UBUD: BEAUTIFUL TRADITIONAL-MODERN COHERENCY

Hello from Tangerang!

It’s been three weeks since I got back home this month and I want to tell you about my second home in Bali, Ubud.

Well, I stayed in Ubud since March 13th until April 5th 2017. I planned to stay in Ubud for months but things went out of plan! I ran out of money (lost control here lol) and I couldn’t find a suitable job. I also missed crafting so much, so, yeah. I have told you in earlier post why I chose Ubud but actually Ubud is much much much more than that! I haven’t even explored everything cool in Ubud but here is compilation about it.

ATTRACTIONS

Goa Gajah

Mostly there are some stone ruins, a bathing place and a cave to meditate. I had to hire a local guide to know more about it. Unluckily, the tourists on that day aren’t from English-language countries and I couldn’t listen to it for free lol.

Entrance of the cave. There are statues of Ganesha and well, I forgot the other >.<

 

 

Tegenungan Waterfall

From above. We had to walk down the stairs to get there.
Which one is your focus?

 

Tegalalang Terrace

 

So many people visit just to see rice terrace. Including me T_T

 

Like, SO MANY!

But I read a book, Bali is outstanding for the irrigation system the people built even from the 9th century. The scheme is complex and clever because water is very important for Balinese; well water is important for everyone but Bali really take the irrigation system to the next level. Let me quote articles from Wikipedia xD

Subak is a traditional ecologically sustainable irrigation system that binds Balinese agrarian society together within the village’s Bale Banjar community center and Balinese Temples. The water managements is under the authority of the priests in water temples, who practice Tri Hita Karana Philosophy, a self-described relationship between humans, the earth and the gods. Tri Hita Karana draws together the realm of spirit, the human world and nature. The overall subak system exemplifies this philosophical principle. Water temple rituals promote a harmonious relationship between people and their environment through the active engagement of people with ritual concepts that emphasize dependence on the life-sustaining forces of the natural world. Rice is seen as the gift of god, and the subak system is part of temple culture.

 

Here are famous places that I actually never visited xD

Monkey Forest

Just like Sangeh, this place is full of monkeys. You need to pay entrance fee for 50k for adults.

Image courtesy of Google

 

Museum of Antonio Blanco

A very unique artist named Antonio Blanco captured traditional Balinese women who were half naked in everyday life.

Courtesy of Google

 

Caption same

My friend, Monica went there and she said it was nice seeing those paintings.

 

Bukit Campuhan

Just a hill which is famous as morning jog spot. If only I were a morning person -.-

Again, courtesy of Google

 

HANDCRAFTED PRODUCTS
You can see so many souvenir shops along the roads but the items there are a bit pricey. If you want to buy things in bulk, you can go ahead to the way of Tegalalang. Soooooo many shops on the side road and most of them made by its own crafters. So the shops are more like the crafters’ gallery you know.

 

 

 

 

TRADITIONAL ARCHITECTURES
Most of the neighborhood looks so traditional. For example, the place where Monica’s staying or my hostel at Ode Hostel (on Monkey Forest Rd.); generally it looks so Balinese. The architectural layout or designs although the room inside isn’t that traditional.

 

View right from my hostel’s terrace.

 

MODERN LOOK
The modern look is contributed by the shops/bars/restaurants you see along the famous streets and places in Ubud. You can also see shops you also meet in Jakarta like Fipper, Breadline, Wakai, etc. However, don’t expect to eat KFC, McDonalds, or Hoka Hoka Bento here. They are prohibited.
PLACES TO EAT
I don’t spend much money in this section but what I can say is that Ubud has so many tempting restaurants. Restaurants, cafes or bars here are so nicely decorated and I really really wanted to try eating something expensive but…couldn’t afford them much. Anyway, so many vegan restaurants here because I heard vegan has been such a popular lifestyle among foreigners; and I still wonder why vegan food is much more expensive since it only has vegetables in it T_T.
You can also watch movies together with other customers in these following restaurants: Blackbeach, Alchemy, Paradiso, Roam. You can see the movie schedule by checking on the web or simply take the flyer there. I have tried to watch twice in Blackbeach and Paradiso. It was a nice experience.

Monica and I watched French movie in Blackbeach and so sorry Blackbeach, we only ordered arak (15k) and wedang jahe (7k) LOL!!! Cheapest cinema ever! It was quite different in Paradiso, customers should pay 50k to get the ticket while you can also use it to buy food inside.

 

So worth it!

I went there with my new friend from Czech Republic, Lenka. I use the money I spent to buy something cheap, which was below 50k, so I didn’t have to pay more. I chose Granola thing soup (something with Granola and fruits). Lenka asked why I ordered breakfast menu. Sh*t I didn’t even know it was breakfast menu, I only chose it because it was cheap lol! With so much pride, I answered: “I want to eat light.”

We watched Doctor Strange and it was niiiiiiceeeeeeee….! Paradiso is so cool.

How cozy!

 

Both young and old people enjoyed it.

 

COWORKING SPACES

So many long-term travelers from all over the world come to Bali and I don’t really know but I saw so many people working in Bali. Some of them use 1 laptop and I even saw a guy who brought 2 laptops and did things with music editing, I wasn’t sure. So many digital nomads these days and they need a place with good ambiance and strong wi-fi.

While I was in Ubud I mostly went to Onion Coworking Space, it’s donation based and so friendly!

So Homey!

I was in Onion during my hard day, thankfully only 2 people were there since it was Saturday lol. Here I found a book that seem could help me.

They also have restaurants and guest house outside. They also have pool and guests are welcome.

 

Outdoor space.

There are still 2 more famous co-working space in Ubud, they are Hubud and Outpost. They are expensive but somehow so many people go there because connection is also a good investment. For example, my friend Monica, she got jobs in Ubud from people she met in co-working space. It’s a good opportunity!

I never been to Hubud but I visited Outpost. Frankly saying, I love Outpost.

Open pools and river view

 

PLACES TO STAY

I stayed in 2 different hostels when first arrived there. As usual, I swiped leeeeeft on the price range section and I saw “Halaman Depan” Hostel! Only 35k per night!! But sorry I must say the place isn’t that good (well, worth it for that cheap price actually). Later I moved to Ode Hostel on Monkey Forest Road, the ambiance there was nice and near Ubud Center so, I liked it.

Living Room
The Dorm

 

EPILOG

When I was in Ubud I din’t explore much because I gotta do part time job which was helping Monica to make menu board for an Gelato Shop. Anyway, the gelato was very delicious! Drop a visit to Ice Dream when you go to Ubud Market or Monkey Forest!

Lol

 

I also had a chance to visit some less crowded place in Bangli and Padang Bai.

I went to Dusun Kuning Waterfall and oh my goodness, quite scary because I had to trek for about 15 mins to get to the waterfall. It was just me at the waterfall, lol! I suddenly remember the moments I had with friends at Batu Mentas, Belitung. If I were with my friends, it would be fun.

I didn’t notice the way in. Glad there were some locals at that time
Quite nice huh

 

Then I went to Bloolagoon in Padang Bai. Andri told me about this place and the most exciting part was I could do snorkeling from the beach. I bought mask and snorkel in 2015 and never used it wtf! So happy to finally use them.

 

So hyped when I saw this

 

A few small boats floating

 

I could only swim for about 20 mins until a storm came. Overall, I love all the experience that day.


Anyway, this is the end of Bali story. I hope you like it! See ya.

SAIL TO THE OTHER WORLD

This village is located in the eastern shore of Lake Batur. Different from low-land Balinese people, Bali Aga people from Trunyan village has a very unique funeral rite and way of life.

Ngaben is well known as a proper  death rite even though the cost is high, almost (or sometimes reaches) hundred million rupiahs. Bali Aga (mountain people) of Trunyan village don’t need that tho. They have their own way as a culture they have to respect and because of their financial status. Since they mostly depend on agriculture and fishing, they can’t afford that big  amount of money.

Anyway, on that day, I originally wanted to go to Nusa Penida but I think it would be so boring to go there alone. So I changed the plan and go to Kintamani. I always wanted to visit Mt Batur since I arrived at Ubud. I didn’t do the sunrise trekking tho. I waited for my Palada friends to go there together. Trekking alone is not my thing lol.

I took Tegalalang route to get to Kintamani. I passed Tegalalang rice terrace and I found that the views on my way up was magnificent! I remember I wrote the same thing when I went to Beratan Lake. The truth is this one was better! Since the weather was so cloudy, I speeded up my bike but I had to stop at some places because they were very beautiful! Like this.

One of the most popular flower in Bali.

 

Harvesters.

Not long after that, I passed an intersection and an old woman suddenly stopped me, by force. She held so many bantens (Banten is offering) and she prayed for me and said it was such a ritual to go to Kintamani and she hoped me to be safe. I don’t think it’s necessary but it would be so rude to leave her. I knew I had to pay for the banten and the prayer and yes, it cost Rp 10.000. It’s such small money actually but somehow I wasn’t comfortable of the way she earned it. But ok laaa…  I don’t support beggars. I prefer to give them food but well, once again, ok laaaa..

I finally arrived at Kintamani area. On the left, you can see a giant Mount Batur and on the right you can see a super vaaaaaaast lake. I stopped at a restaurant because it had a best viewpoint, I think; besides it started to rain so I had no choice. It was nice, even the price of fried rice was very well too nice that I had to pay Rp 75.000 for it (-.-). Didn’t make sense to me actually. It took about almost an hour until the heavy rain stopped and I finally had a chance to capture the lake! It was sooo nice! I asked a waiter where Trunyan was and he pointed at a tiny group of houses, the last village, the most isolated one.

 

Guess.

 

I continued my journey. It was soo beautiful, really! The road was steep sometimes when I was going down and some were slippery but it was so nice. I took videos with my phone shouting “BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL!”.

 

On my way to Trunyan, I met a local and he guided me the way. Well, the road is only one but it was quite dangerous. Steep, bad road, and sharp turns. Trunyan is quiet and I think it looked quite poor. One thing I like from the village, a big beautiful temple.

 

 

To the dock

 

 

I was almost disappointed when I found out I was the only visitor at that time and it would be super duper expensive for me to rent the boat to get to the “cemetery”.

 

So quiet

 

I heard about Trunyan when I was in university. My anthropology lecturer, Professor James Danandjaja (†), did research about Trunyan and Bali Aga people for 3 months (if i’m not mistaken) many years ago.

 

I didn’t know why but I really want to go there yet it was still not worth it to afford it just to see dead people bones, roughly said lol. Thankfully the guide told me a group of people were coming and yay! I could share the cost with them. It was just 4 of us and I met new friends from Bandung whom now are working in Bali. We paid for the boat for Rp 275.000 per person. Good enough.

 

 

It was such a remote area and can only be reached by boat. Only those who got married and died “normally” can be placed there. Those who died young or because they got accident, the body will be buried on land near the village, at the border to the next village. And those who died as single, considered as baby. They also have special place.

 

Here

 

Because of rainy season, the dock was flooded.

 

Creepy greeting

 

Spot the bone?

 

More bones

 

The corpses will just be placed on the ground inside a bamboo cage and left to be naturally decomposed. Interesting huh!

The grave. The maximum number of the grave is only 11.

 

Taru menyan tree, absorbs the putrid smell from the corpses.

 

A pile of skulls

 

If I’m not mistaken, this was the freshest one; 2 months old.

 

Smiling in the land of bones lol.

 

The guy beside me (grey outer) is Andri. We still keep contact until now lol, funny. It was nice, i’m telling you! Although it was expensive I’m still happy. The village, the scenery of Mt. Batur, Lake Batur, Mount Abang, all of them, I loved them!

 

Mount Abang is behind me.

 

Time to go home and I chose the same road. You an also see fresh fruit sellers on the way to Tegalalang. I bought a kilo of orange just for Rp 10.000. Quite sweet tho.

 

Fresh fruits sellers.

 

NYEPI SO SEPI

I’m a calendar-ignorant person. When I flied to Bali about 3 weeks ago, I didn’t know Bali would be celebrating Silence Day (Nyepi) this month. It was Mas GoJek who informed me and I was so excited to celebrate it here! He even explained things clearly about Nyepi although he was Javanese. When I met other travelers, I wondered if they knew about Nyepi (no go out, no light, no fire— also means no cooking). Some knew and some didn’t. Some of them responded like ‘okay, this is new thing to me and I want to try it’ yet some were surprised and tried to escape lol. Usually travelers escape to Lombok during Nyepi to avoid such a veryyyyy silent day.

If you were here, which choice would you choose?

According to Wikipedia (seriously because when I asked about Nyepi to Balinese people, different people gave me different details), Nyepi is celebrated from 6am to 6am next day and during that time; each individual needs to do self-reflection. Any actions that might interfere are prohibited; and those prohibitions are no lighting fires (and lights must be kept low), no working, no entertainment or pleasure, no traveling, and for some no talking and eating at all. No outside activity is allowed; even the airport is closed. There are Pecalang (traditional security men) who patrol and ensure all prohibitions are being followed; if you dare to break the rule, let’s say going out; you will be taken to Banjar (a kind of traditional public hall) and you have to wait there until Nyepi is over. My landlord also said the trespasser will also be charged million rupiahs.

So, my room in Bali is located in the corner and it’s usually very dark at night. The toilet is outside and I have to walk in darkness that I usually use flash light from my phone lol! I don’t even turn the lamp off when I sleep because I am scared. There are also stickers of political party with the face of landlord’s deceased brother in my room. Good thing the face is handsome (so sad he died in such a young age) but at night, I try to avoid to see the stickers. With those conditions, I was afraid to be able to celebrate Nyepi here. Monica and I had a plan to go to her friend’s house along with other friend (confusing? Haha) to spend Nyepi together. I already packed everything but on the last day, there were no further news so I guess I had to stay at my place.

Anyway, there are some rituals must be done before Nyepi. My Balinese father, Pak Putu, asked me to join his wife to do the rituals together but I forgooootttt the first T^T.

  1. Melasti

It’s performed 3-4 beforehand, a kind of purification ritual. Balinese people will go to the temple near the sea and the ritual is meant to purify sacred objects and to acquire sacred water from the sea. So sad I missed this! Totally forgot!

 

Image Courtesy of Google
  1. Pengerupukan

Taken on day-1. This ritual is meant to vanquish the negative elements and create balance with God, Mankind, and Nature. People will make giant demon figures out of bamboo, styrofoam or else and burn it as a symbol of burning negative elements in our life. Somehow, Pengerupukan is something that everybody loves the most, especially the youngsters. They spent 1-2 months before to make very cool Ogoh-Ogoh. They create their own demon figure, some are so so but many of them are super cool with awesome details.

 

In the making

All Ogoh-Ogoh that each Banjar made will be paraded along the street. In the center of Ubud, there are 6 Banjars and each Banjar will parade 2-3 Ogoh-Ogoh and they gather together in Ubud’s soccer field. It was such an exuberant celebration. So many tourists enjoyed the show! Anyway that was the last day for all people to buy things because you couldn’t go anywhere on the next day. I bought stocks of mineral water and foods at around 2pm and was so shocked because every minimarts were soooo crowded. Understandable tho. Worse, I only got Rp 20.000 left, I wanted to get some cash from ATM but WTH the atm was already off from the mid-day.  AAAKKK, I didn’t know this. Gladly I could still buy important stuffs for my life. Lol.

Okay, back to Ogoh-Ogoh, here are pics of them.

 

Parking

 

This was cool but its life was so pathetic later.

 

Wooo… Awesome demon! I like you bro!

 

A group of cuties

Some Ogoh-Ogoh were very big and tall that 2 men should lift the power lines with bamboo to let the Ogoh-Ogoh pass. Such a good teamwork!

 

Sorry for the blurred pic

 

Pedestrians’ guardian

Well, not all had good teamwork.

 

Headless. Cut by the power line lol. Poor one

 

Some tourists enjoy taking pics with the cosplays

Well, Ogoh-Ogoh parade was still up until late but I was already too tired so I went back to my place and my landlord asked me to stay there. There would be so many foods on Nyepi so well, oke laaa.

  1. Nyepi

The day! I was so lazy, my kind of nyepi lol. I ate, went back to my room, watched movie, tidied up the room, took a bath, talked with the whole family of my landlord, discussed about paintings, then ate again, watched movie again, and took a nap. Wanted to meditate of celebrate Nyepi in a proper way buy WHYYYYYY…..I did the opposite T^T.

The night was about to come, landlord reminded us to take a bath before the light is off. I did it QUICKLY! It was almost 7pm. Then her son gave me candles so I could have a low light in my room.

I spent the evening gathered with other people in the outdoor living room. Bali was sooo dark, so fresh; the stars are sooooooooo many and they shone brightly. Seriously! We spent so many hours there; I even downloaded comics on Webtoons to read in case I couldn’t sleep fast that night. We talked a lot and I was so sleepy that I was glad morning would come faster. When I looked at the clock, it was still 10pm wtf lol! I also thought we would spend the night together in the living room but a married couple insisted to sleep at their room. It would be only me and Mas Kardiono and it would awkward if we spend the night there so we decided to sleep in our rooms. I took a deep breath. I lit the candle and didn’t drink so I didn’t have to go to the toilet. Derita orang beser T^T. I read comics and everything went well but omg, at midnight I wanted to pee T^T

I held it for some minutes and the pain was killing me so oke laaa, let’s go to the toilet. Well, it was nothing hahaha. Scary but not that scary. One thing I think I obtained from Nyepi is that it helped me to overcome my fear at least ;p

 

POST NYEPI

From the wikipedia, there are still some rituals to celebrate after Nyepi but dunno la, I asked my landlord’s son but he said it was done and no more rituals. One thing I know, Balinese people are sooooo gooooodddd and soooo niceeeeee. I received kindness from Mak (my landlord) and thankful for her everyday invitation: “Yuuuu, makan dulu yuk.” She asks me to have lunch there everyday. I pay the room for all-in-one package: electricity, water, and foods for such a good price! And even though not every Balinese celebrates Nyepi in such a proper way (no talking, meditate more, etc), their connection with God is shown in daily life: offerings, praying, and their way of life. Pak Putu once told me: “We don’t use word must, kid. We always go with the flow.”


Bonus story:

A millionaire asked me to go out and we’ve been dating for 5 days and he proposed me yesterday.

Kidding.

Happy April Fools day.