Find some monkeys and have a great feed in Ubud – Bali.

To be completely honest, my Kuta experience wasn’t particularly outstanding. It consisted of crowded markets, hawkers and one blurry night at the Sky Garden. 

We spent our few days there in the heart of it in a pretty epic villa. But the loud, overcrowded party vibe can only last so long. So at the first chance, we headed off into the mountains. First stop – Ubud. 

Now where do I start with this charming jungle town? It felt like the perfect amount of quiet restaurant retreats and hippy hangouts. Not to mention some greats spots to get a massage or partake in a yoga class. 

We arrived in the rain. Our taxi drove slowly through the winding main streets, hedged by small shops and countless shrines and temples. Heading for our hostel. We had decided to trade the villa life for a more social experience. As for me, a blend of accommodation extremes is how I like to travel. You appreciate the best of both worlds. Experiencing a transition from luxury to low key, solidarity to social hub. 

Our hostel was called in da hostel, and was located up a steep hill at the end of town. I carted my luggage in, soaked head to toe. Walking through delicately adorned traditional doors, feeling like I had stepped into the set of eat pray love. A quaint setting was full of lush tropical gardens, hammocks and a long pool. 

We checked in and paid the receptionist a pittance. Jumping in amongst an array of travellers from all over the globe. 

After getting settled, we were recommended to head straight for the monkey forest.  

I walked in and purchased some bananas from a small stall. A large monkey zeroed in, leaping onto my shoulder to have some lunch. 

Within moments, he happened to mistake me for a toilet. You can imagine the scene. When I became an instant attraction and comic relief. 

I laughed it off and made my way to a small market stall up the road. Where I paid an exorbitant amount for an overly flamboyant local dress shirt. Kind of like the Balinese version of a Hawaiian shirt - full of flowers and elaborate patterns. 

We then headed further into the jungle to find the main temple. It was a giant precinct where tourists and monkeys mingled freely. 

I grabbed some more bananas, which were quickly stolen by an oversized alpha monkey. He happily snatched the entire bunch and walked off confidently.

I then took my colourful self down one of the less beaten tracks and further into the forest. Where I found monkeys playing in their natural environment. It allowed me to capture some pretty cool action shots. 

I then took up a vantage inside the large temple and people/monkey watched for a while. It was interesting to watch the differences and similarities play out. Not to mention the clash of behavioural characteristics and equal amounts of interest from both parties. 

I then jumped back on the moped and left what was a pretty interesting and unique experience. Following my stomach to a beautiful jungle restaurant. Where we took off our shoes and climbed into a small gazebo. Grabbed a beer and chatted away while our delicious traditional food was being prepared. 

I ordered the Balinese tapas, which was a sampling platter of a few local favourites. Including delicious chicken skewers, nasi goreng and all the other good stuff. Which was perfectly paired with a cold Bintang. 

I let my meal go down then headed up the road to a great little massage parlour. Nestled at the top of a jungle staircase on a small plateau. The smell of incense filled the air as I was handed a soothing tea. I was then treated to a warm scented oil massage. Afterwards, I stumbled home feeling drunk from relaxation – and the beers. Concluding a great first day in Ubud.  

AdventureScott Bidmead