Ed, Edd, and Eddy have been reunited in the happy hippy heaven that is Ubud, Bali! It’s sooo nice having our third musketeer with us to join on our adventures. When it’s the three of us together, nothing is taken seriously. We just take the piss out of everything, laugh at everything, eat everything and act like children. So the first few days here have been spent doing just that and catching up and acting like ladies of leisure.
Ubud is like nowhere I have ever been before. It’s such a colourful, spiritual place with such a chilled out and uplifting vibe. Like a special, sacred place so perfect for us that it’s as if it’s been made for us. The first thing we noticed when we left the airport, after finally finding Jess amongst the crowds of people and heckling taxi drivers, was how many kites there were up in the sky. They came in so many different shapes and sizes and were so flying much higher up in the sky than I thought kites could go. It’s a popular hobby here, which gives Bali another little quirk.
We had a couple of issues at first; both mine and Jess’ cards were blocked and as the banks have no system for people calling from abroad, it was impossible to get it sorted. Luckily I still have my STA card as a backup, but it turns out that tuxedo money solutions have much higher exchange rates, so you end up spending between £5-£10 more with each withdrawal. But if you are a traveller, I would still recommend taking one in case of emergencies.
Our accommodation could not be more perfect. We’re staying at Sunarta home stay, less than a five minute walk from the main strip in Ubud. Our gorgeous house is through a beautiful, tropical garden, slightly up on a hill which overlooks Ubud. The house itself has that classic, authentic, Balinese architecture, with the orangey brown bricks and wooden carved windows and doors. Our beds are all in the same room too so it’s like a sleepover every night!
The staff here are so lovely and bring you breakfast in the morning, which is really good. The vegetable omelette is amazing and with every plate you get a small plate of banana, melon and pineapple. On top of that we have coffee, tea and sugar, permanently sitting on the table on our terrace. The staff top up our hot water flask throughout the day so we can help ourselves when we want one.
Despite our well-needed sleep being disturbed by shouting cockatoos at about six AM on our first night here, we managed to get back off and dozed until a bit later, so we all slept so well. The second time we woke up, gentle rain was pouring and it was so relaxing. We sat out on our terrace with a black coffee and waited for it to pass. Balinese coffee is really good, it’s not too bitter and tastes like proper coffee.
The night before we’d been chatting to a German guy from a couple of houses down and we found a note from him on our table saying to add him on Facebook and stay in touch which was nice. Jenny was saying how imagine it was a note saying “There’s an island with this beach…” like in the film The Beach, and we all went on this massive adventure to find it haha.
Anyone who knows Bali or heard of Bali has probably heard of Ubud market. I’ve never been so happy to have a bit of spare money in my life, because it has by far been the best shopping we’ve had in Asia. Little narrow alleyways, overcrowded by shoppers and mopeds slowly crawling through are filled with little market stalls.
They sell the most beautiful things we have seen, although it’s a lot harder to haggle here and it is a bit more expensive than the rest of the Asia. The issue is everyone expects that because you’re from a Western country, it means that you’re rich, which is sooo not the case at all. But because of that it’s harder to haggle because they think you will eventually pay and that you owe it to them to give them more. But we still got some amazing deals.
I bought a beautiful, handmade orange bag to match my skirt and Jess bought me an orange scrunchie to match (bless her she has treated us sooo, so much!!). I got a couple of other bits for family and a ring for and bracelet for me. They sold the most amazing giant dream catchers and bronze Buddha ornaments and wall hanging and brightly coloured artwork and every type of jewellery. We have already spent hours wandering up and down each alleyway because everything is just so pretty and amazing and just colour, colour, colour! We ended up getting some friendship flip flop keyrings (makes a change from getting friendship bracelets).
They also have amazing homeware things like mosaic coasters and table mats and kitchen utensils. One day when I’m finally rich I will be coming back here to fill up boxes and post them back to England my new, big house.
Balinese women walk around in gorgeous, brightly coloured outfits- long shirts with tight, short-sleeved tops with golden-like belts, carrying offerings to god on their heads. The god offerings are so adorable and different to any other ones I have seen throughout Asia before. They have these small square holders made from leaves, which they fill with flowers and bits of food as on offering to god. And they’re everywhere- on the floor, on cars, in shops.. they’re so colourful.
I say we’ve been living like ladies of leisure, because after our little shopping spree and taking ourselves out for lunch, we went to get a massage. Jess was literally cracking me up the whole time! She’s never had a massage before so she didn’t really know what to expect. The first thing I heard was her say “Oh that feels nice there that’s exactly where I ache, you know, ME HURT”, then I heard her laugh and say “that tickles” and then there was a guy a couple of rooms down that was snoring really loudly and the woman hit him hard on the back at the end to wake him up!
Jess’ mum Rachel treated us all to such a nice meal that night, to make our day of treats even better! We drank Mojitos and ate seafood and even got a dessert and the food was so delicious. Anyone going to Ubud, the restaurant is called Ibu Rai, and I highly recommend it. We’d bought a pack of cards so we sat and played some games before we headed back to our house for another drink and to watch funny videos.
The monkey forest! Oh my goodness, what a hilarious and amazing place. Anyone that goes to Ubud, can’t not go to the monkey forest. It’s like a jungle down the bottom of the main strip, with the usual tropical foliage and those beautiful trees that have dangling branches. Bridges wind through the trees and there are ancient statues everywhere covered in moss.
And there are monkeys EVERYWHERE. It’s heaven, although slightly scary at the same time haha. They are the funniest, most mischievous, cutest animals in the world! They had big, strong older monkeys and tiny, tiny, tiny baby monkeys that would hug and cling onto the bigger monkeys as they jumped through the trees.
They have staff throughout the forest which is good, because it stops people teasing the monkeys and feeding them bad things etc… But some people are really so stupid because they put their hands out as if they’ve got food so that monkeys jump on them or climb all over them, which is not only cruel towards the monkeys, but it means they could easily get bit and if you haven’t got your rabies jabs you’ll probably die.
There was one woman was getting her really young daughter to put her hand out to jump on her so that she could get a photo- like can you imagine if your daughter got bit and got rabies all for the sake of you getting a good photo?
At one point there was a huge group of adult and baby monkeys all sat around eating melon and a little baby one was climbing around and struggling to climb up a wall (so cute it wanted to be like all the bit monkeys aww aww awwww) and the adult monkeys kept going over and checking on it and interacting with it! They’re proper family, human-like animals. We could have stayed there all day.
Walking back up to our place was nice because we went through a whole different part of Ubud with even more stalls and shops selling the most beautiful things. We got lunch at a tapas place called Barcelona, which is another place I’d recommend. It’s not too pricey and the food was really like.
Ubud is honestly a place that I cannot describe how I would like to. I’m so happy we still have two days left here, because it’s so magical and as I said before, if the three of us could be together anywhere that isn’t Glastonbury festival, it would be here. We’re going to try and get a few nice photos together, because we all keep hating every photo we take and can’t seem to get a good one, but we want more for the memories.
I’m slightly nervous, because tonight we’re getting picked up at two AM to go hiking up Mount Batur volcano to watch the sunrise. We’ve seen photos online and it looks so breath-taking, with the red sky and being above the clouds. But it’s going to be really hard work considering we struggle even going up a flight of stairs!