After getting off the plane in Denpasar and making my way through the visa line, I finally met up with Alan and Dylan. We grabbed some waters and then headed to the cab they had waiting (which we then actually switched to another car because this driver scratched his trying to get out of the parking space).
Off to Ubud
Ubud is about an hour and a half from Denspasar. The first thing that I noticed was how many motorcycles were on the road. There was definitely more motorcycles and mopeds than cars. The drivers are a little crazy and will drive on the wrong side of the road with oncoming traffic to speed past other cars or motorbikes.
We arrived in Ubud and started looking for a place to stay. Apparently Ubud has changed a lot since the last time Alan and Dylan were here three years ago. There were more large, formal hotels being built which meant the price of a place to stay was going up too. We headed away from the busy streets trying to find a homestay. The first place we stopped at wanted more than we wanted to settle for even after haggling and it was only one bed for the three of us.
We kept looking and came across someone who’s sister had a homestay with a two rooms available. A man came to pick us up and bring us to the homestay. There were 3 beds between the two rooms for 200,000 Indonesian Rupiah, about $15 USD, per room. We took the rooms and were able to stay for the two nights we needed.
Our rooms faced a jungle looking forest behind us and felt nice and secluded from the busier streets of Ubud. In the rooms there are geckos climbing on the wall, I guess this is common in Bali. They’re really cute and eat the bugs so I certainly don’t mind.
Once we were settled in we asked where we should go to eat and were told to go to Mama’s Warung. Mama’s wasn’t really open because of the full moon celebration right next to her, but she welcomed us in anyway. Mama is this adorable little old Balinese woman and actually introduces herself as “Mama”. We all ordered traditional Balinese meals and large Bintang beers. While we waited for our food, Alan and Dylan pointed out the dancing across the dancing across the street. It was a tradition gong dance that they saw when they studied abroad here. We finished our meals and had another beer while Mama had us try on the sarongs she had that we could buy to wear to the celebration.
We bought sarongs and Mama let us borrow scarves of hers to tie around our waists as long as we brought them back the next day. We went outside and there was some sort of comedy performance at that point involving a cross-dressed man. Despite the language barrier it was still entertaining.
The next morning, we had breakfast at the homestay. They gave us fresh tropical fruit, an omelet that was more of a mix of an omelet and a scallion pancake but really good, toast, and coffee. After breakfast we headed to Monkey Forest.
The Sacred Monkey Forest is just that- a forest of monkeys. It’s a conserved forest area to protect the monkey habitat and educate people on conserving the natural and cultural resources of the forest.
This was a really fun spot. There are so many monkeys walking or playing right next to you. Baby monkeys are clinging onto their moms walking around and younger monkeys are chasing each other around playing (or fighting, it’s hard to tell).
For a little more than $1 I bought a bunch of bananas to feed the monkeys. If you hold it up high the monkey will climb on you to get it. They also like to try to steal your water bottles. We were watching a bunch of monkeys chasing each other around and tackling each other and one of the monkeys started eyeing Alan’s water bottle. It tried to get it from him and then the other monkeys started getting interested.
Two monkeys climbed on this guys back for no reason and we just sitting on him and his backpack. Then a monkey jumped on top of Alan. They were getting a little riled up thinking we had something they’d like so we walked out of the area and the monkeys jumped off Alan and the stranger.
After the Monkey Forest, Alan went off to do some solo exploring and me and Dylan went to the market. The market had a few people selling fruit (I guess there’s usually more food vendors but we think that may just be in the morning) and a lot of souvenir and art vendors.
We can’t really buy anything since we don’t have space in our packs and don’t want to add unnecessary weight so we don’t stay too long. We headed off to grab some lunch and ate at this place called Juice Ja. Juices are really big around Bali. Usually this means fresh fruit blended with a little ice and sometimes a little sugar, but this place had pressed juices as well. I got a mixed fruit juice and Dylan got a green fruit and vegetable pressed juice. For lunch I had tempeh satays with rice and balinese vegetables. The vegetables were the best part. It looked like a mix of some sort of sprouted bean and scallion but it had something spicy and was incredibly flavorful.
After lunch we were on the hunt for massages. You can get massages really cheap almost anywhere in Southeast Asia. Prices were ranging from 60,000 IDR up to 150,000 IDR or more. We found a little spot for 70,000IDR (about $5 USD) for an hour. Best massage I have ever had hands down. She worked out parts of my body that I didn’t even know were sore. Nice and relaxed we headed to where Dylan stayed when he was here last time. We walked around the area and through some rice fields before heading back to the homestay.
We went back to Mama’s Warung for dinner and met this girl who is taking a yoga instructor course down the road. She left home at 17 to go volunteer in Kenya. She’s now 19 and figuring out what she wants to do for her next step. Apparently she may not even go work as a yoga instructor, but it gave her a reason to come here. Hey, why not? I guess the end goal is to figure out how to travel long term.
The next morning we rented motorbikes and headed north to Lovina.