Monkeying Around

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 11.05.29 AMUbud is one of those amazing places where you can walk and explore something new everyday. Whether it’s a new path through rice paddies, a great little restaurant with the most delicious papaya smoothie, or a monkey (who will try to steal your camera) you’re always guaranteed to run into something new.

When you’re in Ubud, it’s worth checking out the Monkey Forrest. Yes, it is super touristy, but how can you pass up an opportunity to hang out with a bunch of cute, little monkeys? When you go, you’ll see a lot of folks buying a bunches bananas. You can buy some as well, but there will be monkeys out and about no matter what, so it’s not necessary. There’s no time limit on how long you can stay in the monkey forrest, but you really only need an hour, so make sure to plan a few other things for the day, even if it’s just doing some yoga and hanging out reading a book.

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Biking in Paradise

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While traveling alone is a great way to get some  time to yourself and catch up with a good book, it’s always great to meet new people, too. One of the best ways to do that is to  go on a tour, and perhaps the best one during my trip in Asia was the Bali Eco Cycling tour in Ubud. The name suggests a great deal of physical exertion, but to be honest, 90% of the tour is downhill, meaning you can enjoy the views while appreciating a constant breeze.

The tour starts early in the day with a quick drive up the moutnains to breakfast overlooking Mt. Batur and Crater Lake. After finishing up breakfast, you grab your bikes and start your journey downhill. First stop, checking out some local produce and getting to try it. Coffees and teas are prepared in small tasting flights and brewed to your liking. You also make several stops in quaint villages and get to see how Balinese neighborhoods are set up and what everday life is like. Often times tours like to make stops that seem staged , but this felt like the real deal without being intrusive to local’s homes. The final stops for the rest of the tour were different rice paddies decorated with handmade offerings for yearly Hindu celebrations.

If you want to see the rice paddies when they are in their prime with all of these decorations, I recommend heading to Bali during late October, early November. This is also the low season, meaning it’s easier to negotiate deals on lodging and you won’t have to fight the crowds.

All in all, this tour still constitutes as one of my fondest memories while in Bali. Between the informative guides, beautiful views, and the great people I met on my tour, there is no reason why you shouldn’t check Bali Eco Cycling while you are in Ubud.

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