Bali is always advertised as a honeymoon destination. I heard a lot of ‘Bali? With friends?’ when my colleagues came to know about my travel plans. Honestly, even I was expecting a quiet place with a lot of couples posing and kissing. Having friends in Indonesia helped us finalize on this location. Also, i should give special thanks to Stella, the author of ‘BaliBlogger’ for inspiring me.
We chose to stay at Ubud, the cultural destination, rather than Kuta. The beaches and the places in and around Kuta are really crowded and very commercialized. I expected it to be just like any other beach destination and right I was! Right from the beautiful Denpasar airport till our accommodation at ‘Jati Home Stay‘ in Ubud, I was impressed. Crossing multiple paddy fields and several creative furniture shops, I was mentally making note of the location so that we could come back.
Ubud is no party place. Places close by around 9pm but a few restaurants and cafes are open till 11-12am. There are plenty of shops with handmade handicrafts and a lot of Yoga places. The streets are pretty with green foliage around with a lot of scary carved rocks.
Though the temperature was soaring high and all of our bald heads were getting scorched, life was going on in slow motion those 3 days in Ubud. Eating those satays with peanut sauce and having the famous Bali ‘Kopi’ while playing charades was exactly what I wanted after working like a slave for 3 months without vacation. Watching the Balinese dancers in action and trekking to Mount Batur were the adventurous things we did apart from sipping Mojitos and taking massages all day long. Having switched off my mobile and walking around with no watch definitely helped me as I truly lost track of time.
I have listed down somethings which we did in Bali. Hopefully, readers find it useful.
1. Ubud Palace/Ubud Market: All palaces in Ubud are similiar if you are a tourist like me. The architecture seemed the same to me. Ubud Palace was no exception. Right outside the Palace is the Ubud Market which is like a maze with 3 levels. You find everything from clothes to fruits and souvenirs. Steeply priced but feel no shame in bargaining and paying only 10% of the price marked.
2. Balinese Kecak dance: Right outside the Palace, you will see several people selling tickets for this dance. This price is already fixed and is mentioned on the tickets. Although I did not understand the story, the dancers were powerful and the costumes and make up left an impression. I do not have any good photos of this dance but you may ‘You-tube’ it to understand what this is all about. The rhythm and the beats of the dance kept resounding in our heads as we walked out of the theatre.
3. Mount Batur Sunrise Trek: Yes, this is hard work ; Especially treking at 3am in the morning and all I can say is , IT IS WORTH IT!. I packed like a girl with flip flops and no sports shoes and I still managed to trek in the loose volcanic sand and stones for around 1.5 hours to 2 hours. I could see people flashing their torch light at my silver shiny disco flats as they panted and overtook me. But meh, same destination. I met them all up there and saw the same sunrise they did.
I mentioned once, raw beauty of nature intimidates me and that is what happened. Just staring straight ahead while the sun was rising was all I needed to be at peace with myself for rest of my trip. Please pack proper shoes and a nice light jacket to face the chilly wind up there, unlike me.
After sunrise, they will take you around the volcano to show the Sulphur gas emitting from the huge crater. Sigh, we are too small on this Earth.
4. Monkey Forest: This place is full of monkeys and yes, temples but mostly Monkeys. There are 3 temples inside and all of them are closed for tourists. Mostly people come here to see the monkeys in the forest and it is fun! Do not go in with bananas else the monkeys will climb on top of you. There are a lot of places in there where you would feel you are on the sets of Indiana Jones! A must visit in Ubud.
5. Tanah Lot Temple: This is such a tourist destination. They have an entry fee and you cannot move ahead unless you bump into someone. I was so bumped out when I reached there as I just couldn’t click a picture of the temple without any people in it! But we managed and that put a smile to my face. Only while I was sitting there staring at the temple did the beauty of the architecture struck me; the entire temple carved out of a big rock! It was spectacular.
Such vacations should be made mandatory to all corporate employees. Sure, I was sad to be back but it has been almost a week after my trip to Bali and Gilli Islands and I still feel good!
Time to plan my next holiday!