Bali – to the Heart of the Island – from Amed to Ubud

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The morning was filled with laziness – from lying on the balcony in front of the house to just general relaxation. We hardly managed to pack the bags and go. It was time to leave Amed and move to Ubud. We took a few shots of our lair which we left with a great deal of reluctance.
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia

The restaurant’s toilet

 

trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia

This is a part of the bathroom. Mother Nature waters the flowers since there is no roof above them.

Our last delicious breakfast (pancake with embedded bananas) in the restaurant on Amed’s beach – hopefully, it wouldn’t be our last for the stay in this region.

trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
Love is in in the air on Bali – it’s not a marketing gimmick. Not surprisingly, many people around the world choose to have their marriage ceremonies or spend their honeymoons there.

Here’s an example that true love cannot be limited by race or nationality:

trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia

 

During the previous days on the beach, locals started engaging in conversations with us. These were people who did not work for any hotel, and alone, they tried to make profit from the tourist services they offered. The local boss convinced us to hire a person from his team to transfer us to Ubud, or rather, to make the local people happy. The hotels in Amed are mainly owned by Australians. For each service, they received a great percentage of the deal, while all the work was carried out by the local people. In fact, they sent us a young boy for a driver who did not speak a lot of English, but he was driving very carefully.

In advance, we had arranged two stopovers – the Water Palace and Goa Lawah (the Bat Cave).

The first stop non coincidentally had been the residence of the king – a magical place with multitudes of small ponds, dragonflies, resting on exotic flowers, and gorgeous bridges to admire everything from above. We managed to reach the holy water spring whose effect is yet to be determined and felt. For the humble amount of around 50,000 Indonesian rupees (8-9 BGN), we hired a local guide who told us so many things about the history of the place, the royal dynasty, and the local customs of the people. Not to mention that he was always offering to take photos of us here and there. This is typical of all guides on Bali – they would do anything to make you happy and satisfied.

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The Bat Cave was the first place where we met the insistent, commercial approach of the locals. It is normal that on an island, where the main occupation is tourism, there are many souvenir (and other objects) sellers. It is a fact that even next to temples in small villages, where only a handful of people pass by every day, there was at least 1 merchant, offering his goods at affordable prices. After the not-so-advanced trading in Amed, we found the women with sarongs in the Bat Cave overly insistent.

In the temples on Bali, one should always cover his/her knees before entering – a sign of respect to the Gods.

Even if your clothes conceal your knees, in some places, it is necessary to tie a sarong around your waist to enter inside a temple. Whether or not, we did not have sarongs, this was our first temple so we decided to pour some rupiahs into the local economy. We ended up getting two sarongs for 120,000 IDR (around $9). Then, I realized that those were high-quality sarongs so we had not wasted our money. In the temple, there was almost no one, and the cave, attached to it, was unapproachable. One could see, or rather sense, the smell of multitudes of bats that have “parked” themselves inside. From one place to another, they were moving in hundreds and in a noisy manner.

 

trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
Unhurriedly, we reached Ubud.

It has nothing to do with the area around Amed – the pristine and not-so-touristy Amed – captivating with its unspoiled nature and people unaware of the outside world. Ubud’s center was the complete opposite – traffic jam of cars, motorbikes, and teems of people. Stalls, pubs, restaurants, people, inviting you for massages, performances, and whatnot. This was the art and culture center of Bali, a known and desired destination which became even more popular after “Eat, Pray, Love”.

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Our hotel in Ubud was exemplary for interesting architecture. It was constructed in a valley at the confluence of two rivers at several levels, jungle. Our “rooms” were different in size and exterior one or two-story houses. They were so numerous that even the many signs, guiding the way, were not enough, and one could easily get lost until he/she finds its house.

But getting lost was not only accompanied by heavy breathing and fatigue. It also included exploring different fascinating objects and places – pools, ponds, temples, and interesting houses. Even the noise of the congested street in the vicinity was hardly audible. The only thing one could hear were the songs of the birds, the humming of insects, the sound of the river singing, and the dance of the wind and the trees.

 

trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia

 

In the evening, we decided to visit the center.

Initially, we had liked a restaurant which was within walking distance in the opposite direction. We even started walking towards it, but a friendly dog we met on the way made me change our plans and our direction. Most dogs were so calm and even ignored the people passing by – even their owners let them go around and look for their own food during daytime. And this even applies to the watchdogs of the houses. With this said, all of them were friendly and did not bark or attack the passers-by. However, the one we met on our way was the unpleasant exception.

We hopped on the shuttle bus from our hotel which took us to the city center and we started strolling around. In the end, we chose a café which had some tables, neatly placed near the dance program of the night. We killed two birds with one stone – not only did we stuff ourselves with delicious dishes, but also enjoyed local dances, such as barong and trance.

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The dancers’ costumes were exquisite and lavish, the dances were quite complex and required control and coordination of hands, neck, eyes, etc. And the make-up and the cunning movements of the dancers made you think that they were only looking at you while dancing. The orchestra was playing in an unmatched unison, and the music was intoxicatingly trance.
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia
trip to the hearth of the island of Bali in Indonesia

One of the waitresses started chatting with us and gave us valuable hints about things that we can do on and around Ubud. We loved it that on Bali, there was always somebody to talk to – be it the guide, the chauffeur, or a waiter – collect ideas, learn something new, and understand the way of thinking and living there. We learned so many things from the people there that I’d love to never read books about a certain place and its people again. I want to get the idea by simply speaking with the locals.

Even communicating with other tourists was beneficial. An example would be an Australian couple who, I am not sure, were either “stoned” by the clean air or they had purchased “tickets to the moon” (there’s a place in Ubud where one can buy these things 🙂 ), but they were sincerely enjoying their way back to the hotel that night.

 

Read more about Bali…

 

This article was brought to you in English by Svetoslav Dimitrov.

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