So in September we took a trip to Bali – my first ever trip to Asia and I cannot wait to return. I completely and utterly fell in love with our first stop, right in the rainforest – Ubud.
We stayed at the Pertiwi resort right on the Monkey Forest Street. When we arrived there was a mix up with our room and were greeted with the fact the hotel had no record of our reservation. Fantastic – Just what you want to hear off the back of a 19 hour flight. However the lady on reception quickly sorted things out and had a room sorted for us within 20 minutes. The hotel was fantastic, 2 beautiful infinity pools, a spa (which we didn’t actually use… why pay £40 for a massage when you can get one for £3 down the road?) and breakfast was included each morning! What more could you want? The room cost just under £50 a night, which by Bali standards is pretty expensive but I could not fault anything about the resort. It was spotless and we had fresh bedding and towels each day – the grounds & pool were perfectly maintained and the location was absolutely fantastic.
One of my favourite parts of the trip was most definitely temple hopping. Whilst the trips out to Tannah Lot and Uluwatu were fun, the temples in Ubud appear to be hidden in plain sight. You can literally be popping in and out of shops and cafes and find right next door is a grand temple. Ubud is home to the ‘Puri Saren Agung’ otherwise known as the Ubud Palace, and right around the corner is the Water Palace (Which was actually one of my favourite places in Ubud). Another of the temples we visited was the Goa Gajah elephant cave which was set in beautiful grounds and was around a 45 minute walk from our hotel. Probably naively, we arrived at the temples with limited prior knowledge of what we were actually exploring. My advice for anyone’s first time visit to Ubud would to do your research before hand – although it was incredible exploring we often found ourselves returning to the hotel and googling for information about what we had just seen.
So, the monkey forest. If you’ve ever looked into Ubud you will have more definitely heard about the Monkey Forest. I was apprehensive as hell entering the monkey forest – I had read so many stories of monkeys stealing handbags, cameras and sunglasses. The forest itself is breath taking – mile high trees and deep valleys. It was so much fun watching the monkeys swinging around but there was so many people in large groups that would gather around the monkeys you could understand how they would get agitated and lash out. At one point a monkey had at least 20 people crowding around it and pushing cameras its face, it got so angry it darted across the path towards some poor innocent women and ripped the sunglasses right off her face before snapping them in half and launching them 10 meters away. Hilarious to watch (maybe not for the sunglass-less woman) but lesson learned – don’t wave your camera (or a bunch of bananas) in a monkeys face and you will have no problems.
The people of Ubud were extremely friendly, the bar, restaurant and hotel staff we met were all incredible and couldn’t do enough for you. Bali is definitely an up and coming area and is seeing more and more tourists every year. It was definitely the most incredible place I’ve ever seen and would return in a heartbeat. Our 5 nights in Ubud were filled with making new friends, mountain climbing, temple exploring, elephant riding, monkey dodging, haggling, eating noodles and plenty of Bintang. It was an absolutely fantastic start to our trip to Bali.