What surprised me on my first visit to Bali, is not the flock of tourist, young and adults, but the presence of Japanese vacationist together with their kids. If I am not mistaken Japanese are quite reluctant to bring their children especially to countries with safety and security issues or even just petty misdemeanor. Not that I attest Bali is not safe, don’t get me wrong because the moment I landed in Bali I felt I belong (maybe because Bali is much more like the Philippines in terms of the local’s physical features and the weather) I love Bali! And yes Balinese are one of the best and it is safe in Bali. But really, if you are in Asia and wanting to visit a natural paradise, see one’s unique culture without the need for visa (for Philippine passport holder), and engage to one of the kindest people- Bali is the place to be. やっぱり日本人はバリへよく行ってますね、バリ空港で日本語の案内雑誌がいっぱいありましたよ。
Though Bali is part of Indonesia (which is a widely Muslim country), it is one separate island and has its own identity in fact it has its own international airport and from what i saw, heard and experienced- Bali is full of unique features of its own. The most practiced religion in Bali is Hinduism, followed by few Muslims and part Christians too. I didn’t even expect that my uber driver (Yosep) was a born again christian. We had a lot of talk and he was my first kinda’ free tour guide in Bali. Would you believe, an hour and 30 minutes ride from airport to Ubud took me only 162,361 IDR or roughly around 1,600 yen / 15USD. That was a great deal compared to Japan’s terribly expensive taxi rates.
One-way hotel transport / hotel shuttle all the way to the mountains of Ubud was way too expensive, so I chose to use UBER. Outside the airport, there are also a lot of bystanders who (politely) ask and offer taxi ride to travelers [Check this – CONSIDERATIONS WHEN IN BALI]. Three days in Bali is not enough, so I decided to contain myself in one area that I really wanted to visited long time ago, Ubud. And reserved the other areas like Seminyak and others on my next visit.
Ubud is town in Bali, located uphill famous of its local made crafts and art. Well-known for its rice-paddies and vast rainforest. The center of Ubud can be covered on foot but a ride is needed to see the its other parts.
Here are some of the things to do when in UBUD , Bali:
Sacred Monkey Forest
I am scared of monkeys however i find their infants cute. So if you are like me who startles when monkey approaches, don’t worry because they are well trained to be in the presence of crowd. They are quite well-entertainers.
Or named as Goa Gojah. Expect to find no elephants in this place, but rather rock carvings. It is easy to access and it’s famous attraction is the cave with statues where once the monks sat.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Is a few minute drive from the center of Ubud. If you’re hotel is near the area you can actually rent a bicycle and explore the place very early in the morning to catch the sunrise and avoid the flock of tourist that starts around 10 in the morning. Or you can ask your guide to take you to a trek down the rice fields and take breathtaking panoramic photos or simply have a taste of the fresh clean air. On the way to Tegallalang there are plenty of crafts and arts store which you’ll find cheaper than the one’s sold at Ubud center.
Perfect place to see Bali’s past and contemporary arts and culture. The market is near to Ubud Palace and opens early at 8 and closes at 6 in the afternoon. You might get overwhelmed with the variety of goods and souvenirs on sale.
The Purin Sarin Palace is at the center of downtown Ubud. Is composed of Balinese houses and beautiful gardens. Was once a private house of Ubud princess. The place is well-known venue of Balinese dance performances. During daytime, some open stages are filled with Balinese’s practicing the dance and tourists are free to watch and take photos.
Tirta Empul Temple
Is located at Tampakskiring and mostly visited as it is famous place to not only witness a Hindu ritual ceremony but also join itself. The crystal clear water from the spring is considered holy, worshippers can get into the large pool to bathe and pray.
Another Hindu temple located in Batuan village which is one of the prominent temples found on the main road central Bali south of Ubud. The temple is built in Balinese architectural style accentuated with intricate carvings. Across the temple’s gate is an open parking space and an area where free sarongs are given to every visitors, everyone are required to wear the sarong during inside the temple’s premises. After wandering the temple’s labyrinth, there is a small box outside where visitors can drop few coins as a love offering. Our japanese speaking Indonesian driver ,who also voluntarily presented himself to be our guide on that day, told us that the money the temple receives is used for its maintenance.
Bali’s various Cafes and local food
Have you heard of the famous “poop coffee” or the Kopi Luwak – a coffee from the eaten cherries of civets that is fermented inside their stomach and defecated. In short, a coffee from civet’s collected feces. Some says it is one of the best coffee and is being sold at higher price in other countries. In the name of weird coffee, I gave it a try but since I am not a coffee lover I don’t have any idea how it is named as the best among the other good coffees. But please consider that to produce Kopi luwak under intensive farming civets are tremendously put into awful situation as they are isoalted into small cages and forced to eat the cherries just as to produce feces for coffee consumption. Sad reality.
On the other hand, try the different Balinese delicacies from their staple food to sweets. Their desserts resembles the ones served in the Philippines. Must-try among others are the Sate or Satay varieties, Nasi goreng, crispy duck or Betutu and Babi guling a pork dish and don’t forget to have a sip of the fresh coconut juice.
There are still plenty of places that I wanted to see in Ubud but cannot be accommodated in my three days itinerary. Staying in Ubud is perfect for a vacation that mainly focuses on deep relaxation, meditation and connecting with nature. There are numerous places to stay in Ubud from affordable guest houses to luxury villas. My favorite are the one’s that faces the rainforest.
Check this recommended place to stay in Ubud –