After a last breakfast in the villa and a dip in the pool, we booked a car to drive us to Ubud. We’ve been using Grab Car which is like uber (uber has actually been banned here) and it’s much cheaper than hailing a cab from the street and paying by the meter, as the price is set before you leave.
On route to our hotel in Ubud we stopped off at Taman Ayu, which is a coffee plantation. We got to have a tour of plantation and see how the kopi luwak coffee is made. Coffee beans are fed to a little animal called the Asian palm civet, which then get part digested in their stomach and then pooed out. It’s supposed to take the bitterness out of the coffee bean and give it a more mellow taste. Which it did! It was really tasty coffee but I’m not sure how ethical the whole deal is as the animals are kept in cages, and I don’t think a diet purely of coffee beans can be that enjoyable for them. We got to have a taster of loads of different coffees and teas that they produce at the plantation, the Bali coco coffee was the tastiest, and the mangosteen peel tea was delicious!
After we arrived in Ubud and checked in to our hotel, we went for a swim – there’s an amazing infinity pool which over looks the jungle! It’s crazy how for the same amount of money we were paying for a room in a hostel in Australia and NZ, you can stay in luxury in Bali! In the afternoon we went for a wander into the main high street and around the busy Ubud markets. Owen bought some wavey batik Bali pants and a pair of shorts. It’s so hot here that you need to be wearing next to nothing to stay cool!
For lunch we ate at Folk Pool & Gardens, they have an amazing pool with a swim up bar and comfy Day beds. Unfortunately they were all booked up so we reserved one for Monday after we do our Mount Batur trek! We had another amazing bowl of Gado Gado, some rice paper rolls and a delicious Indonesian veggie sharing platter with the most incredible Tempe skewers. I’m really enjoying being a full on veggie so far! The food here is so delish that I haven’t wanted chicken or fish once yet (we do keep ordering enough to feed a family of four though). We spent the evening at the hotel, swimming in the pool while the sunset and having a beer at the bar.
We had an early 7am breakfast on Sunday and hired a driver for the morning. First of all we headed to the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, and stopped along the way at the Bali swing. It’s a rope swing suspended between 2 huge palm trees, and you swing right out over the rice terraces and forest. It was so fun and way less scary than it looks! We drove a little further and then got out to explore the terraces properly. They are huge and seem to stretch for miles (it’s the biggest one in Bali, maybe even in Indonesia) and it was boiling hot as there is hardly any shade. It’s amazing to see even though it’s a bit touristy, there’s still Balinese people hard at work in the fields. We got some great pictures and then headed back to our driver to take us to some temples.
We stopped first at a Hindu holy water temple called Tirta Empul. You get given a sarong as the entrance as you can’t go in without looking respectable, and girls can’t even go it if they’re on their period! (not sure how they’d check that though…) The buildings and statues were amazingly detailed (like so much in Bali!) and it was really cool to see the holy water baths too. There were hundreds of people queuing to bathe in the water, mainly local people but also a few tourists, and lots of ladies walking around with offerings (little baskets with flowers, food and sometimes money). On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at Goa Gaja, also known as the elephant cave. It’s another holy water temple but this one has a big cave carved out of the rock in the design of loads of little faces, with the entrance to the cave being a huge mouth.
After a busy morning we headed back to town and got lunch at Watercress (delicious avocado on toast!) and then walked down to the Sacred Monkey Forest. The forest is a Hindu temple and nature reserve that houses hundreds of Balinese long tailed monkeys. They are so used to humans now that they aren’t phased by us at all! After exploring the temple and forest and watching the monkeys run around we went back to the hotel to spend the afternoon swimming and sunbathing. For dinner we ate some tasty Indonesian food at Bali Pesto and then headed home for an early night as we were waking up at 2am for our Mount Batur sunrise trek!
roasting and grinding the coffee beans
Tea and coffee tasting
The Bali swing
The rice terrace
Bathing in holy water at the temple
Elephant temple (Goa Gaja)
Sacred monkey forest