Ubud, the cultural hub of Bali
Trip Start Mar 23, 2006
9Trip End Ongoing
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We packed up our bags and said goodbye to Flower Bud Bungalows and negotiated a good price with our taxi driver to make the hour and half journey to Ubud. Ubud lies in the center of Bali and is the cultural hub of the island. Although it has no sea it is an experienced not to be missed - it is a small area but there is an amazing amount to see and do.
We arrived at Gusti's Garden Bungalows, although the gardens were beautifully manicured lets just say that the accommodation was not of the same standard so our stay was short lived. There is an abundance of accommodation in Ubud so it was not hard to find a new place to stay. We found a charming place that over looked a rice field called Puri Bayu, where, Alot, the man who managed the rooms served us afternoon tea and real Bali coffee as well as the most delicious green banana pancakes with palm sugar and fresh coconut for breakfast
Ubud is a really energetic little town, it is filled with markets and shops where locals try and sell there wears. It must be said that the Balinese are extremely talented craftsman and offer beautifully crafted goods at next to nothing prices - from the most intricate and beautiful wood carvings, to delicate silver jewelry, pottery, silk, clothing etc. Michael and I spent hours scanning the markets and bargaining with the locals to get the best price on anything that caught our eye. Michael is particularly shrewd at getting good deals so I left most of the bargaining to him.
We had many adventures in Ubud, one of which was climbing a Volcano called Mount Batur at 3 in the morning to watch the sunrise from the top - I think everyone at Cape Union Mart will be proud to know that I willingly took on this challenge so something must have rubbed off during my time there. Michael and I were very poorly prepared for this expedition - when living in a warm climate you never even think of a jersey which was the same in this case. We were absolute idiots and froze our bums off!! We also spent the whole two hours climbing up the mountain in the dark with only 1 flash light amongst 4 of us!! Eventually when we reached the summit the sun began to rise and mist moved in so we did not have such a great view
We decided to do a sunset tour to take in some other highlights of the region. We were accompanied by a delightful French couple on honeymoon and spent the afternoon promoting our countries and exchanging contact details. The best part of the tour came at the end when you watch the sun set at an ancient temple (Tanah Lot) surrounded by the sea. The Royal Family temple is also interesting and then there is the monkey forest. The forest is overrun by fat monkeys and giant fruit bats. The tourists feed the monkeys, which is why they are rather fat and are also rather placid. Being South Africans we see monkeys as dangerous things so we did not partake in this tradition. You are warned not to touch the monkeys as they have been known to bite. So we just took photos and watched them swimming in some drain water. One monkey took a liking to me for some reason and decided to climb up my body and perch itself on my shoulders. This of course caused great panic and to make matters worse he then proceeded to stick his hand down the front of my top and cop a feel!!! I was horrified at the thought of being violated by a monkey!! He soon realized there was no food down my top and jumped off my shoulders much to my relief. Another beautiful sight in Ubud is the spectacular rice terraces found throughout the region.
We had a wonderful time in this enriching little town - from great food too great people, from freezing on top of a volcano to the beautiful scenery in the form of rice terraces and temples, from watching local dances over dinner to being violated by monkeys - like I said it is not to be missed!!