Bali has been an amazing trip. As I mentioned in my Bali – Eating post, we have been able to visit three very different places here; Kuta, Ubud, and Nusa Dua. Because they were so different, our activities in each place followed. There were parts that we loved, and there were parts that we would change. I will describe our stays in each place.
Our first stay on the inland was in Kuta. It is a very touristy beach town known for it’s surfing and nightlife. Our first experience driving (or being driven) was from the airport to the hotel. There seems to be little order or rule to driving in Bali, except that you stay on the left (most of the time). Motorbikes are everywhere, weaving in and out of traffic, fitting in the most narrow spaces, and getting very close to everything around them giving me mild anxiety. But alas, we made it to the hotel and after checking in, getting our welcome drinks, and checking out the room, we headed to the rooftop pool and bar. The pool was amazing; an infinity pool, with cabanas and lounge chairs overlooking the ocean where you can easily watch the surfers and enjoy the sunset. It was happy hour, so we enjoyed a cocktail and a snack (nachos..ehh). We chatted with some people from LA while some rain came down and then headed out for dinner.
We didn’t love Kuta, and I wouldn’t recommend it to people traveling to Bali who aren’t looking to surf and party. Since those things weren’t on our to-do list, we ended up spending the most time at the hotel pool (good thing it had a great one) and at the rooftop bar where we frequented, especially during Happy Hour. Hindsight: we could have used this time to do more traveling around the island.
We went out for dinner each night which you can read about in my last post.
There is a ton of shopping in Kuta. Between the street shops and the malls, I did a lot of walking and window shopping. I did get a pedicure from a fancy salon in the mall for <$20. Score!
We ventured to the beach one day, but were constantly bombarded with people trying to sell us a service or get us to buy something; from surf lessons, water sports, and massages, to jewelry, clothing, and drugs. It was impossible to relax so we decided to watch the beach from a safe distance…our rooftop.
We enjoyed the people we came in contact with and everyone was very nice. But Kuta is like a over-worked Spring Break destination. It was sad to see such a beautiful place littered with garbage, like everywhere. We have 9also been dealing with the rainy season, so there was a rain shower usually daily (sometimes lasted 10 minutes, sometimes hours).
Ubud is centrally located and the cultural heart of Bali. It’s in the middle of a rain forest, surrounded by jungles and rice paddies. There are copious amounts of Hindu Temples and Shrines. Ubud is also known as a center for a variety of art forms. We had no shortage of things to do in Ubud. In fact we were not able to get to everything on our to-do list because of time and weather. Coming during wet season can be frustrating at times. It’s absolutely beautiful one minute, and then in comes a thunderstorm. Luckily, we had an amazing hotel room to pass some time in.
Our hotel was about 10 minutes from the center of Ubud. It was in-between rice paddies, a small farm village and our room on the fourth floor had exquisite views over looking the mountains and jungle. The hotel was amazing. Although there were other guests, we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. When we were at the pool, which was stunning, we were always alone. The staff and environment made us feel like royalty. (This was a very modestly priced hotel room, which I think is worth mentioning). I wish I would have taken advantage of their spa services, but hindsight is 20/20.
If we weren’t in our hotel room, or at the pool, we were out and about in Ubud; Visiting temples, exploring museums, hiking Campuhan Hill, eating, sight seeing, or shopping.
We visiting Museum Puri Lukisan which has four buildings of traditional and modern art, along with gardens and a cafe. Our favorite museum was the Agung Rai Museum of Art or as it’s known ARMA. Its a vast collection of tradition and modern Balinese art. Maybe it was because it was the first place we visited in Ubud, but I felt like I got a deep understanding of their history and culture. Everything is ornate and highly impressive. There were beautiful gardens to walk though and a rice paddy which even had its cattle close by. There were artist working on their crafts, and one invited me to try wood working on the piece he was working on. It made me very happy to say the least. We had some delicious Balinese coffee in the cafe (which was free with your museum ticket!). I would highly recommend this Museum to anyone traveling to Bali.
We went to the Scared Monkey Forest and witnessed the 100s of monkeys amongst three hidden temples. We talked with a man in the paintings section who has made a mission to clean up Ubud of trash littered around the city. He has solely funded garbage receptacles around the city complete with informational signage and is up to five garbage trucks to collect the rubbish. It was very interesting to hear him talk about his mission and the importance of educating the young and collaborative efforts with the city officials.
We visited temples, some of which were closed for reasons we could not figure out. But we marveled at their intricate patters and designs and I felt spiritually connected just being in their presence. I discovered my favorite Hindu Goddess, Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, arts, wisdom and learning. The Saraswati Temple was my favorite and had a impressive lotus pond in front. It would be amazing to see the pond when it is fully bloomed.
We also visited the Puri Saren Palace, which is the grand palace in Ubud and the location for many of the local dances and rituals preformed in Ubud.
I loved just walking the streets of Ubud, taking in the sights and smells. I loved viewing the different Canang sari, the daily offerings to the Gods, made three times a day. They can vary by the contents, but are always beautiful.
There is so much more to do and see in Ubud and I look forward to coming back some day!
Not too much to write here. Activities include, but not limited to:
Walks around Nusa Dua
Lounging on the beach
Swimming in the ocean
Laying by the pools
Swimming in the pools
We have a little bit more time in Bali to relax and celebrate my birthday. Bali has been amazing. I also have to mention how amazing all of the people we have met have been. Everyone is kind and smiley and beauiful. I love you, Bali 💕 💕 💕