8 Mar 2017

Monkeying around in Ubud.

In our hotel, The Ramada Encore Seminyak they offered a show of traditional Balinese dancing, accompanied by these terrifying masks which were suited for what they coined as "the old man dance". We're told that this is how they celebrate the spirits surrounding them and aim to rid of any bad energy potentially lurking around. 
This is a similar idea with the offerings which you will often see on the streets, outside shops, and in gorgeous-looking stone pillars matched with the burning of incense sticks and a gentle circular movement with the hand to offer food in return for good luck and energy each day.
We'd decided to book into a posh hotel in Seminyak for 6 nights and had originally planned on being the laziest people in Bali for our first week, but it wasn't long until our urge to explore kicked in and our first stop would be a day trip to Ubud.
Although the night before gave us a tropical storm, with lightening filling the entire room, and the crack thunder waking me every hour or so, it was not at all a foreshadow of the amazing day we were going to embark on.  
Rain had flooded the way in and out of the hotel, but don't fear, Donut is here! We had a 9.30AM pick up directly from the hotel in Seminyak to Ubud and to see all of the sights. His name is Donut.
Donut starts to tells us all about the silver and gold trade in Batik and how the country heavily depends on this alongside tourism to keep afloat. He seemed quite proud and keen to show us around the production factories however we protested and wanted to head straight to the temple.
He then took us to Batang Temple. It was 10,000IDR (around $1 Australian dollar) to rent a sarong to enter the temple grounds. It was a strange location, a temple so sacred just on a random busy street. It was filled with Chinese people taking selfies, yet the place was so beautiful even that couldn't ruin it.
After taking it all in, we head to the Tegenungan Waterfall, this was also 10,000IDR to enter. To reach the waterfall it was a very steep climb down and back up again. Unfortunately as we were visiting in February it was the end of the rain season for Bali and this meant that the water was brown due to the heavy rainfall. Regardless of this, Tegenungan was extremely picturesque. It has a rapid river at the bottom where you can hire floats if you would like to. There were lots of little market stalls around the entrance up to the waterfall. It looked a lot more how I had imagined Bali to look like.
The traffic to get to places was unreal. There were more scooters than people. There were c
hildren on scooters. Women and babies on scooters. Families of 4 on scooters. And the petrol refills for the scooters were in Absolut vodka bottles. It really is a sight to see.
The streets are littered with open shop fronts and locals making beautiful wood carvings. They appear to be for the temples.
There are pottery army's of Buddhist heads and faces which looked like something from the movie A Night at the Museum.
Next Donut drove us to the famous Tegalang Rice Terrace which was another 10,000IDR to drive up to it. As we arrive the heavens open and it absolutely downpours. It's thunder and lightening and the torrential rain floods the streets instantly. Yet the view was oh so worth it. The rice fields we passed on the way to Tegalang were now looking a lot like swimming pools. There were workers bent over with machete-looking tools in the fields working when it's been torrential rain, this place is hardcore. Donut then drove us to a restaurant with rice fields and traditional Balinese food. It was a beautiful setting.
Afterwards we went to the monkey forest. It was 40,000IDR for 1 adult entry and 20,000IDR for a small bunch of bananas to feed to the monkeys. The monkeys literally smell them from a mile away and will not let go of you until you give them a banana. There's no hiding them honestly.
We quickly learnt how to get the monkeys eating from your shoulder. We also saw a bit of a domestic going on between monkeys and all of the pack came to one to watch (one using my head as an obstacle to jump off to get in on the action). It was amazing to be in such a setting. The monkeys aren't kept there, they can easily leave the sight if they desire, many to spread out onto the streets however they seem rather content being fed all day in their forest.
Ubud has much more going on than Seminyak. I would recommend visiting Seminyak if you're looking to relax and wine & dine in fancy restraurants, and Ubud for sight-seeing and getting a more authentic Balinese experience.

Just Write About It.
Raven Twigg
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