Saturday, April 15, 2017

SEA Backpacking Series: Bali Part 2 - Yoga, Coffee, and Monkeys in Ubud

If you love Yoga, Coffee, or even Monkeys, you will definitely fall in love with Ubud! I was overwhelmed with excitement when I arrived in Ubud because of one reason alone - YOGA! Although Ubud is just an hour drive from Seminyak, it's actually transforms into a completely different place as it transforms from the busy touristy place to a more laid back private place. 

Things to do in Ubud, Bali:
1. Try YOGA in a yoga studio!
The first thing we did when we arrived in Ubud is to look for yoga studios nearby and find classes. Fortunately we were able to find yoga barn which is a well known studio in Jl. Hanoman road. I dragged my boyfriend into doing yoga with me and it's everything that we hoped for! Practicing yoga in a very peaceful and nature environment, attending to class with full of passionate and hard core yoga practitioners, and finishing off with a refreshing fruit & vegetable juice.
They offer training or classes for yoga teachers!
Per class is around 130,000 Rupiah and they have a monthly rate which comes out cheaper.

They also have a restaurant and cafe inside which serves healthy food and drinks.
How to get there: Walk in Jl. Hanoman road going to south area. You'll walk past a huge grocery store which is located in intersection of Monkey Forest road and walk past it where you'll see several restaurants at the right. There is a small sign on the left that has arrow pointing to Yoga Barn. We got lost several times finding the place so better to ask local establishments where it is.

2. Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest
If you want to have close encounters with monkeys, then go to the Monkey Forest! If you're afraid of monkeys though, beware and don't bring any bananas! Monkey Forest is literally a forest where you can pass by to see and have close encounters with Monkeys roaming around the place. You'll need to buy tickets first at the entrance worth 40,000 Rupiah each and there are strict guidelines and instructions you'll need to follow.
We highly recommend for you to buy bananas for you to feed the monkeys. There is a guide who'll help you in feeding the monkeys and it's definitely an experience you need to capture in your phone!haha
We saw Tyra Banks lookalike who was so scared and animated when they climbed onto her!
It was our turn to feed the monkeys where they will climb onto you first before getting the banana!
How to get there: Walk towards Monkey Forest road and will arrive there after 10-15 minutes of walking. You'll see a lot of shops going there and at the end of the street you'll see the entrance to the temple. We wouldn't recommend to take a taxi if you're in the Monkey Forest road already since there is a lot of shops you can visit along the road.

2. Go Shopping!
There are two main roads where people shop and visit in Ubud - Monkey Forest Road and Jl. Hanoman Road. These are two roads that are intersecting and has a long stretch of restaurants, cafe, and shops. What you'll find a lot there are yoga apparels (which I bought a lot of!) and beads (necklace, bracelets, etc.). The yoga clothes are cheaper than what you'll find in stores (e.g. Lululemon) so definitely good to hoard since you won't see similar quality with the same price outside of Ubud. 

3. Have an authentic Balinese Massage!
There is a lot of massage place in Bali but similar to Cambodia, the ambiance does not seem to be relaxing. We've spent a lot of time going back and forth whether to find a very relaxing but expensive massage place or go to the cheap massage places to have a quick no frill massage. We ended up going to a place next to the restaurant we had dinner in and we were pleasantly surprised. Upon entering the reception, they escorted us towards a room with two massage tables. The 1 hour Balinese Massage cost us 105,000 Rupiah or only around PHP 380 which was extremely worth it!

4. Go to Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Tegalalang Rice Terraces is around 40 minutes away from Ubud central and you can either rent a motorcycle for you to drive directly there or hire a taxi for half a day. We were lucky that our hotel owner offered tours going to Tegalalang using his personal car and we booked a tour with him for the next morning. We paid the driver 175,000 Rupiah or around PHP 630 which was reasonable compared to getting a tour or hotel which cost way more than that. The Rice Terraces is beautiful during sunset and you can take a lot of Instagram worthy pictures and videos there. Best to visit early morning where there is a less people so you can take your perfect shot! Be prepared though that it's only a rice terraces and there is not much to do after that unless you want to hike around the entire mountain. We spent about 30 minutes to go around and take pictures before heading back. 

5. Try Civet Coffee
We were supposed to go back to the hotel but our driver offered to drive us further to go to the Civet Coffee plantation which was 5 minutes away from Tegalalang Rice Terraces. The place orients you on how the famous and most expensive coffee in the world is being made and you can purchase Civet Coffee beans to bring home.
The wonderful view while drinking a sip of coffee!
Free coffee! Taste test of different flavors of coffee. They don't offer free Civet Coffee for taste test so you can purchase with food. We bought a cup of Civet Coffee with Suman for 90,000 Rupiah.

When visiting Ubud, you can also take a trip to Tanah Lot which is a famous temple found in a rock formation which is about 1 hour going to Ubud. We decided to skip it since we didn't want to waste half day just to take pictures of the place. 



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