For our first two nights in Bali we stayed in Ubud at the Komaneka Rasa Sayang hotel… it was wonderful! The hotel was new, clean, modern, and the customer service was some of the best I’ve ever experienced. They gave us a welcome gift, a surprise birthday cake for me, and taught Michael how to use a motorbike (after getting us a one-day rental for just $7). And the best part was that this property is located right in the middle of Ubud town on Monkey Forest Road, walking distance to both the actual monkey forest and Ubud Palace.
We spent one morning walking around the Sacred Monkey Forest taking photos. This place was chock full of monkeys! It’s home to more than 300 long-tailed macaques that belong to four distinct families. We were there for maybe 5 minutes when I felt 20 cool little monkey fingers climbing my bare leg and reaching into my purse. I shook the would-be thief off before he was able to find anything worth steeling, and got a hiss and a dirty look in exchange for my interrupting his search. This was an uneventful encounter compared to what we would see at Uluwatu two nights later.
The next morning was spent exploring the area around Ubud on our rented motorbike. We visited the rice terraces in Tegallalang and shopped on the street leading back to Ubud where wholesalers make their purchases. This was done mostly in the rain, but it didn’t lessen our enjoyment at all. In fact, it was pretty fun! We were soaked when we returned to the hotel so decided to take advantage of the spa facilities. After glorious couples massage we headed to south Bali for the last part of our trip.
Bali’s beaches are nice, but its cultural heart resides in Ubud. It’s here where you’ll find the best handmade crafts, the best gamelan troupes, and the best traditional dancers. Ubud in central Bali is a part of the island not to be missed.