June 5, 2017
I am amazed at the beauty of Ubud. I said that Gili Trawangan was the most beautiful place I had ever been to in my life, but I was wrong. So entirely, completely wrong. Ubud, Bali, Indonesia is a place overflowing with culture and beauty. You feel it the second you step foot on its market streets, wander through its temples, bask in its architecture. Without saying a word, Ubud brings you peace – encourages you to be spiritual and self-reflective.
There were so many “firsts” that I experienced during our trip to Ubud. I’ll tell you all about some of them.
It was the first time I had stayed in a bungalow. But this wasn’t any old bungalow – it was designed with traditional Balinese architecture. Fountains, Asian-influenced art, stone carvings, lush greenery, and the characteristic infinity pool. It was the coolest place I have ever stayed, and for only $18 USD a night! We were in awe of how beautiful our bungalow was. It was also in the heart of Ubud where all of the markets are, near the monkey forest, and close to some of the best restaurants in Ubud.
It was the first time that I rode a motorscooter (thankfully my friend Mitch had driven one in Thailand before… so it wasn’t that dangerous, right?). I felt bad for my mom, especially when I saw how easy it was to crash on these streets. Almost every single person was on a motorscooter, which may sound comforting, but it’s not. There are no rules to the road whatsoever. You must be a confident scooter driver or you will end up crashing, so I really put a lot of faith into Mitch who drove while I rode on the back, clinging onto him for dear life at first. But it was easy to get the hang of, and eventually I was back to having a death wish – taking snapchats and videos of our adventure while riding on the back.
It was the first time that I had hung out with monkeys. Let me tell you something about monkeys – they are assholes. We visited the monkey forest, which was only a 5-minute scooter drive from our bungalow. They were adorable at first – seemed as though they only wanted some peanuts. That was until they jumped on top of you, showed their teeth hissed at you, stole your water bottle hanging out of your purse along with the bag of peanuts in your hand that you were using to feed them anyways. Still, it was an amazing experience getting to interact with an animal so close up!
It was the first time that I had seen rice terraces. Mitch and I drove around Ubud for an entire day, exploring as much as we possibly could. One of our stops was a rice terrace, where we walked along the edges and talked with some of the locals. We took pictures (Mitch took drone footage), and we soaked up every second of the experience. Along our journey that day, we also visited a waterfall. At the top of the waterfall (after climbing a great deal of questionably stable stairs), there was a beautiful display of what seemed to be nature art. There were stacks of stones all over the river leading to the waterfall, glistening from the sunlight to the sound of the water falling and crashing at the bottom. As you moved further away, that sound grew to be more and more faint, a peaceful silence settling in. Locals were doing yoga. Couples were exploring on their honeymoons. Everyone coming together and enjoying nature’s finest gifts. It was beautiful.
Lastly, it was the first time that I watched a person get puked on by a monkey. Mitch, our friend Carmen, and I decided to do a sunrise hike up a mountain by the name of Mount Batur. It was a really difficult hike, especially at 3 am, but we made it to the top where our tour guide (who, by the way, was AMAZING – his name was Katut, just like the spiritual guide in Bali in the movie Eat, Pray, Love!!!) served us hot chocolate, egg sandwiches, and Oreos. God bless him. We sat on a bench with many other people where we watched the sunrise from the top of the active volcano. It reminded me of when I did the same thing in Hawaii on Haleakala, Maui. But this experience was much more adventurous. We walked the ridge of the crater, cooked eggs in the tiny steam vents along the rim of the volcano, slid among the volcanic ash on our way down, eventually landing at a spot known to have a lot of monkeys. And yes, there were a lot of monkeys. These monkeys were nice though – not like in the monkey forest – because they weren’t as used to being spoiled by humans as those ones were. We fed them peanuts and bread – a LOT of peanuts and bread. So many peanuts and so much bread that one monkey, while on the shoulders of Carmen, puked. All over her. We took a lot of pictures.
Leaving Ubud is very difficult for all of us. But now, it’s time to meet up with our other friends from Curtin University who are waiting for us in Kuta. Let’s party.