Squirrel's Secret Spots No:3b (Bali-Ubud & Crafts)

on Monday, December 18, 2006

Photocredit: Baronia Balinese Art

Gold Leaf Being Prepared in Temple Court

Terraced Paddy Fields

Pavilion Dining at Dirty Duck

Ubud Market

Intricate Stone Carvings

If somehow you can tire of the beautiful beaches, it’s time to head into the hills. There are many places you might visit including volcanos, lakes and temples. One popular day-trip from the beaches of Kuta is to take in the craft villages and to end up in the cultural centre of the island in Ubud. Alternatively, many are just as comfortable to stay in Ubud in anything from the most basic but clean accommodation to the most sensual and luxurious spas which are set amidst the forests, jungle streams or over-looking pastoral paddy fields. Ubud is a great base to explore nearby craft villages, for walks in the terraced paddy fields, to sample Balinese art and music or to unwind at a spa.

In the centre of Ubud are several art galleries of note, a crafts market (only for those who do not have time to get bargains from nearby villages), temples, and restaurants. Balinese food is generally mediocre and of suspect hygienic standards in some places. This is because there is a big difference between food prepared for celebrations and those prepared for everyday consumption. Unfortunately, the celebration cuisine invariably involves lots of meat and intensive preparation and unless you get invited to a celebration, most tourists will only get to sample this cuisine at some large, specialist restaurants.

There is one place that I would not hesitate to recommend and that is Bebek Bengil or the Dirty Duck Restaurant. Its specialty is …..crispy, deep-fried spiced duck, of course. Don’t worry though, the name of the restaurant refers to a flock of dirty ducks that entered the restaurant before their official opening and was taken to be a sign of good luck and does not refer to the food being served. Some of you will remember that I am a little partial to poultry but there are other things to eat. However, the number one reason for eating here is the tranquil view of the paddy fields, the swaying leaves of the palm trees, the cool breeze from the forests and if you are lucky you may get to sit in one of the pavilions right over the fields. This is ambience overflowing.

In summary, you can chose to shop for bargains and crafts, you can trek into villages or forests (bird watching is popular and there are lots of monkeys), you can pig out on good food, you can chill and take in the ambience, you can enjoy Balinese art and music or you can do it all.


Dave said...

Gotta love those stone carvings on that stairway...and especially that banana eating monkey!

A society as shown in your pics is so foreign to me .. I would love to visit that region some day ... you never know!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Hi Dave,
Wow, sharp eye. I hadn't noticed the monkey before. But those stone carvings are a big hit with me too.

I plan to post a bit more about the society's culture and beliefs in my third and final instalment of this series after Christmas. Stay tuned.

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