In our travels thus far, we have been fortunate to see wonderful landscapes, experience cultures that truly embrace harmony, and be touched by selfless people. It was not until our arrival into Ubud that I will come across all these feelings at one single location.
Just before going to Ubud, we have a few planned surprises waiting for us at the Denpasar airport. Our friends, Ben and Daveena, from San Francisco are coming to join us in Bali for their holiday. Also meeting us is Tai, another SF friend who has recently moved to Bali. With a group of familiar faces, we head to Ubud together.
We naturally make our way to the popular Monkey road where there are more hotel and restaurant options. Tucked away among rice paddy fields right off the main road is where we find no other tourists, only the sounds of butterflies, and our home while in Ubud. We got our hands on the only two private mini-villas. While each comes with a mini-pool, the best was the foam mattresses. This is an extreme luxury for us as I come to learn nothing can replace a good night sleep on a clean comfortable mattress.
By day, we explore Ubud by foot. Every few feet, there is a temple. The Balinese are very spiritual and in addition to having a temple at each house, they do prayer twice a day for everything, including their car and scooter. You can see the small baskets filled with flowers they use for prayer along the sidewalks, in front of each hotel, restaurant, and shop.
We look forward to eating as Balinese dishes are super delicious. While they seem simple at first, they are filled with spices just enough to give it flavor but not over do it. We even try the very popular suckling pig and yes, fatty pig meat and crunchy skin is yummy. We try to find street food vendors in Ubud, but since the complaints from the local restaurants have shut down the night market, the options are limited. We decide to drive 12 miles to the nearest night market and it is well worth it as we get to try out more local dishes in an environment without the fancy decor and tourist prices.
Our friends also remind us about leisure. They set a target for the number of massages to get while on their holiday. We decide to join in the fun with Boris getting a well deserved massage and me going all out at a spa. In the middle of my treatment, I was so overwhelmed with the service that I thought I may have mistakenly ordered the honeymoon package. Then on a second thought, who cares.
Early one morning we go visit the nearby Monkey Temple. It is so early that no one is at the collection booth. Once we enter, there are groups of monkeys all around us. I am happy not to be alone as they can get very close. Ben gets his hands on some fruit and the monkeys are coming aggressively towards him and show their fangs to intimidate him. Overall the temple is a nice leisurely stroll but I would advise to go early in the morning, not to skimp on the entrance fee, but to avoid the large bus crowds that come later.
In our next post, we will explore more of Bali and its beauty, but with the leisure of a driver.
|What We Paid:||IDR||USD||Euro|
|– Lunch at Starbucks at Denpasar airport [free wifi and clean]||67,000/pp||7.70||5.40|
|– Driver from Denpasar airport to Ubud [drive took 60 mins but had driver for 3 hours]||150,000/car||17.25||12.10|
|– Harmony Villas behind Wardani’s Warung [built in 2011, foam mattress, private mini-pool, large shared pool, middle of rice fields, hotel restaurant, free wifi from restaurant, peaceful location right off Monkey Forest Road, great staff, highly recommended, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org, wardani-restaurant.blogspot.com, (0361) 970932]||250,000/mini-villa||28.75||20.15|
|– Breakfast at Wardani’s Warung Garden Restaurant||21,000/pp||2.40||1.70|
|– Lunch at Ibu Oka for Babi Guling (suckling pig)||35,000/pp||4||2.80|
|– Dinner at Bollero Restaurant [nice, touristy, inside Ubud]||77,000/pp||8.85||6.20|
|– Driver from Ubud to Gianyar night market and back [2 hours, you can find many drivers on Monkey Forest Road]||80,000/car||9.20||6.45|
|– Gianyar night market outside Ubud [we tried fried fish with drink, fried chicken, crepe, pastry, local dessert]||20,000/pp||2.30||1.60|
|– Entrance to Monkey Temple [free at 7:30 am else 20,000 IDR]||0||0||0|
|– One hour massage||80,000||9.20||6.45|
|– Full spa treatment at Asia Prophecy Spa [promotional price, nice owner, speaks English and Japanese, contact: 081 353 099 74 744, www.asianprophecy.com]||270,000/pp||31||21.75|