We spent 10 days in Bali after our time in Australia and decided to stay in Ubud for our entire stay for three main reasons: 1) Ubud is said to be the cultural centre of Bali, 2) Curniss wanted to practice Yoga at a studio nearby, and 3) we are lugging around a large quantity of things with us (camping gear and warm clothes from our time in New Zealand) which doesn’t make us very mobile. Stomach “problems” also enticed us to stay put (i.e. in proximity to a clean and reliable washroom).
We enjoyed the great hospitality of the locals in Ubud, from the very friendly hotel staff to the hawkers who had a sense of humor and respected our polite “No Thank You”s. Ubud itself was a bustling centre where tourists mixed with the locals. The main streets and side alleys were lined with offerings to the Gods, beautiful art, shops selling just about anything, temples, houses (which also look like temples), tourist accommodations and spas. We took advantage of 60 minute Balinese massages for under $8 CAD a few times and became pretty good at bargaining in the town market. We inevitably ended up buying a few items and the amount of things we are now carrying with us is a bit ridiculous.
Beyond the lively streets of Ubud lie rice paddy fields, deep river valleys and the jungle. We set off to explore the countryside by foot one day and ran into Gosti, who offered to give us a guided walk along the Sungai Ayung (River Ayung) and back through rice fields to Ubud. Gosti was extremely informative and shared his knowledge of local plants and Balinese culture as he took us along jungle paths and through the labyrinth of mud ridges in the rice fields.
Curniss practiced yoga in the mornings at the Ashtanga Yoga Research Centre in the nearby Nyuh Kuning Village, located on the other side of the Sacred Monkey Forest, where we saw a lot of monkeys! We also took advantage of the free community yoga classes at the famous Yoga Barn.
Thoughts of Going Back
All in all, Bali was beautiful, relaxing, charming and definitively some place we would like to re-visit with a small bag containing only the essentials (i.e. bathing suit, towel, two changes of clothes, one yoga outfit, sandals, runners, hat, camera and a good novel). Om Shanti Shanti Shanti Om.