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Travel Journal: Indonesia – First Stop: Ubud, Bali 🌳

Travel Journal: Indonesia – First Stop: Ubud, Bali 🌳

We always return to the places where we went happy, so I returned to Bali, Indonesia. After almost three years of having been visited the island and having travelled extensively, I returned to feel at home, but this time wasn’t alone as that first time 💛

Bali is one of the more than 17,000 islands that Indonesia has on the Indian Ocean. This region also called “the island of the gods” is an oasis which has the largest number of Muslims worldwide.

Bali is also full of temples (more than 10,000!), Rice fields, dance, paradisiacal beaches surrounded by coral reefs, a lot of kindness and good vibes. Locals (Balinese) can leave you speechless. His kindness (and also his bargaining) is so much that at times you can not believe it 🤭

This island was our eighth stop after Singapore, Malaysia, Phuket, Phi Phi Islands, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai during the months of January and February of 2018.

For my Bali, it is the perfect destination (it is always a good idea) since it also has a climate of tropical monsoon type. You feel an eternal summer being there, it is divine. A place totally recommended for solitary travellers, couples, friends and family.

But first of all, I recommend you read these recommendations that you should keep in mind before touching Balinese soil:

Laws:

🚫Do not ever consume, traffic or buy illegal drugs in your jurisdiction (Indonesia) as it is punishable by law. You can risk from some years in prison to life imprisonment and even the death penalty (no thanks!) 🙅🏼♀️

🚫If you rent a motorcycle, always wear a helmet. Not because you see half the world without it means that it’s okay. Just because you are a foreigner you will be an easy target for police who will enforce the law 🏍

Facts:

💯Indonesia, in general, is quite conservative (remember that it is the largest Muslim nation on the globe) so I suggest you respect enough and avoid becoming a ‘monkey with a knife’ in these places, since it is easy for many ‘Bules’ to be far away of their countries (tourists mostly of European descent, light hair and pale skin) tend to behave and do very strange things (so please, do not be an undesirable tourist).

💯To visit the temples, adequate clothing is needed. If you don’t take it with you, in the same temple they can provide it to you when paying the entry ticket (if it is paid). As there are several frees I recommend you to wear that ‘big scarfs’ and appropriate clothing to avoid any kind of problem.

💯I recommend you drink bottled water all the time to avoid gastric problems. The same when ordering cocktails (“no ice”).

💯You must do negotiation always (it’s their culture and they love doing it). Many values will be offered even 3 times more expensive than it is originally (so patience) 🤝

💯The only mandatory vaccination to enter Indonesia is the Yellow Fever (if you come from an affected area) and you will also be asked for the vaccination certificate (Africa and a large part of South America, more information and list of countries here).

💯Careful with public transportation, not all drivers are honest. The safest thing is to ride the ‘blue birds’ taxis, but if you take from the others, keep an eye on them. Personally, I had several disagreements with taxi drivers, since we were left at a price and then upon arriving at the destination they charged me more money (than agreed) which often left me with this initial value and then practically I had to run away.

Best time to travel:

✈️The best months to travel to Bali between June and September are considered since the rainy season dominates widely from October to March.

Currency:

💰The currency type is Indonesian IDR Rupee (Rp).

Language:

👅Indonesian Bahasa (English is not as common as it is believed, but if several speak it … at least the basics to be able to communicate).

Cost per day:

💸 ~ $ 352 – 422 Rp (~ $ 25 – 30 USD) for two (depending on activities, accommodation and food).

Most of the countries of Latin America and Mexico (except Colombia) and also Europe (with the exception of some countries) do not need a visa to enter Indonesia for a maximum of 30 days (in a row), but just ask for information here 

Beware that sometimes at the airport you may be required the return ticket to leave the country at the time of your arrival or even before embarking to fly to Indonesia. I recommend having it to avoid any problem that could frustrate your trip.

We went from Chiang Mai to Bangkok on a flight that didn’t last more than an hour and a half. After waiting a while at the Bangkok international airport we flew to our last destination of this exquisite trip: BALI.

Flight from Bangkok to Bali, Indonesia

We arrived at the international airport of Denpasar after midnight, with more than 25 degrees Celsius heat right for a beer 🍻 (you can walk with your bottle of alcohol hanging around and leaving the airport without any problem, nothing happens … stay cool).

Trying to get out of this step what ‘I at least expected it to happen like the first time I went three years ago’: taxi drivers (they aren’t ‘really taxi drivers’) offering to take us where we want for all possible prices. If someday you go to Bali, I beg your patience with this behaviour (we all get by without exception, even if we even have a driver and asked for it before … they will harass you to die).

Anyway, we got on the one that made the best price and took us to our hotel in the mediations of Kuta to spend the night there.

The next day, after breakfast we went to the heart of Bali, Ubud. On the way there, we stopped in a rice field and in one of those Luwak Coffee factories, the world-famous “best coffee in the world”, which is made with civet faeces through a very handcrafted and interesting process.

Our awakening in Kuta

👉🏻Tip: Usually, this visit is free. You do not have to pay a ticket or anything like that to know the process (which is guided) and even try the coffee and various types of tea in the region that are manufactured by themselves (local). However, always at the end of this visit, they will offer the products so that they can buy them. We buy coffee, chocolates and some tea and, if they can be a bit expensive (for what Bali is), but they are totally and absolutely worth it. They are an absolute delight 🤤👌🏻

Arriving in Ubud (after a few hours) we enjoy the city and the many entertainments offer that this beautiful place has. Personally, I love it! Ubud is like a mix of flavours, places, colours and smells … you can enjoy good restaurants, yoga classes, rice fields everywhere, crafts, good beer and food … honestly, one of my dreams is to live for some time there. I’m happy to do it. It is the place that suits perfectly to me 😍

We stayed in a hotel behind the Monkey Forrest, which is a sanctuary for monkeys where they have absolute freedom and guarantees a good living outdoors (which we also visited) … they own everything. Now, be careful! the monkeys are everywhere and if they are happy to open a backpack or take something (especially glasses) do not hesitate to do it 👀

Monkey Forrest, Ubud

Monkey Forrest, Ubud

Monkey Forrest, Ubud

Monkey Forrest, Ubud

Monkey Forrest, Ubud

Monkey Forrest, Ubud

Monkey Forrest, Ubud

As always, we booked through booking.com and the hotel was perfect (Indira Cottage), great location among wide autochthonous nature, good service, and the best part: excellent breakfasts! 🥐🍊🍉☕️🍶🥞

Indira Cottage, Ubud

View from our room

In general, the weather wasn’t very good for us in Ubud. It rained almost all the time, but that did not stop us from enjoying the place. That’s why I want to share the places that most caught our attention👌🏻:

👉🏻For the same street where the Monkey Forrest is located “Jalan Monkey Fores St” (say … up, opposite the monkey sanctuary) on JI. Raya street Ubud is the market “Art Market” which is quite large and where you will find everything; souvenirs, typical masks, typical clothes, typical food and all kinds of crafts in general (and yes, it is the same as the movie “eat, pray, love”). It is big and very cute. Remember that everything there is negotiable. Bargain with confidence, at first it will be a bit difficult, but you will not even notice when you’re an expert … I love it! 😎

Some typical Balinese souvenir 🙄

Typical Bali Masks

On the same street, but closer to Monkey Forrest there are 3 restaurants that are quite good and highly recommended. The first one is the “Three Monkeys”; This is an exceptional place, with prices perhaps above average, but in which you will live a total and absolutely unforgettable experience. Even better? It is next to a rice field (beautiful) and a pool of colourful fish runs through the restaurant which makes it even more pleasant and beautiful. The attention is perfect 💯

Something of what was our dinner at ‘Three Monkeys’, Ubud

The second one is going down the same street and is called “Maha”. Here the prices are a little more accessible and have the best natural juices in the whole city. They are super friendly and the place has a very relaxed vibes 🤗

‘Maha’ Restaurant, Ubud

The third (but not least) is the “Habitat Restaurant” (in front of the Monkey Forrest). They have all kinds of food. Delicious and of all prices. We went for some hamburgers on that occasion, since we could not eat more Asian food. The attention here is also a 10! … Well, in reality, it is very rare that you go through some bad experience in terms of customer service in Indonesia, but there are clear exceptions.

Our lunch at ‘Habitat Restaurant’, Ubud

Our passage through Ubud, in general, was more relaxed and without moving too much. We had been (frantically) moving for weeks and that place away was the perfect place to recharge and continue enjoying what was left of the trip. It was so relaxed that we even bought tickets to see a typical Balinese dance show and forgot it completely as we were sleeping in the hotel … 😹

BONUS! Some pictures of what happened in Bali in 2015:

Padang Padang Beach, Uluwatu (Bali, August 2015)

Padang Padang Beach, Uluwatu (Bali, August 2015)

Uluwatu Temple, South of Bali  (August 2015)

Uluwatu Temple, South of Bali  (August 2015)

Uluwatu Temple, South of Bali  (August 2015)

Gili Trawangan (August 2015)

Gili Trawangan (August 2015)

Amed, Bali (August 2015)

‘Ganesh’ Amed, Bali (August 2015)

Amed, Bali (August 2015)

Ombak Sunset, Gili Trawangan (August 2015)

Kuta Beach (August 2015)

Kuta Beach sunset (August 2015)

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