Head towards the center of the island traveling through the magnificent terraced rice fields. At the top of the climb you will see the recently active Mount Batur and the peaceful Lake Batur below. The diverse scenery you will see here is another one of the treasures of a Bali visit.
I have some guests, Nina and Colin from Melbourne, who are spending 14 days in Bali. Last Sunday they asked me to take them to Echo Beach for a Bar-B-Q.
What a great night.
Echo Beach is a popular surf spot at Canggu, about 45 minutes north of Kuta. Every Sunday night they have a Bar-B-Q with ‘all you can eat’ salads and live band.
The atmosphere is great. Fresh sea breezes, good food, good music, happy faces, and lots of cold Bintang. There was a good crowd most of which were Ozzies.
If you are looking for something different to do on a Sunday night, I would recommend it. I am heading back there this Sunday with some other guests.
I didn’t mention the prices. They are very reasonable.
Antonio Blanco was born in Manila, Philippines to Spanish Parents in 1911. He was educated at an American school and later studied in the National Academy of Art in New York. During his early years he concentrated on the human form and was fascinated by the female body.
He travelled extensively throughout the world before landing in Bali in 1952. The King of Ubud gave Blanco some land to set up his home and studio with his wife, a celebrated Balinese dancer named Ni Ronji. They lived in their mountain retreat, barely leaving it for the world outside.
Blanco became the most famous foreign artist to make Bali his home. Art lovers sought after his work, and he was recognised worldwide. He continued to create fantasy portraits of beautiful women until his death in 1999.
Before he died, Blanco started building his museum. Dramatically, he died just before its inauguration.
Today the Blanco Renaissance Museum is open to the public, and is a popular tourist destination in Ubud. Stroll through the magnificent gardens, visit the family temple, and enjoy the work of this world-renowned artist. The studio remains undisturbed, the unfinished painting still on the sunken easel.
The official name for the Sacred Monkey Forest is Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana, and is situated only minutes from the heart of Ubud.
About 350 Balinese Macaques live in the forest. There are 4 groups of monkeys each occupying different territories in the park.
While the monkeys are the main attraction, and will provide heaps of entertainment and photo opportunities, there is much more to see.
There are 3 temples in the forest, dating back to about the 14th century. The largest is the Pura Dalem Agung, located on the highest point of the forest. A path through the trunk of a huge tree and across a small creek leads to the Holy Bathing Temple. The third temple, the Pura Prajapati, is a cremation temple and located next to one of the two graveyards in the monkey forest.
The forest itself is quite stunning with a thick canopy shading the ground. There are interesting paths winding throughout, stone bridges crossing picturesque streams, and many interesting stone carvings. It is really a great place to just relax and take in the magnificent sights.
Just beware of the monkeys. Whilst they are a lot of fun, they can be a little aggressive at times. Follow the rules and you should find the visit one to remember.
The Ubud Market sits right in the centre of town and is always the busiest spot in Ubud.
The market has two sections. The Eastern block is for fundamental requirements such as fruit and vegetables, meat and hardware. It opens at around 5 am. Mornings are the best time to catch the market buzz, as locals buy all the components for the daily meal and daily offerings.
The Western Block is generally referred to as the Art Market. It starts around 8 in the morning and trades until late in the afternoon. Here you will find clothing, art, local handicrafts, jewellery, bags, belts, and much more. This is a great place to buy your gifts and souvenirs to take home.
The official market day is Pasah which occurs every three days. This is the busiest time as many of the women from nearby mountain villages come to sell their various produce.
The Ubud Market is a vibrant maze of stalls and shops with an interesting sight around every corner. A visit here will allow you to find that special cheap souvenir, and also get a glimpse into the unique Balinese lifestyle.