After a few days soaking up the vibe in Seminyak on Bali’s southern coast, we made our way north to Ubud; a more rural part of Bali with beautiful rice paddies, jungle and villages showcasing the wares of local craftspeople. The journey took about an hour and a half, but was well worth it for the view we encountered on arrival at the Kayon Resort, our base for the next few nights.
The Kayon Resort is a fairly new hotel but is rustic in style and built from natural materials, so it fits in perfectly with the wildness of the surrounding jungle. We read awesome reviews on TripAdvisor in advance so were intrigued to try it out.
Aside from being beautiful, the thing that stood out immediately about the Kayon Resort was the people: everybody there was so friendly and genuine. The resort trains youngsters from the local community in hospitality so it was lovely to meet lots of different characters, all of whom were clearly proud to call it home.
There were lots of unexpected features to discover, like these wood and stone carvings, fresh flowers placed on the step of every stairway and the smell of the incense at every turn.
There was also this mega waterfall where you could sit and have tea with nothing but the sound of the water and the birds overhead.
The weather in Ubud was pretty changeable – more so than in Seminyak – and it did rain a few times so we didn’t really use the pool unfortunately (as lovely as it was). Alas, it didn’t matter too much as we had originally intended to spend our time in Ubud exploring rather than relaxing.
The resort offered a free shuttle bus service into the centre of Ubud (about a 15-minute drive away), which we took advantage of one day. The town is busy and bustling with both locals going about their daily business and tourists admiring the temples and browsing the shops, market and craft studios.
We also paid a visit to the Monkey Forest, a forest on the edge of the town that is home to some rather cheeky inhabitants. As I mentioned in my previous post, you have to be careful around the monkeys as they are a bit light-fingered and will happily steal your glasses, jewellery or whatever else you don’t have secured. I wore a long floaty skirt that day in preparation for visiting the temples (where legs must be covered), and a little baby monkey decided to grab onto it and swing around! Kinda funny and terrifying in equal measures (and I was only slightly tempted to take him home…)
There were some beautiful ancient temples in the vicinity, including the Ulun Danu Beratan temple which is located on a lake with a scenic backdrop of mist-shrouded mountains.
We made a trip out to the rice paddies, which are an iconic image associated with Bali. The scenery was stunning (although unfortunately it started chucking it down as soon as we got there)! The rice takes about two months to grow so for the farmers it’s a waiting game as they carefully nurture their crops and hope for optimal conditions.
We also went on a cycling tour with Bali Eco Tours, one of several operators that were recommended to us. We were treated to this incredible view over breakfast before setting off on our ride, which took us through traditional Balinese villages, rice paddies and a 500-year old banyan tree which was like something out of a Disney movie.
All too soon it was time to check out and head back to Melbourne. There are not many places I’d visit twice but Bali is definitely one of them, for its beauty and the warmth of its people. There’s a relaxing beach holiday there if you want it but there’s also adventure to be had, whether that’s hiking up mountains, cycling, surfing, you name it! Thank you Bali… I hope to see you again soon <3