At first, the traffic in Bali may be frightening, but know that when you leave the beaches and most hyped up villages behind, the chaotic streets become much less crowded and extremely scenic roads. But, of course, caution is always welcome, so consider your level of experience before deciding on hopping on a scooter to explore Ubuds surroundings. If it’s almost none or zero, don’t think twice: rent a car or hire a driver.
for about $5 you can grab a scooter at your hotel. Got yours? So let’s go for a ride! Start by getting familiar with the Ubud village, that is basically the streets around the Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Raya Ubud. Park your scooter close to the Ubud Market to hunt - or only have a look at - some souvenirs in the market and also pay a visit to the Royal Palace, right across the street. From there, take your scooter and ride a few more minutes to the Sacred Monkey Forest, a nature reserve that houses three Hindu temples, as well as hundreds of monkeys, birds and an exuberant flora. Follow on for about 4 miles until the Elephant Cave (Goa Gajah),a sanctuary built in the VIII century, packed with relics and sculpted stone walls. Go back to Ubuds center on time for dinner and a cold Bintan beer at the sound of blues and rock at the nice (and a bit crowded) The Laughing Buddha Bar.
The second day is tougher (the complete circuit makes about 20 miles), so don’t forget to take liters of water and your sunblock with you. Pass through the confusing center of Ubud, close to the market, and follow on until the first stop: the emblematic rice field of Tegallalang. Since many tourists from other parts of the island come to see this place, be ready for the crowd. The entrance is free, but you’ll be asked many times for ‘donations’. Back on the road, which is pretty calm this far from the center, follow until Gunung Kawi, one of the most beautiful and less visited temples around Ubud. The access by the parking is far easier due to the road conditions (see map), nevertheless a 300 steps staircase separates you from the complex of temples far down, with its pits, garden, creeks and sculpted mountains. But don’t worry, cause the next stop will be, at least, pretty refreshing! Closeby is the Tirta Empul, or Holy Spring Water Temple, a place where Hindus perform purification rites in the holy spring that begins flowing right there. Visitors are welcome - as long as wearing sarongs - and, after a hot day driving under the sun, the cold waters of the Tirta Empul really come as a blessing.
Don’t rush in your return to the center of Ubud, take instead an even more beautiful way following the Jalan Raya Desa Kenderan (see map) and contemplate Bali’s countryside unforgettable view.
DAY 1 (MAP)
DAY 2 (MAP)
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