Ubud: Of Monkeys, the Arts and #%&* Roosters

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October 19th 2010
Published: November 17th 2010
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After three or four days in Kuta getting our feet under us it was time to head out and see the rest of Bali, first stop Ubud! Hopped a bus and in no time we arrived, grabbed a cab to our hotel (Sama's Cottages) and settled in to a really cool cottage/bungalow in the middle of the jungle, nice! We were at the end of the lane, and with the exception of one cottage directly across from us it felt like we were in the middle of some remote jungle...fantastic...great place to stay, with the exception of what seemed like twenty or so roosters fighting and causing a racket each and every night...gah...haha...

Ubud is reputed to be the cultural capital of Bali; and while there is a ton of galleries, dance performances and music, it was certainly more commercial than I thought it would be (I had expected something a bit more bohemian I suppose)...no matter though, as mentioned still a fun spot with plenty to do...

First day saw us strolling up and down both Monkey Forest Rd. and Jl Hanoman with a stop at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary...really cool spot set in the jungle with

With all the pics I take of flowers on our travels I really should learn their names...
some great temples, statues and carvings; it is also the home to a band of Balinese macaque monkeys who are quite aggressive and a little too comfortable with the tourists...one saw a bottle of water in Karen's hand and actually jumped on her, only letting go when she dropped the water...other tourists were feeding bananas to the monkeys which I thought was a bit insane but no fatalities were seen...haha...

One activity quite popular here is the cooking lessons; I had seen a travel show about Bali where they showcased a restaurant in Ubud that had a cooking school and it looked like a lot of fun (became a must-do for me!). After some searching around we discovered the restaurant in question had moved, so we checked out a few other schools and settled on the one at the Bumi Bali Restaurant on Monkey Forest Rd. Oh man, great fun, highly recommend doing one of these courses if you make it to Ubud. Check around though, some of the instructors didn't seem to be all that engaging...fortunately the chef we had was awesome and really made the cooking come alive...

We met at the restaurant at 9am and
Chef BoyardeeChef BoyardeeChef Boyardee

Showing off my mad skillz
after some introductions we were led down to the local market to learn about the variety of ingredients that go into Balinese dishes, including the different fruit, vegetables and spices used in the traditional cooking. Great learning experience; the market was beautiful, vendors were happy to show us their wares and while most of the ingredients are common enough world-wide there were some fascinating local varieties that were fun to sample and savour... After about 45 minutes in the market it was back to the restaurant to begin the cooking, excellent! We were all given our own aprons and recipe books, and then set about preparing about six or seven different recipes and getting an interesting variety of dishes to both learn about and sample. Even if cooking isn't your thing, for about $28 CDN you ended up sampling all the meals and the food alone was worth it (there was a tuna dish, a curry, tofu-which was surprisingly good-and a couple of others that slip my mind). The chef did most of the cooking but there were still opportunities to get in there and help out which was great.

Another popular attraction is the traditional Balinese dance performances,
Sama's CottagesSama's CottagesSama's Cottages

Our little bungalow in the jungle...too cool...
also something not to be missed. We made a reservation at the Cafe Lotus restaurant for dinner and a show and got a table that overlooked this beautiful lotus pond with the stage and a temple across from it. There were seats up closer that didn't include dinner and had a better vantage point but we opted to do both. The performance was excellent and a lot of fun to watch, so much so that we ended up going back the following evening to catch another one. Due to some rain the performance was moved indoors to a fairly intimate setting which turned out to be great; we were very close to both the dancers and musicians making it easier to see some of the more subtle moves and facial expressions, really cool stuff...

That concluded our visit to Ubud, all in all a great destination...another day would have allowed us to explore the surrounding rice paddies a bit more but a great excuse to go back...next stop Gili Islands!

(Some photos copyright of Karen C., denoted by (KC)...used with kind permission)

Additional photos below
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Cool little restaurant on the left overlooking the gorge...
K and Bintang!K and Bintang!
K and Bintang!

Probably reacting to one of my witty remarks...

Little b*stard eating up the morning offerings...

...to Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary...

Loved the jungle/canopy... and man was it hot!
Lunch time!Lunch time!
Lunch time!

Scored some bananas...

Couldn't get enough of the carvings here...
Smokin' MonkeySmokin' Monkey
Smokin' Monkey

They will eat anything...
Rice PaddieRice Paddie
Rice Paddie

Couldn't get enough of these either...

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