4 Places to Visit for a Quick Trip in Ubud | 2020

Sometimes, it's not you not flower. It's that Ubud still.

Geddit? GEDDIT?


Ahem.

With it being my first trip in Bali, I figured I should probably visit an area at least, instead of lazing around in the hotel all day long... which I am perfectly capable of, thank you very much.

After deliberation of some places, I finally settled on Ubud as the area to visit.

A car trip from Seminyak (where I was staying) to the heart of Ubud would take an hour and a half, but a quick Klook check showed plenty of tour options. There were even Bali Instagram Tour options...

😂

My short time in this place already showed me clearly that this is an island that caters a lot to their tourists.

HEY GUYS, IF I MOVED TO TOKYO AND OFFERED TOKYO INSTAGRAM TOURS, WOULD YOU PAY ME? 

I:

a) speak Japanese enough to get by,
b) take passably beautiful pictures, thank you very much [as evidenced by the photos on this blog, ahem], and
c) know a lot of good spots to eat and take pictures in Tokyo.

Does this sound like a good business idea or what?

But I digress.

I eventually settled on a tour named the Best of Ubud Tour on Klook.

Klook.com

The itinerary said the tour would start at 9AM, so imagine my shock when this message hit me at 8AM in the morning.


Oh nothing, just casually showing off that I can understand a little Bahasa Indonesia.

I panicked thinking I got the timing wrong because my guide said he arrived at my hotel at 8AM, an entire hour earlier than stated. However, he said that it was just that he arrived early to avoid the potential traffic jam.

He even told me to take my time to eat breakfast before letting him know we could depart. This continued pretty much throughout the day, with Yuda figuring out what we wanted to see (not the silvers or woodcarving, but nature), and taking us to places that would best fit what we wanted.

Yuda truly had Yoda patience.

I'm sorry.

There were 4 places on this tour that I think were worth visiting at least once (especially for first-timers to these places), and I'll list them here in order of visit.

1. Batuan Temple



I am a sometimes temple and shrine kind of person (there's definitely times when I've been all templed-out before, especially in Kyoto...), especially when it's quiet and peaceful. Batuan Temple is... not all that quiet, with all the tourists around.

The Hindu temple's architecture, however, was beautiful, with stone carvings of statues and spires. It was enlightening to see how they differed from Buddhist temples, like the statues behind me also wearing sarongs.

Everyone who went into this temple had to wear a sarong. The sarong was picked for me and swiftly put on me before I even had a chance to ask if I could choose something... darker.  ðŸ˜‚

All in all it was a good way to spend half an hour or so, going through narrow entrances and having Yuda explain the temple to us.

Before we entered the temple, he said that we had to wear sarongs, AND that menstruating women shouldn't enter the temple. He mentioned it twice, but I didn't think much of it, until I saw this sign.


They had it in 4 languages that menstruating women SHOULD NOT ENTER the temple. They were s-e-r-i-o-u-s about it.

Honestly, I think they should have added an explanation as to WHY, and not just say "you can't do this".

I also think that there'll be very few women who would go all the way to Bali only to stop themselves at the entrance of a temple thinking 'oh, I'm menstruating, I can't go in'.


Don't you think so?

2. Tegallalang Rice Terrace


If I had to pick a favourite spot out of all the places we went to on that day, this would be it.

Apart from the obvious gimmicky tourist attractions (like the swings and the photo props here and there), there was still a natural tranquility to the air of the rice fields that I liked. Well, when it's not being interrupted by the piercing screams of tourists sitting on the swings, that is.


As we walked around the fields, Yuda explained about the irrigation system, how the man-dug tunnels of water flowed underneath us to make sure the crops in each paddy received enough.

He mentioned matter-of-factly that it was hard for the Balinese to survive on agriculture alone nowadays. It made me wonder how it must feel to know that the crops you try so hard to grow earns you less money than having a foreigner pay to scream on a swing above those crops just to get the perfect Instagram shot.

Listen, nobody gets on that swing just for swinging, it's all for the 'gram.

That being said, it must take some serious entrepreneurial energy to charge 200k rupiah for a turn on the swing, AND also charge 300k rupiah for DRESS RENTAL.

Yes, the operators of the swings also had dress rentals for foreigners, with dresses that were long and flowy behind just so that pictorial shot could look even more perfect.

I think the sentence I just typed could maybe sound a tad sad, but if everyone involved is happy...

3. Bali Pulina 

I... don't like coffee.

However, a coffee plantation was on the tour, and my BFF did like coffee. So I sacrificed myself nobly and agreed to go along.

Okay, that and the fact that Yuda would have been wondering why we even booked the tour, since we already skipped 2-3 places because we weren't interested in them.  Out of all the coffee plantations around, Yuda brought us to Bali Pulina because "it's close to nature, since you mentioned you liked nature".

Aww.


My slight aversion to coffee aside (very much a tea girl, thank you), I appreciated the way Bali Pulina was laid out and the way it was run. From the entrance, you would be greeted by the English-speaking staff, and they would walk you through the process of how luwak coffee is made.

I won't bore you with the details. A part of me wondered if this operation was similar to how foie gras was produced - such as force-feeding the luwak to make sure that they can keep up with the demands of producing enough coffee for the coffee enthuasts around the world. I mean, they're not going to tell you THAT part of the story, are they?

I think the most memorable part was being told that the luwak coffee beans were protected by a layer, so the actual crap doesn't touch what's eventually being roasted and powdered.

Glad to know the coffee drinkers aren't drinking actual fecal matter, I guess?

At the end of the tour was, of course, a place to drink coffee, AND a souvenir shop.


This looked like a nice spot to enjoy nature. Unfortunately this part of nature also came with a lot of bees buzzing around.

I LIKE NATURE BUT NOT THAT MUCH, OKAY?

We had to retreat further into the cafe to avoid the bees flying around near the greenery. As expected of a coffee plantation cafe, most of the drinks involved coffee (duh, Mich). They DID sell tea, but it was part of a 12 taster-cup set.

Did they sell the tea on its own in a cup?

No.

Seems like a missed opportunity here, Bali Pulina. In the end I just drank from my own water bottle and ordered chocolate ice-cream.

When we got to the souvenir shop, being completely not interested in buying souvenirs for anyone else, I went to... take pictures.

Not before I saw that they sold TEA LEAVES in the souvenir shop, though. Too bad it couldn't MATERIALISE IN A PROPER CUP at the café.



I will say the staff here is very friendly. One of them saw me taking pictures of these statues, and she came up to me immediately asking if I wanted a picture too.

OF COURSE?

The treatment here was much better than my experience at Double Six Beach the day before already.

When we left the shop, it started to rain, and with it, I also started to feel antsy.

How was I suppose to enjoy viewing a waterfall if it was RAINING?

It turned out that it wasn't the rain that disrupted my enjoyment of the waterfall, though.

Let me explain.

4. Tegenungan Waterfall



It looks pretty amazing, doesn't it? Greenery and rushing water. Granted, a little smaller than I expected, but looks cool enough.

Except what this picture doesn't tell you is that loud music will keep blasting overhead from the D'Tukad River Club above this waterfall.

This was not quite the nature I was expecting. I was expecting people, SURE, but not the sound of Adam Levine drowning out the sound of the waters.

Again, the entire route towards this waterfall was filled with photography props, like this one.


This bird nest thing was a major feature in many of the attractions. I get the concept, I guess. I want to cocoon myself in a nest and never leave it for the cruel world outside, too.

In the end I left the waterfall and went to the quieter riverside (where the water flowed from the waterfall) instead, to do this.


Hey, when in Rome, okay?

I think I was overly influenced by the pictures of Balinese waterfalls that did look gorgeous, and forgot to find out that Tegenungan was the most touristy of them all (see above props).

All the places I went to were filled with tourists, probably first-timers like I was.

I really can't see myself doing the places on this list again, but it was fascinating to see Bali's main industry in action - tourism, clearly - and how they catered to the people who came. The catering felt a little too much at times, though. Who really needs a photo prop that said TRUE LOVE with the backdrop of the waterfall, or random wings appearing out of nowhere next to the river?

I mean, I took advantage of it since it was there, but still. Hopefully next time I'll get to explore a more authentic part of Bali.

This post will end with a shoutout to my nice guide of the day, Yuda, who told us stories about Bali and kept us engaged. Suksma, Yuda and Bali. It was a relaxing weekend indeed.

I mean, my zen disappeared as soon as I got back home and it's been destroyed this week already, but at least I know a relaxing weekend is a few hours away if I so seek it.

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I SEEK IT NOW.

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