Bali Day 8 – Exploring Ubud – the essence of Bali

Ubud is a must-visit destination in Bali. We understood in Ubud why we came to Bali and why so many tourists are excited about Bali. There is a lot of culture, art, architecture, nature, activities and many more things to explore in and around Ubud. It means though that it’s a very busy and touristy place, there is a fear that tourism will lead to further development and affect Ubud in a negative way. That’s why it makes sense to visit Ubud sooner rather than later…

Monkeys in Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud

Monkeys in Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud

After having a yummy breakfast (big plate of fruit, egg, toast, jam) in our hotel we had to move to a different hotel – Gayatri 2 Bungalows where we have booked a room for one night (325,000 IDR ~ US$28) (unfortunately, there was no room available for that night in Ablit Bungalows.)

Statues in the Monkey Forest in Ubud

Statues in the Monkey Forest in Ubud

Today we planned to do one of the walks suggested in the Lonely Planet guide. We started on the Monkey Forest street and our first and longest stop was at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (entry fee 20,000 IDR ~ US$1.7 per person). It’s a strip of jungle in the middle of Ubud with around 600 wild monkeys. It was the first time in our lives we saw so many free monkeys in one place! Great opportunity to take interesting shots of these lovely creatures so close (perhaps a little too close sometimes!).

Small monkey in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

Small monkey in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

The lady at the ticket booth said that it is safe to be around these monkeys as far as we do not touch them. I was still a bit concerned after a bad experience with some monkeys in Kathmandu, Nepal that attacked people without reason! Rich wasn’t bothered though and took plenty of great monkeys snapshots.

Temple at the Monkey Forest, Ubud

Temple at the Monkey Forest, Ubud

I started to feel a bit more comfortable until I saw few monkeys jumping on people’s bags looking for food. One monkey jumped on someone’s hand, another started to chase a little girl and managed to bite her skirt until it was kicked and scared off by her dad.

Relaxed monkey at the Monkey Forest, Ubud

Relaxed monkey at the Monkey Forest, Ubud

Finally, Rich got very close to one monkey… and the little creature felt that its privacy was invaded so got angry and was about to bite Rich! Luckily, he managed to escape…

One of the statues in the Monkey Forest

One of the statues in the Monkey Forest

After all, it was a really nice experience being so close to wild animals! Apart from monkeys there was also a temple complex, as well as many unusual stone sculptures, interesting trees, various walking paths etc.

Our favorite path in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

Our favourite path in the Monkey Forest, Ubud

After seeing the Monkey Sanctuary we headed towards a village – Nyuhkuning and stopped in one of the warungs on the way. We ate the best banana fritters ever, sprinkled with cheese. Yes, indeed with cheese and it was yummy! For 2 meals, desert and 2 drinks we paid only around 90,000 IDR (~US$8).

One of the shops in Ubud selling arts

One of the shops in Ubud selling arts

Our walk took us through a village area, paddy fields, a couple of farms, galleries with finest art exhibitions, small craft shops. On our way we also encountered a very interesting religious procession with locals dressed up, some of them wearing interesting masks and playing live Balinese music. Amazing!

Religious procession spotted during our walk in Ubud

Religious procession spotted during our walk in Ubud

Finally we ended up on Raya Campuan road where we found the very cosy “Oka’s Warung” on one of the side roads. Food was delicious and cheap, we paid just over 100,000 IDR (~US$9) in total.

Religious procession with live music, Ubud

Religious procession with live music, Ubud

We also stopped by in one of the ‘tourist centres’ (more like a tour agency) and booked a rafting trip on Ayung river for the next day. We used our haggling skills and managed to negotiate the price down to 500,000 IDR (US$43) in total for two of us (from 1,000,000 IDR ~ US$86)! (A similar trip was available from Lovina with ALAM Amazing Adventures for 550,000 IDR ~ US$47 per person!)

One of the numerous art galleries in Ubud, Bali

One of the numerous art galleries in Ubud, Bali

At end of the day we felt like we had a very relaxing and fantastic time exploring Ubud.

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