I’m the first to admit that despite being based in the diverse archipelago of Indonesia for nearly a month now I’ve been pretty rubbish at actually exploring it!
As you may have guessed most of my time here has been spent in the water, enjoying my last few weeks of having surf on my doorstep before I venture into mainland South East Asia which is severely lacking on the wave front.
Sure I checked out the beautiful island of Gili T – but even there it was simply to chill on the beach and enjoy a bit of island living!
I did however take the time to head inland a bit from my base in Kuta (on the recommendation and slight guilt trip of a few travellers!) to check out the Balinese village of Ubud – and it’s something I’m stoked I got around to doing.
Winding Roads and Yet More Monkeys!
Dragging myself out of bed for the trip was pretty hectic – the day was muggy and humid and the last thing I really wanted to do at that time of the morning was sit inside a non air conditioned taxi around the winding roads of Bali!
After an hour or so of dripping in sweat (lovely visual there hey?!) we arrived at our first en route stop – the monkey forest.
Now I’ve already dealt with Balinese monkeys at the Uluwatu Temple – but the monkey forest and temple outside Ubud was a whole different ball game.
The temple itself was like a scene from Indiana Jones. Immense vines dangled from the twisted roots of epic sized trees, with bridges intertwining between and through them. Moss covered statues littered the place – it was a completely different vibe from all the other temples I’ve visited across asia and made for some amazing photos.
Monkeys where EVERYWHERE too – not just to odd few like in Uluwatu, but packs of them running around, chilling, jumping, fighting…and yes there was the odd bit of disturbing monkey sex to witness!
They had no qualms about jumping on unsuspecting tourists either – quickly riffling through their bags (zips are no worries to these guys!) and making off with anything shiny, edible or that looked interesting!
As we got deeper into the temple grounds we came across heaps of baby monkeys who were more than happy to stroll up and check out our cameras!
If you’re heading that way, love taking pictures and want an interesting way to spend an hour being harassed by these little furry pick pockets I totally recommend checking it out!
Hiking Through Rice Terraces
With all our valuables accounted for and with the thick, humid air lacking any kind of breeze we headed to the main attraction of Ubud and the surrounding area – the rice terraces.
It’s the kind of landscape that many people view as the real Bali.
As we turned the corner overlooking the most iconic one it instantly reminded me of the view over Machu Pichu as the tiered hillside played host to an impressive and traditional way of cultivating a rather awkward landscape.
Obviously the Inca Trail and Machu Pichu were infinitely more impressive, but it had that kind of feel about it.
Tucking into the most ludicrously expensive meal of my entire time here (you really did pay for the view) we made the decision – despite the heat – to have a wander through the terraces themselves.
The steep descent into the watery, muddy paths through the maze of winding platforms was one challenge – ascending the opposite side in equally muddy and slim pathways was another, and by the time we reached the top it looked like I’d fallen in I was perspiring that much!
Still it was well worth the effort as we overlooked the panorama of terraces below – it was a beautiful and peaceful scene as the local farmers skillfully negotiated the knee deep mud planting their crops.
Although I would have loved to have visited later in the season – when the rice blankets the entire hillside in a luscious shade of green – sitting on the terrace side taking in view was a great way to ponder life on the road, a slice of cultural charm amongst the surfing chaos that has dominated my adventures so far this year.
Safely meandering our way back down and up to the main road with a camera loaded with pictures it was nice to leave the coastline for a change – which is something I shall need to keep in mind as I make my way overland during the next few months.
If you ever find yourself in this part of the world I highly recommend taking the time to head that way.