After two weeks of being beach bums, we left the Gili’s to head back to the heart of Bali, Ubud for some culture and relaxation. Ubuds popularity has really grown since the release of book and film Eat, pray, love. I’ve not read the book but wasn’t a huge fan of the film, however it makes Bali look so beautiful and serene and although Ubud is no longer considered off the beaten track, it still has an aura of spirituality and calmness. Our budget for accommodation stretches a little further here so we decided to fully utilise that fact and go for a nice hotel with a pool. We’re staying at Pande Permai Bungalows where we are getting so much more for our money. It feels luxury in comparison to what we’ve come from.
After arriving and strolling round central town we realised how many tours are available and how much we could possibly do, it was all a little overwhelming. How are you meant to choose which temples to visit! We’ve decided not to rush into anything by doing a little research and exploring more of the town first. Ubud is unlike anywhere I’ve been before, it’s full of shops, spas, cafes and restaurants and just walking down the main road you stumble across buildings and statues of terracotta and grey stone. Many of these are temples or schools, or occasionally it’s simply a hotel, everything is so grandly decorated. In front of nearly every building they lay offerings to the gods, burn incense and spray holy water.
For our first full day, after our French toast in the hotel, we put our trainers on for the first time in a while and head out to do one of the popular walks around town – the Campuhan Ridge walk. I found some rough directions online so Steph put her faith in me and aimlessly followed – no pressure! Walking past our hotel to the main road involved a trip past the monkey forest. This is one of the main attractions in Ubud, which pretty much involves walking through a forest with various temples and statues while monkeys climb around everywhere. This couldn’t appeal to me less. These monkeys are often just hanging around on the roads outside the forest anyway and they are not the cutest or friendliest. I do my best to stay far away as they are clever things and will happily jump on you and steal your stuff. It’s enough for me that the caution sign says “Do not look the monkeys in the eye” and “don’t hide food from the monkeys, they will know and they will find it”
Once we were passed that stressful moment, I’m Impressed to say that I managed to get us on the right track out of town to start our walk. It was a pretty steep walk though the countryside which was very green and vast. It felt a little like we were in the Lake District…but with palm trees. We did our best David Attenborough impressions along the way trying to spot some wildlife and distract us from the sweat pouring off us in the 30 degree midday heat. After roughly 4km of uphill walking we came to the cafe that we’d heard so much about, Karsa Kafe. It’s a gorgeous cafe set in beautiful surroundings. Sat at our table on stilts looking over a lake, rice fields and lots of greenery felt very serene and peaceful.
Upon leaving the cafe many people go back the way we came but a sign pointing us to a village persuaded us to make our own route home. In hindsight this was possibly an error on my part. The rest of the journey was mainly spent on a main road with no pavements on a very steep incline. Although I guess we got a few pictures that otherwise may have been missed! In total I reckon we walked about 9 miles, so by the end we couldn’t wait to get back to our hotel and take our shoes off! We left the room at 10am and returned at 4pm with sore feet, sweaty faces and slighter redder shoulders then we left with. After a good long rest, Steph was craving Mexican food for dinner so we headed to Taco Casa down the road and had a delicious burrito for £3. In bed by 10pm, wonderful.