Day 6: Legian to Ubud
So after the fun and excitement of yesterday we moved today to Ubud. We had spent 5 nights in Legian, staying at the All Seasons – and I figured that if Ubud was half as much fun as Legian had been then we were in for another 6 amazing nights.
First up something that I want to congratulate Bali hotels on – 12:00pm check-out as standard! Seriously makes life so much easier, no frantic rushing around – and with travel to most places in Bali taking at least 1 to 1.5 hours you are usually always arriving at your destination ready to check in – so yeah – thumbs up Bali.
We were not in a great rush this morning – but we were determined to get to Miss Debbies Fixed Price store in Garlic Lane. The last couple of days when we have been she has been closed so we wanted to check it out and get some of those last minute Legian essentials – again I use that word “essential” very loosely.
If you managed to find Ketut’s store based on my amazing directions I gave the other day, you should have no problem finding Miss Debbie. She has a shopfront right on Garlic Lane – with a big sign saying Miss Debbie (that was my first hint) – however, as many people will always tell you the real action happens out the back. Go into the store and ask whether you can please go out the back. Some people just walk down the small laneway and take the back entrance direct to the back area but Miss Debbie told us that she doesn’t like that as she prefers if everyone goes to the shop first.
Personally I preferred the range here, I found more shirts and shorts and the lovely wife found many many many more dresses for herself and our darling (over spoilt) 3 and a half year old God Daughter back home – but in fairness when you are buying children’s dresses for $3.00AUD honestly how could I argue (and she did look adorable in them but I am too tough and manly to ever admit that!).
Prices were fairly comparable to Ketuts and generally match what we were able to haggle to in the markets. Again as with Ketut you will get supplied with bottled water.
Ok so after spending the GDP of a small nation we headed back to the hotel to put the last minute purchases in our bags and await our driver to take us to Ubud. Couldn’t for the life of me tell you who our driver was – he was friendly enough – but had been arranged by our Travel Agent before we left (something we won’t do again, no problem I just don’t like using Travel Agents – I prefer to be in control of all my bookings).
The drive up to Ubud was fairly good, not much traffic and with Juan Manuel Fangio’s Indonesian LoveChild behind the wheel we got there in fairly decent time.
Ubud Hotel – Alam Indah
Ok so I totally agonised about telling you all where we stayed in Ubud because I really don’t want anyone to go there – lest we miss out on a booking because you are there! If you are going to Ubud the Alam Group of Hotels are fairly well-known they have a few properties – Kebuh Indah, Alam Indah, Alam Jiwa, Alam Shanti – they also own Cafe Wayan in town and there is a Spa and also a few art galleries.
The Alam Indah is located in a little village called Nyuh Kuning – which is actually on the other side of the Monkey Forest. It is actually a fairly quiet spot partly because there is no direct through road to Monkey Forest Road, which means most tourists and day trippers have to bypass it. The first thing that will strike you is the driveway – you honestly will think you are being led deep into the Forest to some secluded hideaway – and you are not wrong.
It is an amazingly peaceful place (well so long as you count the sounds of nature peaceful!). When you arrive you are confronted by towering stone walls, the reception area and most of the rooms are actually up some stairs – now if you have a dodgy knee and stairs are not your thing then Indah may not be your best option; there are only about 30-50 or so but can be a little taking.
The reception area is lovely, old furniture that has a definite Indian/British Colonial flavour to it – really sweet. We are welcomed with an amazing fresh made juice by the staff – and I give the poor staff members credit having lugged our massive bags up those stairs like they were empty (and trust me I know they were not!).
Our trip to Bali had been a reasonably last-minute decision (we booked in June for the holiday in September) and to put things into perspective the Alam Indah can often be booked out 12 months in advance during busy periods, so we were lucky to get a room. As a result we don’t get to spend the whole 6 nights here we actually have 4 nights then we move to another of their properties the Alam Jiwa for the final 2 nights – I can’t say I mind, a bit of variety and it lets us try another room/hotel.
The room we were staying in was the Lily Room – which I believe is the smallest of them. It is tucked away at the very back of the property and is actually down some stairs from reception. The nature of the layout means you have quite a deal of privacy, and has its own stairs down to the pool area.
If this was the smallest then I honestly would love to see the biggest – the room was more than big enough for us. There was a large King size bed (was technically 2 beds pushed together but who cares), a writing desk with a great view, a small food safe/storage case. In the bathroom were 2 lovely wood freestanding wardrobes. The if you didn’t mind being at one with nature during the day the 2 side windows could be opened up fully, virtually opening the entire room up. We instantly didn’t want to leave! Game Over! End of Blog – see you in 100 years.
However, we wanted to explore Ubud so pulled ourselves away from the room and headed out. Now the other sweet thing that the Alam group offer is a private vehicle that is willing to shuttle you to and from Ubud from morning to night (7:00am to 9:00pm I think it was); you just ring them and tell them what restaurant you are at and they will drive and get you. We decided however to walk into town. Now the main way of getting into town is through the Monkey Forest – it is pretty cheap just 20k per person to go through but there is a motorcycle path around the side of it which you can walk along for free – we opted for this. And the little secret you still get to see monkeys as they are not exactly fenced in or anything.
Ubud Town – Monkey Forest Road
So it might have just been my complete lack of planning or something, but when I pictured Ubud I was picturing this small little village with only a few streets – something kind of like the Old Town in Malacca (for anyone who has been there), or Montville in Queensland. It is actually kind of massive – and the bit from Monkey Forest up to the Soccer Field along Monkey Forest Road is quite a healthy incline to walk up – especially since the Ubud road builders have obviously all studied at the Legian School of Pavement Design!
The first thing that will strike you (if you are Australian) is the distinct lack of Australians – it appears that Ubud is the destination of choice for the Europeans, so the main languages I recognised tended to be French / Russian / Spanish / German / and Dutch. I will admit it was kind of nice – every now and then you would spot an Australian and it wasn’t hard – Bintang Singlet (on every member of the family), Thongs, Beer in hand, walking down the street punctuating every sentence with a lovely F word. I am no wowser but they certainly stood out more here than they do in Legian/Kuta.
Anyway we walked to the Top of Monkey Forest Road and then turned Left onto Jalan Raya Ubud – which is the other main road in the town. We didn’t really have a destination just getting the lay of the land. We ended up on Jl Dewi Sita and thought that we had certainly earned ourselves a nice foot massage. There was a nice looking Reflexology place half way along the street so stopped in for a massage.
It was one of the most thorough Foot / Hand / Back / Neck massages I have had in a very long time and my guy managed to work out some pain I had in my shoulder and neck as well as fixing up my lower back pain. It wasn’t gentle but gosh he did a good job. All told I think it was 80k for an hour. We left each of our wonderful masseurs a nice tip and thanked them for a wonderful service.
So by now it was early afternoon so we though a quick drink and a nibble before dinner was in order, we ended up at Bali Pesto Cafe and enjoyed a couple of cocktails and a pizza. Nothing to write home about but it filled the void in the stomach – the pizza wasn’t bad. My wife got quite disappointed though when they didn’t have a few of the drinks on their menu – she loves Pimms and got so excited when it was on the menu only to be told “no Pimms has finished!”
Dinner tonight we thought we would try a little Balinese Tapas place we had heard about called Nomads – it is a pretty fancy looking place, and we did feel a little out-of-place in our shorts and shirts but they didn’t mind. Also continuing on my tradition of not making any kind of reservation we just rocked up and managed to snag a table. Great service and the Balinese Tapas were a great idea; we ordered an entree and then a 9 plate of Tapas (there are 12 to choose from). I was worried it wouldn’t be enough for us, but we struggled to finish them all. Not extremely cheap but it was a very nice dinner and the service was 2nd to none.
By now we were done – and we called up the Alam Indah and asked for the car – they picked us up and returned us to the paradise room! Something handy they do is at night they light some mozzie coils at your front door to keep them at bay – I took mine into the room for 10 minutes just to help clear the room from any potential ones buzzing around.
Earlyish to bed now – Tomorrow is our second day with Fredy (lets hope it is a little less extreme this time!). Thanks for reading.