Bali is an island located in Indonesia known for its beautiful beaches and scenery. It is a very popular tourist destination and there are many options for what kind of vacation you want in Bali. The best part about Bali is that you have your choice of what kind of vacation you are looking for. The beaches tend to be more of the young and party areas whereas when you go up into the hills you see more of the meditation and yoga crowd. Each different area in Bali has a different atmosphere and just about everyone can have an amazing vacation in Bali once they pick the location that suits them best. For my trip, I went to Ubud and that’s what I will be discussing in this post.
Getting to Ubud, Bali from the Denpasar International Airport is pretty straightforward. Normally when going into new countries, immigration takes up a lot of your time. However, in Denpasar they seem to have an only some people go through security policy. When I was there, a guard was picking every other group of people to go through immigration. If he didn’t pick you, you got to walk right outside and start your vacation! Pretty convenient especially for people with young children.
Once outside the airport, we opted to take a cab to our hotel in Ubud. When you walk out of the airport there are a bunch of cabbies waiting to offer you a ride to any destination in Bali. Having so many people trying to grab your bags and take you with them can be a bit overwhelming. We walked a little out of the chaos then picked someone to take us to our hotel. The ride from Denpasar to Ubud was about two hours and cost us nearly $30. We tried to negotiate the price lower, but everyone was sticking to the same price and wouldn’t budge. The cab driver was a nice man who told us about Bali history and how the tourism industry was doing. He easily found our hotel even though it was a bit tucked away. Overall it was a pleasant ride and a nice way to see the island.
We stayed in the Inata Monkey Forest Hotel which is located right in the middle of downtown Ubud. The location was only a 5 minute walk from the Monkey Forest and about 10 minutes from the palace and market areas. It was also a quiet location. The majority of the people staying were couples. The hotel cost us $120 for 4 nights. The room was clean with air-conditioning, the hotel offers breakfast every morning, and there is an infinity pool where you can relax during the hottest parts of the day.
Ubud, Bali was an absolutely incredible place to stay. In fact, my boyfriend and I almost canceled the rest of our trip and remained in Ubud for the whole thing. Ubud is situated in the hills and away from the beaches and therefore draws less of the party crowd. The scenery is beautiful as it is located in the rice terraces. When you are there you feel like you are in the rainforest. Many people go to Ubud to practice meditation and yoga, there are also families on vacation, and young couples. Ubud is full of restaurants and there are bars with live music which are popular on the weekends. There is plenty of stuff to do in Ubud and I will be highlighting some of the experiences that I enjoyed the most.
Jalan Monkey Forest: The Jalan Monkey Forest is a very popular place to go. This is a local monkey sanctuary within a forest. The area is beautiful and also includes a Hindu temple where the local people still go to pray. Inside the monkey forest, there is one trail where you can walk throughout the area and explore. The monkeys live in different families and each different section of the sanctuary is populated by one family. It is impossible to not see monkeys within the monkey forest. They are absolutely everywhere and are very used to being near humans. At different points in the sanctuary you will see workers selling bananas. You can buy some bananas and feed them to the monkeys. However, the monkeys are good at sneaking bananas away from you and can get mean if you are teasing them instead of feeding them. The entrance fee for the park is only 30,000IDR which is only about $3. Definitely worth a visit.
Tirta Empul: Water Temple This was my favorite place to visit in Ubud. It is about a 30 minute drive up into the hills to reach the temple. Even though this temple does get pretty busy, it is absolutely beautiful and worth a visit. The temple was built around a natural spring the waters of which are considered by the locals to be holy and to have healing properties. When you go, you will see many tourists and locals bathing in the water. It is very beautiful to watch as well as to participate in. The temple continues past the bathing area and you can see the spring itself. The water is clear and you can watch it bubble up out of the sand. Furthermore, the area includes beautiful Hindu statues and architecture to explore.
In order to enter the temple, everyone must wear a sarong. Sarongs are provided at the temple, there is no specific price but most people just pay whatever they believe is enough. The money given for the sarongs is used to upkeep the temple. Once you leave you return the sarong to the place where you got it. If you want one to take as a souvenir, there are plenty of shops located in the area which offer an assortment of different colored sarongs.
Gunung Kawi: Funerary Temple The same driver that brought us to Tirta Empul also took us to Gunung Kawi temple afterward. I thought that Gunung Kawi was quite relaxing and peaceful. The temple itself is pretty isolated and surrounded by rice farms. In addition, there were much fewer people visiting this temple which can help you enjoy the scenery without the hustle and bustle distracting you.
The temple itself is not as beautiful as Tirta Empul, but it is in a very beautiful location along the holy waters of Pakerisan River. The isolation and lack of noise gives it a more peaceful atmosphere and it is easy to sit along the river lost in your own thoughts.