There are certain times in life when you want to do something badly, but it seems that the world is conspiring against you. My recent trip to Bali was one such trip. From finding the right company (which makes me think if it is this a regular problem- finding your travel companion) to almost missing my flight, things looked pretty bad, until…
..I landed in Ubud. Now while much has been written about this heaven, I can’t help repeat and reinforce what y’all would have already read. There is a reason that Ubud is considered the heart of this island city and I realised that the moment I stepped in the place.
Swearing by AirBnB‘s, I had booked a private pool villa with Santi, who had sent us a driver for airport transfer. The driver and his wife greeted us with a huge smile and a ‘namaskar’ (Bali being pre-dominantly Hindu). From there on, I didn’t find a single human interaction that was devoid of a ‘namaskar’ and a smile. Not to mention the readiness of people to offer help in every way.
As we drifted through clean roads and rice terraces by our side, I kept thinking on how our 3-day apartment would look like. To say the least, I wasn’t disappointed at all.
As our super-cute host got us welcome drinks, we contemplated jumping into the pool already, but the day was short and a lot had to be done.
We had decided on a sunrise volcano trek on Mt. Batur and so we started off in the middle of the night. Upon reaching the base itsekf though, we were in complete awe of the blanket of stars that covered up.
The trek was slightly tough for a diminutive person like me who is new to hiking, but the sweat was all worth it as we watched the sunrise over the summit.
Having soared our muscles from the mini-hike- there were many a lunges, trust me- we planned on taking a small walk on Campuhagan Ridge upon reaching back, have a nice drink by the Tegalalang rice terraces and call it a day, ending with relaxing by our pool.
The third day in Ubud was one stuffed with many waterfall and sunset chases. We started with a not-so-touristy fall called Kanto Lampo and I have admit, the fall made me go gaga. It was dreamy to say the least and I was teleport-ed to a fantasy land of my own.
We visited the Goa Gajah temple next to immerse ourselves into the Balinese culture in whatever way we could, and voila! we were given sarongs to don to enter the temple. Could I have asked for more? 😉
On another note, Bali is strict with its temple rules so one must ensure that they know their rules well.
With our days in Ubud coming to an end, we left the temple for our last stop around Ubud, the Tanah Lot temple. My tip is that if you are travelling to Seminyak, it’s better to visit this temple from there as it’s closer.
We visited the place for the sunset and even though we could just make it in time, we weren’t disappointed.
The following morning saw us taking a a fast boat amidst crowds of tourists under a harsh sun, to the islands of Gili in Lombok. It must have been a sultry ride of three hours before we stepped on the white sand of Gili Air.
The Island is pretty small, so much so that the periphery can be covered on foot in around 1.5 hours. Thus the tip is to not go hell bent on looking for an acco right on the beach, as I did, as every accommodation would be close the beach!
The vibes at Gili were more relaxed and lazy. All we indulged in was good sea food and some even more fabulous music
1. There is more to Ubud than what you can see in 3 days. If you have the time, do try and cover the nearby falls like the Tokad Cepung and Tibumanu Falls
2. It’s completely a cash economy and thus it’s better to take cash rather than a Forex/Int’l card. You will be charged extra on the Int’l card while at some places Forex doesn’t work. Having said that, the city is has a proliferation of money exchangers. Just look for the best rates and exchange your Dollars. Also, ensure that you carry Dollars (USD/Sing/AUD) instead of INR for exchange
3. Apart from the Batur Trek, there is another volcano called the Ijen that offers a scenic view (and some Sulphur fumes, so watch your breath and nose). If you have time on your hands and if you are keen on hiking, do give it a go. The Sulphurous gases make for an amazing phenomenon of blue Sparks.
4. Gili Islands are the place to relax/party/just sit by the beach. If you are more of a nature lover and a photo-fanatic, you might want to spend your days in Nusa Penida and Nusa Lembongan instead.
5. If you are staying in Kuta/Seminyak for a day to catch your flight back, do try and visit some off-beat places like The Green Bowl beach. We missed it, but everyone has been telling us about the beauty of it. Would love to know from you to in the comments.
6. Shopping: The cheapest souvenirs will be found in the Tanah Lot market, while the prices will be 3X everywhere else. However, do bargain!