Ubud, Indonesia

29 Jun

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I’m long overdue for a post about the month spent in Indonesia as the month I spent there has come and gone and my lack of posting during this period can only be explained by the fact that I was having too much fun living the adventure than writing about it. The time we had in Indonesia was made extra-special by being able to meet up with Tal and Jonny after having spent the last 6 weeks apart as well as having my other best friend, Heather, join us for 2 and a half weeks. That said, Indonesia certainly warrants a re-cap and as such I’ve put together the following to share with you all:

Ubud

  • Ubud is known as the cultural epicentre of Bali, and perhaps also Indonesia, so when Tal, Jonny, J.J. and I agreed to meet there for a couple of days as we awaited Heather’s arrival we made loose plans to visit some temples and also to do a sunrise hike up nearby Mt. Batur.
  • Tal’s aunt and uncle import from Indonesia for their business in Canada and as such have spent 4-6 months in Indonesia every year for the past 18 years. Over the years they’ve used the same driver, Wayan, and this was who we’d pre-arranged to have pick us up at the airport. Since we arrived at night and would be driving an hour from the Denpasar airport to Ubud it was nice knowing we had a ride from a trusted driver. Now if only the Denpasar airport hadn’t put up on its flight board that our flight had been delayed when in fact it was early, we would have gotten on the road with Wayan about an hour earlier than we did. Oh well, we were on island time.
  • Tal and Jonny had arranged for the 4 of us to stay at the Ubud guest house where her aunt and uncle had been coming to stay every year for the past 18 years, Sadru House Bungalows. Here we had our own rooms with an ensuite washroom as well as cute little front porch. The big charm of this little place was that we got to live in a traditional Indonesian family compound whereby the entire family lives together on the same grounds, from grandparents all the way down to the grandchildren. In this case, just one grandchild, a big-eyed sweetheart of less than 1 years old names Reza.
  • Our stay in Ubud began with a couple of Bintangs (local Indonesian beer) on the patio to catch up with Tal and Jonny about our adventures over the past 6 weeks, including our time spent in India, Nepal and Malaysia. We headed to bed around 11pm which was late considering we were being picked up at 3am to hike Mt. Batur.
  • Wayan arrived to pick us up at 3am from our homestay and that’s when J.J. and I realized that Tal and Jonny were still sleeping due to an alarm clock failure. We woke them up and drove to the base where Wayan introduced us to the guide he’d arranged to take us up the volcano. It was pitch black so luckily we had all worn our headlamps as the terrain was difficult, made up of loose volcanic rubble. While it was a bit of a cloudy morning we still got to see glimpses of an amazing sunrise from the top, the view becoming clearer and more beautiful as we descended. If you plan to do the Mt. Batur hike, I would recommend layering up. We assumed because it wasn’t that high that it wouldn’t be too cold but once we reached the summit in our shorts, long-sleeved t’s and windbreakers we were wishing we’d brought pants, a sweater and even gloves.
  • After hiking Mt. Batur, Wayan took us to Holy Springs Temple which was on the way back to our homestay. This particular temple has a large bathing facility where people come to wash themselves in the holy water. It was beautiful and we spent about an hour touring around before sleepiness moved in and Wayan drove us back to the homestay for breakfast and a nap.
  • We spent our 2 days in Ubud exploring along Monkey Forest Road, visiting the entrance to the monkey forest (after India none of us wanted to voluntarily subject ourselves to the thieving nature of the monkeys), popping in and out of shops, bargaining our way through the outdoor market and trying a number of the different restaurants.
  • The food in Ubud is delicious, but the highlight for me was Gelato Secrets which has an amazing Oreo gelato and the raspberry sorbet is also incredible.
  • Funnily enough, the day before we’d arrived in Ubud Tal had run into a couple she knew from home, Matt and Rebecca, who were in Indonesia on their honeymoon. We all ended up having a great dinner together one night at one of the many open-air restaurants along Monkey Forest Road. Again we were reminded how small of a world it is.
  • One of the days Tal and I decided to continue exploring around the area close to our homestay while the boys opted to seek out the best BBQ in Ubud, and they found it: Naughty Nuris. But more on that later.
  • On the night Heather arrived we had decided we’d make our way from Ubud to Seminyak where we’d have dinner and get settled before it would be time for Tal and I to meet her at the airport. On our way to Seminyak we stopped at Tahna Lot Temple for sunset. Tanah Lot is this beautiful temple that appears to be located on an island when it’s high tide but at low tide in the evening you can actually walk out to it. The views there at sunset were amazing!  Beware though, on the walk down to the temple there is a man on the street with a huge python trying to get tourists to take pictures with it. Needless to say, I was less than impressed by the snake and it was a good thing the temple was so gorgeous!

Stay tuned for our meet up with Clegger and the first of our bestie reunion adventures in Seminyak!

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