Ubud is known for jungles and wildlife and I can confirm the truth behind tales of its visiting monkeys. Upon arrival at my two-bedroom villa, my friend and I were greeted by a family of 10 monkeys passing through. It seems our pool is their watering hole. One animal, a large male, came right up to us and slowly reached out to touch me. Exhilarating!
Alila Ubud rests above flowing rivers of this jungle and the waves and occasional screams of delighted rafters can be heard in the mornings. Try the Jackfruit coconut juice at breakfast or one of their eloquent creative concoctions off the menu. Fresh papaya juices, Marmalades and gluten free bread are available too. I had a 1 hour session of reflexology each day for only $30, since they know how to pamper you for great prices in Bali! Yoga is available every day at 7:30 am if you are a morning person.
Once a week Alila has “Spice Market”, a special traditional evening with entertainment; a dance show with locals in Balinese costumes and buffet style BBQ offering tasty and spicy local dishes, such as Nasi Goreng (indigenous to this area) coconut or meat-based clear broths and fresh soups. You can also try dim-sum style cuisine options that you can flavour with many sauces, homemade chili and peanut accompanied by Krupuk, a shrimp or rice-based gluten-free cracker. Sit or swim in your pool while enjoying a fresh orange juice, local jackfruit milk smoothie mixed with coconut juice and try the tasty homemade jams like papaya.
This is the place to see stunning perfectly vibrant green groomed rice terraces in abundance. I highly recommend this experience at Tegalalang rice terrace! If you’re the courageous type then try the swing over the terraces out into the jungle, it was such a cool experience and very freeing. Or visit the monkey forest sanctuary to feed and immerse yourself.
We ventured north to Bratan into the mountain jungle area to discover the infamous waterfalls Fiji and Grombong, also referred to as Sekumpul. Plan for a 2.5 hour drive from Alila Ubud hotel. Renting a nice comfortable large van will cost 150€ for 8 hours but taxis are cheaper! Make sure the taxi driver waits for you, as there aren’t any around when you come back up, tired from the hike.
At the top, you have various options of packages to select from. I selected the 175,000 option (approx $12.50) which includes a tour guide and moped bike one-way return from the first parking lot at the top of the falls. Parents: I don’t recommend bringing young children on this trek.
In this area I noticed there are many beautiful rattan products (such as a simple or colourful cute bag or hammock) Balinese-style handmade umbrellas with tassels, pretty furniture or beautifully carved wood sculptures to bring home as a souvenir. I chose some white Kaftans with flower designs and stitching for my family. I really wanted to export a gorgeous cement Buddha but it was too heavy - it would have been very expensive to ship to London!
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