07.07.2010 - 09.07.2010 35 °C
Over the years the reputation of Bali has gone from paradise exotic surf to an overdeveloped overcrowded hippy costa del. I was not sure what to expect.
I was meeting my husband Julian there. He had flown in from London via Kuala Lumpar on Air Asia. Because of the flight times, he had arrived after a 9 hour flight in KL 10 hours before his flight to Bali. Because of the no frills nature of Air Asia (ie no entertainment), there were no young children on board the flight so Julian managed to get some sleep. All of the nearest hotels in KL were booked and the airport was 70km from KL , he made a judgement call and decided to kill the 12 hours at the airport. It nearly killed him. In hindsight he would have organised a hotel.
Everybody was kicked out of KL airport at midnight. So then all waiting passengers had to make themselves comfortable out on the pavement until 2.30am when the world cup match started. This definately cheered him up : he got to watch Germany get kicked out of the world cup by the eventual winners Spain. Once he got to Bali, again he had about 6 hours to kill before I turned up, but this time he wandered around the local town and took some photos.
I had been relaxing and spoiled by friends in Singapore and hadn't seen my hubby for 5 days. I was really excited to see him but a bit worried about how he was after 2 days of no sleep. I dabbed a bit of make up on and brushed my hair on the plane as it landed, thinking now the real travelling begins. Something like a lack of time or sleep, does not usually stop my husband doing a million things at once and dragging me a long too.
Bali airport had an outrageously slow moving immigration queue so the anticipation of seeing Julian was killing me. And then as I rushed past goods to declare, I saw him as handsome as ever, bouquet in hand and a big smile.
We opted for staying in Ubud, north of the Denpasar. Because of the traffic it took over 2 hours to get to our reasonably remote hotel nestled in lush paddy fields away from the coast. The only bad thing to say about this little gem : Junjungan Ubud Hotel and Spa was that it was about 20minutes drive away from the main centre of Ubud but there was a free shuttle from the hotel. It was number 24 on Tripadvisor and we only picked it because 1 to 23 were all full.
But we were glad, because Junjungan was a gorgeous hotel and they upgraded us to the best room in the hotel for the price of superior. The whole of the hotel was a water feature with water dripping out of walls into a feature streams running through the building. In the room, there was a huge a huge four poster bed with dual aspect balconies. One side overlooked the pool and water features and the other side overlooked paddy fields. The room was dark and cool which was lovely and atmospheric.
Note to self, our hotel rate was in USD so to bring US dollars from the UK as the rates in town and the hotel were extortionate and further compounded by the rate exchanged from Sterling to Rubia and then to USD. And then a card machine would charge a few % as well.
Ubud is compact with a main street called Monkey Forest Street. We didn't actually go to the Monkey Sanctuary, having seen so many monkeys in the wild on other trips. There were many other sites to check out.
Like any other developing country (is that the politically correct word these days ??) there were broken roads, open manholes and lots of construction going on. However the place seemed really relaxed yet very lively overflowing with tourists with some beautiful buildings.
We walked past a world famous pig suckling roast place : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFmB9JsVCEM. Lots of photo opportunities.A very scenic town with lots to see and tonnes of shops to buy that sarong dress or 7-lls to pick up hand disinfectant. It was a very friendly and well equipped town. The taxi driver proudly informed us that Julia Roberts had a spent a month in Ubud filming : "Eat Pray Love".
Always on the lookout for exotic places to take kids (when we finally get around to having some). I mean the thought of not travelling as a consquence of children.. well it's enough to put you off ! Anyway, I noticed many westerners with little children so Ubud, Bali is definately on the list.
We visited Ubud Palace and then a quick pedi + mani for $6. And then back to the hotel for a delicious 2hour scrub massage. Outside the scorching heat turned into torrential rain. Meanwhile Julian borrowed a bicycle from the hotel and went to explore the countryside. Beautiful scenary. Check the photos.
A lovely end to a couple of gorgeous nights in Ubud. We actually didn't make it to the beach.