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Arrival in Bali and Kuta

After waiting 35h in Perth Airport, playing cards and sleeping, we’ve finally arrived in Bali ! Temperature rises brutally as we walk out the plane: in Perth, autumn is coming, when here it’s 25°C at midnight! The air is heavy, wet and hot. We take a taxi to Kuta, the closest suburb of the airport where 80% of the tourists stay, expecting good parties!
We find a guesthouse lost in a labyrinth of little streets that seems to never end…

Kuta has no charms, and is of very little interest if you do not come in Bali for shopping in surf shops and fashion boutique, or to take some « magic mushrooms » and cocktails before going to finish you night in a club or a sky bar. Kuta is a big drug and prostitution place…. We just spent a day there, and ended up in a bar with nice Russians who made us drink an infinite number of vodka shots all night long. Ask Mariette, she’ll tell you about it… And our morning hangover too… 🙂

Kuta

Kuta

Escaping to Ubud

We decided then to quickly move a little more inland, in a little village highly recommended by our friends and touristic guides: Ubud.
Ubud is a little town, less crazy but still touristic, surrounded by rice fields and tropical rainforest. Its market, its charms, and its “family holiday” ambiance made its reputation, but also its geographical situation right in the centre of the island. Ubud is full of guesthouse and scooter rental companies! We run away from the people at the bus station who are trying to sell us some accommodations, and do our own investigations for a place to stay in the city. Here we start the negotiations!

Essais de sarong, c'est pas la classe à Dallas ?We spend our first moments here discovering the little streets and the market where we try to negotiate some batik sarongs. And it seems that we’re not really good at negotiations… A sarong is a long rectangular piece of fabric that locals use as a skirt. It’s the traditional cloth, for women as well as for men. Batik is the colouring method they use to print the intricate patterns on the cloth using hot wax. Those sarongs are needed for a trip in Bali, because you must wear them to enter the sacred places. No sarong, no temples!

We also spend half a day in Monkey Forest, a tropical rain forest crowded with funny monkeys and tourists, where you can visit an old temple. Perfect “Jungle Book” scenery! Trees are huge, roots big and wide. The atmosphere is magical!

An old temple in the Monkey Forest

An old temple in the Monkey Forest

Here the nights are more quiet: you go to the restaurant with friends, or have some nice and « fresh » night walks in town. Who says restaurant, says local cuisine! The specialities are not numerous, but are quite good! Mie Goreng and Nasi Goreng are the most common meals you can order here. They consist of fried noodles or rice, served with fried eggs, meat or fish and vegetables. Not really spicy for Asian food, but very yummy!

In Ubud rice fields

Another interesting point about Ubud is that the city is surrounded by wonderful rice fields. Displaying all the shades of green, they look like a masterpiece, offering us a different show depending on how the sun illuminates the landscape. We quickly go away from the touristic places and start to venture in the rice fields. They will keep us busy all day! The huge green stairs of the flooded terraces are going down to a jungle and a deep gorge.

We soon discover the rice fields fauna: ducks and gooses! But we also learn that the huge spider we saw yesterday is not uncommon… We find 3 more of them, one of which is of an impressive size! A local guy tells us that they are called Lawa Lawa, and can be dangerous! Oops… Wikipedia says they are one of the biggest spiders in the world. The female can be 20cm wide, and its web about 2m long. The silky strings are able to catch little birds!
On our way, we meet an Australian girl who counsels us to come back at sunrise. The idea sounds good, and we decide to try it tomorrow…

Ricefields around Ubud

Ricefields around Ubud

So, early next morning, we’re in the middle of the rice fields, ready for the sunrise. Suddenly, the sunlight pierces the horizon line and floods the palm trees and the sky with a very delicate rose and orange glow, just before warming up the rice fields with its morning heat. Probably one of our best souvenirs of Bali!

After that magnificent show, we just want to linger in the rice fields as long as we can. So we head to Goah Gaja, a temple with a sacred grotto and a sacred spring. We’re a little bit disappointed by the temple, but the walk was amazing, bringing us in the middle of the rice harvest! On the way back, we stop in a very tiny restaurant in the middle of the terraces where we enjoy a divine meal. Then the owner tell us that just a few meters behind is a sacred carved wall. Indeed, the wall is wonderful, and we have even been blessed by an old Balinese lady!

Sunrise over the ricefields of Ubud

Sunrise over the ricefields of Ubud

Scooter ride to Mount Batur

For our last days in Ubud, we decided to hire a scooter and to ride it through the little streets and the jungle to go to Mount Batur, a volcano with a 13x10km wide crater! Luckily it’s a sleeping volcano, but 2 new chimneys had appeared in the crater. They are over 7km² wide and still active. We stay a while on the ridge of the crater to have a look over the amazing Crater Lake, before entering a very little restaurant. A very very old lady welcomes us in balenese: she does not speak english! Finally, she served us dishes that had nothing to do with what we ordered, but it was one of the best meals we have ever eaten!

Tomorrow will be our last night in Ubud, so we’ll try a very particular local food speciality: the Bebek Betutu. A duck wrapped in a banana leaf and cooked for 24h (you must order it the day before!). Just wonderful!!!

Cheers,

Tintin & Riette

Mount Batur

Mount Batur


Monkey Forest

  • Open from 08:30 to 18:00
  • Price : 20 000Rp/adult

Balinese dance at Ubud Palace :

  • Show starts at : 19:30
  • Price : 80 000Rp

Une goutte de rosée sur un brin d'herbe au lever du soleilBalinese dance at Café Lotus :

  • Show starts at : 19:30
  • Price : 80 000Rp without meal, 200 000Rp with meal

Visit in Ancak Saji in Ubud Palace

  • Free !

Ubud Water Palace :

  • Open from 08:00 to 16:00
  • Price : Free !

Goa Gajah :

  • Open from 08:00 to 18:00
  • Price : 15 000Rp/adult, 7500Rp/child
  • Carpark : 2000Rp

Gunung Kawi :

  • Open from 07:00 to 17:00
  • Price : 15 000Rp/adult, 7500Rp/child
  • Carpark : 2000Rp

Museums :

  • Around 50 000Rp for nearly all of them
  • Blanco Museum is open from 09:00 to 17:00

 

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