I love monkeying around in Ubud, Bali

Trip Start Mar 25, 2011
Trip End Dec 01, 2011

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Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Monday, September 5, 2011

This morning after we had breakfast it was time to depart Sanur and head to Ubud.  Our tour bus is being driven by locals and Dara will be our tour leader. The bus is so much bigger than that of Trek America and there's room which is a big plus! 

Our first stop is to Tanah Lot which is a rock formation and home of a pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tanah Lot (literally "Tanah Lot temple") and is a popular tourist and cultural  icon for photography and general exoticism.

Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th century priest Niratha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island's beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples were established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast. However, the temple had significant Hindu influence.At the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. A giant snake purportedly protects the temple, which was created from Nirata's scarf when he established the island.

There is a couple of areas to look closely at.. the first is the holy snake which you can touch and the second is the holy water which you can drink or wash your face and hands... you then receive a blessing... flower behind your ear and rice placed on the forehead for good fortune and prosperity.

After here we travelled to Ubud which is far removed from the drunken bikini scene in Kuta, and is regarded as the cultural centre of Bali. It is famous as an arts and crafts hub, and much of the town and nearby villages seems to consist of artists' workshops and galleries. There are some remarkable architectural and other sights to be found.

We checked into our hotel and then head out for lunch. The restaurant specialises in growing organic vegetables and rice and making other products that can be processed from local produce and is basing its practices on fair trade standards and tries to enrich the environment and the life of farmers and their families. 

The setting is stunning... in the middle of rice fields that are lush green and mesmerizing.  The food was absolutely outstanding complete with smoothie and a bamboo straw!  The best meal yet!

This afternoon we had free time where we could do whatever we choose and most of the group decided on something different.  Carmen and I ventured the long walk of Monkey forest road which took forever to walk down as every other shop was welcoming and worth a stop... we did eventually make it to the bottom and visited the Monkey forest.

The Ubud Monkey Forest is a nature reserve and temple. It houses approximately 340 monkeys (32 adult males, 19 male sub adult, 77 adult females, 122 juvenile and 54 infants). There are four groups of monkeys each occupying different territories in the park. The Sacred Monkey Forest is a popular tourist attraction and is often visited by over 10,000 tourists a month.The forest comprises approximately a tenth of a square kilometer (approximately 27 acres) and contains at least 115 different species of trees.The Monkey Forest contains the Pura Dalem Agung Padantegal temple as well as a "Holy Spring" bathing temple and another temple used for cremation ceremonies. It is so surreal walking through here and having moneys try to grab your belongings and also sit on you!!! One sat on Carmen's shoulder picking through her hair... some of the monkeys were so cute but others... well scary!!!

The temple itself was also nice to visit... even the green sarong and yellow sash that has to be worn was rather fetching!!!

We spent hours here before stopping at the monkey forest cafe for no other than a monkey smoothie!!!  Chocolate, banana and peanut butter!! Yum!!!!

Both our feet starting to ache and walking back up the road took the opportunity to do some bartering.... this I am so good at and am teaching the others my art!!!  In need of some pampering Carmen and I decided to have a foot massage and again I was able to barter a bargain for both my purse and feet!

Time for dinner and a beer.... the day has been exhausting but so entertaining!!  Roll on tomorrow for more adventure....
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