The monkey Sanctuary and Traditional Dances

Ubud Travel Blog

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Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud

People i met here, who contributed to and improved my trip: Juliana (Russia)

A banana jaffle and cup of coffee set us up for our first day of travelling around Bali on a motorbike. Our first destination was the village of Ubud, which didn't look far on the map, but this was to be deceiving. Initially we got lost exiting Kuta and ended up in Denpasar, the capital of Bali, where the one way streets seemed to take us around in circles for half an hour or more. The problem was that there were very few signs and the ones that there were, were normally placed at the juction itself behind a big tree, rather than in advance.

Preparing for the cock fight
Once you missed a junction, you were stuck to circle around once again!

Having managed to finally escape Denpasar, the first town we approached was one called Ceruk. As we waited for some traffic lights to change, a local guy pulled up on his motorbike and asked where we were going. I told him Ubud, he smiled and began the usual questioning of where we were from, how long we had been in Bali etc etc. The lights turned and we said goodbye, only for the guy to start following us. He began to indicate that we should pull over as we were on the wrong road to Ubud and he would therefore show us on a map the right way. I thought this was very kind of him. After stopping the bike, he took a look at our map and said 'ah, you go through my village of Ceruk along this way'.

A deadly blow during the encounter
He pointed the direction we were already heading and said he would lead us there. Something smelt fishy about the whole situation. I thanked him, but said we would be fine. The true motive then came out when he told us about Ceruk's famous silver handicrafts and how he could show us to one. We told him that we didn't have time, but thanks for the 'help' and went on our way. Half a mile later and another guy tried to pull the same stunt on us. I began to wonder whether there was anywhere in Indonesia that you could actually escape the touts looking for commission!

Ubud was cold and drizzly when we arrived, so we made it our first objective to find a hotel and keep our bags dry. As normal, we got lost in the one way system and couldn't figure out where we were on a map.

Gunung Kawi
Luckily we stumbled across Swan Hotel whilst we were trying to find our bearings. It had a great central location, but as it was tucked down a small alleyway, there was no noise to disturbe its tranquil gardens and porches. $8 got us a double room with breakfast and hot water shower attached.

Even though the day was drawing to a close, we decided to try and visit the nearby Gunung Kawi stone carvings. As we drove out of Ubud, we came across some very beautiful rice terraces and stopped for some photos. We were approached by the usual plethora of people trying to sell us completely useless items. One guy had some chopsticks and he kept saying to Julia '$1, $1'. They were quite nicely carved ones, but we'd heard the trick so many times that they always say a dollar, then when you say you want to buy it, they ask for more.

Sculptures at Gunung Kawi Temple
Julia decided to see what would happen when she said ok. The guy replied '$1 for each stick'! Another woman was offering quite a nice carved wooden box and when Julia again agreed to the $1 price, she replied 'you make me bankrupt, you pay more'!

Moving on from the rice terraces and without a map of how to get to Gunung Kawi, we relied on asking the locals. What we didn't know however, was that there were actually 2 Gunung Kawi's! We knew we were supposed to be looking for one with carved stone memorials in a cliff, so when we turned up at a Temple we were rather bemused. The nice ticket lady had clearly encountered the problem before and told us the other one was about 5km away. We therefore hopped back on the bike and raced across to it, before it shut at 5pm.

Gunung Kawi has a steep flight of stairs, which lead down the mountain side into a picturesque river valley, where the stone memorials are displayed.

Macaque looks puzzling at me at the Monkey Forest Sanctuary
They are believed to date back to the 11th century and there is a set of 4 monuments on both sides of the valley. There was a surprisingly large number of locals gathered at the site and at first i wondered if they were making offerings. I soon realised that they were in fact there to watch a cock fight. It was the first time that i had witnessed it and i let curiosity get the better of me. The owners tied large steel blades to the rear of the cocks foot and in the 5 minutes whilst everyone was betting before the fight, the 2 owners deliberately annoyed their fighter, to make it more angry and make it want to fight. They pulled and tweaked at its face and by the time the 2 were released, one seemed really agrivated, whilst the other seemed more interested in self preservation.
Macaques at the Monkey Forest Sanctuary Temple
The angry one launched itself up and above the other one, sinking the blade in as it passed over the top. Within a minute it was victorious, to the delight of the spectators. I didn't really see the sport in it and left after the first bout.

As it was still not dark, we backtracked to the Gunung Kawi Temple to take a look around and it was actually very pretty and peaceful, with no-one but us there. There were a few nice structures and statues and also a pond with an aggressive duck inhabiting it. Also on site was a parakeet, but we couldn't make it speak, not even an Indonesian word! Back in Ubud, we went out for a meal, then sat on our pretty little porch for a while, before finally turning in.

Tuesday began perfectly with the best Banana Pancake (with melted coconut) i've ever had, which was accompanied by a really good Balinese coffee.

Performing 'Kebyar Terompong Dance' during the Legong Dance performance
Rather than take the bike with us, we decided to go to the Monkey Forest Sanctuary on foot. It only took 20 minutes and upon arrival we were greeted by a troop of macaques waiting at the entrance and in search of food.

The sanctuary is nicely layed out and a path passes through a small forest where macaques are everywhere that you turn. All seem quite friendly until you get too close and end up with one snarling at you and chasing you on your way! One inquisitive one clawed at Julias leg, which really freaked her out, but made me giggle! There was also a nice temple within the grounds and this was surrounded by some fascinating sculptures and carvings. Equally interesting was an old dreadlocked woman, who seemed to have a rather wierd relationship with the macaques.

Performing 'Baris Dance' during the Legong Dance performance
She was selling food to tourists to feed them, but if a macaque came too close to her stand, then she would chase them away with a huge stick!

Near the exit their was a small pond and we watched as one monkey climbed a branch that hung over it, only for 2 others to come and try to shake him off into the water below! He survived, just, but didn't escape a drenching, as all of a sudden the heavens opened. With little shelter, we managed to hide under a notice board that had a tiny roof and remained there for 30 minutes, until a macaque realised what a good spot it was and chased us into the rain!!! We decided to make a run for it back to the town, taking shelter in shop doorways along the way. We eventually made it to a cafe as the rain continued to come down for several hours.

Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave, the entrance to the statue
By the time it eventually finished it was too late to do anything else.

That evening we went out to a Traditional Legong Dance performance that took place at Pura Dalem. The show consisted of an orchestra playing a range of instruments and 6 types of different dance. All had different qualities and symbolised different things. My favourite was the Baris Dance, which symbolised the manhood of a Balinese warrior, depicting the courage and virtues of a man going to war. All ther performers had a tranced look in their eyes and their middle fingers were extended in a strange way, which supposedly was like an aphrodisiac for the King. Whatever floats your boat i suppose! It was a really nice show that lasted a little over an hour.

The following day we had another wonderful breakfast before taking a quick look around Ubud, including the very pretty Water Palace.

Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud
We grabbed our belongings and took the motorbike to the nearby Goa Gajah, which literally translates as Elephant Cave. There was a nice walking trail and some interesting sculptures to look at, although the actual elephant cave was a tad disappointing once inside. It was the end of a really enjoyable few days in and around Ubud.

Deats says:
Thanks a lot :)))
Posted on: Sep 29, 2007
Devika1985 says:
love this blog!
Posted on: Sep 29, 2007
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Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud
Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud
Preparing for the cock fight
Preparing for the cock fight
A deadly blow during the encounter
A deadly blow during the encounter
Gunung Kawi
Gunung Kawi
Sculptures at Gunung Kawi Temple
Sculptures at Gunung Kawi Temple
Macaque looks puzzling at me at th…
Macaque looks puzzling at me at t…
Macaques at the Monkey Forest Sanc…
Macaques at the Monkey Forest San…
Performing Kebyar Terompong Dance…
Performing 'Kebyar Terompong Danc…
Performing Baris Dance during th…
Performing 'Baris Dance' during t…
Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave, the ent…
Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave, the en…
Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud
Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud
Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud
Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud
Preparing the cock with a huge ste…
Preparing the cock with a huge st…
Owners prepare their cocks for bat…
Owners prepare their cocks for ba…
Referee prepares the competitors
Referee prepares the competitors
The crowd enjoy the spectacle
The crowd enjoy the spectacle
Gunung Kawi stone carvings
Gunung Kawi stone carvings
The Gunung Kawi Temple
The Gunung Kawi Temple
Whos a pretty polly!
Who's a pretty polly!
Looking out from the porch of our …
Looking out from the porch of our…
Pond at Gunung Kawi Temple
Pond at Gunung Kawi Temple
Our porch at Swan Hotel
Our porch at Swan Hotel
2 macaques get intimate at the Mon…
2 macaques get intimate at the Mo…
Macaque gets to grips with a cocon…
Macaque gets to grips with a coco…
Macaque gets to grips with a cocon…
Macaque gets to grips with a coco…
Macaque scoffs down some food at t…
Macaque scoffs down some food at …
Mother and baby take a rest
Mother and baby take a rest
Macaques playing football with a c…
Macaques playing football with a …
Macaques gather round for some coc…
Macaques gather round for some co…
More King Kong than Macaque!
More King Kong than Macaque!
Statue at Monkey Forest Sanctuary …
Statue at Monkey Forest Sanctuary…
Rasta woman at the Monkey Forest S…
Rasta woman at the Monkey Forest …
Monkey Forest Sanctuary Temple
Monkey Forest Sanctuary Temple
Macaques at the Monkey Forest Sanc…
Macaques at the Monkey Forest San…
Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Macaque licks up coconut juice at …
Macaque licks up coconut juice at…
Macaque tries to open a coconut at…
Macaque tries to open a coconut a…
Macaque tries to open a coconut at…
Macaque tries to open a coconut a…
Macaques sheltering from the rain …
Macaques sheltering from the rain…
Musicians for the Legong Dance
Musicians for the Legong Dance
Musicians for the Legong Dance
Musicians for the Legong Dance
Girls performing Gabor/Pendet Dan…
Girls performing 'Gabor/Pendet Da…
Girl performs Gabor/Pendet Dance…
Girl performs 'Gabor/Pendet Dance…
Girls performing Legong Dance du…
Girls performing 'Legong Dance' d…
Girls performing Legong Dance du…
Girls performing 'Legong Dance' d…
Performing Kebyar Terompong Dance…
Performing 'Kebyar Terompong Danc…
Performing Kebyar Terompong Dance…
Performing 'Kebyar Terompong Danc…
Performing Kebyar Terompong Dance…
Performing 'Kebyar Terompong Danc…
Performing Barong & Rangda Dance…
Performing 'Barong & Rangda Dance…
Artists at the end of the evening
Artists at the end of the evening
Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave, the wat…
Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave, the wa…
Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave, the act…
Goa Gajah - Elephant Cave, the ac…
Garden in Ubud
Garden in Ubud
Main street running through Ubud
Main street running through Ubud
Water Palace at Ubud
Water Palace at Ubud
Julia with a pretty plant at Goa G…
Julia with a pretty plant at Goa …
Me on a walking trail at Goa Gajah…
Me on a walking trail at Goa Gaja…
Rice field on the road from Ubud t…
Rice field on the road from Ubud …
Ubud
photo by: eddie8498