Well, our first week in Bali was spent in A town/village called Ubud which is north of Denpasar. Like I said previously it’s an hour and a half ride to get there, largely due to the traffic. We fell in love with Ubud and next time we visit Bali, we’ll be going back. We stayed in a little hotel just out of town called Gita Maha Hotelhttp://www.gitamaha.com. I’ll add little reveiws and comments another time for places we stayed, ate and visited. For now, all I’ll say is Gita Maha is fantastic.
Now, easily the best way to get around Ubud, and in fact Bali(if you’re game hehe) is by scooter. You can use hotel shuttles or taxi’s but you are relying on others for you to get around. With a scooter you have the freedom to go wherever, whenever you like, and at roughly $7au a day, it’s dirt cheap! There is an abundance of sights to see and things to do in Ubud and 1 week just isn’t long enough. Getting used to riding a scooter in Ubud took a little getting used to, especially as I hadn’t ridden a motorbike in 10 years. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of road rules in Bali and you ALWAYS have to be aware of what’s going on around you.
We visited Blanco Museum a couple of days into our stay and it’s a beautiful place to visit. Beautiful grounds, beautiful birds, some of which you can hold and a lot of paintings. Antonio Blanco loved to paint naked women so we found as most of his artwork was of naked women in various poses and styles. Unfortunately you’re not allowed to take photo’s of the paintings so I can’t post any for you. There is also a lovely little restaurant next door called Rondji Restaurant with nice food and a nice view.
Another place you must visit is the markets hidden in the alleyways of Ubud centre. There is a huge variety of stalls and sellers and items to see and buy. Time to haggle for a good price. One thing which was an amusing sight is Penis’s. Dick’s, dick’s everywhere! Wooden ones, metal ones, dick’s with bottle openers and all different sizes from little keyrings through to 8″ chrome ones. We had a good laugh.
Museum Puri Lukisan
Museum Puri Lukisan was another stop in our wanderings in Ubud. A lot of beautiful paintings, some of which are several hundreds of years old and some you can purchase for a reasonable price. Your entry fee also includes a snack and drink at the museums cafe. Again, no photo’s allowed, although I’m not surprised as some of the painting look like they’ll fall apart if your camera flashed at them. They are that old!
One place you must see in Ubud is the Sacred Monkey Forest. This place is quite amazing. As the name implies there is Monkeys everywhere you go, and they’re not shy. A lot of beautiful walkways, statues and temples are dotted around this forest. In some places you have to walk around the Monkeys. There is signs before you enter saying “please don’t feed the Monkeys” but once you get inside there is a couple of vendors selling Banana’s! Go figure! Unfortunately for some of the cafe’s and restaurants nearby the Monkeys don’t limit themselves to the forest for food. We decided to have a small meal at the “Tropical View Cafe” just up the road and the waitresses were constantly chasing Monkeys off the roof with Bamboo poles. One thing we learnt while we were sitting in the cafe looking over rice paddy fields was that the weather can change very quickly. We saw the clouds coming and before we knew it the wind started blowing a gale and the rain bucketed down for about half an hour. Oh well…….time to buy some more drinks. The Monkey Forest is well worth visiting, something you’ll never see here in Oz.
While we were in Ubud we wanted to get a couple’s item, maybe rings or something similar so after some research we decided to make the trek down to Celuk. Now Celuk is a village which is renowned for it’s silver jewellery and the craftsmen making it. According to many sources on the world wide web, if you can’t find something on the shelf you want, there is plenty of silversmiths willing to make you the item you want. Disappointed is all I can say. After visiting 7 or 8 different silver jewellers in Celuk, only 2 were willing to actually make the rings we were after. 1 store said yep, no worries as long as its from their existing lineup of designs and the other were booked out for months. The biggest problem with buying “off the shelf” was nobody had rings that would fit me After making the long trek back to Ubud we found out about a little jewellery store called Chez Monique Jewelry. We paid them a visit and found out that they actually hold jewellry making classes. The following day, that’s what we did. It really is something you have to try. A three and a half hour class will set you back 450,000 rups(about $45au) a head and you get to make something that you want. We nutted out a design and set about crafting our own silver rings which I think makes it more special because WE made it. The teachers and jewellers on hand will do the very hard stuff but you get to do a lot in the crafting of your item. Because of our design and the fact I wanted my ring nice and thick(it needs to take a bit of abuse) the day cost roughly $115au to make 2 rings.We were more than pleased with the end results.
Not the easiest place to find, but beautiful when you do. A waterfall where you are allowed to swim and get right up close. I’ll let the pictures do the talking but be warned. It’s a decent walk down to the waterfall but BUGGER ME the walk back up is damn exhausting! The stairs are big and steep and took us 3 stops on the way up in the heat to get to the top again. Still….highly recommended.
Near the centre of town is Ubud Palace. Free entry and well worth a look inside, it was actually one of the first places we visited.Plenty of history abounds here and the temples and architecture is beautiful
One thing you must see when in Bali is a traditional dance. Sorry I can’t remember the name of the dance we saw but it was held at the Lotus Gardens in Ubud in front of the Saraswati Temple. Bring your mozzie repellent here, you’ll need it lol. The ponds full of Lotus flowers is pretty and the temple makes a stunning backdrop. The dance was amazing to watch and what’s more amazing was that the whole troupe is made up of women. Women play all the instruments and also do all the theatre as well. Well worth the money paid, and that wasn’t much. And if you’re early enough you can have dinner at Cafe Lotus which is nicely positioned in front of the lotus gardens. We chose to sit at the back of the restaurant so we could enjoy the view of the gardens and the temple.
Well, the food in Ubud is awesome. We ate at a different restaurant every night and only 1 disappointed us. And eating at a restaurant is cheap! On average dinner each night cost roughly $40au for the 2 of us including drinks. You don’t leave the restaurant hungry either. We quite often skipped dessert as we were quite full and made our way back to the hotel to endure our food coma hehe.
Take a look at the bottom of the last Bali post I do for my views and reviews on where to and where not to eat.
Geez, finally I have finished this post on beautiful Ubud. I highly recommend coming here, we will be. A little tamer than Denpasar and the surrounding areas. Relaxing, fun and we fell in love with it.
Stay tuned for our next week in Seminyak.
Till next time,