Trip Start Nov 01, 2006
Trip End Oct 31, 2007

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Flag of Indonesia  ,
Monday, June 4, 2007

Nice as Seminyak was, and easy as it would have been (for me at least, with the profusion of coffee shops and nice restaurants) to stay there until we had to catch our flight to Sydney, we decided we ought to see some more of Bali, particularly as Tim's bad back had put paid to us seeing the Gillis, so on Saturday we headed to Ubud.  This was one of the easiest transfers we've ever had - we didn't want to put any strain on Tim's back by taking buses and having to move backpacks ourselves, so we just took a taxi for the hour journey.  Hooray for bad backs I say, if it means we can travel around in such style! 

Ubud is slightly up in the hills and away from the coast and has quite a different feel from Seminyak.  It's very arty and there are hundreds of galleries and art shops, and lots of 50-something single women floating around in kaftans looking pensive.  The small town is surrounded by hills and rice paddies, complete with ducks quacking around them (don't know why, but ducks and rice paddies apparently go together - I'm sure there's some ecological reason for it that some person cleverer than me can work out) and it's a very pretty, pleasant place to spend a few days.

The guesthouse we'd chosen from the guidebook was not as good as the author had talked it up to be but it was quite far from any others and by the time we'd seen the room our taxi had long driven away, so we checked in, but a wander around town later led to us finding a much nicer place at only a slightly higher price, and we moved there for the next two nights.  In any case, after checking in to the first place we headed down the hill to the famed Ibu Oka, famous for its suckling pig, which is a balinese speciality.  What a brilliant place.  It's really basic and rustic - most of the seating is outside and on the floor, although we managed to bag one of the few stools at a table, the whole pig sits there resplendently (or gruesomely, depending on your viewpoint) and the only food available is the suckling pig, served with rice, vegetables and sambals.  It was a great meal and a great experience, and really good to get muck in with the locals. 

Other than that, we visited the palace, which had some nice examples of Balinese architecture, ignored people trying to sell us transport, went to the sacred monkey sanctuary (and got jumped on by a couple of the blighters, which was a bit unnerving, ok then, horrible - I screamed, to my shame - they're only monkeys for god's sake), ignored people trying to sell us transport, went for a walk through the rice paddies, ignored people trying to sell us transport, and had some lovely food and some nice drinks, including the local arak (rice liqueur) which goes down very nicely with ice and a bit of lime juice.    (R)
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