Ubud and Kuta: 7-10 Feb '14
Fri 7 Feb 14 - Mon 10 Feb 14 30 °C
So on we headed to Bali - legendary paradise of Indonesia. It is the only Hindu part of the country, and it is strikingly obvious. In Ubud, Bali's cultural hub, we stayed in a homestay guesthouse - like Lombok, this was a family compound containing houses around a central area - but in Bali, the centre was occupied by Hindu shrines, with lots of birds and animals in the grounds as well. Everywhere you walked in Ubud there were little square leaf trays containing offerings of flowers and food - you really had to watch your feet! It was great to see lots of Balinese architecture nestling amongst the modern buildings, and some good food to be found off the main roads.
Despite being the cultural centre, we didn't actually go off to any dance/music/art - we were just ready to chill out. We did head to Goa Gajah, the Elephant Cave - which has a very elaborately carved entrance and beautiful grounds in the jungle, with trails leading off to other temples. Other than that, we ate (discovering another bakery was fatal), wandered through the fascinating market (all souvenirs, but so pretty!) and got pedicures - a very relaxing time! I even managed to meet up with Claudia, who I'd travelled with in Cambodia and Laos - it was lovely to see her again and catch up on her travels.
As a complete contrast, next stop was the legendary Kuta beach - where Aussie's come on holiday. The surfing is meant to be good but its totally commercialised and Westernised - also dirty, noisy and expensive. The best description is like Magaluf for Aussie's. On our first night we went out, but it wasn't the most exciting and we got robbed on the way home. This ruined the next day - sorting everything out and feeling pretty pissed off at the world. The final day we spent relaxing - trying to get a better impression of Kuta. We briefly visited the beach (nothing special) and indulged in Western food (pizza. nom.) and a massage, but our overall impression of Kuta was it sucked. Totally different to both the other Kuta and Ubud. I wished we'd stayed in Ubud - much more chilled and friendly and pretty!