2am to 9am Trek to Mt Batur, an active volcano. Our driver Kadek organized a trek for us , where he drove us early in the morning from the resort to the base campus. Here he introduced us to Made our 17/18 year old guide for the day. Made and his elder sister were fun to trek with. He told us fun stories and ensured that we were safe throughout. Brilliant job Made! We trekked for about 3 hours to the top of Mt Batur, could have been done faster but the terrain was rocky where we had to juggle climbing on fours and our flash lights. Once at the top, Made set up our picnic spot with an amazing view of Lake batur the largest of 4 lakes in Bali, Mts. and Kitamani region. The best part for me was watching the crater steam.
After starting the day at Goa Gajah in Ubud, Bali, we started for our next destination – the Tirta Empul Temple or the Holy Spring Temple as it is often referred as. Built in 962 AD over a natural spring, this temple is dedicated to Lord Indra, the Hindu God of rain. Agni, Varuna and Indra were ancient gods in India who somehow lost their position to Vishnu and Shiva when the civilization flipped a page in its long course of history. It was in fact the only temple of Indra which we had ever seen.
Ubud is a small and lovely place to be.. One can just rent a bike or cycle or can even explore on foot. Food joints and cafes are excellent out here! We took A night at the Bali Zoo experience here where we got acquainted to a lot of Nocturnal animals, fed animals & had a delicious dinner watching the fire dance! For all the Vegetarians who feel its difficult to find Veg food abroad, Bali gives you choices ! Mama Mia Pizzas are awesome & one should try Mango Lassi along with it! Sounds like wierd combination but its Just Fab!
Mt Batur surrounded by a calm lake Nasi Goreng -Satay &amp; the serene Mt. Batur Lake Rare view of the top of a volcano - we were lucky to get thisBalinese culture – Balinese people believe in the concept of balance and this reflects in the way they worship nature. Offerings (flowers, biscuits, candies) in front of shops are a common sight there. We later discovered that offerings lying on the ground are actually to Evil. Balinese people invite evil to come and join them in their lives (kind of a bribe),for the concept of the good &amp; the bad , the Yin &amp; the yang prevails there.There are plenty of temples here and to enter the temple wearing a sarong is a must .Our driver was kind enough to lend us the sarongs .
At Ubud Market, Bargain is key as the prices they did set for me as a ‘last price’ had gone down to literally half the price than first quoted. People here are friendly, some willing to help with sole intention of being friendly and some try their deciduous luck on offering a price to the assistance.Abundance of Landscapes and FoodThe greenery and the praying behaviour here takes me back to gods own country – Kerala. Having said that, the lush of coconut trees, banana, rice and the perfectly manicured paddy fields creates Bali what it is and none alike. The paddy fields at Jatiluwih (Rice terrace) follow the traditional irrigation system called the Subak.The Balinese seem to make use of things that grow in their own land from rice, coffee, clove, to lettuce. My food is mostly rice stacked like an upside-down bowl with chicken satay as a side dish – complete with ginger dressing. The food is placed on a circle shaped banana leaf. Indonesian breakfast comes heavy with rice and noodles – not for a light eater like me. So my options have been toast and egg, with fruits and Bali black kope (coffee) or white kope sachez. Warungs (family owned restaurants) serves the cheapest yet tasty food. One of the best warung food we had was at One homestay; food is cheap and tasty, and the view is to die for.Diverse Weather Conditions
Taman Ayun Temple
Next day Visited Taman Ayun in early noon & later in the evening went to Tanah lot. Tourist aren't allowed to enter temples in Bali. you'll be spending around 50,000 IDR per meal in decent restaurant or Warung. Food is costlier in Kuta compared to rest of the Bali as it is major tourist hub.
Barong dance narrates the story of fighting between evil and good. The masks used are considered sacred items, and before they are brought out, a priest must be present to offer blessings by sprinkling them with holy water taken from Mount Agung, and offerings must be presented. If you're keen to learn more about the culture and beliefs of bali, you can make a trip down Obyek Wisata Budaya Sahadewa for this 1 hour show. The ticket will cost you around Rp 100,000
Along the eastern side lies the largest and holiest temple of Hindu religion in Bali: Pura Besakih. This over a thousand year’s old temple is also known as "Mother Temple of Bali". Located 1000 meters high on the slopes of the volcano Mt. Agung it is an extensive complex of 23 separate but related temples.
Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple
2. Gunung Kawi or Rock TempleLike a fairytale in stone, the structure is a 11th century spectacle where shrines are believed to be monuments for the then deceased royal family. A guided tour of the place is sure to reveal some of the mysteries of these engravings. Distance from Ubud: 14km
Teba Sari Bali Agrotourism
2.30pm to 3.30pm Coffee tasting at the Teba Sari bali agrotourism. We finally decided to give the famous Luwak coffee a try (very strong and smoky in flavour). Tasting a cup of Luwak coffee was around 50,000IDR, however, the plantation also specializes in other flavours (Spiced chocolate coffee, mangosteen tea, vanilla coffee, etc) that are equally great for free. The plantation also has a store from where one could purchase coffee/tea.
Tirta Empul Temple
This is a Hindu temple in the centre of Bali. It is famous as its holy water can wash away sins. To participate in this ritual, you first need to buy a ticket, then proceed further into the temple. Keep going, just follow the crowd, and you will come to a series of open air rock pools where you can immerse yourself to whatever degree you feel is required, to wash away your sins. I merely dipped my hand into the water. This temple is popular, with both locals and visitors, it is always busy. Take care when walking on the rock, it is slippery. There is a happy feel to the place. Much laughter and good cheer.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Yes, this is hard work ; Especially trekking at 3 AM in the morning and all I can say is , IT IS WORTH IT!. I packed like a girl with flip flops and no sports shoes and I still managed to trek in the loose volcanic sand and stones for around 1.5 hours to 2 hours. I could see people flashing their torch light at my silver shiny disco flats as they panted and overtook me. But meh, same destination. I met them all up there and saw the same sunrise they did. Raw beauty of nature intimidates me and that is what happened there. Just staring straight ahead while the sun was rising was all I needed to be at peace with myself for rest of my trip. Please pack proper shoes and a nice light jacket to face the chilly wind up there, unlike me.
Bali Bird Park
Happened to see this huge wood carving at Mas, an art village in Ubud, on my way to the Bali Bird Park. Came back to get a really good close look at the sheer ‘mindblowingness’ of it. Several heart-stopping moments of beauty in the streets of Ubud, and some with more than a touch of humour in them, such as the monkey sculpture below, outside a crafts store. Cracked me up every single time I saw it.
Bugoharjo House Umajati Retreat
I stayed in the Bugoharjo House, it's a wonderful open-plan villa that sleeps three persons. It includes a master bedroom, spacious living area, kitchen, two full baths, and a lovely Balinese teak day bed to accommodate a third guest. The living room has a wall of wooden sliding glass doors that open onto a wrap around veranda; this design creates a calming indoor-outdoor atmosphere. The Bugoharjo House also has its own private garden space that features a bamboo waterspout, a lotus pond, and a relaxation pavilion at the jungles edge. There is a shared 15-meter lap pool at the center of the property.The slightly larger Wates Bangbau House is surrounded on two sides by rice fields. It has two air-conditioned bedrooms, an expansive living area, a kitchen, two full baths, and can accommodate up to 5 people. Like the Bugoharjo House, it features wooden sliding glass doors that partially open the entire living space onto a private garden and a wide wrap-around veranda. I highly recommend the Umajati Retreat to anyone visiting Bali; it is so much more than a vacation villa. Not only is your stay a sustainable option for the perseverance of the earth, it is a conscious charitable effort that helps sustain the livelihood of so many Indonesians. When you close your eyes here, you know you are in the right place.
Telaga Waja Bali Rafting
If you are looking for a little adventure in Bali, you gotta try the White Water Rafting. If you are hiring a private driver, see if he has any recommendation. Most of the drivers will be able to offer you a special rate as they have a contacts with the operators. If you have a waterproof bag, you may bring it along because there are rest stops along the way where you can snap pictures! When rafting, please DO NOT go barefooted. It is highly advisable to rent their sanders. I went barefooted because based on my past experience white water rafting was safe. However, my raft flipped twice in the river and I was unfortunate to have drifted a couple of metres downstream. As my feet was not protected, I had deep cut which required stitches. So, safety first!
Perhaps, the most popular Balinese dish you could find while in Bali. Babi Guling or suckling pig is cooked with many spices and leaves inside the young pig’s stomach and roasted until the skin turns brown and crisp. Delicious! The most famous shop that serves babi guling would be Ibu Oka in Ubud, Bali
I arrived in Bali two days prior to my stay at the Umajati Retreat, wanting to see the island on my own terms, I decided to rent a scooter. After all, this was my very first solo travel experience. I'm so happy I opted for this mode of transportation, it felt so freeing to just drive wherever I chose to. No schedule...no worries. Just me...Bali...and my bike.The drive to the Umajati Retreat was pure magic, zigzagging through tiny backstreets, over narrow ravine bridges, and through lush paddy fields, I couldn't have painted a more scenic route. The closer I got to the retreat, the more pronounced its signature terra cotta roofs rose from a sea of greenery. Stepping onto the retreats grounds, I was equally enamored. I meandered through the coconut grove entry path, filled with spectacular blooming orchids of varieties I had never seen. Waiting to welcome me at the paths end were proprietors, Jean Howe & William Ingram (Made Pung 3rd founder). They are the kind of people you want to sit with, have some tea, talk of distant places, rich cultures, and stories of their well-traveled lives. Jean and William are apart of Umajati’s authentic soul; this wonderful environment they’ve painstakingly crafted is a true gift to experience.
Hanging Gardens Ubud
Imagine waking up to clouds drifting past your villa . . . you're so close you can almost touch the sky. Now sit a while and have some mint tea; take in the panoramas of verdant jungles shrouded in mystique. This sensory wonderland, the Hanging Gardens Ubud Hotel, will remind you just how beautiful life truly is.Imagine waking up to clouds drifting past your villa . . . you're so close you can almost touch the sky. Now sit a while and have some mint tea; take in the panoramas of verdant jungles shrouded in mystique. This sensory wonderland, the Hanging Gardens Ubud Hotel, will remind you just how beautiful life truly is. Nestled deep in the heart of Ubud's rich rainforest preserve, this enchanting five star boutique hotel, designed in complete harmony with nature, has 38 individual villas. Each villa has a striking thatched roof, enhanced by its own luxurious granite infinity pool, rippling into the jungle below.The hotel is located on 3.2 hectares of land situated near Payangan, a village North of Ubud, surrounded by ancient trees, steep terraced gardens and jungle forest. The hotel is adjacent to layered rice terraces with sweeping views across the Ayung River gorge to the ancient Pura Penataran Dalem Segara temple. Over 700 local craftsmen lovingly built Hanging Gardens Ubud, sourcing traditional materials, utilising existing resources and adapting indigenous ideas. An abundance of bamboo was used in the building of the hotel, not just for construction and scaffolding but also planted in the landscape as shade protection from the sun. Traditional belief holds that being in a bamboo grove – the favourite dwelling place of Buddha – restores emotional calm and stimulates creativity.The hotel is most famous for its infinity edge pool.
Pura Tirta Empul
1. Pura Tirta Empul or Holy Spring Water TempleA sacred setting in the midst of the Gianyar town, this Hindu temple attracts tourists and locals for the purpose of immersion in the blessed water and prayer to the Gods. We spent half a day here learning about the history, culture and traditions practiced by the Balinese people. Distance from Ubud: 11km
RESTAURANT: Mozaic-BaliSIGNATURE DISH: Shaved Fennel with Kaffir Lime American Chef Chris Salan trained in Cordon Bleu and worked in Michelin star restaurants of Paris and New York, before publishing several cookbooks that have been widely received. His restaurant, Mosaic, has won prestigious awards, including the Best Asian restaurant in the World Gourmet Summit, 2015. He is also a jury member of Top Chef Indonesia.The Philippines
Bon Nyuh Bungalows
Day 4: UbudMara river safari lodge has so much to do and see. They organized various animal shows for guests that are worth watching. It was time to say goodbye to this place move towards our last destination Ubud. On the way we went to Mt. Batur and Kintamini volcano. It has nothing great to see except having lunch near volcano. In Ubud we stayed at Bon Nyuh Bungalows. Situated right in the middle of paddy fields we had a beautiful village stay here. Bungalows were large with pool. Owner was extra caring and very friendly. He took extra efforts and took us to ubud market in his own car. Ubud market is beautifully crafted though a bit small. After our dinner we went back to our bungalow for some drinks.
Ayana Resort and Spa
1) Ayana Resort & Spa - Rock Bar. This place will make you happy with its outstanding service, cocktails and the best sunset you can witness in Bali. Make sure you reach there by 4:30pm so you can chill for a bit and enjoy the view. 2) is KuDeTa - again this place has its own charm with beach beds, sitting by the pool or just chill by the bar. 3) Potato Head - This place is a retro styled bar, with cocktails and smoothies, you can enjoy the ambience and some quick bites.Well, Bali has a slow paed life, not much chaos around you, lets you unwind, soak up the sun by the beach, and relish those well known cocktails. But for those poor non-vegetarian people out their make sure you mention you do not prefer any pork or beef by the side in your dish, provided you are ready to try some novelty.
Fivelements Puri Ahimsa
It was the midnight hour, the air was balmy, and a gentle breeze lapped by. You could hear the powerful sound of water all around and smell the distinct scent of dew forming over river rock and moss. Nature ruled this mystical world. I stepped forward onto a meandering path, it led to a dimly lit bamboo pavilion. I paused and drifted into thought, "Where am I, is this really happening?" Back to the present moment, I was at Fivelements Puri Ahimsa, a holistic wellness retreat that aims to share the Balinese way of life, nurturing a greater harmony with spirit, the environment, and one another. Fivelements is located in Mambal, a story-book village twenty minutes outside of Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.
Bebek Teba Sari Restaurant
Stopped for Lunch at the Teba Sari Cafe in Ubud. Flanked by rice field and bamboo huts this restaurant is a favourite among expats, and Australian tourists. Here we tried the fried chicken(ayam) and fried duck(bebek). The food was amazing! We completed our meal with a citrus sorbet, one of the best I've ever had.
The Yoga Barn
Ubud is identical with yoga. People from all around the world come to Ubud to learn yoga, from professionals to beginners. The quiet and cozy atmosphere is the best place for doing yoga. You can do yoga while enjoying the view of green rice fields, parks, rivers and the fresh clean air. Some hotels in Ubud also provide yoga facilities.One of the most famous places in Ubud to do yoga is Yoga Barn which is located in Hanoman Road. There are various classes that you can choose while enjoying the sight of Ubud.WATCH KECAK API DANCE AT NIGHTIf you come to Ubud, make sure that you go watching the performance of Kecak api dance. Kecak dance is one of the attractions of the Gods Island. Cak.. Cak.. Cak..! That is such a distinctive sounds that come from the Kecak dancers. Kecak dance is usually done at night starting at 7 pm. The total numbers of the dancers are 50 to 70 dancers and all the dancers are males. Kecak is a Hindu sacred dance as many dancers are unconscious while dancing on stage.
Bali Silent Retreat
This is said to be a 5 star ashram 37 km away with cosy simple rooms and jungle view. You will be deep in the womb of nature. Any direction you go you will be pulled closer to Mother Nature. The property is on working farms and so you’ll be surrounded by buzzing bees, enormous flowers, extensive rice paddies, and fresh herbs and passion fruit vines. The food served here is fresh and delicious. Soak in the panorama of mountains and fields. Something you don’t get to see in your concrete jungles. Visit this place if you are ready for days with no phones, no gadgets, no talking.
This is a 15th century set of rock carvings, which can be reached on foot from the town, though it is a few kilometres. From the entrance, a long walk down, on sometimes broken steps, there and back is maybe 4kms. During my visit in January 2014 I was surprised by the absence of vendors, also by the lack of other visitors. This is not on the tourist trail.At the end of your mini-trek you will seen a ~50 metre long line of rock carvings on your left. These depict scenes from every day life, in the good old days. The carvings are worn, but clearly discernable. The principal feature is a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh. If you wish, you can make (after buying from a little old lady nearby) an offering here.Near the entrance is a good, small restaurant, the Yeh Pulu Cafe. Owned and managed by an enterprising Balinese woman. Both Yeh Pulu and the restaurant are recommended.
Putri Bali Spa
12pm to 1.30pm Post the trek our driver Kadek suggested we visit the Putri Spa in Ubud. God Bless Kadek ! It was by far the best massage ever. ( I am usually skeptical of massages since they tend to hurt me). Our attendants were polite, professional and hygienic. Not very expensive either !!! Must try- The Balinese Barek Massage.
Its one of the most favourite tourist destination. It has a magnificent view of the Mount Batur, which is still an active volcano and serene calm lake batur flowing down the lane. The temperature here is at least 15 degree less than the temperature of bali. We were fortunate to witness a mesmerizing sight of both rain and sun at the same time during our visit. You may just choose a restaurant with a view of Kintamani to sip a coffee or get high over a few bottles of local Lemon flavored "Bintang" beer.Although we didn’t go ahead for a trek, but for those who love to do it, can actually trek over mount Batur. It is a 2 hour trek to see the sunrise, and the rays creating those sprinkle of diamond dust look on the lake.
"So this is the place I should have been for the last two months", was my first thought as I wound my way through a sexily curved hill. Padang Bai is a small, annexed fishing village with a little bay, a secret white sand beach (that's the beach's actual name) a few warungs and guest houses and some deep emerald hills directly behind. Despite its' fishy orientation there's a freshness there that is missing in South Bali. It's the lack of bike fumes and rubbish. Most people pass through on their way to get their rocks off on Gilli-T. Big mistake, this place gets my vibe.
It is really easy to find the location of Kecak dance performance in Ubud. You can find it in the Dalem Temple at Ubud Road or in Puri Agung Saren. In Puri Agung Saren, you can also watch Legong dance performance. Besides of them, you can also watch shadow plays and other performances while in Ubud. Make sure to prepare a ticket to watch the Kecak dance.LEARNING TO COOK BALINESE CUISINEMost of all restaurants and hotels in Ubud open cooking classes for the tourists who come. Various menus of Balinese cuisine are available for you to choose, such as satay, lawar or other Indonesian food like mixed vegetables with the peanut sauce, fried rice or yellow rice. If you want to try typical Balinese culinary classes, you can go to Paon Bali in Laplapan who have cooking classes at home. You can also go to Casa Luna restaurant which is famous for its cooking classes as it is the first restaurant that open a cooking class in Ubud. The cooking classes usually started in the morning and all the participants will be taken to a traditional market to buy and choose the ingredients that they will use to cook later.EXPLORING THE CULINARY OF UBUDWhen you come to Ubud, you have to try the local culinary. If you are interested in the typical culinary of Ubud and Bali, you should try the roast pork of Madam Oka which is located next to Ubud Temple, Ubud Bengil duck, chicken rice kedewatan Madam Mangku, or Betutu chicken at Murni restaurant.Ubud is a tourist area that has been established since before the independence of Indonesia, so various food of Indonesia and also international cuisine can be found here. You can also try Asian cuisine, European cuisine and American cuisine here such as Italian gelato, Japanese traditional cuisine, Mexican taco and burrito and French cuisine. You just have to choose a menu that fits with your taste.TRYING TRADITIONAL MEDICATION OF KETUT LIYERFor a long time, local people in Ubud has been used traditional medications using natural ingredients to cure the sick people. Spas and wellness in Ubud are growing rapidly in order to pamper the tourists who come. The traditional medication is just like a spa, using massage therapy and spiritual meditation. The Balinese people called the traditional “doctor” as Balian.Balian Ketut Liyer is a medicine man that became famous after his appearance in the novel and movie Eat, Pray, Love which do therapy with some meditation approaches. As the most Balian in Ubud is Ketut Arsana. He has given medications with massage therapy and herbal medicine for about 25 years.RAFTING ON AYUNG RIVER
This is an art gallery, which exhibits paintings of naked and topless Balinese women from a half century ago. Great. It is also a restaurant, cultural centre (Balinese dance), and is based around the work of the late Spanish artist Don Antonia Blanco. This guy arrived in Bali back in the 50s (Franco’s Spain), was given land by the local King, and proceeded to spend his life painting nude Balinese women. Now his home is a gallery. His paintings are certainly worth a visit, he could wield a brush, but no photography allowed.
Agung Rai Museum Of Art
Nothing like a dimly lit lily pond to soothe the nerves. At a uniquely tradition-steeped resort called ARMA, short for Agung Rai Museum of Art. Legong dance lessons in progress at ARMA. Legong is a refined dance form characterized by intricate finger movements, complicated footwork, expressive gestures and facial expressions. Way more co-ordination than I can ever handle, while these graceful six-year-olds seem born into it. In the spirit of preserving culture, free lessons were on offer in the lobby of the museum.
We stayed at Villa Sanggingan on Jalan Sanggingan and it was fantastic. The staff is incredible. Located near the Alberto Blanco museum where we went in 2008 with Dov Fraser for the Ubud Writers Festival, this area is removed from the main tourist strip. The hotel is available on Asiarooms.com, Booking.com and Agoda.com. We stayed five nights and ate at several great warungs, including the famous N as well as Fuzion Café on Jalan Lungsiakan, which felt like dining in a rice field. I thought the décor was charming; this is one of the original hotels in the area and along with the Neka Art Museum, has been there more than twenty years. Bagus (Good) Laundry was great, too. I have to admit clean clothes, fresh from the laundry, are one of my favorite things!
Over here the coffee processing is done in an organic way. Drying, roasting etc. is still carried out using natural tools such as pans made out of clay. You will get to try a wide range of coffee's. You may be seated overlooking the rice plantation and sip through these coffees. Out of the total range, we enjoyed Vanilla & Ginger the most.You will be enthralled to see the process of making, one of the most expensive coffee named Kopi Luwak. Its made with coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian Palm Civet ( one type of cat). Although, its been promoted all across Bali, we didn't enjoy the strong bitter flavor.