By Y. Wang
Finding information about “Bali” is a lot easier these days, thanks to Julia Roberts’ new movie “Eat Pray Love”, part of which was filmed in Bali. To give a little background, the movie is based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s NY times best-selling book, also titled “Eat Pray Love”. The story is about the author’s journey to Italy, India and Bali, trying to find herself and the purpose of her life. Elizabeth enjoyed “Eating” and had a relationship with food while she was in Italy, found spiritual life, “Pray”, while she was in India. And finally she found balance, “Love”, while she was in Bali.
The Bali part of the story took place in Ubud, a small town in central Bali, regarded as the cultural central of Bali. Far removed from beach area, Ubud is famous as an arts and crafts hub and consists of artists’ galleries and workshops. Ubud is a place rich with culture and spiritual significance. Also known for its spas, Ubud offers a beautiful view of rice paddies, and plenty of activities such as rafting, biking, tracking, or yoga.
During the filming and especially before the opening of the movie, Bali was in the news almost everyday. The news coverage include topics such as helicopter scouting for a shooting place and the hotel where Julia Roberts and her family stayed. And certainly I could see the impact of it during our stay in Bali. The hotel that we stayed, “Ayana Resort”, which was voted as world no. 1 spa, even offered ‘Eat Pray Love’ message.
The Four Seasons resort in Ubud was later revealed as the choice for Julia Roberts and her family to stay. The resort is located in the valley of the tropical jungle. The villas offer a lot of privacy, and each is uniquely designed to blend with nature. As Ubud is known for its rice terrace fields, Four Seasons carefully built the whole resort around it. Taking a golf cart to get from one villa to another, you’ll see rice fields along the way. Once you reach the villa, you’ll see only a beautiful crafted screen that is used as an entrance to the villa which is situated on the hill-side. This clever architecture design allows absolute privacy. Each villa has its own swimming pool and terrace which is surrounded by trees and rice fields. The Ayung river runs right through the valley where the resort sits and the serene river view can be enjoyed from the hotel’s lobby, swimming pool and restaurant.