After a three-month hiatus from travelling spent at home, working my ass off to try to save money, I was well and truly ready to hit the road again.
I arrived at Denpasar Airport, Bali, just before midnight, after a gruelling 20-hour journey. I was greeted by my lovely Oliver at arrivals, along with about 50 other Balinese men all fighting over who was going to taxi us back to our accommodation.
We were starting our trip in Seminyak, which was about a 20-minute drive from the airport. One of the major draws of Seminyak was Seminyak beach’s famous sunset drinks.
The perfect place to kick the trip off in style.
After a day spent lounging on the beach we packed our bags and headed up to Ubud. We soon discovered that the best way to get around Bali was by Uber or GrabTaxi. The hour-long journey to Ubud only ended up costing 40,000 IDR each (about £2.37). A taxi for the same distance could easily cost you five, or even ten times as much.
However, there is a lot of hostility towards Uber from the local taxi drivers. Just make sure you’re getting picked up in an out of the way spot and don’t be surprised if the drivers refuse to come all the way to you. Some areas have signs to designate specific ‘no Uber zones’ and we even heard one taxi driver threaten to kill our Uber driver if he saw him picking us up nearby. Not something you’d want to get in the middle of!
We were staying at Ojek’s Homestay which I would definitely recommend for any backpacker.
It’s fairly basic accommodation, but the location was great and it felt like you were staying inside a temple.
Oh, and the included breakfast was fab. We went for the banana pancakes we’d heard some other guests recommending and we weren’t disappointed.
We spent our first afternoon in Ubud at the Sacred Monkey Forest.
A perfect place to wander around and snap a few pictures of some very photogenic monkeys.
We did, however, get caught in a tropical downpour and ended up spending a lot of our time in the monkey forest sheltering from the rain. We definitely learnt to NEVER leave your accommodation in Bali without waterproof jackets, because you will be surprised with torrential rain at the most unexpected moments.
The rain did mean that we saw some very cute monkey play happening in the resultant puddles, and ended up sheltering in a very cool café just outside the monkey forest, so it wasn’t all bad.
Although, beware of ‘Bali coffee’. It’s cheap for a reason!
We rented a couple of mopeds to get around the more rural parts of Ubud (sorry Mum) and checked out the Tegenungan waterfall.
We also got up very early another morning to see the famous Tegalalang rice terraces before the crowds of tourists turned up.
It was beautifully peaceful and well worth an early visit.
It also worked out really well timing-wise because we headed to Pura Tirta Empul after the terraces – a Hindu water temple in the jungle outside Ubud – and getting there early meant we didn’t have to pay the usual opening hours entrance fee. Just a small ‘donation’ for the sarongs you’re required to wear inside the temple.
Really worth getting there before the crowds so you can have the run of the place.
Cue excessively-touristy picture.
We finished our time in Ubud with a traditional Balinese massage at Jaen’s Spa. This cost about £10 for an hour and I’d definitely recommend it for someone wanting a slightly more upmarket spa experience without breaking the bank.
I’m definitely going to miss this kind of low-cost luxury when we get to Australia! Ubud, you’ve been fantastic.