Weekend at Ubud

Ubud is a town in the foothills of Bali known for its rice terraces, arts, and culture. Last weekend, with no plans in sight, my friends and I decided to head up to Ubud for the weekend and see what we could get into. The first place we stopped was the Ubud art market. After seeing various negative reviews on Google, we weren’t really sure what to expect. What we saw when we got there kind of blew us away. There were hand carvings everywhere, every type of Balinese clothing you could think of, and various instruments and jewelry littered the market. We walked around for a while, bought some stuff, and headed off to the rice terraces.

The rice terraces in Ubud may be the most well know part of Ubud. The most well-known and visited rice terrace is Tegalalang Rice Terrace. It is about a 20-minute motorbike ride from central Ubud. Upon arrival at the rice terrace, you won’t see much as the road has buildings on both sides offering incredible views of the terrace while you eat a meal or enjoy a Bintang. You have to scurry down past the shops to get to the trail that weaves throughout the terraces. Once at the trail head, you can really get a grasp of the size of the Tegalalang terrace. It is absolutely massive and I can’t really describe it in any other way but you kind of just have to see it in person. The trail goes down into the ravine, along rice terraces the whole time, then you go up the other side of the terrace. Once you reach the top you can look back across the terraces and the trail you just walked to get to the top of the other side. They also sell Bintags at the top so you won’t be in much of a rush to take the trek back to the other side. After enjoying a beer or 12 we decided to go to our next spot of the day, Tegenungan Waterfall.

The drive to the waterfall from the rice terraces was about 45 minutes, but it would only be around 30 from central Ubud. After arriving and parking our bikes, we walked through the small town leading up to the trail that goes down to the waterfall, as it is in the bottom of a gorge. The entre hike down you can see the waterfall raging off of the cliffs. You can also see the tiny specs that are people swimming around in the water at the base of the falls. Once you get to the falls you’re going to be confronted massive groups of tourists taking pictures and selfies in stupid poses. You’re going to want to avoid that whole scene and head straight into the water. Once in the water there isn’t much to do other than try your hardest to get under the waterfall itself, even though I’m like 80% sure if you actually do get under it, you will probably immediately get knocked out as there is an absurd amount of water coming over the falls. So obviously, my friends and I try this and are instantaneously unsuccessful, as the amount of water moving is similar to Teahupo’o. After this frugal effort, we tried to head out to the cliff the water rushed over, but they asked for money. The second crushing defeat in a row really took the wind out of our sails, so we decided to just find a hostel and go to our final location, Goa Gajah, the next morning. We found a nice yet affordable ($4 for the night) hostel called Lagas Hostel. We spent the night there, and got up nice and early to head to Goa Gajah.

Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave, is a temple complex located about 10 minutes from central Ubud. It was built in the 11th century as a place for spiritual meditation, with some artifacts dating back to the 8th century. It contains the elephant cave itself, bathing/ cleansing stations, and a Buddhist temple further into the complex. Inside the cave itself, there is a statue and three stone idols. The visit itself won’t take more than an hour or so, so if you plan on going to Ubud to see this, plan a few other things as well. Also, if you are going to go to this temple, or any temple on the island, make sure you bring your traditional Balinese clothing, as you will not be allowed into the worship area if you do not have the proper attire. The locals will also love seeing you try to be Balinese.

 

Good on ya.

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Program Info: www.asiaexchange.org

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