UBUD.

When I arrived at the airport I was picked up by a driver from the AirBnB that I was staying at for the first few days. Nadine would arrive the next day, and because I arrived in the evening I went straight to bed and woke up to this:

Yes, my holiday started right with fresh fruits, a pineapple smoothie, a beautiful view and most importantly: pancakes. Absolutely loved these banana pancakes!

After a few hours of reading a book in the sun Nadine arrived and we walked around Ubud and explored the area. One of the places that we passed by was Monkey Forest and although a must see according to everyone I like to keep the monkeys on a distance because of the many diseases they carry around. Besides that you’ll find a lot of monkeys walking around at Jl. Monkey Forest anyway!

We decided that while being in Ubud we should definitely take a yoga class, but instead of taking a class at Yogabarn which is well known we decided to go to a yoga place close to our AirBnB on Jl. Jembawan and next to Herb Library Bali. I forgot the name… but it was outside on a big patio at a hotel and definitely worth to practise yoga with this view! Beware of mosquitos though.

We also went to a Kecak Ramayana and fire dance show at Pura Dalem Ubud which is a short walk from Ubud Tourist Information. It’s in the evening and although I did take pictures it’s not worth to share as you only see fire and some men sitting in a circle which lacks the impressive and tense ambience of the show. A good option to sniff up some historical culture.

If you have a death-wish, I mean if you really want to do an active and challenging hike trip you should definitely hike Mount Batur. Gunung Batur is one of the largest volcanoes on Bali. I still remember that I was telling Nadine that people even did this trail on flip-flops. I have never been so wrong in my life. My Apple watch kept telling me that my heart-rate was reaching tops 170 BPM the majority of the hike.

You are being picked up around 2am with a group of other people and have some tea and a snack before you leave to the Gunung Batur area. There you get a flashlight if they have enough, luckily I brought my own Intel sponsored flashlight, and start your trip with a rocky road before you continue on ashpalt steep hills. Can’t get be much worse, right? After an hour you have a short break and it’s still entirely dark around 5am. Then you start the toughest part of the hike making your way through rocks and other steep rocky roads. Rocks of all sizes and you can’t clearly see a path so you definitely need a guide next to your friend the flashlight.

Half-way through the hike Nadine got behind on our group, but luckily you find many other groups of people during this hike so you’re never alone, and arrived 10 minutes later at the top. I seriously thought she was going to kill me. As adventurous and sportive as I am, this was definitely an achievement.

At the top, standing next to Gunung Batur it was cold because of the strong chill wind and it was still completely dark. You’ll have some time to enjoy some warm tea and your breakfast: white bread with jam, hard-boiled egg, and a fried banana. Nadine and I were excitedly waiting for the beautiful sunrise they promise you, but all we got was thick fog that made seeing the sunrise impossible… I did not even see the rim of the volcano!

The way down was a hell too as I slipped and bruised my hip, but better than breaking another foot, leg or arm being my clumsy self. The guide was definitely my best friend as he helt my hand all the way down lol. Nevertheless if you like a good hiking trip I’d definitely recommend it, but avoid the rainy season so you are actually rewarded with a beautiful sunrise and volcano poached eggs!

Another must-do is the Campuhan Ridge Walk which I recommend to do in the early morning and really anyone can walk this trail unless you’re in a wheelchair. I was doing this trail with Nadine in the rain season (February) and it was extremely humid! Next to taking water and your camera, I’d advise to take a small towel with you – I’m not kidding. We had a cloudy day, but next to the humidity I don’t think I would have liked to walk this trail in the sun anyway. I was really happy when we arrived at Karsa Kafe for a refreshing watermelon smoothie and enjoying some food next to a beautiful rice terrace. I would have loved to see this rice terrace blooming, but even harvested it’s a beautiful scenic view.

Of course there is plenty to do in Ubud, but the area around has beautiful sceneries and must-sees too. Hence, Nadine and I decided to take a private driver for a day who brought us to Pura Tirta Empul (Holy water can be found here), Tegalalang rice terraces, Goa Gajah, Satria to try some real Luwak coffee and great teas. Not to forget the many other beautiful rice terraces that you drive through and were luckily not harvested yet unlike the Tegalalang rice terraces at that time.

Ubud has many warungs which are small restaurants and often family-owned businesses. The first picture from below in the left upper corner is taken at one of the many warungs at Jl. Gootama, which is a street you should definitely visit if you want to eat local food. It has plenty of warungs!

One of my all-time favourites is Ibu Oka where I had Babi Guling and some other pork creations. It’s the only thing that they serve: pork. The flavours are deep and intense and I could have eaten a double portion of this dish! A must-try!

The right picture is taken at Earth Cafe which only serves Vegan food. Ubud has a lot of options for veganists and the menu is very extensive at this place. The pink drink on the right was my first dragonfruit smoothie, and I did not stop drinking and eating this fruit ever since! Speaking of healthy food, the dragonfruit is full of fiber and anti-oxidants, rich in vitamin C, B1, B2 and B3, and minerals such as iron, calcium and phosphorus. The high level of fiber stabilises your blood sugar level, although I’m certain that most smoothies  contain sugar-water. So, don’t forget to ask if they can leave out any additional sugar or ask them to sweeten it with a banana in a smoothie-bowl!

Another restaurant that was recommended by chef Agus from Ron Gastrobar Indonesia at Ouderkerk a/d Amstel in the Netherlands is Warung Pulau Kelapa. It’s a very nice restaurant and one of the first warungs where Nadine and I ordered a traditional “Rijsttafel”, or also called a rice table at which lots of small dishes are served and you can try a variety of Indonesian food! I found it extremely hard to find “spekkoek”, also known as Lapis Legit, and you really can’t leave Indonesia without eating this layered cake!

And this was all in the first 4 days! I can’t wait to go back to Ubud as there is so much more to explore. For the rest of my Bali and Lombok stories click here.

xSam

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