One of the most popular things to do in Bali is going on a tour of the nearby Ubud area.
During our trip in Bali, Indonesia, Hubby and I decided to take a breather from lounging about at the Nusa Dua Beach and strolling around the enclave surrounding Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua Resort where we were staying.
We hired a van to take us on a day trip to the region widely considered to be the cultural capital of Bali.
The town of Ubud is situated in the uplands of Bali. Surrounding it are rain forests and rice paddies, an area lush with greenery and dotted with temples and shrines.
The place gets its name from the Balinese word ubad which translates to “medicine,” indicative of the area’s first claim to fame as a source of medicinal herbs and plants.
Today, it is the center of Bali’s art and culture scene, being home to a number of museums, artist communities and art markets that we were able to check out during our Ubud Tour.
Barong and Keris Dance
The village of Batubulan has been known for daily performances of the Barong and Keris Dance.
This dance dramatizes the mythical battle between the good spirit Barong and the evil spirit Rangda, and provides a fascinating insight into Balinese culture.
Balinese art takes centerstage in Ubud where local artisans inhabit their own villages where they craft traditional paintings, textiles, jewelry and carvings, many of which are for sale at reasonable prices.
Batuan is also home to awesome temples that feature Balinese architecture and elaborate carvings.
Batuan also prides itself on its traditional paintings which are characterized by detailed designs in sombre colors depicting mythical or religious elements against black or white backgrounds that call to mind the supernatural.
Tohpati, on the other hand, is home to batik, a decorative textile technique involving the use of wax and dyes to create intricate patterns. Aside from clothing, batik is used for a myriad of items including household accessories, furniture fabrics and giftware.
Meanwhile, the silversmiths in Celuk are masters in creating intricate jewelry and luxurious decor.
Lunch at Batur Sari Restaurant
We had our lunch in a restaurant perched on top of the Kintamani. Called the Batur Sari Restaurant, it provides its guests with a traditional Indonesian meal served buffet style meant to be enjoyed while marveling at the view of Mount Batur and its surrounding crater lake.
Unfortunately, the view was covered by a thick fog during our visit. However, the fog did give the effect of dining while surrounded by clouds, which is an experience in itself.
After a long-ish drive from Kintamani, our next stop is the Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple, known locally as Pura Tirta Dawa Gunung Kawi Sebatu.
Dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu who is said to hold dominion over water, it is one of the least visited temple complexes in Bali, but is also one of the most tranquil and picturesque, marked by spectacular water features (including bathing pools for pilgrims), fountains teeming with carp and lush gardens.
One of its most breathtaking scenery is a sculpture of the Hindu goddess Sarasvati at the center of a large pool.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
A short distance away from the Sebatu Temple is the famous Tegallalang Rice Terraces, a vast expanse of beautifully arranged rice paddies carved from the hillsides by ancient Balinese farmers following the traditional Balinese irrigation system called subak.
It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, adding to its “must-visit” appeal.
From the viewing deck, one can see the cascade of green crops down the slopes while enjoying the cool mountain breeze.
Given my general avoidance of any physical exertion, we declined the opportunity to traipse down the slopes and walk across to the greenery.
It’s just too bad that I chickened out of having my picture taken at the swing. I guess my acrophobia is stronger than my desire for a good picture!
Coffee and Tea Tasting at Alam Bali Agriculture
Indonesia produces some of the world’s finest coffee and also happens to be fourth largest coffee producer in the world.
Within Tegallalang region is a coffee and tea plantation called Alam Bali Agriculture which houses gardens that grow various kinds of beans, leaves and herbs.
After a short tour of the grounds, we were treated to a flight of freshly brewed coffee and teas which were grown on site such as Arabica, Coconut, Vanilla and Ginseng coffee, as well as Lemongrass, Ginger and Mangosteen tea.
Sunset Seaside Dinner at Ayu Bali Resto
After such a jam-packed itinerary, our day of sight-seeing culminated at Ayu Bali Resto in Badung.
There, I was finally able to find a swing that doesn’t make my fear of heights go haywire.
While getting serenaded by live acoustic music accompanied by the sound of waves, we enjoyed a sumptuous seafood dinner by the beach.
This one-day tour of Ubud gave Hubby and me an interesting glimpse of Balinese life and culture.
And the best part of the day is going back to Nusa Dua to rest in our comfy room at the Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua Resort.
This award-winning hotel is one of Courtyard by Marriott’s 1360 properties across 65 countries. It caters to business and leisure travelers by providing quality comfort.
Aside from our well-appointed room, we also hung out at the hotel’s poolside and beach club.
Read more about my full experience at Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua Resort here.
Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua Resort is located at Kawasan Pariwisata Lot SW1, Nusa Dua, Bali 80363 Indonesia.
Disclosure: Our Bali trip happened before the COVID-19 pandemic. Download Indonesia’s protocols for cleanliness, health and safety for its tourism sector here.