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Cycling across Bali:
Days 1 and 2: in and around Ubud


I had arrived at Denpasar airport for my journey cycling across Bali, from Ubud to Java and further to Jakarta. It had been years since I was at Bali and I felt excited! After the customs I picked up my bicycle and left the airport, where to my surprise I did recognize quite a few things. However, I had to hurry up.

Welcome to Bali!

Welcome to Bali, the star of cycling across Bali in 2010

I had to reach Ubud, and that should be done before dark. It was only 30 or so km's so I took it easy although I didn't want to cycle in the dark. I also didn't want to stay at Kuta or Denpasar. I had good memories of Ubud, at the time, a small relaxed little town.

In the fading daylight I rushed to Ubud
In the fading daylight I rushed to Ubud

I took the road to Sanuar, partly along the coast and a bit further I went north. The roads became quiet but also started to climbs a little bit. With hardly any sleep of the previous night (I had to take an overnight bus to KLIA airport), I didn't feel that good.

Still, I passed villages, recognized some places from 12 years ago. My journey cycling across Bali had begun and I felt really excited. On the way I saw the usual preparations for processions and celebrations.

Preparations in the temples of Bali
Preparations in the temples

Just before dark I reached Ubud, and found a small homestay of only 4 rooms, 2 upstairs and 2 downstairs. Because I had my bicycle, they gave me the downstairs room, US $8 including air-con and breakfast. I was the only guest.

My room in the family stay in Ubud
My room in the family stay in Ubud

Day 2 Exploring the town center

Before starting cycling across Bali, I decided to spend a lazy day in Ubud also to figure out if I could find back the guesthouse I had stayed long ago.

Bali town center
Bali Town center, yup... now exactly a town center as you would expect

Ubud is an "artist" town. There's plenty of painters around town with expositions. Not all are great but there are some who offer truly awesome work.

While the city center of Ubud had been changed into a real tourist trap, not as bad as Kuta beach it was still not my favourite place to hang out.

Bali, Ubud mainstreet
Ubud main street, a perfect starting point for cycling across Bali

There is the Monkey Forest. In fact the forest is more a well maintained park with lush tropical jungle around. It's a pleasure to dwell here in between the trees and the streams with monkeys around you. And although it is not very big, you walk around it in about half an hour, it's still worth to spend more time here.

Monitor lizards in stone in the Monkey Forest in Ubud Bali

Monitor lizards in stone in the Monkey Forest

Under the trees it was surprisingly cool. Monkeys were all around but I didn't see any other beasts. Usually people leave the forest the same way as they come in. I didn't.

Monkey Forest, Ubud Bali
Monkey Forest, temple

I left on the back side and found myself directly in a village where nothing seemed to have changed since my last visit (and probably the last 100 years).

temple in Monkey Forest Ubud

I walked back through little lanes through the padi fields. This was even more enjoyable than cycling. However, by the time I was back in Ubud it started raining.

I went in a restaurant to have a late lunch and decided to try my luck later on to walk back to my homestay.

The family temples in the garden of my homestay
The family temples in the garden of my homestay

The rain came pouring down, but it didn't last that long. After an hour or 2 it was all over but by now it was also dark. It was time to rest and prepare for day 3: cycling across Bali to Mount Batur and Singaraya.

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Cycling in Bali, Lombok, Flores and Sumba

Cycling in Indonesia

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