A four day stay in Ubud

Bali is another place we added to our itinerary with no idea of what to expect before we arrived. Little did we know, we were about to enter a town full of vegans on 30 day ‘raw juice cleanse’ diets, practicing yoga daily for that ‘powerful meditation’ kick.

Before venturing north towards Ubud we spent a few hours in Keta, having landed at midnight on our flight from The Philippines. We were glad for the free breakfast and a few hours sleep, but didn’t explore outside the hotel walls unless you count walking from the airport at 1am.

The island of Bali is pretty small in comparison to other places we’ve visited and the journey to Ubud was a short one. We arrived early in the afternoon and dumped our bags in the hostel, heading straight back out again to grab lunch.

Through the wonder of the internet we’d discovered that our friend Amanda, who we’d met in Sri Lanka, was also in Ubud at the same time as us. Straight away we went to meet her and catch up over some food, followed by a day of wandering and an afternoon in a cat café. We discovered that Amanda is the perfect companion for visiting a cat café as she gets just as excited to see them as we do, so we actually ended up staying there for hours.

The following day we all decided to go to the Monkey Forest, despite Amanda’s fear of monkeys (which actually was quite entertaining). We spent the morning wandering the forest and getting up close to the angry little creatures, even fighting them off at one point when they tried to get into my bag. It was really nice to have another person to hang out with again, having spent a few weeks alone in Port Barton following our quiet January in Japan. That evening we played Uno with a few drinks and some more friendly faces joined in for a while.

On our third day in Ubud we joined an Australian lady to one of the waterfalls everyone seems to visit here. I’d have to look up the name as I have no idea what it’s called, but it probably doesn’t matter much anyway. Afterwards we had lunch together but split off for the afternoon to get on with other things. I used the time to draw Amanda’s cat, which she’d commissioned with a pack of travel Uno.

We’d been talking about going to one of the traditional Balinese performances for a couple of days, so that evening we finally ventured out to catch one. The rain was pouring down as we went to buy our tickets, but thankfully the theatre wasn’t out in the open. The performance was the Ramayana Monkey Chant, which involved a circle of men chanting and singing, while the story unfolds in the centre of them.

The performance was really good, though the evening was slightly tarnished by the guy next to us, who asked his wife to turn her torch on her phone because he couldn’t get any good photos in the dark. What is wrong with people?

Since we’d arrived in Ubud we’d been thinking about hiring scooters and visiting some of the sights nearby, such as the rice fields. There seemed to be a disturbing amount of accidents in the area though, nearly always involving tourists making stupid mistakes. We decided we’d prefer to hire a driver and stay safe and dry instead, and spent the day visiting a few temples.

Later on in the evening we went out for a couple of drinks as it would be our last night in Ubud. The weather wasn’t on our side however, and due to some directions we totally misunderstood we ended up walking in torrential rain for roughly an hour to find a reggae bar. By the time we arrived we were soaked, but happy to be out with people for a few hours.

On our final morning before we moved on to Candidasa, we went for lunch and a tiring ridge walk which was actually the perfect way to end our stay in Ubud. I really enjoyed our stay here, despite all the hippy nonsense in the town, and I’m really glad we got to see Amanda again.

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