I’m excited to share some photos from our honeymoon in Bali, beginning with Ubud! Ubud is the cultural capital of the province and is rich with tradition and history. Coastal Kuta and Seminyak might be the only places on the island that are more populated with tourists and expats, but Ubud certainly sees its fair share of visitors. It’s easy to see why, with its tranquil Hindu temples and rice paddies located just outside the city center.
We stayed outside of the center, which was wonderfully relaxing. It was quiet and peaceful, yet the ride into town was only about ten minutes. We liked having a quiet retreat to return to each day.
One morning we went out on the Campuhan Ridge walk and meandered through rice paddies and small villages. We started around 9:00 but the morning quickly warmed up and it turned out to be quite a toasty adventure. Though we consulted a map through various points in our route we will managed to get lost, making our tour several kilometers longer and sweatier.
On another morning we hired a guide and took a long tour visiting various places that were on our sightseeing list. A note about organizing tours in Bali: don’t worry about leaving it until the last minute. It may seem like a cliche, but much of the area revolves on island time, and tours and events can often be organized with very little notice. We happened to hire someone who worked at our hotel and we set an itinerary the night before the tour. Almost everything is negotiable, price included, so make sure you’re clear about you’d like to see (and what isn’t important to you) and then set a price before you set off, ensuring you have your most memorable and enjoyable experience. It was super easy to put this day together and I’m so glad we did. That said, it’s nothing that we could have done beforehand, which takes a little bit of pressure off when you’re planning your trip up to months in advance. Be ready to go with the flow : )
Our first stop was the Tegalalang Rice Terraces just north of Ubud. It was truly stunning. Only a handful of people, mostly women, maintain the terraces and their scope and height were breathtaking. We walked through with our guide and I was grateful for a couple of gentlemen to help me down the steeper portions of the trail. If you visit, do note it’s mostly packed mud and wooden steps so be prepared with sturdy shoes and clothing you don’t mind getting dirty.
Next we visited Gunung Kawi, an 11th-century temple complex in Tampaksiring, also north of Ubud. Within the complex you’ll find 7-meter shrines carved into the rock face that are beautiful and imposing.
To get to the temple and the carvings you need to walk down almost 300 steps. It’s wonderful to do in 85-degree weather. Before you head down though, you’re invited to check out The Best View In The World. Well, probably the best.
After huffing and puffing our way back up the stairs, and stopping for a brief lunch, we headed to Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave. Its English moniker is more of a gesture to its proximity to the Elephant River, as the cave itself is rather small. On the outside are carvings of demons and scary faces intended to ward off evil spirits. It was once used to hold hiding Hindu priests and you’ll find three statues inside toward the back, as well as small hiding niches.
The cave is located on an active worship site with Hindu temples and a nearby Buddhist temple, suggesting that perhaps the cave also has some Buddhist significance. It’s a beautiful place to walk around and there are several spots for quiet contemplation and meditation.
Later this week I’ll share the final component of our day trip. It was a really special experience that I want to devote a little more space to.
One morning Adam got up early enough to see the sunrise. According to him the view wasn’t much, but I think the watercolor sky and stillness of the rice paddies is so soothing.