Made my way to Ubud on Bali and whoever had the chance to be on Bali, you will know how it feels to be there. It’s just like heaven. Ubud is a small city and the interesting part I find, is the fact that is has small small roads and alleys and you find everything structures, sculptures and houses in Balinese style. Just lovely I have to say. Beware, despite the monsoon season, Bali is still very hot and the sun is really burning down. So take some sunscreen with you.
Checked into a nice and quiet place for just 13 SGD/night besides the fact, that it is located pretty central of Ubud. If you come from the airport, there are various options to get to Ubud, from bus, to taxi, to shared shuttle bus. I opted for the latter one and took about 2 hrs to reach Ubud.
First thing of the remaining day was to visit the monkey forest, just 10 minutes away from the places I stayed. When you enter the forest, beware of your belongings and do not have anything outside of your backpack like water bottles etc, as well avoid the selfie stick.:) Trust me, I have seen somebody who has lost his phone. Please do not feed and pet the monkeys as they could possibly bite. The remaining half day I just strolled through Ubud and visited the Art Market and Ubud Palace. For the latter one, you can attend performances during the evening, like Balinese Dance. At the Art Market you can find your souvenirs, if you are interested. It is only opened during the day and closes around 7 PM.
The next day, started the morning with a short run and spent the entire day walking in nature. It was amazing. Quiet, calm, serene. Running out of words to describe it. Walked towards Campuhan Ridge Walk and along the rice fields which were very nearby. Before entering the Campuhan Ridge Walk I stepped into the Pura Dalem, a temple. Was actually attracted by the fact that you need to ‘dress’ up like the locals to enter. If you ever manage to walk in that area, I recommend to pay a visit to Sari Organik, which is a very nice restaurant and all food offered are organic based. If you have enough time, this is the place to be, if you want to see the sunset in Ubud. I didn’t manage to see the sunset, but the view and surrounding was nonetheless great and worth the walk in the hot sun. Along the way you will see more rice fields and various villages offering accommodations. The food offered at Sari Organik, was really great. The salad was crunchy and fresh. The lemon mint drink, I had two, was very refreshing after a long walk in the heat.:) Life saver.
Two main spots I wanted to visit were the Tirta Empul and the Rice Field Terrance and since both are a bit further out of Ubud, opted for a day tour as it didn’t make sense for me to hire a driver for the whole day, since I am alone. Turned out to be a ‘bad ‘ choice. The day tour I booked, was more or a ‘tour’ for which a driver was provided only. Entrance fees were not inlcuded. The tour cost 15 SGD and we visited different places and at each location you had to rush like mad, especially the places I wanted to spend more time at. First stop was Goa Gajah and was built for spiritual purpose. We had only 40 mins and it was way too short to explore the entire area and surrounding. The Tirta Empul was next, a Hindu Balinese water temple and it is meant for ritual purification or cleansing. This was an awesome experience and unfortunately we were given only 30 mins. You can imagine how tight it was given the fact, that you need to queue for entrance ticket, change etc. There was no time at all to explore the temple itself after the cleansing procedure.
The next stop was the Pura Besakih and along the way two stop were included to view Mount Batur and Lake Batur. Great view and will certainly climb this one in the future. The second stop was at a coffee plantation to try various teas and coffees and I had a coffee Luwak. After an hour or so, we finally arrived at Pura Besakih and had about an hour there. Pura Bersakih is located at the foot of the mountain Angung and is the most important and holiest temple in the region. After we left Pura Berkasih, it was way after 1:30 PM and lunch was not in sight yet. Lunch was 20 mins drive away, at a restaurant. It turned out to be the last stop and the view from the restaurant was just surreal. What an amazing view. You could see green rice field terraces while you had your lunch. Just out of this world. You will return to Ubud after lunch, approximately at 4:30 PM.
Please take note that for all the stops, you need to pay an entrance fee. So if you are on a tight budget, consider this and the price varies between 2-6 SGD. Furthermore, you need to wear a sarong if you want to enter a holy place. You can either bring your own or you just get one at the respective entrance. The positive thing of day tours is that you will get to know other people and met travellers from UK who are on their sabbatical as well. 🙂
There is a vast variety of food offered on Bali and for me personally I liked the Babi Guling, Gado Gado and of course the organic food. Food and drinks are cheap and you can choose from a wide range. If you are a coffee lover, you should try a Cafe Luwak. I am personally not a coffee connoisseur, but I have to say, that the coffee tastes good.
To get around in Bali, you can either hire a local driver, taxi, hire a motorbike driver or simply rent a motorbike. If you intend to go for places which are situated further away, I recommend you to book a local driver for the day, instead of joining a ‘tour’, especially when you are a few pax to share the cost. You will have much more time at the places you want to be and don’t have the rushing feeling.
I will definitely be back to and to trek up Mount Batur for the sunrise, a bit of diving, check into an accommodation in the rice fields and hop onto Gili Island.
Not to be missed: foot massage, Campuhan Ridge Walk, Tirta Empul, Rice Field Terrace, Sari Organik, Pura Besakih
Mode of transport: mostly by foot:)
Daily expenses: 15 SGD for food and drink (excluding entrance fees, accommodation and day tour)