Posts Tagged With: Provinces

Top 5 Favorite Things to do in Ubud

Ubud has been a blast, there are tons of things to do in this quiet, ancient city.  It is an extremely old and spiritual place, the old mixes with the new in such a strange and interesting way.  I’ll break down some of my favorite things that I experienced here in Ubud, to give you a taste of my experiences here in this gorgeous place!

5. Shop

     The first thing we noticed upon arrival in Ubud were the SHOPS! Oh my lord it seemed like everything on earth was for sale.  Aside from the usual trinkets, there were tons of textiles (silk scarves, pashminas, dresses, sarongs), interesting artwork, organic bath products, silver jewelry, and more.  I had to seriously restrain myself cause I was on a budget, but I managed to get some good deals and even some presents that I now have to haul around for three months!! Oh well.  I couldn’t resist and you shouldn’t either.  Bargain hard here, there are lots of great deals in Ubud if you barter for them.
4. Spa Day!
     There are so many options for spas here in Ubud it literally makes ones head spin.  From the high-end daylong treatments that include cleansing, detox, colonics, facials and fruit juice baths, to the massages and manicures at the lower end places, there are enough spas here to go to one spa a day for two months and still not hit them all.  I got an hour-long head, back and shoulder massage for about 8 dollars, 75000 Rupiah, and it was unreal. The Balinese lady who massaged me was so tiny with the strongest hands, she gave me a good tough massage, just how I like it!  Aaaahhh.
I dont have any spa pics so I'll just post this pic of chelsea enjoying her pizza on the first night :D

I dont have any spa pics so I’ll just post this pic of chelsea enjoying her pizza on the first night 😀

3. Take in the Culture – check out all the ancient buildings and go on a photo tour
     As I mentioned earlier, Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali, and it’s not hard to see why.  Buildings from the eleventh century mingle with corner stores and supermarkets, scooters ride by with Balinese dancers in traditional dress scooting by to their performances, and beautiful art is displayed both in corners of markets and huge galleries as well.  I walked around in awe, snapping pics and reading about the history of this magical city, taking it all in.  The pictures don’t really do this place justice, but I will post them anyway.
2. Bike through the Rice Paddies
     This bike trip was a total highlight. We were short on cash and didn’t want to pay for a full day tour around Ubud, so we rented bikes for a day for 3 bucks (30,000 Rupiah) and took off on a little adventure of our own.  We had asked at the tourist centre (which looks like a castle) where the best places to see some country side were, and they made a little itinerary for us.  We biked up a hilly plain, passing villages on the way, and even though it rained a bit in between sunny breaks, the rain was refreshing and fitting as we saw the beautiful rice paddies laid out neatly in the villages.  People are so friendly in Bali!  They called out hello from their doorsteps and driveways, asking us where we were going and what we wanted to see, or just shouted a friendly greeting and went about their day.  Awesome!  The whole trip took about two hours and there was lots of time to chill at our beautiful guesthouse pool later on in the day.
     My favourite place in Ubud, hands down, was the monkey temple forest just on the outskirts of Ubud.  It’s a functioning temple that has been in use since the 11th century, dedicated to the animal gods and to harmony with nature and all living things.  Inside it’s an oasis, the soaring trees and greenery mixing with the ancient statues and temples, with monkeys causing havoc all over the grounds as they played, ate bananas, groomed each other, and generally delighted the tourists with their antics.  They are so humanlike!  One greedy little monkey jerk took all my bananas, but then sat very close to me and I watched as he expertly unwrapped and ate every banana in the bunch, guarding his hoard against the other sneaky guys who were watching and waiting for a chance to steal them.  It was a great way to spend an afternoon, just chilling with these amazing animals and taking in the beauty of the forest and the temple.  I loved it!
These are only my top five experiences, there is so much more to do in Ubud, including yoga, cleanses, detoxing, day trips, volunteering opportunities, watching dances + performances, and much more. I may have to come back here when im older and wiser, with a lot more money in my pockets, cause this is definitely a place to experience twice in a lifetime!
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Chiang Mai Bound!

The next morning me and two of my friends left sweaty sweaty BKK for the misty green mountains in Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand. Since we had limited time, we decided to fly there, which ended up being the best decision ever, as it was so smooth and hassle free to take a domestic flight instead. It was a bit more expensive, but the ease of travel and time saved more than made up for the price of the ticket. It was us three mangy backpackers and every Asian tourist in Thailand headed to Chiang Mai, for the sweet sweet two hour ride which would give us an extra whole day there!

We stepped off the plane amazed at the efficiency of domestic Thai airlines, and into a cheap taxi to the heart of the old town, finding a decent guest house after a few near misses for rooms. We had ah-mazing mediterranean food for lunch (might sound weird but Chiang Mai had unreal Western food, something we were all craving by that point) and decided our top three things to do/see were: riding scooters, going up the mountain to see the ancient Doi Suthep temple, and do some ziplining through the rainforest. We booked our ziplining tour for the next day and found a place that would rent us sweet scooters for our mountain journey.

I am very proud to say that after a fateful gas stop and a few wrong turns I successfully guided us to the right road and up the winding streets to the mountain temple. It started to POUR as soon as we got up there, so our pictures feature us in hilarious pink ponchos and helmets as we climbed the 300 temple steps to the top.

The temple was gorgeous – my favorite one in all of Thailand so far, with a view of Chiang Mai and the surrounding countryside. The ride down was a bit crazy because of the wet roads, but we got back to the rental place in one piece with no damage to the bikes, whew! It was one of my favorite Thailand adventures so far.

We ate at a falang (foreigner) restaurant at dinner, then went to bed…boring girls!! Forgive us…we had been out three nights in a row at that point, sleep needed to happen!

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Everybody Come to Phi Phi Island Must Pay 20 Baht

Actually, we weren’t in Phi Phi yet, we did have one more night in Bottle Beach before we left, and I actually managed to stay up most of the second night as well, on account of some energy drink aftermath and my night owl tendencies! It was almost more fun than full moon in a way, there were very few of us out and we sat at the bar laughing and making friends with the locals, listening to awesome music and watching fire spinning.

The sun came up too soon and took us away from paradise onto our next adventure, the island of Koh Phi Phi!

A very hung over speedboat, ferry, bus and ferry ride later, we arrived in Phi Phi to cloudy skies and a bustling little port.  There are no cars on Phi Phi, but TONS of bikes and carts that WILL run you over if you’re not being careful!!

Our guesthouses were far enough away from the centre of town to be a bit more tranquil in the evening, but made for a longish walk to the beach and centre of town. Not that we really went to the beach, it was pretty cloudy and rainy during our stay 😦 oh well. once again – rainy season = stupid tourist!

We went out for dinner on the first evening after we had settled, but I was sooo tired after staying awake for the better part of the last three days, and passed out soon after that.

The next day our exploration of Phi Phi started, there was TONS of cheap shopping to be had, and we signed up for a scuba course the next day. The night passed in the usual way – group dinner, buckets with friends, dancing (on the speakers) at the club on the beach, and a semi-early night to prep for the dive the next day.

Semi….because we actually couldn’t sleep as we were total night owls by this point, aaand also because my friend Nikki bashed up her foot real good on the way home and had to be doctored by our (hero) guide Jon and cheered up by us and a bottle of vodka!!

Trust me….if you had seen her foot you would have passed her the bottle too…just sayin!!

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