Eat, Love & Pray (and monkeys) in amazing Ubud

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April 28th 2011
Published: May 5th 2012
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(The title of this blog is actually the title of a book and film, most of which was based in Ubud (the love part), and after spending a few days in this amazing town we can vouch for that!)

After a crazy but fun few days in Kuta, we wanted to get away and see some of the 'real' Bali, so set off in a taxi to Ubud, which was only an hour away. We were going to get a public bus/minibus to save money, but a private taxi worked out at almost the same so we got that insted.

We arrived in Ubud around 5pm and got dropped off near the main street to go and find some accomodation for the next few nights. Ubud is tiny and only has 2/3main streets which surround a huge forest, so we thought it would be easy to find somewhere to stay, but little did we know that there are more hills in Ubud than most places! So after a good walk around (with our heavy bags on), Vic sat in a small cafe while Scott went on the hunt for a room. After 45 mins he came back and said he had seen some cheaper places, but they weren't great, and the others were super expensive, so we set off again together to find somewhere and eventually came accross a place which looked quite nice, and as it was dark by this point we took it for the night.

We then freshened up and went out in search of some food. We had heard Ubud was quiet but literally everything was closed by 11pm! As it was already 8pm we had a yummy dinner, another walk around the small town before getting an early night in preperation for the next day.

We woke up early the next day and were pleased to see it was lovely and sunny, so we had some breakfast at our guesthouse whilst deciding what to do for the day. We had heard so much about 'Monkey forest' we decided to go and explore it for a while, so walked the short 5 minutes down the road to where it started. We must have missed them the night before, but even before we got to the forest entrance, we saw monkeys in the road nearby it!

We paid the small entry fee and took a rain check on buying the bananas (we had heard the monkies go crazy when tourists have these bananas on them and we saw plenty of people being jumped on by the monkeys to get the bananas, so that was a good call!) and started walking through the forest. This place was amazing! Huge towering trees and plants everywhere with well laid out paths and signs so you could walk round freely observing nature and taking great photos, when all the while there were loads of monkeys of different sizes running around you, or sleeping, or grooming themselves, from tiny baby ones attached to their mothers to the big hairy and grey 'grandfather' types. At one point we passed an old ruin half covered in vine leaves, and could see there were a load of monkeys inside it and on it, which reminded us a bit of the King Louis scene in Jungle Book! These guys were in their element (the monkeys that is)! Scott loves monkeys and we had never seen them in the wild this close before, so we spent a good few hours roaming around the beautiful forest and just watching these creatures which was great.

We then left the forest and stopped at a small place on a hil for a cold drink, which overlooked some amazing rice terraces. Scott wanted to have a wonder through these so left Vic with the drink and walked down and into them. These are like huge fields but with super long grass, but at one point Vic looked up expecting to see Scott in the middle of it only to see an arm in the air - he had been walking and fallen down a ditch in the middle of the terrace like only Scott could! He made it out and back in one piece though 😊 Then it was through a small market and onto a Balinese place for some lunch, where we got a traditional platter of Balinese food all served on palm leaves!

We had decided we wanted to do a trip to see the famous Tegallantang rice terraces the next day, a famous temple and also the Kintamani volcano (from a distance), so we got talking to a guy who was a tour guide, and we arranged with him to pick us up the next morning for this tour. We also found the cafe that is featured in the Eat,Love,Pray book and film, irs organic and run by a local woman, but of course since being featured in these has become super busy and prices have gone up! Still it was cool to see.

Afterwards we headed back to our guesthouse but not before checking out another one nearby out of interest, which turned out to be amazing, double the size of our room, with a balcony and pool, for the same price! So we hotfooted it back to our place, got our stuff toegther and left, checking into this new place for the last 2 nights. The balcony at this one overlooked some of the rice terraces and the views were amazing so we were really pleased with our choice. Plus the bathroom had a big bath tub and a shower, even though we weren't the only ones using it - a couple of small lizards were also calling it their home!

We had a nap by the pool as it was still so hot, then went to get changed and ready for dinner. We haven't been very impressed with the Indonesian cuisine so far, as they only seem to have 3 or 4 key dishes - fried rice, fried noodles and 2 types of curries, which are no where near as good or tasty as Thai cuisine, which we love, so when we found a place with a bit more local food on their menu we were looking forward to trying it. Scott ordered beef rendang and Vic got another Indo dish, with some rice to share and chicken satay to start. All the food was delicious and the restaurant overlooked some of the rice fields so the views were amazing, even though it was getting dark there were lights twinkling and soft music playing, it was a really nice setting. As we said earlier Ubud is a really quiet place so after dinner we went back to our gorgeous room and put a dvd on, excited for our next day's adventure!

The next morning we had breakfast on our balcony (eggs, toast, fresh juice and pancakes) and got picked up by our tour guide for that day's activites. First stop was the famous Tegallantang rice terraces about an hour away - these were incredible, really lush and green and went on for miles, and they were tiered so the views were amazing. We had a good walk around here for a while and the guide took some nice pictures for us, before we were back in the car. Then it was onto a temple, which was in amazing grounds, and there were various pools of holy water which you could bathe in to 'clense; you, but vic couldn't as there was a sign which didn't allow women to enter the water! But of course Scott had a dip 😊 Lastly, we went to the Kintamani volcano. This took about another hour and the roads up to this were very windy and steep, so we knew the views were going to be good. They were awesome! You could see right accross Ubud and the volcano below was pretty big too!

After some photos and admiring the views, it was time to head back to Ubud. We were really craving Mexican food that night and had heard about a fab little Mexican place, so went in search of it and found it, and it lived up to its reputation! Tacos, Fajitas, Burritos, you would think you were in Mexico the food was so good! Then we got an early night, as the next day we would be up super early and heading to the much anticipated Gili Islands! This had been a great day and a good way to see the different parts of Ubud and its culture. This town is incredible, chilled, pretty and quaint, and you could easily spend a few more days here just relaxing, having massages and taking in the amazing nature which surrounds it all.

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