Whenever I feel that life is too stressful and I need to recharge before the next wave comes in to knock me off, I always resort to a little “me” time, or sometimes, “you & me” time. No matter, the need to getaway is vital, even for a short weekend of R&R, to breathe, get my perspectives in order, rest and soak into life’s bare essentials.
Bali, Indonesia was a plan out of the blue. When AirAsia held a seat sale, my colleagues and I decided to grabbed promo seats. Before Eat, Pray, Love happened, it was known that Bali have stolen the hearts of many. Travellers come back again and again. I was keen to discover the reason why.
Nine months into planning, cancellations and bookings, we’re finally off to make our own Eat, Pray, Love happen. And one for the list, I’m off to the Island of the Gods with new found travel buddy, Yen.
It was my first time to travel into a foreign land with a not-so stranger, foreign colleague. Yen is from Vietnam, and we’ve known each other for about a year. It will be an exciting journey together, seeing that we have preferences that sometimes differ, and both clueless on what awaits our five days vagabonding.
Statue of Bedawang Nala, mythological turtle
While solo travel crossed my mind in the early part of planning, it’s more fun to have someone to share the experience with. Much as I needed companion, hesitations arise that we are girls travelling in foreign land. With growing numbers of crime scenes, we have to be mindful of circumstances.
I made an online reservation with Teba House for our accommodation and airport pickup. Rate for standard room is USD 24 per night. With good reviews and cheap rates on room and breakfast, it’s definitely worth the deal. Distance from Denpasar Ngurah Rai International Airport to Central Bali is 50 minutes by car.
Our hosts were helpful and accommodating. And I can say that to most of the locals of Ubud. They are probably one of the most friendly community one can ever meet while travelling.
Our lovely abode is teeming with work of art as most of guesthouses and home stays in Ubud, Bali. The serenity it offers the moment we step in this town is a mystery. My eyes frolic into the garden’s morning dew and our cozy sanctuary’s distinctive balinese style. Not to mention they serve heavenly banana pancakes.
On our first day, we explore the town on foot. Getting around Ubud central is relatively easy, relaxing and safe. Check out the town map below to get you started. We practically did a walking tour the whole day from our accommodation to Monkey Forest to Ubud Market and back in Padang Tegal (near Teba House) in the map.
Ubud Map Source. Click the image to see in large scale.
The charming town of Ubud is home to endless temples, shrines, museums, art galleries, craft villages, shopping centres and natural wonders. Tourist centres and travel agents is also everywhere. If you plan to exchange money while in Bali, I suggest you do it here with abundant money changers in town, rather than in Kuta, where we had series of unfortunate encounter.
One of the guesthouse in Ubud have this extraordinary intricately designed passage. How can such thing exist? It’s beyond beautiful.
The span of Jl Monkey Forest is crammed with dining and boutique shops, albeit a bit high end and expensive, but picking up treasures look promising.
Caught up in our shopping detour, we located the entrance to Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana, also known as Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Entrance fee for Adult, Rp 20,000 and Children, Rp 10,000. Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and shelter to troop of long-tailed Macaques monkeys. It also houses three temples, including Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, the temple of the dead.
You pray in your distress and in your need;
would that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy
and in your days of abundance.
~ Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet
Bunch of bananas can be bought at the entrance for Rp 20,000 to feed to the monkeys. Beware though, these macaques are voracious and there were reported cases of attacks.
The balinese temple is more than just a collection of pagodas and pavilions. The temples and forests are essential for renewing contact with the spiritual world. Further down the dragon bridge and unto the streams lies the Bathing temple. Water is significant in Balinese Hinduism for its ability to sustain life and to purify. Sarong must be worn before entering the temple. There is a Sarong stand where men & women can borrow one.
It took us about one hour to explore most of the complex. We continued our walking tour to pursuit late happiness for our famished soul. Surprisingly, Dian Restaurant fits the budget with their delish menu.
Further to the corner of Jl Monkey Forest and Jl Raya Ubud is Ubud Market, bursting with colourful sarongs, handmade batiks, wood carvings, paintings and all sorts of souvenirs. Prices have shoot up now that the community is seeing tourism growth, specially after the world witness the setting of Julia Roberts’ movie. Bargain hard and you might get the items more than 50% off.
Dinner is love. We got a romantic seating in bamboo mats and balinese style lesehan (covered terrace) at Lotus Cafe overlooking the lotus pond and Pura Saraswati.
Our first day around Ubud, Bali is awfully amazing. The town is undeniably charming, the art scene is impeccably overwhelming, and at the end of the day, our tired feet are pretty much happy with how laid back the culture is despite the crowd of tourists.
And I think many would agree that this mystical place spreads inner peace. Religious activities permeates the daily lives of Balinese. Inspiring how enthusiasm fill this place with happiness. In love and enlightenment, faith makes it possible.
Two girls found their way back to the sleepy village reckoning under the stars the next destination.