As I scoured Google and my bucket list for vacation ideas I discovered that Bali has favorable weather all summer while the rest of South East Asia is stuck in the rainy season. It was an easy decision to book the flights and I hope the predictions are right because last year’s rainy Thai adventure left me drenched enough for at least another year.
Ubud is a must stop for anyone on Bali and pretty easy to get to from the Denpassar Airport. If you can find a shared van you should be able to get there for 60,000 IDR a person ($6) but more likely you’ll end up taking a private taxi (starting 350,000 IDR we haggled to 275,000)
Riding in a cab you quickly pass giant pillars and statues of Hindu gods. Oceanic scenes with animal servants stand beneath colossal sculptures of Vishnu.
Red brick surrounds temples and houses alike with modern architecture erratically thrown in between.
Traditionally each Balinese house has a shanti to symbolize things like peace & wisdom. Bali is often called the “Island of the Gods” because it has over 13,000 temples and Balinese people are quite spiritual.
The ride north to Ubud takes us along the main highway but its in fact a tiny 2-lane road constantly filled with traffic. The small streets are lined with tourists staring at sculpture factories and locals buying the days wares from the market. Local women balance baskets on their head and stroll past our stalled taxi.
As the traffic clears up we get going again and quickly pass thousands of traditional stone carvings. Store after store lines the roads with buddhas, tigers and hindu gods welcoming you in. Eventually the stores dissipate and green farmland prevails. Gigantic palm trees reach towards a striking blue sky littered with fluffy white clouds. Rice terraces whisper secrets through the trees but are too shy to see from the drive as lush jungle momentarily overtakes the storefronts.
Heading to Bali? Make sure you read this guide to Bali before you go!
The road narrows but motorbikes still zoom past us. A massive truck crawls past with a half dozen construction workers riding on the roof. We come to a stop one more time and I turn to the left to find an elderly woman balancing a bundle of green grasses on her head.
Potholes slow us even further when the radio switches from Disney’s colors of the wind to a Hindu prayer. 12 noon stops all radios for lively bells with guttural chanting. Our cabbie informs us this happens 3 times a day at 6am and 6pm.
We arrive in Ubud after about an hour and a half an settle into our beautiful hotel excited to explore this new paradise.