We decided the best way to see several attractions of our choice in one day was to rent a driver and a car. We negotiated a price with a guy the night before, and we agreed to 350 000 IDR for 6 hours, and they were to fetch us at 12:00PM at the Coco Market.
That morning we had an amazing buffet breakfast at the resort, and as usual made the most of the free food! We everything from cereal, pastries, egg, crepes, fruit to french toast. And topped that all off with smoothies, fresh juices and coffee.
We caught the resort shuttle into central Ubud and headed straight for Monkey Forest. We were neither particularly interested in monkeys or forests, but it seemed like a must do when in Ubud, so we followed suit. The monkeys there were very tame, and a baby literally run up to me and started nibbling my knee! We chose not to purchase bananas or peanuts to feed them, and our decision was confirmed when we saw fully grown monkeys jump onto peoples’ heads to have a grab at the bananas. Their reactions varied from staying completely still while letting out small squeaks, to jumping around like they had just stood on coals.
After a walk through the forest, and some quality photos of silly tourists getting attacked, we left to make our way up Monkey Forest Road. We browsed in a few shops but it was close to midday, and my mom and I were taking a bit of strain. I suggested we go for a quick foot massage before we meet the driver for our tour, and she liked the idea of recuperating in an air conned room for a while. The massage turned out to be a very painful reflexology session, and I learnt some things about my body, like that my small brain was not in the best shape. I don’t know if reflexology is scientifically sound, but it certainly was very sore when she massaged the specific points, and some of them correlated to bodily pains I’d been having. You never know…
Not quite as rested as we thought we would be, actually a bit bruised, we hopped into the van and started our tour. The first stop was the Tegalalang rice terraces. It was a quick in and out stop because we opted not to go for a walk along the terraces. We took a few photographs and then went to a place where you can see how Luwak coffee is made. We had a tour around and a guide explained the whole process. Afterwards we got a tray of little cups with an assortment of coffees and teas to taste, while overlooking a rice terrace. It was so lovely, and it was also free! The only thing we had to pay for was the (optional) cup of Luwak coffee, which was 50 000 IDR, because we couldn’t visit Indonesia and not taste the supposed most expensive coffee in the world! I made certain that it was in fact hand gathered coffee beans, and not mass produced in cages with luwaks. As with most popular things, the industry has exploited the luwaks in order to get a higher yield and thus more money. Read more here – Luwak coffee scam.
Ubud is actually a collection of small villages, each specialising in their own trade. We were particularly interested in the village that makes jewellery, and the one that carves wood. The jewellery is of a high standard, and they mostly use real silver. My mom bought herself a beautiful ring, and I had my eye on some things too but they were too expensive. Next we went to the wood carving village and visited some shops. We love the more natural carving that they tend to do on furniture and doors. Their craftsmanship was incredible, and I wished I could teleport some of those pieces home because they were exquisite.
These villages are certainly more rural and poor than central Ubud, which means there is an increased number of malnourished dogs limping around. This really bothered my mom, and ruined some of the enjoyment of the tour.
As evening fell we went to watch a Kecak dance. This is a traditional dance, with origins in trance (not to be confused with the fire dance), and was an apparent must see in Ubud. We went to the show but ended up leaving half way through as mosquitos were eating us alive! I don’t know if I have ever seen the air so thick with mosquitos in my life, or been bitten as badly. Bumps the size of boils popped up all over my thighs, and we were all too busy swatting and fanning ourselves to enjoy the show anyway. It was a bit touristy and we figured we had got the just of it, so we decided to leave.
We were all internally (and secretly) relived to be on our way back to central Ubud, and thus on our way to bed! It had been a rather exhausting day, both physically and emotionally, and we were pretty much finished by then. It sounds silly to say that being in a car is tiring, but in this instance it truly was.
It was not quite time for bed though, because when we got back we still had to have dinner! Bebek (or duck) is a famous dish in ubud, with crispy duck being advertised on almost every menu, so we decided to go to the restaurant most well-known for it. It was called Bebek Bengil. The crispy duck wasn’t quite how I had imagined it… for starters it was half of a duck. Literally, a duck chopped in half and then made crispy in oil. I ventured forth nonetheless and got my hands dirty peeling the succulent meat off the bones. It was very tasty, but my mom and I both had a bit of trouble with it visually (her worse than I, shame), so it didn’t quite live up to our perhaps unrealistic expectations. Bebek Bengil is supposed to be the best place to eat crispy duck in Ubud, and has certainly been around a long time, but we all agreed that the service was below average, the food was okay, and the prices were a bit high. There are probably better places to try out the dish in Ubud!
Finally we caught the shuttle back to the hotel. When I questioned the other 2 about what they wanted to do the following day, they both said sleep in! So we went to bed without alarms set for the next day.