First of all let me tell you, Bali is fantastic. It’s a culturally rich island, filled with it’s own quirks and uniqueness. That said, like every place, Bali has it’s own shortcomings as well.
We stayed in Bali for a week and I am going to attempt to explain all aspects of Bali in all my posts on it.
I am going to write a series of articles, since one article is not going to be enough to share all my experiences.
We stayed in Ubud for 5 days and for 2 days in Sanur.
Most of the articles you will find online are from a Westerner’s viewpoint and their perception of Bali.
I have read very few articles where an Indian like me has given their take on Bali. From one Asian to another. You can find an honest recall and observations of our stay in Bali.
So those who don’t know me- I am an Indian woman, living in Singapore who traveled to Bali. (with my better half <3 )
The first thing we noticed as soon as we landed Bali, are the unique sculptures. Right from the airport to the place we stayed, one can see lot’s of statues and carvings from the Hindu scriptures, which as an Indian Hindu, I could relate to and be completely awed by.
As soon as we reached our hotel, we set off to explore the streets. We love exploring cafes and finding dairy-free lattes and we consume vegan and vegetarian (no fish, no eggs) food only.
We had coffee made from coconut milk at this nice and cozy cafe called ‘Coffee Roastery Ubud’. The coffee was wonderful and the prices cheap. (We kept visiting till we were in Ubud) Once we were caffeinated, we were energetic enough to roam the streets of Ubud.
Indonesia and India have similar problems. Quite a lot of traffic and not so good footpaths. So please be careful when you walk on the footpaths of Ubud, since I slipped and tripped often there 😀
The roads in Ubud are small but definitely a lot more cleaner than the roads in India.
Like I mentioned previously, it is quite a cultured city, with offerings to the Gods and Goddesses kept on the streets, males and females dressing up in their traditional attire and houses built to look like temples. Bali is a Hindu dominated place with it’s Hindu teachings coming from India yes, but it’s carvings and sculptures are different from what you would see in India. It has Buddhist influences and the Indonesians have given it their own special touch, making it an interesting mix.
Today, in this post, I shall write about places to visit in Ubud, for which you need not rent a car or spend a lot of your money.
You can reach the places below either by foot or hire a scooter for the same.(Lots of places in Ubud to rent a scooter. My epic scooter related hilariously bad episode coming up soon in the upcoming posts 😀 Read Part 2 of this series )
- Ramayana Play at ‘Pura Dalem Taman Kaja’ Temple
You can watch the ancient Hindu tale of Ramayana unfold in front of your eyes. Many temples will be offering this play or ‘Kecak fire dance’ show like they call it. We watched a show at a temple when we were just strolling around. The wonderful artists portrayed how Goddess Sita was kidnapped by Ravana and how Lord Rama, Lakshmana and Lord Hanuman went in search of her. It is an ancient Indian history from Ramayana, which we already knew, so it was fun watching how the Indonesians depicted it in their own way. The temples usually give you a pamphlet of the story they are going to portray so even if you don’t know anything, you can still understand the story by reading. There is also something called “Trance Dance” after the play which is again a must watch.
Overall, I would definitely give a big thumbs up to watching the Fire Dance in Ubud, irrespective of where you are from.
2. Ubud Palace
The Ubud Palace is a royal Palace of Ubud kings and Temple complex which is worth a quick visit while in the city. It is quite a small complex and honestly Palaces in India I would say are much grander and full of culture. Nevertheless, it is worth a quick look for your photos and Instagram feed.
We saw cute little Balinese girls practicing the Balinese dance form, led by their teachers. If you are lucky, you can spot them as well.
Overall I would suggest not spending more than 20-30 mins at this place. Quick stop. It’s a hit or miss, this place. You can skip this one if you don’t have enough time on your hands.
3. Saraswati Temple
This temple is nearby to the above mentioned Ubud Palace and at a walk-able distance. It’s just right at the street like the Ubud Palace. When you enter, you see a beautiful sight of lotuses and amazing temple structures surrounding you. However, we were disappointed since the temple was closed and we could not enter inside. It’s not quite nice to walk all the way to see the place and find it closed. (Little did we know, it was going to happen again at more places. Coming up in tomorrow’s post)
Again this is a hit or miss spot, but since it’s right inside Ubud, it’s a good place to visit if you are staying here and get a few of your photos clicked right here.
4. Campuhan Ridge walk
Now this was the highlight of the day for me. Again the entrance to this ridge walk is just a few minutes away from the Saraswati Temple, so we walked till there.
Campuhan ridge walk is a beautiful place to see if you love hiking and nature. We trekked for almost more than 4 kms to and fro. It is filled with some ups and downs so those who don’t like trekking can stay away. Neverthless it’s not that difficult a walk in retrospect. Just make sure you carry your water bottles with you.
The view as you walk along is amazing and you feel quite connected to nature.
At the end of the walk, you reach beautiful rice terraces. I was quite tired, so we decided to eat some lunch and then head back. We had lunch at the beautiful and quite popular Karsa Cafe. The food is good and service is great. Prices are manageable. We had our lunch, we enjoyed the weather (though it was quite hot) and then we headed back.
Overall, Campuhan Ridge walk is one of the few easy to get to and one of the few free things you can do in Bali. (More on this, coming up soon!)
So these were the 4 places worth seeing inside of Ubud, Bali, which you can see on foot or rent a scooter.