Throughout our time traveling, we’ve mostly avoided the shops and markets, primarily for two reasons: 1) haggling is sucky, 2) getting harassed and pressured by locals is suckier. Ubud is a lot more posh than Kuta Beach, with swanky shops, hip and trendy bars, and Ralph Lauren Polo stores on more corners than Starbucks. We did a little “just browsing” on the first day, and learned that when they decide to give you something for a cheaper price, they agree to it and say, “for my luck.” Then they take the money you paid with and touch it to certain items in the store, that I’m assuming they desperately want to sell.
It’s very intriguing, and makes you really hope they get good luck for selling you that $10 souvenir for 4 bucks. Zac and I got the haggling thing down right away. Before we decide we want something, we pick a price we want to pay. If they don’t agree to the price, we leave. Simple as that. It helps that we’re both outrageously cheap and on a skimpy budget, but it’s worked every time, and they always agree to the price.
Ubud is really nice. It’s higher up, with much cleaner air than the other areas of Bali. Our home stay is super sweet, we have a luscious green, tropical setting off of our deck, and rice fields just beyond that. They bring us a different breakfast every morning, always with tea, coffee and fruit! Our porch overlooked some of the rice fields, which are EVERYWHERE in this part of Bali. We even had lunch practically IN one!
On the second day there, we met up with two British friends that we met while in Kuta Beach and did some touristy things. First, we went to Monkey Forest. This place is pretty small, but it’s loaded with monkeys; it’s unreal. We thought it was nuts when we came across a few monkeys on our hike in Singapore, and when I was in India, the monkeys were such a novelty that I have more pictures of them than of my family. There were over 600 monkeys in this forest, and they were not at all afraid of people.
Luke and Tessa had the adventurous spirit, I was even a little jealous of it. They bought bananas at the little stand and fed the monkeys, letting them climb up on their heads to get to them, like the “monkey experts” advised. These monkeys were serious about bananas. (Bananas for bananas, if you will.)
Tessa was holding a banana up for one of the monkeys to get, and he just grabbed the whole bunch instead.
There’s always a price to pay for the adventurous spirit. Luke’s fee was monkey poop on his brand-new Bali t-shirt. I wasn’t jealous anymore after that.
Later, we went “trekking” following a poorly-marked path in The Lonely Planet guide. It was pretty spectacular though. The walk was probably about 10 miles. We first walked through the center of Ubud, then followed a stone-and-grass path up a gigantic, never-ending hill.
At the top, we found some great views, and then stumbled upon a little village, and a whole lotta rice fields. There were a bunch of little huts for sale or rent, and then we passed through the town, getting ourselves thoroughly lost in the in process. Our goal was to get back to the center of Ubud without retreating, and we succeeded about 2 hours later!
We stumbled upon a photo shoot. It looked like they were taking traditional wedding shots. I was trying to be stealth with my picture-taking, so this was the best I could do.
And after it all, this little guy followed us home. I love his coat!
Ubud was pretty nice, and our time there was pretty relaxing. We were able to work a lot, read, and re-charge a little bit. We only stayed there for 3 nights though. All of my hippie/lovey friends would appreciate the posh bohemia.
Next stop: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.