THE TEGALALLANG RICE TERRACES
Located 15 kilometres from Ubud, the Tegalallang rice terraces are the most famous and one of the best rice paddies in Bali. They are located just off the main road and if you are travelling by motorbike or car from Ubud, we recommend parking at the public car park at the beginning of the rice fields, where the price is 5000 rupiah (30 cents) for the whole day, a price that is repeated in most tourist places in Bali. After leaving the car park and paying the entrance fee to the rice fields (10,000 rupiah), the best thing to do is to walk along the part of the road that leads to the plantations until you reach the end, where you can stop at different viewpoints, some of which are terraces of restaurants and cafés, where you can also enjoy a refreshing coconut with the best views.
Right in the middle of the road there is an access to go down to the rice fields of Tegalallang and to be able to walk among the rice terraces in exchange for a small donation to the farmers who take care of and maintain the place. The uphill and downhill walk through the paddy fields is about a kilometre long and is beautiful, although if it rains or has rained in the last few hours, the path gets muddy and you have to be a little more careful.
During the route you should avoid stepping on the rice fields and only go through the marked areas. And of course, to finish the route, we recommend having a nice cold coconut in a warung overlooking the rice fields, if you haven´t already done so along the route through the viewpoints.
The disadvantage of Tegalallang, compared to other rice fields is its ease of access, as it is visited by many tourists throughout the day, so a good option is to go early in the morning to avoid encountering organised groups.
How to get there:
These rice paddies are located in the village of Tegallalang, very close to the city of Ubud, about 15 minutes by motorbike.
TRY THE BALINESE PORK "BABI GULING".
Influenced by its Hindu roots, Balinese cuisine reflects the cultural melting pot of the island and Indonesia in general. Taking rice as its fundamental base (a typical Balinese variety that grows in the incredible rice paddies that make up the island´s landscape), Balinese cuisine uses all the ingredients typical of this part of Asia, combining them all in a unique mixture with a flavour all of its own. Also distinguishing it from the rest of the country´s cuisine is the use of pork (Indonesia, except Bali, is Muslim), and Balinese cuisine is enjoyed in its small local restaurants, called warung.
The Hindu religion, among other things, allows them to have the king of their cuisine, the "babi guling" pig, the most representative dish of Balinese cuisine. Along with a couple of other dishes, the "sate lilit", a kind of kebab with minced meat, usually chicken, which, unlike other Indonesian sate, which are made with pieces of meat strung together, this one does not have peanut sauce as an accompaniment, as the meat is already spiced. And the third star dish of Balinese cuisine is "lawar", which is a mixture of various vegetables and meat, also with a lot of spices.
It is undoubtedly one of the most traditional dishes of Balinese cuisine as the base is pork and it consists of a dish served with different parts of the pork accompanied by a bowl of rice, vegetables and usually a bowl of soup. The key to the dish is the traditional way of roasting the whole pig, grilling it on a spit, which makes the meat tender and delicious.
You can eat it all over the island but Ubud is where it is most famous and you can find it in the warung.
The "warung" whose meaning in English is shop, are small street food restaurants that you can find anywhere in Indonesia, many times you will find them in the middle of the road, in the city, in markets... they don´t usually have chairs, but rather carpets and tables on the floor and you sit down to share a table with the locals.
How to get there :
You can find warung all over the island, the most touristic ones are in the town of Ubud, but my advice would be to talk to local people and ask them to recommend you one, they usually like foreigners to try the local food.
SEE THE COLOURFUL UBUD MARKET and BUY COFFEE.
Vintage style furniture, Balinese ceramics, paintings, wood carvings... Bali is home to many local and foreign artists who have decided to settle on the island and Balinese handicrafts are spectacular, one of the best gifts you can take home as a souvenir.
As everywhere in Asia, the markets are a good place to enjoy the local life and a perfect place to try to integrate into a place.
Ubud Market is one of the "star" spots of the city and a very bustling area, especially in the mornings.
Situated right next to the Ubud Palace and the tourist office, in this open air "shopping" area, you can buy almost everything that an island like Bali has to offer to the tourist.
There are stalls selling fruit, food, spices, but above all objects for the tourist, and it is precisely the tourist who is the great guest of a place where the traders are looking forward to it.
Silk, shoes, watches, decorations, body oils, sunglasses, and a long list of other products can be bought in this market, with its narrow alleys and small squares piled high with objects.
It has two floors, and before buying anything, the best thing to do is to walk around and check prices, especially for footwear, as the price difference between one stop and another can be considerable.
The Ubud market is a good place to spend a couple of hours haggling and deciding what to buy, in a pleasant atmosphere, and full of friendly shopkeepers.
Buy Kopi Luwak coffee, it is the most expensive coffee in the world and has a very particular taste. We recommend you try it there and if you like it, bring a few packets with you to enjoy a good Balinese coffee at home and invite your friends to try it.
As Bali is one of the surfing capitals of the world, the island is full of surf shops like the famous Rip Curl or Billabong and other boutiques with stylish beachwear and surf wear, one of the best things to buy in Bali...The shopping area is in Kuta, Legian, Canggu....
How to get there:
Well this market is located on the main street of Ubud, in front of Ubud Palace. Come in the morning when all the shops are open and there is more colour.
MY PHOTO AT THE TANAH LOT TEMPLE
As such, the Pura Tanah Lot Temple is a rock formation where this small temple is nestled. Dedicated to the goddess of the sea, protector of fishermen and sailors Dewa Baruna, the Pura Tanah Lot or the Temple of the Land in the Sea, is dated its construction in the middle of the 16th century being its precursor the Hindu saint, royal advisor and traveller Dang Hyang Nirartha (one of the most important figures of Hinduism in the history of Bali).
According to the legend of its construction, the base of the rock is inhabited by thousands of protective snakes that protect the Tanah Lot from evil spirits.
Tanah Lot Temple is a spectacular sight, especially at sunset when the sunlight turns golden and descends the horizon, turning the temple into a dark silhouette. At the end of the day the area fills with tourists who end their excursions at one of Bali´s special temples.
Built by a priest during the 16th century, the temple is dedicated to the guardian spirits of the sea and is believed to be guarded by the dangerous sea serpents that dwell beneath the surface.
At high tide, the rock on which Pura Tanah Lot is located is almost completely covered, but for a few hours a day it is possible to walk to the temple without getting wet.
The interior of the temple, which is accessed via a staircase carved into the rock, is not open to visitors, but at sunset it is possible to walk up to the shrine to receive a blessing from the priests.
There is no doubt that the sunset at this temple is one of the typical postcards of Bali and you should not miss this opportunity to have your picture taken at sunset.
In the surroundings of Tanah Lot you can visit other temples among which Pura Batu Bolong, a small sanctuary located on a mound in the sea that is communicated with the shore by means of a natural bridge. At 7pm the fire dance show, known as kechak, begins in the surrounding area.
How to get there:
As it is close to Kuta, Jimbaran, Canggu or Denpasar, it is easy to get there by motorbike or pick-up truck. The best way to get there is by motorbike or taxi.
TAKE A DIP IN THE SACRED WATERS OF TIRTA EMPU TEMPLE
Pura Tirta Empul is one of the most famous and visited temples in Bali.
It is so popular for its water, which is considered to be holy, where the faithful come for purification and religious ceremonies.
It is located in Tampak Siring and is quite easy to reach as it is very close to Ubud, about 10 km away.
As in all the temples on the island, you have to cover your legs with a sarong or sarong. If you don´t have one, don´t worry, they will lend it to you at the entrance to the temple.
At the front of the temple is a large covered rest pavilion, full of people relaxing in the shade.
The Pura Tirta Empul Temple was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2012 and the plaque on the door is proof of this.
If we translate Tirta Empul, it means something like "crystal clear stream". It was built in 926 by the Warmadewa dynasty.
Tradition has it that the water of the fountains has mysterious medicinal powers, since according to the Hindu religion, Indra, king of the gods, managed to heal his faithful with this magical water, after being poisoned.
The main attraction of the temple is a large rectangular stone pool. The water comes from the nearby Pakrisan River, flows into a pool of volcanic heat, and then flows through 12 fountains that feed the huge pool.
What makes Tirta Empul Temple so unique is not the temple itself, as there are others like it in Bali, but the thousands of worshippers who flock to it to purify themselves, from all corners of the island.
After making an offering at the temple, adults and children immerse themselves in the holy waters to pray and as a sign of emotional cleansing.
The ritual consists of wetting one´s face 3 times, drinking water 3 times (or rinsing one´s mouth) and dipping one´s head under the stream. This ritual has to be performed in 10 of the water spouts along the pool.
And you may ask... why do you have to do the ritual in only 10 of the spouts, if there are 12 in total?
The reason is because 2 of them are reserved for offerings to the dead. Nobody gets into these 2 water jets. Only a family member can go in if he/she is going to leave an offering to his/her deceased relative.
These two fountains are marked with the symbol of an inverted swastika, the Hindu concept of Samsara or reincarnation.
Water cannot be taken directly from these two fountains, but can be collected in bottles or carafes by relatives. It will later be poured into the funeral urn where the deceased has been cremated.
Tourists are also welcome at the pools and can bathe and purify themselves by adhering to the basic dress code of swimming costume, sarong and T-shirt.
Please note that Tirta Empul Temple is a very sacred place for the Balinese, so the rules and beliefs must be respected. It is not a swimming pool, it is for rituals.
The water temples also serve to manage the irrigation system of the fields. .
How to get there:
The best option is to take a private taxi from wherever you are, negotiate the return trip to the same place. It is close to Ubud.
TRY COFFEE MADE FROM CIVET FAECES.
Try the world´s most expensive coffee, kopi luwak or civet coffee, it doesn´t have a pleasant origin. To put it plainly, it is obtained from beans that, after being ingested by a civet, pass through its intestinal tract and are expelled in its faeces.
The Civet is a small mammal that lives in various parts of Asia, such as the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, etc. It can also be found in Africa and its relative the Genet on the European continent. Despite being a carnivorous animal, the Civet´s fondness for eating coffee beans has long since been discovered.
These animals feed on ripe coffee fruits and expel the partially digested beans. The seeds are hand-picked from the faeces, carefully sorted and cleaned, and roasted like any other coffee bean. The result: it can be bought for hundreds of euros per kilo, especially in Japan and the United States.
Civet coffee, or Kopi Luwak, is very expensive, mainly because it is produced in very small quantities, approximately 500 kilos a year, which justifies its high price due to its scarcity.
The average cost of a kilo of this variety is around 900 euros, and in both the United Kingdom and the United States, where it can be found in some very exclusive places, a cup of this coffee costs around 75-90 dollars.
On the Indonesian islands where it is produced, this coffee can be found at a much lower price, although it is certainly not cheap, except by comparison. In one of the production centres on the island of Bali I was able to try a cup, for a price of approximately 4 euros, which seemed expensive for a coffee, but it was at least affordable enough to be able to try it and tell you about the experience.
Where to find it:
Especially in the most touristic places of the island, many times they usually have even a civet there in a cage for you to see it and try the coffee.
MORE THAN A ROYAL PALACE.
Built between 1800 and 1823, the Puri Saren Ubud Palace is one of the main points of interest in the beautiful city of Ubud, both for its history and beauty.
The Ubud Palace is one of the main tourist attractions of the city and is currently home to the royal family of Ubud.
With a myriad of ornaments on its doors and engravings on its walls, this palace is one of the main stages of the Balinese dance show.
It is precisely in this palace that one appreciates the hospitable power of Ubud, and the importance of religion to its inhabitants.
The palace was rebuilt after the 1917 earthquake and is now in very good condition, and it is a delight to look inside.
Perhaps this is why the palace of Ubud is more than just a palace. In it, we find the essence, the history and the culture of a city that does not disappoint anyone.
It is said in Bali that the rest of the temples in the city of Ubud are inspired by it and that many houses and hotels have copied its shape and distribution.
It is obvious that the palace set a style since most of the important places in the city maintain an enormous resemblance to the palace.
Strolling through its interior gardens, full of small shrines filled with offerings, or getting lost in its cool rooms and halls, opens the door to one of the best preserved "relics" of this Indonesian island.
Balinese dance performances are held every night in the royal palace.
Attending a Balinese dance show is a must if you are going to travel to the island of Bali. The Barong Dance or the Fire Dance are some of the most famous shows.
How to get there:
From wherever you are staying the best option is a private taxi to take you in Ubud to the Royal Palace. The taxi drivers are usually English speaking and very friendly so it is a good time to learn about Balinese culture from them and if you are lucky the mimes have a family ceremony and invite you along.
SNORKEL WITH MANTA RAYS OR TRY SURFING ON THE BEACHES OF THE NUSA ISLANDS.
The Nusa Islands are three small territories located 40 minutes southeast of Bali. They are called Nusa Lembongan, Nusa Penida and Nusa Ceningan.
We recommend you to choose between these two options: A view of the islands Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan or Nusa Penida which is the farthest and biggest one.
If you haven´t already discovered that the beaches are not the most interesting part of Bali, it´s time for us to confess it, and that´s why these islands are the perfect place to find crystal clear waters and white sand to relax on. In addition, there are areas of cliffs with a beauty also far superior to Bali, be sure to visit them because they will surprise you, we promise.
First of all, we recommend that you take cash with you, as there are not many ATMs.
It is also advisable not to wait until you are at the port to buy tickets. The truth is that there are incredible crowds at the port (and even more so in high season), so if you go with everything ready from home you will save yourself a lot of stress.
The best way to get from Bali to Nusa Lembongan is on any of the speed boats run by the companies that operate this route. The speed boats (30 min trip) leave from Sanur and drop you off at the beaches of Jungut Batu or Mushroom Bay on Nusa Lembongan. These speed boats are faster and offer a more varied schedule than the public ferry, which leaves only once a day (10am - 100000 IDR).
We recommend you to go to Nusa Lemongan which is closer and once there rent a motorbike (if you know how to drive) or take a motorbike-taxi and negotiate to take you all day and be back at the time you have the speedboat to return to Bali.
Once with our taxi driver we tell him to take us to visit the most important beaches, especially 2, Dream Beach and Mushroom Bay, both with white sand and ideal to spend the day and enjoy its waters. Another point not to be missed is Paradise Beach and its incredible views of Bali´s Mount Agung.
After visiting these beaches we continue with our taxi driver and ask him to take us along the coast of Nusa Lembongan, which has spectacular cliffs and breakers. Devils Tear and its incredible breakwater stand out for their beauty.
Another place you shouldn´t miss is the Blue Lagoon area (in neighbouring Nusa Ceningan) with our motorbike-taxi we will cross over a small suspension bridge to Nusa Ceningan, a small island that is ideal for spending the afternoon snorkelling or surfing or just relaxing and strolling along the wonderful white sandy beach with views of Bali.
The waters around Nusa Lembongan are ideal for scuba diving. With strong currents, the island´s seabed is teeming with life and colour. Seasonally, Nusa Lembongan is a perfect place to see Turtles, Sharks, the famous Mola or Sunfish and the incredible Giant Mantas. If you don´t have a diving licence another perfect option to get to know the island´s seabed is snorkelling either on your own (renting equipment) or with a hired excursion.
If you are a surf lover, have an intermediate level of surfing and are not looking for the crowds on the island of Bali, surfing in Nusa Lembongan may be your best option. Although there are not many spots, all of them are perfect and have good waves. Surfing in Nusa Lembongan is not recommended for beginners.
In the afternoon we will return to the harbour to take our speedboat back to Bali and our hotel.
The entire northwest coast of the island is covered by mangroves. These mangroves are the island´s own basic ecosystem, as they protect the island from the currents and waves and serve as a refuge and breeding ground for hundreds of species, both terrestrial and marine. In Nusa Lembongan you can go canoeing or kayaking and visit this incredible place.
How to get there:
The best option is to book this excursion with some of the local tour operators who offer packages that include hotel pick-up, boat and taxi to visit the different sites. Without a doubt a way to disconnect from Bali and enjoy its beaches.
TAKE A WALK AROUND UBUD AND HAVE A MASSAGE.
Ubud is one of those cities that you keep in your heart and swear to the four winds that one day you will return to meet it. It exudes a very special charm. That magic that traps you hopelessly and is very difficult to explain, you have to experience it! We are in Indonesia, in the heart of the island of Bali.
We are still in full contact with nature and, in this case, we don´t even need to leave the city centre. The Campuhan Ride Walk is a trail that has become very popular in recent years. No wonder. It is located very close to the main tourist attractions of Ubud and in just 4 kilometres (50 minutes round trip) it offers beautiful landscapes full of palm trees and rice paddies.
I recommend you to take a walk along this path or rather let yourself go ... sit on the different benches you can find along the way, enjoy the views, listen to the animals (many ducks and birds), stop at a cafe along the way ... you will certainly leave very relaxed and in love with the place ... and you will understand why there are many foreigners living in this small town.
It is a magical place to relax walking through the rice fields, you will meet local people, many of them artists, who will invite you to their home to see their work and you will be greeted with a friendly tea. Spend time chatting with them, enjoy the wonderful scenery.
Having the opportunity to enjoy an hour-long Balinese massage for just over 4 euros is a luxury not to be missed. The centre of Ubud is full of shops specialising in Balinese massages. Some are more charming than others and at very different prices.
Or if you like yoga, this small town has become a mecca for this activity. You will find the most prestigious studios in the world that come to give classes in this bucolic place, and teachers from all over the world to give courses.
Undoubtedly this small town has plenty to leave refreshed and relaxed from your trip to Indonesia.
How to get here:
The best option is by private taxi. From where you are staying, ask for a private taxi and negotiate the price, although it is usually around 250,000/300,000 one way, to be divided between those of you in the car. They are not long distances, note if there is a lot of traffic when crossing villages.
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