Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it. – Cesare Pavese
Bukit to Batik to Ubud and Monkey Forest Sanctuary
After the Christmas and New Years holidays it was time for many of the new friends I met in Bali to leave. As for me, I wasn’t quite ready yet. Cynthia and Danielle arrived at Bombora Surf Camp at about the same time many were leaving. Although we didn’t do much touring around Padang Padang and Kuta Beach together, we spent a few evenings chatting under the gazebo by the pool late into the night.
By this time, I was thinking of visiting Ubud and most people I met told me that it was nice to visit for a day or two, but not much longer. I didn’t plan to stay for much longer than that, but little did I know then, that I would end up spending a whole week there!
Around the same time I was thinking of going, Danielle and Cynthia mentioned they were going to Ubud and then to the Gili Islands. Since they already made arrangements for a ride, I asked them if it was alright if I go with them. They had previously made friends with a driver named Ivant from Bali who they had been using to take them all over the area. We agreed to split the cost and leave the very next day.
On the long slow drive to Ubud, Ivant stopped at a few shops as the girls requested, a jewelry shop and a Batik shop. There were thousands of items most of which crafted in the Batik style at the Batik market.
I didn’t want to do any souvenir shopping at that time because my budget was getting tighter, but definitely when I return to Bali I will try and find that Batik shop again.
It is a lot cheaper to buy your souvenirs there in one of the many markets on the road to Ubud and north of Ubud.
Buying souvenirs in Kuta and Legian, is ok for typical touristy knick-knacks, but if you prefer more arts & crafts, and unique items, it’s much better to go deeper into the island and away from the beach areas.
– Coffee Poop Stop –
No, that’s not a spelling error. Yes, we did make make a poop stop, but let me explain.
This was the highlight of our little road trip! We stopped at a coffee farm. But not just any coffee farm… One of the many coffee farms in Bali, where they brew the world famous Kopi Luwak coffee!
The best and most expensive coffee in the world I was told.
In short, Kopi Luwak comes from the Civet a squirrely cat type of mammal that eats coffee berries, and poops out the coffee beans. The beans are then harvested from the poop, cleaned, fermented, dried and roasted.
Yes, I said. The beans are harvested from the poop.
All for your drinking pleasure, for a small fee in Bali, but at a high cost when imported.
I am not a coffee expert and I don’t drink it on a regular basis. I usually have some when I need to be alert when I am working. Well, when I was in Chiang Mai, I would sometimes drink Iced coffee on hot lazy afternoons, when I needed a little energy boost.
It was actually a really nice surprise when Ivant brought us to Alam Sari Luwak Coffee Farm…because I had no idea we were going there at first. Read about the trip to the Coffee Farm here.
Overall, it was a relaxed and memorable rainy afternoon shopping and driving our way up to Ubud, with no rush. Another one of those days I will never forget. Thanks Ivant!
Our next tourist destination after arriving in Ubud would be the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary…
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
I am not sure if it was the very next day or the 2nd day after arriving in Ubud that we got the chance to walk down to the Sacred Monkey Forest. I remember there was still a lot of raining going on but with moments of hot sun in between. In any case, I met up with Danielle and Cynthia for a tour of the monkey forest. I knew this is what they had been waiting for!
Funny thing is, they didn’t even have to leave their hotel to get monkeys. The monkeys were stealing anything and everything from the balcony of their bungalow! I know they have some crazy video of that. Girls if you are reading this…YouTube your videos! Or send it to me I will upload it to my YouTube channel! 😉
These monkeys or long-tailed macaques are an aggressive bunch. You pay a small fee to enter the sanctuary which goes towards funding for the Padangtegal Wenara Wana Foundation. If you wish, you can purchase a few hands of bananas to feed them. Just be sure you keep them concealed until you are ready to give them to the macaques because they will rip them right out of your hand when you are not looking!!
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is owned and maintained by the village of Padangtegal. They have a foundation setup to protect and preserve the sacred integrity of the sanctuary as well as to promote conservation of the forest’s natural and cultural resources.
There are temples on the sanctuary grounds but this destination was not meant for one of those peaceful, prayerful and reflective trips of self discovery. It was monkey mayhem!!
As soon as Cyn and Dani bought the bananas the monkeys went ape sh#! At first it was really cute, the girls would throw the banana on the ground and the monkeys would prance over and grab them. After a few throws, the monkeys just decided to grab it straight out of their hands. The girls would hide the bananas in their purses, but then the monkeys started pulling on their clothing.
By the time we were through the monkeys were climbing all over the girls, playing in their hair and fighting off each other to get the bananas!
We spent over an hour or so walking all around the sanctuary and we found different troops of macaques. There were old ones, big ones, babies with their mothers, and juveniles. It was a fun time and we had many, many laughs over the madness of it all.
So, in the end, the one thing I learned are that these monkeys are very territorial and I really believe you can see how only the fittest will survive. The big monkey would take the bananas right out of the little ones hands. Very selfish…haha.
Actually, I think we can learn a lot from these monkeys, because right now with what I have seen on the news, humans in general, aren’t acting or doing any better than these monkeys fighting for a banana.
Here are some more pics of our exploration of the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary.
I have to say Dani and Cyn gave me some great photo opportunities and were hilarious to hang out with. Thanks ladies for a fun day with the monkeys in the forest. Let’s do it again some time. 🙂
Monkey Forest Street
After our tour of the monkey forest we headed back out onto Monkey Forest Street and browsed around some of the shops nearby. I realized by this point that the girls really took their shopping seriously. They enjoyed perusing the shops for more than pleasure, they were on a mission. 😉
I lingered around and took some pics in the area as they walked in and out of the various shops.
The shop where I took the pic of the lady and her two children (seen below) is where I ended up buying a tank top 1 size too small for me. I really liked a few of the shirts but none of the ones I tried on fit me well. I still bought one even though it was a little tight on me. I bought it mainly because the shopkeeper was so nice and patient with me taking pics of her and her children.
The Balinese people are beautiful in so many ways and are so talented and artistically creative. There are literally hundreds of shops selling art for many many kilometers outside of town.
Everything from paintings, sculptures, and all types of furniture and bric a brac all handcrafted. Its almost a little overwhelming actually, because there are so many options.
I won’t ever shop at Pier 1 Imports or Pottery Barn again, there are way to many bargains to find out here and it is way worth the price of airfare to see for yourself. I just love Bali. It isn’t a paradise by any means but its a special place and if you stay out of the overpopulated areas for most of your trip then you will see the beauty of it.
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