Whilst planning our trip to Bali we had looked into exploring Ubud, a typical tourist hotspot. Every day when we stepped outside our hotel we would be instantly greeted with shouts of ‘transport? Transport?!’ from various local drivers. Just to be on the safe side, we decided to book our Ubud driver through our concierge. We hired a driver for half a day which gave us 6 hours with him. Initially I was worried that this wouldn’t be enough time to explore but we found that it was plenty long enough, especially in the Indonesian heat.
Nothing was too much trouble for our driver Made (pronounced Maddy). He recommended all sorts of places for us to stop off in, whilst happily telling us about his life and his family.
We first hopped out at Tegenungan Waterfall, as per Made’s advice. From afar it was pretty impressive, but after a long and steep climb down we discovered how breathtaking it really was. It would be a great place to spend a whole day cooling off, but we had plenty more stops to make. Warning – the climb back up is even longer and steeper!
The Monkey Forest
A very bizarre maze of trees and temples where monkeys have total freedom. It was here I discovered my phobia of monkeys, which was possibly the worst place I could have chosen to figure this out. These strange human like creatures run around jumping on each other, eating, playing and doing whatever else monkeys do. Mike (my partner in crime) completely loved it and even paid for bananas so that the monkeys would climb all over him, plucking the bananas from his hands! Each to their own. I think it’s safe to say that the monkey forest is an interesting place and definitely a unique experience, but it certainly isn’t somewhere I’ll rush back to!
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Glad to be back in the safety of Made’s car, we were whisked off for lunch to a place of his choosing. Best lunch spot ever! Not only was it the best meal we had eaten so far, but the views overlooking the rice terraces were incredible. The beauty of the luscious landscape surrounding us was almost overwhelming; a definite must-see. You could also wander through the rice terraces if you had more time, but we still had a lot to see that day.
Goa Gajah Elephant Cave
Probably our least favourite place of the day, but we didn’t give it much of a chance. When you first arrive outside the entrance the are numerous stalls offering to sell you sarongs, as your knees must be covered to go inside this sacred place. Do not buy from the stalls! Once you step towards the actual entrance there are plenty of sarongs that you can borrow for free and return on your way out. The elephant carvings on the entrance to the cave were detailed and impressive, but there wasn’t much else to look at. There was a pretty little pond and you could walk up further than we did, but we were so hot and tired by this point that we decided to move on. Personally I feel that if you skipped this spot, you wouldn’t be missing much.
Our final stop of the day was the Batuan Temple. We weren’t sure if we had the stamina to wander around here, until we arrived and saw how beautiful it was. Definitely worth a visit and it will only cost you a donation once you leave. We took plenty of photos here and enjoyed how intricate and colourful everything was. It was the perfect way to end a very busy, tiring, wonderful day.
Do you have any places to recommend in Ubud? I would love to hear about them in the comments!