I remember when I was seven or eight years old, my Aunt Moore went to Bali and when she returned she showed me pictures and told me stories that created a vision in my mind of paradise on the other side of the world. Since then I had always wanted to go there and create new steps for myself while retracing hers.
Like many things we aspire to do in life the idea faded into the background of day to day living but one day while trying to plan a trip to Cappadocia in Turkey, that was proving more troublesome than expected, I had a thought I could not shake; what about Bali?
After an intensive internal dialogue I triumphantly called my partner Brian and announced “I know you’ll think this is crazy, but we’re going to Bali”.
Brian is the most logical person I know and if he thought it was the wrong move he would have immediately quizzed me and opposed any such crazy plan but to my amazement and gratitude he replied “Okay” and that was that.
We decided to visit two different regions of Bali: Ubud and Seminyak to get the most out of our trip. This post is about our time in Ubud (Pronounced Ew-Bud).
I will post two others, one on Seminyak and the other on things you need to know when you are traveling to Bali so keep an eye out for those.
We arrived at Bali Airport (Ngurah Rai) Denpasar around midday after 24 hours of travelling from Dublin. The flight was tough but the first moments of stepping off the plane and having the 30+ degrees of sunlight hit my skin made it all worth it. The airport is quite beautiful and does give a real taste of the culture of the island.
After selecting a taxi driver like it was a deleted scene on “The Bachelor” we made our way to our hotel: Alaya Resort Ubud. The journey on the way to the hotel had me feeling very sentimental for my home in Zambia because of the narrow streets and open store fronts.
The pictures of the hotel looked pleasant online but I had no idea what to expect really. When we arrived at the hotel my wonders were allayed as it was quite a beautiful resort. The staff were attentive and friendly and the entire resort had a clean, tropical vibe to it.
Ubud Traditional Art Market
Straw bags are in this season and I was planning to buy one on the high street for my trip to Bali. However, while doing a little research and looking at a few pictures on Instagram and Pinterest, I realised that these bags were made and sold almost everywhere in Bali and I could probably get it for a fraction of the price. I didn’t carry a handbag to use in Bali so my first order of business was to go to the market which was only about 10 minutes away from the hotel. When I got to the market I was blown away by the incredible pieces of art and handmade crafts and jewelry.
We visited the Ubud monkey forest which is a beautiful nature reserve located in the Padangtegal village which owns it. It is regarded by the villagers to be a spiritual places and is home to three Hindu temples that are believed to have been built around 1350. The main temple is the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal . The place is absolutely breathtaking and as the name suggests there are monkeys running around all over the place if I’m honest, I was afraid one of them would jump on me or abscond with my phone or bag.
One of the most amazing moments from this trip was when we went to Tegenungan waterfall. It is quite extraordinary and is a popular tourist attraction. However because a lot of things have been left in their natural state, climbing on the rocks and crossing the streams on makeshift bamboo bridges can be a little scary, not to mention the 150 steps you have to walk to get to the waterfall. They are not too bad going down, but getting back up is a real workout.
Kamandalu Resort Ubud
I saw a picture of a floating breakfast at Kamandalu resort Ubud on Instagram and placed it in my saved photos over a year ago just because it was #goals so when I decided to go to Bali I knew it was something that had to be done. We went there for breakfast, massages and to explore the rice terraces and it was exactly what I expected and more. Side note: I actually wanted to stay at this resort initially but eventually decided against it just because it was a bit of a walk from shops and restaurants.
I over indulged a little bit on massages in Bali. I spent 3 hours on a massage table in Ubud alone! What can I say I love Balinese massages? The best massage I had was at the Dala spa at Alaya resort Ubud, it was so relaxing and mortifying because I’m pretty sure I fell asleep and started drooling at some point. I didn’t take a good photo ( I was focused on relaxing) but here is a little clip of one of the massage rooms from my Instastory.
On our last day in Ubud we went to Bali Swing which is one of the most Instagrammable locations in Bali, a great place to conquer your fear of heights and enjoy the most spectacular views.
My favorite takeout is Indonesia rice (nasi goreng) with a little sriracha on the side from a place in Limerick called Mr Noodle. Naturally I had to find out if my local takeout gets the recipe right by tasting Indonesian rice in Indonesia. We went for lunch at Bebek Bengil,an outdoor restaurant with a scenicambiance that serves traditional Balinese dishes. The food was delicious and they served me some of the nicest Ice-Tea I have ever tasted.
We also got a platter of local cuisine at the restaurant in our hotel which allowed us to sample several dishes. Another great place to eat is Terasi Sushi and Asian kitchen. It is in a complex with a relaxing pool, bar, ice cream bar and live music.
Ubud was so tranquil and it allowed me toreflect, connect with nature and really appreciate how beautiful this planet is. It’s the best place to go to have the real Balinese experience and see the temples, rice fields, forests and waterfalls. I have so many other photos from this trip that I’ll be posting on my social media so make sure to follow me on those. I’ll also be posting about the second part of my trip to Bali in Seminyak really soon.