Indonesia With Our Boys Part Three – Bali
After the relative peacefulness of Gili Air, Kuta during the holiday season appeared pandemonic. The chaotic cacophony was made worse by the heat in the un-air-conditioned van that slowly made its way through the congested convoluted streets. Upon arrival at the hotel we found there had been an error in the booking and three of us did not have a room. Following a long exhausting debate over what we should, could and would do, Dwayne, Alex and I went and found another hotel room for a couple of nights. The disorder at the next hotel would have been comedic had I not been so tired. They gave us a room with one king size bed….. for the three of us! I have no idea what they were thinking! Eventually we all had a bed to sleep in for the night so we hired scooters and convened at the Rooster Bar. A few games of pool, dinner and an early night!
We all did our own thing for a day or two meeting up for dinner and/or lunch and sometimes breakfast. Dwayne and Alex went shopping for bargains, bought some singlets, played pool and had massages. Kye got his surf board fixed and he and Kailey went parasailing. Jedd and Marie shopped and found a great little place for breakfast. They took us to ‘The Drop’ in Seminyak where they served delicious breakfast and fantastic juice and smoothies. There were games scattered around the place and we played chess and backgammon while waiting for our breakfast.
We decided to ride our scooters to Ubud for the day unaware that the aforementioned holiday chaos had, if possible, increased in its intensity! We had a great day but we were all a little exhausted by the end. Our first stop was a Luwak coffee plantation. Where we were told about the coffee beans fermenting in the Luwak’s (civet’s) gut before being defecated and used to make coffee. Yummo! I don’t drink coffee but did enjoy the selection of teas they had for tasting.
It was sad to see the civets in the cages, I admit I hadn’t really thought about how they made the coffee. Apparently, the people making the coffee do not just wander through the natural forest collecting the poo from the wild animals! I am glad to say none of us bought the Luwak coffee, and I, myself, will not visit another Luwak coffee plantation.
About the same time we were getting ready to hop back on our scooters and head to the Monkey Forest the rain started. As the fat drops of rain fell thick and fast, we sat with some of the plantation staff under a small shelter. Things got a little silly as someone played the guitar and an impromptu sing-along started. Then Marie played some songs on the guitar and we all sung along….. we were very bad; it was hilarious and the staff had a great time laughing at us!
The rain didn’t look like it was going to let up, so we hit the road and went to visit the wet monkeys. We were a funny sight in our colourful ponchos but we certainly were not unique. Every smart bunny was wearing a poncho!
The monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud are not kept in cages. They are in fact free to wander the forest and temples. There is, however, the contentious issue of feeding the animals and thereby keeping them reliant on the tourist for food. Whether we should or shouldn’t feed the monkeys aside, being wet did not dampen the their appetites and they ran to us for bananas.The monkeys often get a bad rap about being nasty and aggressive, but if you follow the rules i.e. don’t hide food etc, they are a lot of fun to visit.
It was still raining as we walked up the main street of Ubud to find a place for lunch. As is often the way in Bali, during wet season, the downpour suddenly ended and the sun came out. After lunch we walked down to the Ubud markets for a look and a shop. These markets are huge! The markets have grown and now sell a lot of the same stuff that you buy in Kuta. It was not easy to find the unique handicrafts and carvings that Ubud is renown for in amongst the t-shirts, sarongs and phallic objects that litter the stalls.
The labyrinth-like markets were a bustling hive of activity. Colourful and noisy; the aromas of the markets ranged from delightfully aromatic to very unappealing! Paintings, bags, knives, statues, jewellery and of course, sarongs! I think we all bought something before we jumped back on our scooters and headed back to Kuta.
That night we caught up with Stewart and Elaine, from Adelaide, who were holidaying in Bali. We went to Rosso Vivo for dinner. This is not a cheap Indonesian Warung but the smoked duck pasta was yummy and well worth the treat.
The long bike ride to and from Ubud had wreaked havoc with my back, and with a cold and hay fever on top of that, I spent the next couple of days lazing around the hotel in bed. Dwayne and Stewart went with the boys to Uluwatu for a surf. Kye put another ding in his surf board so he once again dropped it off to be fixed.
We had New Years Eve dinner at The Rooster Bar. They ordered a Babi Guling (spit roast pig) in for us and we had it with Nasi Goreng, Mie Goreng and sambal, gravy and a spicy curry/betutu-like sauce. Stewart joined us for dinner but Elaine was indisposed with severe sunburn. We had a feast, played pool and then, because I was still feeling average, I walked back to the hotel while the others hit the bars and/or clubs. From the hotel balcony I had a 180 degree view of the fireworks that went off the entire night! Selamat tahun baru! Happy New Year!
The following evening it was time to say goodbye or rather, ‘until next time’. Some of us got a little teary as we rushed to get last minute photos.
We can’t wait for the next adventure with our boys. There are plenty more exotic, interesting and beautiful places to visit together! Sampai Bertamu Lagi… Until next time.
Travel Notes (Updated August 2016)
IDR – Indonesian Rupiah written as Rp
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary (Ubud Monkey Forest)
Cost – Rp 40000/ Adult & Rp 30000 / child
Hours – Open daily 08:30 – 18.00 (Ticket sales 08:30 – 17:30)
Address – Jalan Monkey Forest – Padangtegal – Ubud – Gianyar- Bali (80571)
Email – www.monkeyforestubud.com
The Rooster Bar – JL Benesari, Kuta, Bali 80361, Indonesia
Scooter Rental – we paid Rp 50000 / day
Kuta – Ratna Hotel
Cost – About Rp2200000 (AUD $22.00) / night
Pros – Clean, cheap and close to the airport. Indoor pool, A/C, cable TV. Restaurants and supermarkets nearby. With moderate fitness you can walk to Kuta.
Cons – No outdoor pool.
Our verdict – Nothing fancy, but ok for those who don’t want to spend much money on accommodation.
Jimbaran – Jimbaran Cliffs Private Hotel & Spa
Cost – About Rp 22000000 (AUD $220) / night for 7 of us.
Pros – Private pool, two pavilions, sun beds, terrace. Four bedroom each with own bathroom, full kitchen, dining table, large lounge area, laundry and large balcony, reasonably priced breakfast.
Cons – Nothing that I can think of.
Our verdict – We had the Penthouse Cliff Edge Suite with Private Pool, it was perfect for the 7 of us (double story, 356 square metres). It was pretty much in the middle of nowhere. By that I mean not close to Jimbaran, but we had our motorbikes so it suited us.
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