I really wanted to see this temple at Sunset so I left Ubud at 2pm. We hit some traffic so my driver was doing his best to get there fast.. which resulted in me putting on my motion sickness bands. He was successful and I arrived with plenty of time before sun was to set. I brought my own sarong to wear in the temple but this adorable little girl picked one out for me not knowing I had one. I took hers not only because she was cute, but because the one she picked out was prettier. They gave me some quick directions of where to go and I set off.
The first temple was the one that is featured a lot on Instagram and is the easiest one to reach. It was late in the day and cloudy so I pretty much had the place to myself. It was surreal to look around and see the volcano in the distance, all of the low hanging clouds around and lush green mountain tops. The temple added to that feeling because it was so majestic and tall.
I decided to proceed to the next temples up a steep road. Again, I was the only one on the road and it was totally peaceful. I can imagine why someone would want to live way up here, even though so difficult to reach. I finally arrived at the next temple where the steps began. So. Many. Steps.
I don’t cook a lot, and I certainly haven’t on this trip, but I do enjoy a cooking class. I signed up for one and it started with a trip to the morning market. They showed us all of the ingredients needed to cook our menu for the day. I was surprised by how many different types of ginger they used! After shopping, we went to the kitchen. It happened to be in an outdoor kitchen in the middle of a rice field. Before starting, we made the little palm leave boxes used for offerings.
I tossed and turned all night. What is it about needing to wake up early that does this to us? I still felt wide awake and I did the thing you’re not supposed to do, check the time. Well thank goodness I did! My phone was off, it had the apple symbol and the bar going across it, it was undergoing a restart. I jumped up and ran over to my laptop to see what time it was, fearing I overslept. It was 2:10am! My ride comes in 20 minutes, so thank goodness I looked at my phone or I would have been late as I doubt my alarm would ring during an update.
I slept the whole way to Mt. Batur. Fun fact, I don’t think I get motion sickness at night. We arrived and it was still dark. I don’t know why I was surprised, I mean, we were hiking up the mountain to see the sunrise so obviously the sun wasn’t up. I guess I thought there would be a hint of light, but there wasn’t. They handed up each a flashlight and we followed our guide. It was a flat path we were on and the girl next to me said she read on TripAdvisor that girls who are in their 20s and physically fit said this was a difficult hike. We laughed thinking about how easy it was right now. We laughed too soon. Slowly the hike kept getting progressively more difficult. Add in darkness and a flashlight that was losing power, and you began to agree with the review. I stopped saying I think I can see the top because each time I was wrong. However, we finally made it to a big hut with chairs and we hurried to find ourselves a good spot to sit without an obstructed view. All of the benches were wet, but who cares, we made it! But we didn’t. Our guide came over and said the break was finished. We were just taking a break! LOL
Two people in our group stayed there as they were too tired to go on. When we asked how much time was left he said 10 minutes. Well, 10 minutes to the next break I think is what he meant. It was no lie, the hike was difficult and towards the top it got pretty slippery and windy. Although I was tired, I was enjoying the adventure of it all. We eventually did reach the top, and it was clear that the sky wasn’t. The fog was very heavy, so it was evident we wouldn’t be watching the sun come up. While it would have been great to watch and see all of the views, I kind of enjoyed the eeriness that came with being able to see nothing around you. We sat on a blanket, enjoyed some hot coffee and a sandwich and chatted.
On the way down we stopped at a few caves where hot steam was coming out. They say you can cook an egg on it. There were also a lot of monkeys on the hunt for food. To our delight and amusement, there was an “easier” way down. We all agreed to take it and we slowly made our descent down. The fog was lifting and the sun was up and it was fun to see what was actually around us. The whole way down I spoke with two girls from Ireland about all the greatest Netflix shows, magic and comedy and before you knew it we were back to where we started. Our guide parted ways because he was “off to work” (apparently the 6 hour hike was just his morning job) which made me level set how tired I actually was. I guiltily had planned to lounge around and read by the pool the rest of the day. I ended up doing just that and was in bed by 6pm.
Just kidding, I didn’t do much running, just the opposite in fact. I walked extremely slow to avoid startling the monkeys in the Monkey Forest of Ubud. They were actually pretty well behaved and only came close out of curiosity or looking for food. At one point a few were blocking my path. It took about 10 minutes to build up the courage to walk past. However, I was then offered to let a monkey jump on my back. What better way to overcome a fear than jumping right in, isn’t that right? I’ve become much more brave on this trip. I’ve found the more I do things that scare me, the easier it has become to try more things that once intimidated me. So, the monkey jumped on my shoulder and he sat there with his surprisingly heavy weight and scratchy paws and I actually didn’t mind! I then walked through the remainder of the the forest with more ease and confidence.
My favorite thing about the monkey forest was watching them be curious, silly, and human-like. They would play, fight, inspect trash, inspect each other, take care of their babies (the size of my hand, seriously SO cute), try and grab a backpack, snack on fruit, and pretty much do whatever they felt like doing. I made of game of captioning in my head what they were thinking.
The rest of my afternoon was spent walking around Ubud and looking at different shops while sipping on an iced latte. Most of the clothes here are sewn locally, so everything is super unique. Prices are pretty reasonable, they always start high, but “high” ends up still being low for United States standards. One lady had quite the hustle going, but not quite good enough to pull a fast one on me. She would only let you take one item into the dressing room at a time. While you were in there trying on that item she would change the tags on your other items to make the price higher. Clearly you like them if you’re willing to try them on, so she tries to scratch the price out and write a higher number. It never came down to me calling her out because I didn’t actually end up liking anything enough to buy.
I attempted to go to bed at 7pm tonight because I had to wake up a 2am to hike to see the sunset tomorrow. Needless to say, I didn’t sleep a wink. Probably a good thing since my phone decided to do an update overnight and my alarm may not have gone off as it was still restarting at 2am. Funny how your body just knows sometimes!
Today I didn’t have a strict agenda and that turned out to be the best plan yet. After an early breakfast on my patio I asked if I could rent a scooter. They set me up and off I went to a temple nearby called Goa Gajah (Elephant Temple). By now I’m a pro on the streets with a scooter. I heavily relied on Google Maps and wondered how this would have worked without it. I would have been lost without it so made sure to keep a cell phone charge.
At the temple I borrowed a sarong and went in. I was approached by a man who offered to tell me about the temple. I figured this would end in me paying him, but it made sense to actually learn the history rather than just look and guess. Turns out this temple was a mix of buddhist and hindu regions, which is pretty cool. It had separate holy water sides for each religion. It was buried at one point by a volcano but archeologists dug it out. On the hindu side there was an elephant cave for yoga, meditation and prayer. On the buddhist side there was a big tree, pond, waterfall and statue (that was broken due to an earthquake), again for prayer, meditation and yoga.
I have a feeling I’m going to like it here! I had THE warmest welcome from the owner of the place. He showed me to my room (and carried my suitcase over his head without thinking twice). It’s a gorgeous room that is modern yet traditional, and the best part is the outdoor shower!
I was given a limeade welcome drink on my patio while the owner gave me the rundown. He gave me a phone that I can use to call them (super smart). I can also use it at any time to order food, drinks, a ride or a spa treatment. Since I was still under the weather I took a short walk to the rice fields, then just read by the pool until it was time spa treatment for the evening. On the way to the rice fields literally every person smiled or said hi to me, it was refreshing.
Equally refreshing was my dip in the pool.This place is literally in the middle of the jungle so I was started a few times by a lizard or a very large spider. As if they were reading my mind, one of the ladies working asked me if I wanted coffee by the pool. Yes please, it’s been over 24 hours since I could take down a coffee.
Then, I went off to my spa treatment- a massage, a facial and a body scrub all for under $100. It was located at the edge of the property and I relaxed to the sounds of water falling off leaves, birds in the distance and occasionally the crow of a rooster 😉 Two hours later I peeled myself off the table (because I was so relaxed and because I was sticking to the sheets) and made my way to my outdoor shower! I rinsed off the body scrub and when I came out of the shower I had a margarita and dinner waiting for me on my patio. I’m not exaggerating, the workers here go above and beyond and do it all proactively and with a smile. I can’t thank them enough! I’m just glad I have 6 more days of this 😉 Since I was able to eat my dinner, I think I’ll have enough energy for an adventure tomorrow!