Last Trip of 2018: Last Minute Trip to Ubud, Bali
This trip marks the end of all my trips of the year, and finished off with a last minute spontaneous trip to Bali, Indonesia. It needed this trip to relieve all the troubles and stress that have been accumulating in my life and I needed a spiritual place to breath and clear my mind.
This trip was my most spontaneous ever, we only started planning this trip 3 days before the departure, and we didn’t booked the tickets and hotel until a day before.
3 days prior to our departure date, I went to search for the best deals and I found a really cheap flight with Garuda Indonesia (which is a full service airlines) for only $209. Sadly, by the time I got a confirmation from my friend its already gone. Anyway, the timing wasn’t that good either. It was like a evening flight to and morning flight back. Long story short, we bought Jetstar tickets for $277 per person. It is considered expensive for a flight to Bali on a budget carrier.
On this trip I stayed at Y Resort Ubud. Yes, we chose to stay at Ubud because my wanted to avoid the crowd in Seminyak, which on hindsight, was a mistake. Since it is my second time visit Bali, I had already been to many tourist attractions around Ubud and really there is nothing much left around Ubud to explore. We got a room near to the innermost sector of the resort and there just happens to have no internet connectivity there. I had to step out of my room to get connection. It wasn’t the best experience. I definitely prefer staying at the areas nearer to the beach like Seminyak rather than Ubud, but my friend wanted to avoid the crowd there hence we agreed to stay at Ubud.
Tip: Stay at Seminyak / Kuta / Jimbaran area for the best food, nightlife and fun.
PLACES IN UBUD
Traffic in Bali can be quite a headache and I spent most of the trip exploring Ubud, or else it would be a 90 minute drive to Seminyak area, which we did went on the last day. We were stuck in the car for a long time while on our way to Uluwatu Temple.
Here are some of the places and things I did in Ubud.
1 Uma Pakel Bali Swing
The first time I came to Bali was in 2015, after my Basic Military Training passing out parade and having swings all around Bali wasn’t a thing yet. Now, you can find swing everywhere in Bali, there are even resorts that have Bali swing inside! Of course they are located at the mountainous terrains in order to have these.
The Uma Pakel Bali Swing is nearer to Ubud which was why our driver drove us there. If you have money to spend (unlike a budget traveller like me) and you love swings, do check out Bali Swing, for a more comprehensive swing recreation.
Bali Swing Admission Package
The package deal starts from S$49.28* includes use of 12 swings, 6 birds-nests, and entrance to a river beach with swimming pool and waterfalls. All your needs, including buffet lunch and drinks, are taken care of by your tour guide.
I paid S$20 (20,000 IDR) at Uma Pakel Bali Swing just for one swing ride that lasted about 1 minute. Then, they made me sit facing backwards and I went swinging backwards. I must admit that the feeling is really good. I felt liberated and free. The ride was breezy.
You can also enjoy a Luwak coffee tasting session while you are there. At a price of course.
Please make sure the service provider has proper safety equipment and measures for the swing ride, or else your life could be at stake.
2 Ubud Art Market
Hidden in the Ubud City is the art market that holds many small decorations, accessories, and even artworks. I’m not much a shopping for local goods kind of person, but I just went to look around. It is the perfect places for ladies to get their boho-chic fashion accessories and they really have a lot of accessories, from bags to rings, you name it.
3 UBUD MONKEY FOREST
Oh and I forgot to mention about how everything requires money or entrance fee in Bali, after all its main economy lies in tourism. The entrance fee for the monkey forest is 50,000 IDR (S$5).
I have been there before but since my friend wanted to see, I accompanied. I wouldn’t recommend anyone to visit the forest since there is really nothing much, beside wild monkeys. Maybe because coming from a tropical climate country, monkeys are quite prominent. Do not stare in their eyes or they will get aggressive and challenge you to a brawl. Also, you are unlikely to find them adorable except the babies. If you have sufficient activities on your itinerary, skip this.
4 Ayung White Water River Rafting
When we were just about to run out of ideas of things to do in Ubud… I thought of river rafting. I had so much fun the previous time and I wanted to try it again.
There are two rivers for rafting in Bali. The Telaga Waja River and the Ayung River. I went on the Telaga Waja River on my first trip and this time I went on the Ayung River. Both were scenic and I wouldn’t say which is better than the other. It depends on where you stay, since Ayung River is closer to Ubud. Both rivers are around 16km long and the whole journey including rest stops will take around 2 hours.
Okay here the tip you need to know to make your travel budget, or at least save some money.
Tip: Tell your driver your budget, and let him know like you are on a budget and really want to try river rafting. Because they can help you buy at a really HUGE DISCOUNT. If you check online or even Klook, it is going to show that it cost $50-$70 per person, but I actually asked my driver if there are any rafting within a $20 budget (sounds ridiculous but it’s actually possible). Eventually, he asked me to pay $30, but I wasn’t that tight and I don’t mine just paying a little bit more. He gave me the receipt and it states that its $60 per person, that’s proof. Yes, and I paid $30. You get the point.
You will be required to walk down a lot of steps before you reach the river and it will be difficult if your knee is not strong or you are travelling with elders. It takes about 7 minutes and 500 plus steps before reaching the river. Do consider that before going because I have seen some struggling to walk down the steps. During my first trip, I do not remember having to walk back up after our whole ride, but time we did. Walking up was way more tiring then walking down, phew it was a workout. I could be because it is a different river.
A buffet lunch is included at the end of the rafting experience, so it makes the package more worth! Don’t expect a feast, there will be typical Indonesian dishes served, Nasi Goreng, Mee Goreng, a meat and a vegetable dish, maybe more.
We went on a drier period, with little rainfall, so we actually encountered difficulty in many junctures during the raft. Thankfully the guide worked his magic and saved from the annoying rocks that got us stuck countless number of times.
I kept my personal belongings with the guide who had a waterproof bag so I didn’t take much pictures, but that also helped me enjoy the scenic views along the river without any distractions. The unique feature along Ayung river is carved rocks that tells the story of Ramayana, so do look out for that.
5 TagaLALlang Rice TERRACE
Not sure whether you have heard of the freak accident that happened at the Tagalallang Rice Terrace, where a tourist fell to death while trying to swing his son on the swing. But if you did, that could be the reason if this destination sounds familiar to you. They have swings here as well, so if you don’t mind the view, you can try it as the rice terrace as well! I love to look at rice terraces and tea plantation, they are like man-made beauty fused with nature, like interior design but it is external.
We went during non-harvesting season hence there are no rice, but still a spectacular view! There is nothing much to do here besides the swing or just hangout at the small cafes by the main road, but it was definitely worth the trip there just to get some pictures at the iconic rice terrace.
6 SARAWASTI TEMPLE
Known for its Lotus Pond and Kecak Dance, Sarawasti Temple is another hidden gem in the Ubud central area. It is the exterior you are visiting not the temple. The lotus are barely blooming, I guess its not the right season yet, but the pods are still lush and nice. Tickets are sold around the Ubud central area for the Kecak Dance performance that will start in the evening.
This place isn’t difficult to find although the entrance doesn’t convince you that is a temple at all. Just look out for the the only Starbucks in Ubud (or at least I think it is), and its right beside it.
Unfortunately, the temple is not open to tourists, but do have a seat at the Starbucks outdoor area with a cup of coffee or dine at the Lotus Cafe while your enjoy the view of the pond.
If you are thinking how to get around Bali and visit all these destinations, the most convenient way is to hire a driver and it costs around $50 (50,000 IDR) a day.
You can reach out to my driver if you need one.
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This might not be a very wise trip looking at the slight pricey air fares, which is very unlike of me, but I felt that Bali was a great place to really heal and help me to come back even more productive in year 2019. I wish everyone that feel a little burn out can also take a break for things, it is only human to take breaks when you need to. Don’t be too harsh on yourself.
Thanks for reading!