dressed in colourful kebayas their heads piled high with amazing offerings, men beating drums and happy smiling children carrying flags - this is the real Bali and the one I had been hoping to still discover.
It's an auspicious welcome to the other side of Bali - a side that even after travelling to the Island of the Gods for nearly 40 years still captures my heart and takes my breath away.
We book into the gorgeous tropical Aashaya Jasri Resort located on the edge of a black sand beach and about 15 minutes north of Candi Dasa.
I meet the owners, Australian ex-pats Barbara and Peter Tollitt, and we're welcomed by their happy, smiling staff led by Wayan who offers us freshly made papaya juices.
With Mount Agung in the background, Aashaya (meaning resting place in Sanskrit) is an oasis of green with vast expanses of grass - just perfect for my two grandchildren to play on.
There's swaying palms, thatched-roof traditional-style accommodation and cute wooden rooms featuring antique furniture and batik fabrics.
Four-poster beds with mosquito nets, crisp, cool linen sheets and an open-air shower complete the picture-perfect surroundings.
There's a cool blue pool and a fabulous onsite restaurant Disini which serves delicious Indonesian and western cuisine.
The food is so fresh and tasty that we eat all our meals here.
Barbara and Peter have spent the past three years completing renovating the resort and adding their own personal touches.
"The resort was very rundown when we took it over," Barbara said.
"We have poured our heart and soul into it and we're thrilled with how it's all turned out."
While you could easily while away hours totally relaxing and chilling at Aashaya, Jasri offers lots to see and do.
There's a cute chocolate factory located under hundreds of swaying palm trees, a great surf break, two water palaces, ancient temples, classic villages, a white sand beach with seafood restaurants and Amed, renowned for its snorkelling and diving, is a lovely coastal drive away.
This is the Bali that everyone should experience.
(The author paid for her own accommodation).
The Aashaya Jasri Resort is located on the north-east coast of Bali about 15 minutes north of Candi Dasa.
Room rates start at $85 per night and include a full breakfast. For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0011628123925205.