Saturday, 26 November 2011

Bali: Gunung Batur

Another trip from Ubud is to the volcano Gunung Batur. There are loads of organised tours leaving at hellish hours in the morning but we decided to rent mopeds and drive up to the volcano and spend the night. As we were nearing the volcano we were flagged down by a guy with no teeth at the side of the road who warned us that there were police up ahead who would stop us - we throught 'aye right' and continued towards the volcano. As it happened there were police up ahead and we were stopped, they asked to see our international drivers licences (which we did not have) and proceeded to try to scare is with their talk of fines and courtrooms. We eventually managed to palm them off with Rp100,000 between us, which is about £7. It put us all in a bit of a bad mood as we continued towards the volcano expecting to be hustled at every turn.

The Lonely Planet does a fine job of making the climb to the top sound pretty horrendous with talk of guides hassling you and being ripped off but we managed to amble up the volcano without any problems whatsoever (thanks to Dan and Tim's reccy of the right paths to take) and were rewarded with this utterly gorgeous view.

Sasha and I beside the crater

Spot the boys?

Great steaming clouds of vapour erupting from the core

The volcano in the distance

Friday, 25 November 2011

Bali: around Ubud

The countryside around Ubud is really spectacular, terraced rice paddies, palm trees, jungle and rivers strewn with giant boulders - it almost looks too perfect like it might all be made from styrofoam and concrete.

Tim you will regret the day you did not purchase the sequinned christmas hat!

We went for a wander to the west of Ubud centre and met the great Wayan on the road, he showed us his bridge he had made and his rice field and we got chatting. He offered to take us on a walk through the paddies and jungle and what a walk it was....

Wayan leads the way

Some cotton 

and some rice

and a wee game of poker using torn pieces of dragon fruit for chips

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Bali: Ubud

I was really looking forward to coming to Ubud mainly to get away from the beach but also to explore the rice paddies and jungle that surround it (and also the shops!). Ubud is brilliant, it has a great mix of friendly faces, drop dead gorgeous scenery and some amazing places to eat - just watch out for all of the Elizabeth Gilbert wannabes.

Ubud, home of the spa. The only thing I managed to get Dan to do was get his feet nibbled by fish.

Sasha and I spent the day at Spa Hati, rice paddy views and amazing massages with all of the profits going back into community projects.

We stayed at Ubud Terrace on Monkey Forest Road, £10 a night for a room in a bungalow with a pool and breakfast - bargain!

Some of the many offerings that get made every day, there are offerings everywhere to ward off the naughty gods. In front of shops, at the beginning of roads, on bike seats, on statues....

The monkey sanctuary in Ubud is quite comedy, Sasha got robbed of her water bottle by a monkey which wrapped itself around her legs.

One of Bali's specialities - suckling pig mmmm

Lots of colourful temptations at the market

Our favourite restaurant Bendi's where they serve a mean homemade wine (Brem) and distilled palm syrup (Arak) with whole smoked duck and really good tofu.