That Time We Were Millionaires: Ubud

By Blonde Bowhemian - June 23, 2016

I’m currently writing this on my flight to Dallas, Texas, experiencing some minor PTSD from the fact that my last flight was 21 hours of air time and only a few weeks ago. Seriously, after that trip I didn’t want to see another plane or airport for a few months, but sorority duties call and so here I am. 

Anyways, Bali! I’m finally getting around to sharing some snippets of our week-long trip to one of the most incredible places in the world. After a six hour flight over the outback of Australia and the Indian Ocean, we landed in Denpasar, Bali and made our way to the ATM to get some rupiah. Let’s just say that we were ballin'. For real the first and probably only time I’ll ever be a multi millionaire and max out an ATM. We each casually grabbed 2.5 million rupiah (~$180 lol) and attempted to stuff it all into our wallets. Is this a problem celebrities run into a lot?? It was super hard to fit it all. Then we grabbed a taxi and asked to go to our first destination: Ubud, which should’ve been an hour ride away. It wasn’t. Let’s just say that there are no rules in Bali. Literally: No one on the other side of the road? Let’s use both lanes! Traffic lights? Those weren’t made for us to actually follow. Blinkers? What are those? It was cray. 

Somehow, someway, after winding through the ghettos of Bali, (shacks and stray dogs and people everywhere), wondering if we would make it out alive, we wound up in the center of Ubud, tired, starving, and sweating. We walked to our hotel, The Secret Garden Guest House, checked in and happily collapsed on the bed in our air conditioned room before going out to explore a bit, aka stuff our faces with fried rice and burgers for a whole $11 total. Also it was 5pm but felt like 7pm for us so ~early bird special~. Later that night, we walked over to a different street for drinks and on the way we passed a monkey just hanging out in the street, going through and eating people’s trash. We even watched him open a bottle and take a swig. Totally a natural. Drinks were good, a whole $3 each, and then it was back to the hotel to plan the following day and catch up on some sleep. 
looking out from our room
The next morning, after breaking our shower and waiting for it to be fixed while our entire bathroom flooded, we were off to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Guys, this place would not fly in the US. After paying a small fee, we just walked in, banana in hand, no gates, no protection, no guide, nothing. The monkeys were everywhere omg. They were so cute, especially the babies, but also semi vicious with one another. Scared at first and unsure of how to get the monkeys to jump up on us, we just kind of stalked them around the forest and snapped pics. Then, after talking with the some of the workers they helped us to get the monkeys to jump up on us. Slightly terrifying, but also awesome, they climbed, aka groped, all over us in order to get to the bananas we were holding. One of the ones that jumped on me was legit 15 pounds and if I wasn’t wearing my hat I’m pretty sure I’d have no hair left and some major scratches. Actually, one did cut John’s head, so basically I thought he was going to get some incurable monkey disease, so I made him use some of my Neosporin to make myself feel better. 
doing well
not so well
v unwell
Anyways, we left the forest and made our way back to the main road to meet our private driver for the day. Originally, we had asked to go to Aling-Aling Waterfall and the Tegalalang rice terraces but after getting in the car with our two guides, they said we couldn’t do both due to time constraints. Definitely bummed, we chose the rice terraces as they were closer. However, as we were driving our guides said we could go to hot springs to make up for it, which we happily agreed to. We settled back and enjoyed the scenery around us, trying not to think that we were in the car with strangers we met via email. Then one of the guides said “Do you like coffee?” If you’ve met either of us you know we’re low-key addicted so of course we gave an enthusiastic “Yes,” wondering why he asked. 10 minutes later we pulled up outside a coffee plantation where we were given a private tour and shown how the special Luwak coffee, the most expensive coffee in the world, is made (read: from animal poop). Then, we were led this amazing balcony overlooking the jungle and given a free tasting of their various (regular) coffees and teas. Beyond incredible. Plus, for $50,000 rupiah (~$4) we tasted the poop coffee!!! Surprisingly good, all things considered. 
so casual
mmm, poop coffee
After this surprise visit, we were surprised again with a stop overlooking Mt. Batur, Bali’s volcano, and the surrounding natural lake. Our guide, somehow continuing to read us like a book, offered to take a million pics for us (#fortheinsta) before we got back in the car and made our way to the hot springs. Once at the Toya Devasya, a picture-perfect resort and hot springs, they left us to do our thang, aka take a ton of GoPro footage in the hot springs. They were so beautiful as they bordered the lake and had perfect views of the mountains, plus we were the only people in them. We soaked it all in literally and figuratively, grabbed some lunch, and managed not to get sunburned. Highly recommended but not easy to get to.
lol that we almost hiked that volcano at sunrise
hot in hurrr
Our last stop of the day was the rice terraces in Tegalalang. What most tourists conjure up when they think of Ubud, it definitely lived up to its post-card worthy expectations minus a multitude of mosquitoes. The terraces were enormous, and climbing up and down the dirt pathways was much more difficult than expected, but we were able to make our way down into the valley and up to the other side of the terraces, where we looked out over all of the paddies and back into the cliffside town. How they are landscaped so perfectly is beyond me but it made for some great photo opportunities and is definitely something not to be missed. Plus, Julia Roberts was there in Eat, Pray, Love, so you gotta go. After we climbed back up to the road, it was finally time to pay up the whole $40 that we owed them for our six hour private tour and return to the hotel, but only for a few minutes. 
views @champagnepapi 
look back at it
Trying to see as much as possible, we were quickly back on our feet and went to do a loop around Ubud center, including walking through Ubud Palace, a former royal abode. We then grabbed some dinner, and gelato of course (#balibody2k16), and made our way back to the hotel. The next morning we were up and at ‘em early to check out and meet our taxi to make our way to Gili Trawangan, possibly the weirdest place on the planet….
Queen Elizabeth would not be a fan
Stay tuned!

xox,

Joanna










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