Andrew & Anthea Johnson travelled to Bali with Rickshaw, exploring destinations such as Ubud, Lovina, Munduk and Sanur. We were lucky enough to view their wonderful travel photos and receive a recap of their memorable Bali trip…
“For anyone wanting to see what Bali has to offer away from the coastal hotspots such as Kuta, Ubud is the ideal place. It’s a larger town than I had expected with a great mix of things to do and see, from the bustling market to the tranquil palace and temples. Out of town there are villages specialising in traditional Balinese crafts such as woodworking and silverwork. The surrounding countryside is also well worth a visit with ancient temples and rice paddies, many of them picturesquely terraced.
We’d booked an 11-day tour with Rickshaw and everything went exactly as planned, starting with a taxi to meet us at Denpasar airport and take us to our hotel in Ubud. We chose to stay in town rather than out in the rice paddies. Our hotel was perfect, near the centre of town with very welcoming staff. Our room was well away from the busy main street in a peaceful garden with a pool.
The first evening we ventured out to find a restaurant. Some guidebooks say it’s difficult to find places serving Balinese food rather than international dishes. This certainly wasn’t the case in Ubud: we were spoilt for choice within a short walking distance of the hotel.
Next day we got up to a wonderful pancake breakfast with local fruit. This was our day to relax and recover from our long flight. We decided to explore, starting with the Monkey Forest, a short walk away. It’s certainly aptly named – there are monkeys everywhere, which isn’t surprising with everyone feeding them bananas. More of a surprise were the three temples, a gorge with ornate bridge, sacred pool and banyan trees and a young Balinese couple having their wedding photos taken.
After lunch we visited the centre of town and headed for the palace followed by a serene temple with a lotus flower pond and excellent café – all very Balinese. There’s plenty of opportunity to shop, particularly for local crafts such as basket ware, woodcarvings and silverware. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to experience one of the many traditional Balinese dance performances on offer or visit a spa.
For our third day we’d booked an excursion. We found with all of the Rickshaw tours that the itinerary was flexible; our personal guide gave us options of places we might like to visit. So this day we ventured into the countryside to see rice paddies, a coffee plantation, a temple carved out of rock and a water temple, stopping for lunch at a restaurant with an amazing view over a steep valley with exotic trees and rice terraces.
After two full days in Ubud we were off to yet more stunning destinations around the island, ending up in the beach resort of Sanur to meet up with family. They were also keen to see other parts of the island, so off we went back to Ubud with three children aged 8-13. The girls particularly enjoyed the craft making, the shops and the Monkey Forest, so Ubud is also worth a visit for families.”