I’m currently sitting in the back of a cramped shuttle van – with several of my family members that I haven’t seen in years – dreaming about five days I’ve just spent in Bali. A destination that had been a ‘must see’ for me for a while now, I’m glad to now be able to say that I’ve been there but this will be just the first visit of many!
My girlfriend and I spent our five day visit in the beautiful town of Ubud, an area known as a hub for traditional crafts and terraced rice paddy hills. From the moment we departed from the Denapasar airport and make our way towards Ubud the pace of life slowed way down – what should have been a half hour drive turned into over an hour, but once we arrived at our hostel we were both amazed by what awaited us! The Kamandhani Ubud Hostel was a wonderful hidden gem and a welcoming oasis, I wouldn’t hesitate to reccomend staying here to anyone. Being situated only a 10 minute walk from the center of town gave us just enough space away from the hustle and bustle of scooters and tourists, while remaining easy to access.
Itching to get out and explore, as soon as we had tossed our bags in our room we were out the door in search of adventure! First on the list of places to see was the Sacred Monkey Forest, conveniently located a 15 minute walk away from our hostel. In my opinion this nature reserve is well worth the visit when in Bali but go in with caution, the monkeys that reside there are notoriously mischievous. Due to the high number of tourists that visit the forest each day the monkeys are very comfortable with humans and are not afraid to grab things from you – one even tried to grab a chunk of my hair as a souvenir while I was trying to take a photo with him. Despite that scaring interaction we had a great afternoon watching the furry critters hop around and have fun with the other tourists.
We spent the next few days wandering around town indulging in the unique food and culture that Bali has to offer. Ubud is known for its vegan and raw organic meals, having such delicious healthy food so accessible was a nice change from my normal travel diet of fast food. Ubud is positively bursting with gorgeous yoga studios and yogis alike! While I’m certain there is no bad place to get your ohm on while visiting Ubud, I can recommend the Yoga Barn.
After a few days of exploring on foot we took the plunge and rented a scooter! What an exhilarating way to get around Ubud, and with a rental fee of only $7 a day it’s a pretty economical way to explore a little further outside of town. This was my first time on a scooter and driving on the left side of the road was a whole new experience unto itself, but with my trusty co-pilot giving me constant reminders to stick to my side we were on way. It didn’t take long after zipping through the town streets to get the hang of scooter driving and we were on our way to Tegenungan Waterfall. This waterfall is a huge tourist stop so don’t expect to have the waters to yourself, but despite being busy it is absolutely spectacular to see. We were greeted with perfect weather for a refreshing swim followed by sunbathing, all in all a perfect way to spend an afternoon.
We decided to keep the scooter for another day to venture out to explore a few of the many temples that Bali has to offer. I would highly suggest wearing comfortable shoes to anyone setting out to visit temples because they all seem to be filled with endless stairs, no matter which direction you turn. There are many temples to visit, and each one more serene and gorgeous than the last, even if you can’t get to every one you will not leave disappointed.
For our last night in Ubud, my girlfriend and I decided to upgrade from a hostel to spa as a nice way to relax in preparation for the long journey home. The Bliss Ubud Spa and Bungalow was a beautiful awe-inspiring oasis situated only a 10 minute drive from the Ubud city center. This quiet paradise was surrounded by rice paddies, and had scenic countryside views from the beautiful infinity pool. This was the perfect ending to an exciting trip, the only downside is you might never want to leave.
Bali had been on my travel bucket list for quite some time and finally getting to explore this beautiful and serene country was a dream come true. The island has so much to offer visitors, and I now find myself dreaming of the lush greenery and reminiscing about my visit that I’m tempted to book my next trip back. If I can leave you with any advice about Bali it would simply be to go, if it isn’t on your travel list add it in there now you won’t regret it!
Until next time, off to the next adventure…