Ubud, Bali Part 1/2 - Trekking Mount Batur
Ubud was incredible, foodie friendly, vegan friendly, and definitely gave off big time yoga vibes. I pretty much wanted to say "Namaste" to every blissed out soul I passed. I recommend staying as close to the centre of town as possible (Ubud is bigger than I thought!) eating at as many different places as you can, buying a pair of flowy pants, climbing Mount Batur and trying a yoga class!
Where to eat:
Kafe by Yoga Barn
Read on for allll the details of the 3 days we spent here.
A van from our hostel Villa Ole picked Jared and I up from the airport. It was easy to find him as he held a sign right at the exit amongst many other taxi drivers offering rides. Because it was late at night it only took about 45 minutes to arrive at our accommodation outside of Ubud (5 minutes by car, 10 by bike, 30-40 by walk) . The cost was 350,000 ($35 CND) but we gave him 400,000. I'd highly recommend this place, the only downfall was that it was outside of Ubud and we weren't thrilled to take scooters onto the roads day 1 of arriving.
Our Villa had two beautiful big bedrooms connected by a kitchen which was stocked with a fridge, oven, blender, electric kettle and cutlery. Perfect to make your own smoothies in the morning if necessary before long days. There was a large, clean pool with four loungers available for two villas (4 bedrooms) and the pool was all ours every time we went in it.
The hospitality here was absolutely amazing, she helped us organize scooters at a cheap price, $60,000 for one full day and $30,000 for an evening. She also set up a round trip for us to the Gili Islands which included a car to the harbour (1hr) a boat to the islands (1.5-2hr), a boat back and a car back to Ubud for 400,000 each ($40CND).
We spent our first day walking around Ubud starting with breakfast at Yoga Barn. The menu was amazing; so clean, great ingredients and very tasty. I had a macro-biotic bowl, a fresh coconut and an espresso coffee Jared did a sand which, smoothie and coffee and I think we paid around $20CND total!
From here we strolled around the Main Street of Ubud getting distracted by a hookah bar called XL Sheesha. Winnipeg has these but I had never tried so for ten dollars the four of us shared orange-mint tobacco (which contrary to my assumption does not taste like orange juice after brushing your teeth) and 4 Bintangs..okay maybe 8 Bintangs.
Next we checked out the crowded narrow market. I'd highly recommend doing your shopping here! The prices are much lower than those in the air-conditioned stores on the main road. Don't forget the market opens early in the morning and closes at 6pm! The locals may call it the 'wood market' but along with the the many wood carvings you'll also find tons of clothes, sunglasses, bags, jewelry (silver only but you can find gold in the stores on the main road) and paintings. Jared bought a tank top for 40,000 and I got a pair of pants for 60,000.
For dinner we had sushi at Toro Sushi right across from Acai Queen (which has a super cute space - great for 'grammin if that's what you're into). The sushi was pretty good! The crab found in most of the rolls wasn't the shredded crab with mayo I'm used to at home but instead a stick of crab meat which made the sushi a bit more dry but still really good. We walked around a bit more then took our scooters home, stopping at a large grocery store on the way out to grab some snacks to have at the Villa since all restaurants we're pretty far away.
At 2am we woke up to start our adventure to hike Mount Batur an active volcano 30 minutes North of Ubud. A driver from Voyagin picked us up at our hostel and took the four of us to the base of the hike (1000m up the 1700m high volcano). We met our tour guide Madi who was very patient, knowledgeable, kind and helpful and everything we could have wanted in a guide. The hiking groups were very intimate about 2-6 per one guide. After being served coffee at the base we were given a small bottle of water (you should bring an additional) and a flashlight.
The hike began at about 3:30am in the pitch black. A followed a slight incline which had the occasional steep part for the first hour. I thought "okay this is one of those wind-your-way-up kind of things, shouldn't be too hard". I was wrong. The second hour was a very steep, rocky climb to the summit. The sunrise was the only thing keeping me going. I don't consider myself a fit person, especially from a cardio point of view. The breakfast of one piece of fruit and a cup of coffee wasn't enough for me I usually eat a decent meal an hour before working out, and cannot function in the morning without food. So of course once I burned through that I was really nauseous and light headed. I felt guilty and embarrassed at how much I struggled but I made it to the top after only stopping my group 2-3 times for a minute break, and eating an apple. Whew. Two lessons here - I shouldn't try and climb a volcano on an empty stomach. I should do more cardio.
We were rewarded with a simple breakfast but unfortunately we were greeted by a ton of clouds and no sunrise, sigh. We hung around the summit for the while, feeling the hot steam rising up and enjoying a rest and some tea.
On our way down we were surprised to meet 10-20 wild monkeys playing near the top. We fed them bananas and luckily none were interested in our bags, cameras, phones or sunglasses! This was definitely a satisfying monkey fix for me and skipping The Monkey Forrest didn't have me blinking an eye.
By the time we got back to the bottom it was scorching hot and only 8am. 15,000 steps before 8am! Our driver which was supplied by the tour to and from Mount Batur, offered to stop for photos at a viewpoint on the way back or at rice terraces for no additional charge. In hindsight I wish I had asked him about the famous Handara gates because I didn't realize it was also about 45 minutes North of Ubud and getting another ride for a photo was going to be a hassle.
We came back very sweaty and exhausted with incredibly dirty shoes and pants from basically skiing down volcanic ash on our decent, ate some lunch, jumped in the pool then crashed for a nap.
At 4pm we took to the streets again with scooters, ate an awesome organic, veggie filled meal from Buda Bali then walked around a bit more. Then it was home to bed before another early wake up to catch our 7am ride to the Gili Islands!