Cat poo coffee in Ubud
Trip Start Nov 13, 2009
6Trip End Nov 28, 2009
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Where I stayed
We went to the Street Cafe just outside our hotel to collect our discount 25k, continental and european style breaky, which was excellent and the first chance I got to try 'Bali Kopi' (coffee), which is what they call the coffee grown and served in Bali so its not difficult for tourists to understand, it actually does have a more genuine name.
Our driver charged us 120k which is about as cheap as you can get to drive from south Bali to Ubud, it took about 1hr and it was interesting to see the Bali countryside. Our driver kindly gave us a short tour of Ubud, pointing out all the key points of interest before dropping us at our hotel.
Hotel Tjampuhan is situated about a 5min drive past Ubud central and in a fairly dense jungle area. When we arrived we were in awe of the sheer size of the place as well as its beauty. it is a series of 'bungalow' style rooms, about 20 or so, spread through a brilliantly landscaped botanical garden with pathways and lots of steps leading you around. There are two pools, one is from a natural spring, and the other is just a normal pool. There is also a large grotto area made of stone and rock formations, that is accessed via a small discreet pathway with a trickle of water flowing down into the pools, it is very impressive. Through the other side of the grotto the path takes you down a steep winding track, across the rocky river, and up some even steeper stairs with huge tropical looking spiders hanging in their webs to a large secluded temple courtyard where two men greeted and welcomed us. The temple is not part of the hotel but it can be access via the path from there, as well as from the road. Apparently Brad and Angelina where there two days ago filming some scenes for a new movie.
Our room costed US$65/night which is far more than we wanted to pay but at the time of searching for a place pretty much everything was booked out, however, the hotel was fantastic, easily a 5 star resort by anyone's definition. We were not far from the reception area and just across from 1 of about 4 ponds, with an incredible view of the pool area from our private balcony; exotic frangipani, hibiscus, mango and palm trees from our open air, flyscreen windows. We had a grand kingsize bed, celing fan and large bathroom with hot water. The room was mainly wooden to fit in with its surroundings, decorated with Balinese stone and wood carvings, paintings and fresh local flowers each day. A buffet breakfast is provided inclusive of the charge with fresh fruit, Indonesian noodles, sausages and eggs any style (including omlets).
After exploring the hotel gardens we went for a dip in the main pool and lay in the sun until the cooler afternoon. Ubud in general is a bit cooler due to the higher altitude. At about 3pm after the hottest part of the day we took the free hourly shuttle to the Monkey Forest, but made a short detour to a shop on Monkey Forest Rd. supposedly selling Indonesia's most prized coffee, Kopi Luwak. If you have heard about it before, you would probably be aware of either that it can retail for up to A$50 per cup in Sydney, and up to US$1000 per kilo of ground, or that it is made out of Indonesian palm cat/civet droppings. Although it was originally discovered in Sumatra, the same palm civet is also found in Java and Bali and produces virtually the same coffee.
3 short black espressos were placed on a table in front of us, Bali Kopi, Javanese Kopi and Balinese Kopi Luwak. Each had very impressive tastes but Luwak was just far richer and almost chocolaty. This tasting session was free but we were offered ground coffee products to buy. I really liked the Luwak which costed me US$18/250g, I can't wait to get home to start brewing it up.
It was about a 100m walk further to the Monkey Forest, it costed us 3k each to get in. Some ladies were selling mini bananas to feed the monkeys but we didn't bother. There were quite a lot of people in there and as expected, a lot of monkeys as well. We later found out the monkeys are maquaws. They were mostly ignoring the tourists probably wondering what the whole fascination was with watching them sitting around picking fleas off eachother and eating bananas. The monkey forest isn't big, it took us about 15mins to stroll through, I expected it to be bigger but it was worth what we paid.
Ubud is incredibly busy, and has probably the largest population of shops and restaurants that we have seen so far.
It is extremely touristy however the traditional culture is quite strong still
We found a small warung called Dayu's with some whities already sitting down enjoying a meal so we agreed it looked safe enough. The menu was massive, with everything from pastas and burgers to mi goreng. It also had a good selection of cocktails and all for fantastic prices. We heard the pork in Ubud is the speciality, and the rumours were not far off. For 45k we shared a plate of lemon and honey pork and it was fantastic! Also on their menu was a selection of beers other than the usual variety of Bintang small, or Bintang large. The blurb informed us that this beer is made in a Balinese microbrewery called Storm Brewing (Www.stormbrewing.net).
There are 4 different brews each with a short description of taste and style, 'Tropical' caught my eye, as 'a light but fruity flavour, perfect for a light lunch...' after one sip it became evident why it was called tropical, the only word to describe everything about that beer, the smell, the taste is 'tropical'. Big thumbs up for the beer and Warung Dayu's.
Still finding it impossible to sleep past 7am, the next day our shuttle dropped us at the museum, we paid 3k each to have a look plus a free drink. The museum was smallest but consisted of 3 buildings aptly names building 1, 2 and 3. Inside we found a mix of traditional and modern Balinese art, quite impressive.
We crossed the road to check out the notorious Ubud market. We braced ourselves for the hard sell but instead we found the vendors to be quite relaxed and less bushy than previous experience. Jess spotted some ceramic/mosaic bowls that she liked and even the price was very reasonable, the morning price is apparently far cheaper than later in the day as the first sale brings them luck. it gets a bit tiresome when you walk past a stall at 10 at night and they try to tell you 'special price for first buyer'.
We decided to give the Balinese fire dancing a miss which is a big tourist cliche, and just take it easy, respect most of our time wandering around Ubud and looking through the shops and getting asked every 15 seconds if we needed a taxi, or maybe tomorrow. We gave one guy a few points for asking if we wanted a helicopter, maybe tomorrow, or maybe yesterday.
On the third day we were well and truly ready to leave Ubud, it can quite easily be seen in 2, but we took our time and were quite thorough. We shuttle back to town and found a good massage place that had incredible reviews. Jess had a 1.5hr massage, a body wrap and a facial for 230k, I have a 1.5hr massage plus a facial to ease my sunburn for 200k. The treatments were fantastic. The plan for the next day is for our driver to pick us up in the morning and take us via the scenic route to the northern town of Lovina.