Monday, December 07, 2009

Bali – Nusa Dua to Ubud

Hello! A lot has happened since my adventure at Ulu Watu that capped off my last post. My Indiana Jones-ing happened on Day 4 for me which was a Wednesday. That left me three more nights at the resort in Nusa Dua.

Days 5 and 6 – Poolside

I spent these two full days diving into my next book, Pillars of the Earth. I spent the first day at Hyatt’s pool. The Hyatt Resort is gorgeous. The pool was quite warm though and wasn’t very refreshing. At this end of Nusa Dua the beaches are much nicer than my end up north. After reading for awhile I was kicked out – but I was about to leave anyway. I took a quick dip in the ocean and then took a 4 km walk back to my hotel on the beach promenade. In my last post, you will remember I complained a bit about the quality of the beach promenade. Down on this end of the resort the promenade is kept much more maintained.  The walk was nice and I got to see all of the five star resorts and their nicely manicured lawns and pools. If you have the $$$ there are plenty of great places to stay.

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I got back to my hotel well past dark. I actually overshot my hotel because a street vendor was trying to sell me a flashing light yo-yo thing. He was shining it in my face right as I was walking past my hotel and by the time I told him I didn’t want it I had walked right on by my hotel entrance. I realized this about four more hotels down. The walk was relaxing though so I didn’t really care.

After turning around and arriving I took a night swim, ate some dinner (very tame dinner since I was still being cautious after my digestive escapades) and turned in early.

My last full day there I just hung out at my hotel’s pool and beach, chatted it up with some Aussies, read my book, and stayed cool. I took a video of the beach on my last day. All to myself:

Day 7 and 8– Central Ubud

Map picture

One week down and I still had LOTS left to see. My next stop was Ubud. Ubud is known for its art, relaxing cafes, great food and is used by many people as a hub for their Bali adventure. I had a new driver (also named Made – there are only four male names here – Wayan, Made, Ketuk, and Nyoman (sp)) and we trekked up to Ubud. I had no accommodation set and he offered to take me to three hotels. I didn’t like any of them and took a break at the Laughing Buddha Bar. There was WiFi there. I had a beer and started looking up some places in my guidebook. There was one two doors away that was super cheap – Pramesti Bungalows.

I went in and the lady – Madi – asked how many nights I was going to stay. I didn’t really know because I had friends coming and was going to try to stay in their Villa north of Ubud when they arrived on Sunday (Day 8). She said 150,000 Rp  for one night (and I got here down to 100,000 Rp (ten bucks :)). The bungalows themselves were very quaint but were set in this gorgeous tropical garden. She also had four rabbits that were running around and she made banana pancakes for breakfast in the morning.

After I got settled there I immediately set out to make the most of the half day I had left. I was starving and walked up the Monkey Forest Road where the bungalows were to the main drag of Ubud. Ubud was my first real taste of a real Balinese village. It was hard to grasp the sense of this in Nusa Dua due to the number of resorts.

The city was very much alive and full of tourists, places to eat, and shop. Ubud is known for its artsy nature and I passed many art galleries in my trekking. The first place I ate was Nomad where I had a great chicken satay. This also marks the first time I had Balinese food since my event.  It also marked the first time I had a drink with real liqour in it so far – can you believe that! I had a Capinomad which was Balinese palm gin, lime, lemongrass and sugar. Very tasty.


A friend of mine looped me into one of his friends there and I let her, Winnie, know I was at Nomad. She came over as I was finishing up and we talked for awhile. It was great to have someone to talk to and then travel with for a bit.

She wanted to go check something out in East Ubud and I was just happy to tag a long an explore more so we started walking.  On the way there she mentioned here and some Kiwis were going to the fire dance later – the keyack (sp?) dance. It sounded like a good way to spend the evening so I bought a ticket to that. Our walk ended up being a bit longer than expected and we still had to get back to our respective hotels and shower. Just walking around the block here will make you sweat buckets. My shirt was almost drenched as it was.

The fire dance was pretty impressive. It was broken up into three different dances. The latter was a man kicking burning coconut husks as part of the dance. It was pretty cool. The chanting of the males in the dance troupe did not leave my head for the rest of the evening.

Here he is kicking the fire around:

Afterwards we ate at Kafe which is a very organic, green, eco friendly restaurant. I had some ginger spiced chicken and vegetables which was really good and washed it down with a Bintang, the local Indonesian brew.

I was super tired – we all were – and after dinner I headed home in a light drizzle. My room at Pramesti had no air conditioning but it wasn’t that bad. I slept great and woke up very early – like 7ish (early for me).

One of Madi’s staff asked if I wanted breakfast and remembering the banana pancakes I said sure. I grabbed Pillars of the Earth  and settled into that for awhile as my breakfast was being made. As I was reading one of the rabbits came to nibble on one of the ceremonial offerings put out every morning.


After playing with the rabbit for awhile (mind out of gutters people) my pancakes arrived:


It was more like a crepe than a pancake, and was very tasty. After eating I packed up my stuff so it was ready to go. Later this day I was going to go meet my friends at their Villa. At about ten thirty I set out for the Monkey Forest and after that a hike around the more rural parts of Ubud to get a feel for daily life and to just get out of the city.

My first stop on Monkey Forest Road was the Monkey Forest itself.  The Monkey Forest (no that is not the official name) contains a temple, a cemetery and is home to hundreds of grey monkeys. The monkeys are not shy at all and at one point one of them jumped up on me – sadly I don’t have a pic of that. If you have a banana or other fruit you might as well wear a sign on you that says “attack me”. In my case I reached into my bag to get out my water bottle and a monkey thought I was going to feed it so it jumped on me and clung on for awhile.

Here is a video of one of these guys going crazy after a banana. Watch how fast he opens the sucker up:

After roaming the monkey forest and exploring the outside of the temple I moved on to some of the roads around Ubud outside of the city. Here are some pics of the monkey forest:

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My favorite:


In my trek around Ubud I stumbled upon an abandoned house that was kind of creepy and overrun with wildlife (by the way the spiders here a ridiculous …. ughh).

I stopped at several vendors along the way to get Pocari Sweat and water (you can read about my fascination with Pocari Sweat here). The hike took me through verdant rice fields that were being harvested, some views of the river and the surrounding jungle. The rice fields here are very cool and in some cases where the land is not flat they are terraced. 

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After about three hours I had made a full circuit around Ubud and made my way back to the bungalows. My plan was to go spend the next three nights at a villa north of Ubud where my friend Jeff was staying. Long story short their internet wasn’t working and I had no way to get in touch with them. I ended up having a very relaxing rest of the day reading my book at the Green Room which had a good 2 for 1 Happy Hour and then finished up with dinner at Casa Luna restaurant.

I checked my email one last time to see if Jeff had arrived and when there was no word from them I went back tot he bungalow and slept. This was my first encounter with the wildlife in the hotels and I had a mean battle with a cockroach that ended up with it falling in the toilet on accident and me flushing it down two or three times … Matt 1- Cockroach 0.

1 comment:

ethan1066 said...

i found your article on ubud accomodation very interesting..i missed this place when i was in bali .hope i will go there in future...

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