Day 10: Kuningan Day

Today is known as Kuningan Day.  It is a very special day on the Balinese Hindu Calendar and is a day of celebration.  We hadn’t really planned much today on account of the fact that many of the shops would be closed, as the shop owners and workers would likely spend the day with family and visit their temples for celebrations.

We decided to have a quick breakfast and go for a walk through the Nyuh Kuning village – everyone dresses in their best clothes for Kuningan Day and the streets are a hive of activity as people move to their various temples to make offerings for the day.  All of the people you meet along the way are so friendly, everyone giving you a nice cheery hello and continuing on their way.

Nyuh Kuning Village on Kuningan Day – a hive of activity, locals coming and going to temple with their offerings, dressed in lovely white outfits. A great place for a morning walk through the streets.

After a lovely walk through the village we headed into town and thought we would finally tick off that last Ubud must doactivity – Monkey Forest. 

This is one of the Panjors which you will see during the period of Galangan and Kuningan, these are hung out the front of every house in the street – some are more ornate than others – mainly reflecting the artistic creativity of the residents.

The Monkey Forest is a lovely place, but also has a reputation for being a little bit of a tourist mecca and also a place where you can quite easily lose some of your belongings to a mischievious Monkey.  The entry fee for the Monkey Forest is only 20k IDR per person, quite reasonable.  As a word of warning it is probably not a good idea to purchase the Bananas at the front entrance – the concept of feeding the monkeys might sound like fun – but in reality you run the risk of being violated by a monkey…..just kidding although they can get a little bit confident, especially the younger ones.

Monkey Forest – I can see why it is such a popular tourist spot. It is pretty amazing being able to get this close to them. Plus it is a lovely sanctuary, walking around the forest and the temple areas.

Monkey Forest is actually a sacred place as the monkeys are actually there as guardians of the temple located there.  Unlike a traditional Zoo, the monkeys are not fenced in, there are no cages to seperate them from the visitors – there is also nothing seperating them from the outside streets/shops.  So it is not uncommon in Ubud to see monkeys walking around the streets and climbing onto shop roofs within a short distance from the Monkey Forest.  What this also means is you need to maintain a little bit of vigilance and self-awareness as they are used to dealing with tourists and if they feel you are hiding some food they won’t hesitate to try and find it.

If you show some respect towards the monkeys they will let you get quite close to them to take photos. Just don’t get between a mother and her baby.

I didn’t find them to be overly agressive, in fact I was able to get quite close to take a number of photographs without any trouble at all.  The only time I witnessed visitors getting into trouble was when they tried to tease the monkeys with Bananas.

There is also a cemetery up the top and I do suggest exercising a bit of respect to those who are there paying their respects – the monkeys however, the family members are often armed with sticks to keep them from consuming their offerings!

The Monkeys were loving Kuningan Day – it meant they got to feast on all the offerings left at the cemetery. We stopped here and just watched for about 20 minutes, they are very crafty animals – you can see them thinking and planning their moves.

You can easily spend an hour or two in the Monkey Forest exploring all the paths and areas, we were there for about an hour and after taking our fill of monkey photos we headed onwards up the aptly named – Monkey Forest Road (ala the main street of Ubud).

Most of Ubud was closed today – all the lovely little shops were closed, some opened up around 12pm but the majority stayed closed all day.  Also as a result many of the restaurants were also closed so we were a little thin on options for lunch today.  One place that we knew would be open was Cafe Wayan; so we stopped in and had a quick bite to eat.

Today was also the day we had to move properties – we had been staying this past 4 nights in the amazing Alam Indah, but because of the popularity they couldn’t keep us for all 6 nights, so we had to spend our last 2 nights at Alam Jiwa.  I wasn’t overly concerned because well it gave us a chance to check out another property.

The room at the Alam Jiwa….wow I honestly can’t describe how amazingly relaxing it felt – this place had a calmness about it that bettered the Alam Indah.  The Jiwa is a little bit more modern than Indah, in that your room has a phone – and I found the bathroom a little better.  Our room also had an outdoor shower, which was lovely.  I really wouldn’t want to pick a favourite but this was pretty amazing.

How is that for an entrance? You walk into your own private oasis – cross the stone bridge (beneath your feet are fish going about their day). I kind of liked this room incase you haven’t gathered.

The Bed! That just looks so amazing – so romantic. The only downside was the aircon wasn’t brilliant, but honestly if you just opened the doors and windows you really didn’t notice.

The view was out onto the Rice Fields, east facing windows meant that you could bask in the morning glow. Note also on the Left is a Mini-Bar – quite a handy addition to the room – and also reasonable mini-bar prices!

Ok I will stop gushing about the hotel – but come on! This is the bathroom, the bath didn’t get used – that outdoor shower was the big winner. Also note the lack of a door to the outside shower, you might want to keep the door between the room and the bathroom closed at night to avoid any animal friends.

The only downside with Jiwa is that it is a little bit further away from Monkey Forest which means a little bit further away from Ubud Centre, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing – we jumped in the Hotel car and got dropped off in the city – our task to find somewhere open that we could have dinner.  The other challenge was to find a place to watch the Formula 1 Qualifying.  If you have been following along the blog since the beginning – you would know my wife is a mad F1 fan, so task #1 was always to find a place to watch the race/qualifying.

For dinner we chose a little place called Pisari Bali Cafe – it has a lovely view over the rice fields in the middle of Monkey Forest Road – most of the restaurants on the Right hand side (as you walk up from the Monkey Forest) open out onto lovely rice fields.  The downside of half of Ubud being closed for Kuningan meant that most places that were open were quite busy.  Fortunately Pisari had space and we enjoyed a lovely meal.  Service wasn’t lightning fast – but again this is Bali Time and it gives you a great chance to sit and have a chat.

Excuse the quality, this is on my wifes camera – which I am going to replace before the next holiday – it takes the most horrid night time photos. Anyway this is the view from the Pisari Bali Cafe, looking onto the rice terraces. In the background you can see another restaurant – there are a few that back onto the rice fields.

So our dinner needs were met and sadly though our F1 Qualifying was not – as we walked past the Lobong Cafe we spotted a TV showing the Qualifying – right after it had finished! Oh well at least we found the place to watch the F1 Race tomorrow night.

We called the car and returned to the Alam Jiwa – before retiring though we did order breakfast so we could have it at our room tomorrow morning.

See you all tomorrow – Day 10 means we are coming to the end of the holiday, just 1 full day to go before our final day – neither of us wants to talk about that…just too sad.