The monkey Sanctuary and Traditional Dances
Ubud Travel Blog› entry 185 of 658 › view all entries
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.