Day 5 & 6: UBUD!!
Ubud is in the foothills of the mountain range in central Bali. It’s considered as the art and cultural capital of Bali. After the release of Eat Pray Love, many tourists started flocking to this place.
The air is much cooler and there are multiple drives around which lead into the beautiful country side. There are seas of emerald green paddy fields around the place. The drives around the country can be amazing, and would recommend getting off the main road, and exploring any road that goes deep in. Its perfectly safe during the daylight.
The Tegallalang Rice fields are incredible and there are many nice cafes around the place where one can pause time and sip the warm coffee in the cool hillside watching the fields.
We reached the GUNUNG KAWI – a 11th Century temple, which is nestled in the middle of the forest. It was one of the best temple complexes I had seen in Bali. There are a couple of water fountains and a huge park around the main temple. As at all the temples, you need either a sarong or a sash to gain entry, apart from the ticket J
The evening was fun at Budha Bar – with a Live band performance. It’s a small place, but the crowd was fun and the ambience was pretty good.
Next day, we went to the Goa Gaja which is a cave temple with an ancient Siva shrine and a few places to go around.
We reached the Ubud Palace- which is not much of a palace, as large part of it is out of bounds for visitors as the royal family still resides there. We caught a performance of the Balinese dance coupled with the Music performance.
They played 5-6 short plays which were picked out of the puranas – Sunda, Upasunda story, etc. Its definitely worth a watch for their expressions and the radiant costumes they wear!
Ubud also has a few amazing party places and can rival the Kuta/Legian area. We went to CP LOUNGE which is an intresting lounge with a LIVE band here too. This is unarguably the best place to chill in the evenings.
One Restaurant – Bambi right opposite the Ubud Palace is worth a mention for its outstanding food quality. Also its one of the most value for money places in Bali !!
The westerners were quite fascinated with the Balinese women when they landed, probably due the custom clothing of that era spanning only the lower half. They did a bit of a study and learnt that their features were due to the Hindu rituals where they used to balance heavy Cili baskets for long walks to the temples.
One such artist – Antonio Blanco of Spanish origin was quite enamored by the women and an entire art Museum is dedicated for his love of Balinese women in various paintings.
The Monkey forest is also worth a visit in Ubud.Compared to the glitter and glamour of Kuta, we loved the Ubud visit too much, probably because of the freedom to roam around on bikes!
Overall, Bali turned out to be a dream vacation.