We started our two day journey back to Indonesia from Cape Town really early in the morning. It was dark and cold when we left, and we were eager to start the long journey which went via Johannesburg and Hong Kong before ending in Denpassar. We were looking forward to escaping the cold Cape Town winter, and sunning ourselves in the warm Balinese sun.
When we arrived in Bali the next day, it was 28 degrees celcius and sunny, far different from Cape Town’s 8 degrees and rainy, when we left.
We checked in at our accommodation (Merthayasar bungalows), which had a great pool to swim in, and was very comfortable. We were surprised at how nice it was, for only R200 per night, including breakfast and free wifi. Our room had its own en-suite bathroom, and a balcony overlooking the pool where we ate breakfast every morning.
Being only 100m from the Monkey Forest sanctuary we would sit on the balcony every day, and watch the monkeys come from the forest over the roofs of the buildings, to steal food and the offerings left to the Balinese gods.
This time round, the weather was a lot cooler than our previous visit to the island. Although it hot, it felt a lot cooler in the evenings than the previous time we were in Bali. We actually had to use a blanket at night this time!
Ubud is tourist central for Bali, so it feels like every shop is a tourist shop or curio store, and every second place is a massage parlour or restaurant. The streets are generally quite manic, filled with tourists heading in every direction, scooter motorbikes by the thousands,and stray dogs and the odd monkey wondering around. Bali has a unique distinctive aroma. The air is filled with the smell of incense and the aroma of Frangipane blossoms.
Apparently the book / movie ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ put Ubud on the map. We can relate to the title, because we Loved the food in Ubud. There are so many different vegetarian restaurants to choose from, and most of them are amazing. Because of that, we found ourselves eating way to much, and so we were praying that we did not put on weight! In the evenings a lot of the restaurants had live music. Local guys playing covers of all the hits, and they were pretty good!
Another thing Ubud is famous for, is the beautiful rice field terraces. We walked to the Kajeng rice fields which were close to where we were staying, as we had not seen them before. The last time we were in Ubud we went to the famous Tellenengan rice terraces, but that is a lot further away. The Kajeng rice terraces are not as spectacular as the Tellengan fields, but it was a nice outing and walk through the forest.
We decided to go to the famous Kecak fire and trance dance at the Pura Puseh temple one night. The dancers that act a Hindu folk story are joined by over 100 local balinese men villagers who sing in chorus. It was well worth going to see, and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
The main reason we came to Ubud this trip, was to rest for a few days after the long flight, and to get money needed for the main attraction and reason for our visit to Indonesia again, which is to visit Raja Ampat. The ATMs in Indonesia dont allow you to draw much money at a time, and our trip to Raja Ampat would be expensive. There are no banks or ATMs or credit card machines in Raja Ampat, so we would need to arrive with cash. The nice part about coming to Ubud, was the bitcoin center that they have, where you can exchange bitcoin for Rupia very easily.
This was less hassle, much cheaper, and also faster for us to get enough money for our trip to Raja Ampat, than it would have been to go to the ATM every day to draw out our cash limit.
After sorting out our finances, we spent the rest of the few days in Ubud, enjoying the local restaurants and markets, and generally being a typical tourist….and dont dont forget chilling at the pool! We were relaxing as hard as we could in preparation for the grueling two day journey to get to our accommodation in Raja Ampat.