Day 236: Exploring Indonesia – Bali and Ubud
Photoblog time. In and around Bali.
Ubud, the cultural center of Bali, is most known for it’s arts, crafts, and rice paddy fields. You may also recognize it as the place Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts was filmed. We chose to take a day trip to Ubud, as it was only an hour away from where we stayed in Bali.
When we enquired at the hotel about hiring a taxi for a full day, we were told it would cost the equivalent of $100 USD. Not bad for a full day, but pretty expensive for Indonesia. We said we’d consider it. We then headed into town for a few hours, to enjoy the culture and shopping nearby. While there, we were approached by other taxi drivers, who offered to take us on full day tours for less than half that price ($45 USD). We got their information and decided to go with them, as we felt very comfortable during our interactions.
That evening, we reached out to two separate drivers who had given us their numbers. Neither answered their phones, but I think it had something to do with the way we were dialing their numbers. Ryan went down to the concierge for assistance, and in the process, found out that he also had a close trusted friend who could provide the same service for the same price. Normally, he would not offer this service, since the hotel’s primary goal with tours is to make money, but since we were set on going this route, he kindly connected us.
The next day, Gede (pronounced “Good day”) arrived early at the hotel and off we went. He was an excellent driver and helped us make the most of our day in Ubud and the surrounding areas. We could definitely have spent a few additional days here, had we had more time, but thanks to Gede, we got a great overview! For more on our day with Gede and the “Attack in the Sacred Monkey Forest,” stay tuned.
In the Streets: Here are a few shots we took while driving around the streets of Bali and Ubud. Motorcycles are everywhere. It’s a quick and easy way to get around for locals and tourists alike, though I must say please be careful, as driving can get crazy. If you look closely, you’ll also see babies on board. Sometimes, you might even see four or five people sharing one motorcycle! And look at the loads some of them carry. Wow!
Shopping and Entertainment: There are a lot of places where you can shop and explore. Try straying just outside of the resort areas, however, as you will get much better local pricing versus paying an arm and a leg just for being a tourist.
In Bali, we stayed in Nusa Dua, a lovely resort area. Just a short walk or quick taxi cab ride away were the three city gate entrances. If you cross through any one of those gates, the prices drop dramatically. Of course, no English is spoken, but everyone knows numbers and how to negotiate, especially if you know you’re being asked to pay too much and begin to walk away.
Just be careful not to show too much interest if you’re not sure you love something. Mikayla and her dad were negotiating prices on some products and did not like them enough to pay the somewhat inflated prices they were being asked to pay. They said thanks, but no thanks. As we all walked away, the shopkeeper was glaring and actually hissing at us. It was a bit unsettling, but it only happened once.
Of course, the boys weren’t into shopping as much as the girls, nor was mom. We chose to sit this round out.