We were picked up from our hotel in Gili Air by horse and cart and taken to the port for our fast boat. We had a bit of a wait, then the two hour fast boat and an hour drive to our hotel in Ubud. The fast boat wasn’t a luxurious as the one on the way out but it was fine, got us from A to B and was faster than the ferry.
Ubud is a city in the centre of Bali famous for its culture, it is very busy with locals and tourists and was made even more famous by the Julia Roberts film Eat.Pray.Love that I have mentioned before.
We arrived at our hotel in Ubud called Baruna Guesthouse which is great, so well priced and the owner Abut is lovely! He welcomed us with Bali coffee and told us about trips and advice about the area, as we were 15 minutes walk outside of Ubud centre he recommended a place for dinner called Ju nearby. We decided to just have dinner, chill at the hotel and explore in the morning as it was already around 5oclock. Ju was a lovely restaurant that looked over the rice paddies, we both had duck as we hadn’t tried it yet and it’s a delicacy here and it was lovely!
The next morning we were picked up at 8 as we had booked a Balinese cooking class with a company that has five star reviews on trip advisor called Paon Bali. We were first taken to Ubud market and shown around all the colourful fruit and vegetables, a lot we had never seen before and the guide explained what they were and how they were used, and even let us sample some. He then showed us to the spice stand which was amazing, I loved it, there were bags of every spice you could imagine and the smell was so good! We bought some Luwak coffee to take home, it’s the most expensive coffee in the world, and it is made by a certain cat, that eats the bean shell and then poos out the rest, which is then cleaned and made into coffee – the locals call it Catpoochino ( me and Chris found this hilarious).
The guide then took us to the families rice paddy and explained about how it grows and how Balinese eat half a kilo of rice each a day – too many carbs here! Then it was onto the cooking class, we were welcomed by the man of the house who gave us drinks and told us about his family, and then we all went into a huge kitchen and got ready to start. We were put in a group with a German couple and a Canadian couple and we all had a really good laugh. We were taken through all the amazing ingredients by the tutor who was the wife of the man who introduced us she was so funny as she kept shouting ‘S’cuse me honey’ to everyone. One we were taken through the ingredients we split off and prepped everything for the class doing all the chopping and crushing etc and then it was time to cook. We were all in pairs I was with Chris as the lady told me ‘you have to stay with your honey bunny’ (it’s amazing how many Balinese think we are on our honeymoon – but that’s a different story). We took turns at frying, adding ingredients etc and learning how to cook each dish it was a really good morning and we both really enjoyed it. We learned 8 dishes in total and at the end we got to try them all from the buffet (I was thinking of doing a blog and adding a few of my favourite recipes, so if you want me too let me know). The food tasted so so good! I would recommend Paon Bali to everyone.
We asked the driver to drop us in the town centre as we wanted to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest. It’s a huge forest that has lots of cool temples and walkways and has hundreds of monkeys running around. We had put everything in our backpack including sunglasses as they have a reputation for stealing your stuff and then trading you back for food, they can also be aggressive too so we were a bit apprehensive as well. As we walked around tourists can buy bananas so the monkeys will jump on you for photos and steal the bananas, they were so quick they just sneak up behind people and grab them.
As we walked around the temples were beautiful but you couldn’t fully relax as the monkeys would come from anywhere. I saw one girl get attacked and a guide had to punch it and then another girl got bitten, so after a very quick walk around we left.
We did a bit of shopping and bargaining, and then headed to the Ubud Palace where the Royal Family still live, it was so beautiful with lots of very intricate carvings in stone, wood and gold. It didn’t take too long to walk around so we though we would stay in town and get dinner at a place I had heard about called Three Monkeys. It was great you walked in and it looked like a normal restaurant but out the back was a gorgeous rice paddy all lit up. That’s what I love about Asia you can be in a busy manic street horns beeping and traffic everywhere, and you can go one minute inside a restaurant and it’s beautiful and calm. This place was probably the most expensive place we had eaten in Indonesia (£35 for 4 cocktails, two mains and a dessert) but it was worth it for the view.
In the morning we had a late start due to the downpour that happened in the morning, but we finally got to the Elephant Cave which is a temple carved into the rock it was pretty impressive and really cool to see. Chris said it was like something fro Tomb Raider and it really was!
For lunch we were heading to a famous place called Ibu Oka to try the famous Indonesian dish Babi Guling which is suckling pig in lots of spices – it was soooo good and probably the best food I have had so far. That afternoon we just pottered around having a few cocktails before heading back to our homestay to chill out!
I am going to split our time in Ubud into two blogs as there is so much to say!