exploring Ubud

Because lets be honest. I haven’t explored any where else Indonesia as planned. I ventured to Gili Air for 6 nights, attended a mediocre music festival (highlight was the cacao ceremony), mainly hid from the rain, and then came running back to my Ubud.

As you might have guessed I love Ubud. It’s a hard place to leave. And even when you do, you just come back.. and considering how long I’ve been here I haven’t done THAT much in the way of sight seeing.. This place has everything and more, not only has Ubud been a place of healing. It’s been a place of relaxing and exploring. Although that being said if you’re looking for a party town, do not enter. Live bands and open mic nights come right in though.  So what sights DID I actually see in all my time here?

Temples, temples, temples. They are fantastic here. And everywhere. The geometric shapes, the detail, I love it. Just the architecture here is fantastic. Sometime you don;t know whats someones home or whats a temple. All so beautifully constructed. So ancient, but in a weird kind of way, modern.

Rice walks. Oh to have so many rice walks so close. Love it. Love being surrounded by such beautiful nature, and oh so grreeeennn.. Camphuan Ridge is a beaut to walk, but make sure you do it early in the morning unlike me, who is slow and and left it late and painfully melted on the way. You go over a beautiful valley, then into more residential areas with little rice fields. I recommend stopping at Karsa Kafe to enjoy a coconut and cool down. And what a stunning setting..

Tegalalang rice terrace is also a fantastic sight, just mind out for all the tourists that are scattered among it, not quite the view I was expecting. I shouldn’t have been shocked really, but shocked and a lil disappointed I was. But as I remind myself. It’s touristy for a reason. However, if you try go off the main route then you’re able to pretend you’re a million miles away just surrounded by the odd local and wildlife. You can even get some photos where it looks like you’re the only one there.

There’s another more tiny one, if you’re not up for a long walk. Along the way there are cafe’s and restaurants and an awesome place called Dragon Fly Village. From 6 – 9pm you can enjoy their herbal sauna/steam room (which is insanely hot), outside pool, campfire, chat and enjoy your herbal tea whilst watching the fire flies and the stunning night sky.

One day I hired a motorbike driver and we went off exploring. I love being on the back of a motorbike. First stop was the waterfall, It was nice. It was a waterfall. I’ve seen a lot of waterfalls. This one wasn’t anything too special to look at, but the water was amazing. I was expecting ice cold but it was refreshing. It was nice water. What can I say. Then we checked out a very old palace which was pretty cool. But for the life of me can’t remember the name! There were A LOT of steps to get to it. Worth a visit if you can figure out where it is. We visited Ashram Munivara where a friend of mine lived for a few months. And I just generally enjoyed being scooted about the place.

There is this awesome restaurant 9 Angels, it acts as a community hub. It’s so much more than just a place to eat great food. It’s all veggie buffet style, sooooo tasty, and cheap too. They always have events on, and you can go along and even do your own workshop, read a book, do some art, give back to the community. The owner Thony is the heart of the place, and everyone else who works there and contributes is fantastic. I spent a lot of time here, eating, chilling, doing various workshops they put on, and even a cooking class which was fab. Love love love this place. You definitely need to go.

We needed some relaxation and pool time so went to Junglefish. 100k to get in, and I would recommend eating before you went and bringing you’re own water. Unless you’re rich. Then go crazy. However, the infinity pool overlooking the jungle is just amazing. So so beautiful. Obviously it rained whilst we were there (so much for tan time), but still had an awesome time. Luurrveee monsoon rain fun times.

If you fancy a treat go to Tjampuhan Spa. Oh my days, just 110k for four hours of luxury. It has BEAUTIFUL cold and hot natural spring pools that are immersed in the most intricate stunning carvings. The cold is seriously cold though. Like. Yikes. Even jumping in and straight out is too much for me to handle. They have saunas and steam rooms and single pools as well, perfect for meditating in, it was a dream. Amazing relaxing day just alternating between them all. I’m pretty sure I floated all the way home.

I went to see some traditional Balinese dancing. They have a lot around Ubud, and different temples show different stories. But the one near my house (on Jalan Suweta) I had heard when I walked past and knew this is the one I wanted to go to. Kecak. It was incredible. Absolutely loved it. The temple is lit up by candles and there are men sat in a circle. They start off by chanting, and this continues throughout the whole dance. The chanting was just amazing. If I close my eyes right now I can still hear it perfectly. It was originally a trance ritual but was later adapted to tell a story using dance, just for us tourists 😉 The dancers were beautiful and the emotion and intensity in their eyes was incredible, it really got to you. Along with the atmospheric chanting in the background. Definitely go watch this. I would happily go again. And again.

Oogh-Oogh & Nyepi. Now this was an experience. And I highly recommend visiting whilst this is on. Nyepi is Balinese new year, and the leading up to it you will see amazing creatures come to life. Every day I would walk past the same few temples and what started out as a base, then some chicken wire, turned into skin, a face, hair, and eventually an Oogh-Oogh. A Demon. An evil spirit. Everywhere over Bali, communities create these huge evil spirits so that the day before new year they can they parade them through town, warding off all the demons and evil spirits off the island, frightening them with loud noises. A lot of loud noises. At each intersection, the monster is spun around in order to confuse the spirit and drive it away from the island. At the end of the procession, the Oogh-Oogh is burnt to rid its evil from Bali. Its amazing to see. These beasts are huge. With so many locals all carrying them, making them run, dance, fight. All so unique. It amazes me how all across the world we have such similar rituals, whether its for religious reasons or to mark an event. From Oogh-Oogh, to English Bonfire night, to Fasnik in Croatia. It was incredibly cool and I loved it.

The next day from 6am for 24 hours is the day of silence. A time for self reflection. You’re not allowed to leave your compound or even use electronics. You had to prepare all your food the day before as there is absolutely no noise allowed. Bali airport is the only airport in the world that shuts down for 24 hours. So we stayed indoors and did what the Balinese do. And I really enjoyed it. The most memorable being laid out in my garden at night staring at the most incredible night sky since the whole island was on shut down.

I just loved being in this town (have I mentioned that?). All it had to offer, even some days (well several days) I seem to do nothing, see nothing, achieve nothing, yet I still enjoyed being immersed in this place. Ubud will always have a place in my heart. Thank you.

 

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