This week Janice is offering the Solo Travel Destination Post. Usually it's contributed by a member of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook. Do you have a solo travel destination that you would like to recommend? Submit your description here, along with a few photos, and share it with fellow travelers!
Solo travel rating: 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult. Please see chart below)
Languages spoken: Indonesian, Javanese, Balinese. Many people and especially children speak English.
Reasons to Visit Ubud and Surrounding Area
The town of Ubud plays an important role in central Bali. Known as the locus of culture on the island, it is a very popular destination. You can read a destination post about Ubud here. But there is much to see outside of Ubud as well. This post will give you some idea of things to do in the surrounding area while using Ubud as your base.
I was in Bali as the guest of Overseas Adventure Travel. Our Balinese guide took our small group of 15 to many places on the island. We stayed in Ubud three nights and spent one day in Ubud and the other two days outside. (You can read more about this trip in the list of posts at the end of this story.)
Immediately south of Ubud (so close that it's almost part of the town) is the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary which is known simply as the Monkey Forest. It's home to about 600 cheeky Macaque monkeys who are always keen to grab any food you might be carrying. Within the forest is the Holy Spring Bathing Temple.
Walk out of the bustle of Ubud and go for a gentle hike along Tjampuhan Hill. The trail starts at Ubud’s large bridge across the Wos River. There's a steep grade down to the river on one side of you and fields of various kinds on the other. It is quite beautiful and true to what one expects from Ubud, peaceful.
Volcanos and Ancient Villages
A bus ride north of the city will take you to the Bangli area with its volcanos, hot springs, Lake Batur and the Trunyan Village. You get to the latter by boat from the village of Kedisan. Trunyan is known as home to the Bali Aga ethnic group, considered to be the first people of Bali. A walk about this small village will show you many old traditions at work. Just a bit farther by boat, you can visit their unusual Kuburan (cemetery, see below). Lunch in Kedisan by the lake provides views of the Batur volcano.
On the way back to Ubud, stop into a coffee plantation and try Luwak Coffee which is made from coffee berries that have been selected, eaten, digested and defecated by the Civet, a cat-like animal. Sounds horrible. The result is excellent, though expensive, coffee.
The villages around Ubud each have their own specialty craft. Mas Village is known for wood carving. Celuk Village is known for gold and silver crafting. Batubulan is known for stone carvings of gods and animals. The market in Ubud is filled with mass-produced products. If you're in a mood to shop, go to one of the villages or, in Ubud, go to Threads of Life which a non-profit organization that helps traditional weavers from all over Bali by bringing their products to their store in the city.
Solo Travel Destination Rating System
Safety – 1 (1 very safe, 2 safe in most areas, 3 be cautious at all times.)
Language – 2 (1 English is first language, 2 English speakers easy to find, 3 English speakers rare)
Navigation – 1 (1 easy to navigate by transit or car, 2 poor transit, car necessary, 3 not easy to get around)
Culture – 2 (1 Similar to North America or Western Europe, 2 Different from above but relaxed and easy, 3 Challenging)
Average Rating – 1.5 (1 is easiest, 3 is most difficult)
More Posts on Java and Bali
- The Magnificent UNESCO Temples of Java: walk with me
- Jostling Through Java by Train
- From the Frenzy of Jakarta to the Calm of Bogor’s Botanical Gardens – in Photos
- Into Homes, Schools and Villages in Java and Bali
- More Behind the Scenes in Java and Bali
- Pic of the Week: Ganesha in Bali
- Giving Space to All Life – of travelers and cockroaches
- A Solo Vacation: stimulation, education and relaxation