So Ubud is a little bitter-sweet. We had a totally awesome time but if you want to get away from it all and off the beaten track it is definitely not the place to go.
Having been prewarned that the town centre is manic we booked some accommodation about 30mins walk out of town. Pasga Villa was our little garden refuge and a great little place for a base.
Ubud is famous for its vegetarian food and the Elephant which we randomly picked for our first evening meal was a fine example.
For our first day we decided to book a car to take us to Gunung Kawi, a temple to the north. For our first Hindu temple in Bali it certainly did not disappoint. The temple was set in a lush green ravine, reached by descending gurgling rice terraces.
I am ashamed to say I know very little about the Hindu religion and the little I do know I learnt during this trip. But the feel of the temples and setup of the culture appear very open and inviting. For example in all the temples we visited the space seemed to be shared by all the generations of families and people from all walks of life. Plus the temples we visited incorporated water in one way or another which for me is always a source of calming.
The second temple built to allow bathing in sacred spring waters, it was fascinating to watch the ritual in which again people of all shapes and sizes were partaking. All in all a great day to get a taster of local culture.
The second day we booked on a much recommended trip cycle down the side of the volcano through paddy fields, villages and beautiful countryside. We used Bali breeze tours who were excellent and they had kids bikes and child seats.
The drive up took quite a while but I was lost in a book so wasn’t really an issue. We stopped twice on the way up… once at a coffee plantation where we drank coffee from beans which had been pooed out by some weasel like creature. It was surprisingly smooth. The second stop was some famous rice terraces but unfortunately they appear to have become a victor their own fame. The rice terraces were not kept instead it appeared more effort was put into swings and ziplines, definitely a tourist trap but I guess a must stop on the route. We only spent 15mins there so it was no loss.
The trip to the top was definitely worth it for the view of the volcano which we enjoyed during a simple breakfast. Before long we were set up on our bikes and ready to go. Boy blues helmet was amazing!
Apart from two steep short hills the whole 27km ride was down hill, easy on the legs (but slightly tough on the braking fingers). It was very relaxing with plenty of stops in which our guide explained local traditions and culture.
Boy blue found the whole trip vet exhausting though! 😄😄😄
We were super keen to take the boys on the river white water rafting but having a 4 year old and a 60 year old in the group made finding a company willing to take us tricky. Eventually we stumbled upon a link in trip advisor (with good reviews) with a number who we contacted via WhatsApp, they agreed to take us as long as we signed a waiver for the “uninsurables”. They had taken 4 years olds before and as it was dry season the rapids were tame.
Not really knowing what to expect because they were much cheaper than some of the other companies I was relieved to see the equipment was is great condition and they even had small life jackets and helmets! Everything was branded Red Paddle so i assume that was the company name.
After a short but steep walk down to the river all 3 generations boarded our raft with out absolutely hilarious guide! We were given a quick safety briefing in which the boys were shown where to hold one. Boy blue was sandwiched between his brothers and told to hold there life jackets, an instruction which Middle Man took very seriously. Numerous times you could hear him asking his little brother to hold tight and ask if he was ok.. it was so cute.
Right from the first rapid to the last the boys squealed with delight as we bumped and splashed our way down a gorgeous gorge. With its waterfalls and stunning greenery it looked like a movie set. Even Nan Nan loved the trip!
I guess some may question the sensibility of taking a 4 year old rafting but for us it was a magical day to end our time in Ubud.