This is the second part of our Bali trip. You will find part one here.
From Canggu we got a Grab (car) at 9 o’clock, and without any real traffic we made it the our hotel, Beji Resort Ubud, in around an hour and a half. The hotel was just as incredible as we expected. Built on the hillside of one of more canyons in Ubud it had green trees above, below and on either side. The hotel had five pools, one of them an infinity pool just by the canyon.
Ubud is a pure vacation paradise to western tourist. The town is relatively quiet and very into ecology, sustainability, yoga and stuff like that. Located in the middle of the island, it is not far from volcanos, beautiful waterfalls and a bunch of popular tourist traps. It is also pretty much what you might imagine, when you think about Bali such as rice terraces, Bali swings, pools, yoga, waterfalls and a massive focus on Instagram and TikTok. We started of Ubud with a small hike in the canyon along Campuhan Ridge Walk – 3,6 km out and back plus another 2 km each way from the hotel – it was a decent hike and fairly easy although incredibly hot. But then it was time to get settled in the hotel and splash around in the pool while doing the mandatory Instagram shots, before getting ready for dinner.
From home we made reservations for Apéritif, a fine dining restaurant by the nice hotels with helipads and such. We dressed nicely and steered clear of flip-flops as stated in their dresscode (yes they specifically state no flip-flop on their website), a wow what an experience. The waiters in suits welcomed us and seated us to the bar for snacks and welcome drinks. The bartender was very chatty, and he obviously knew Copenhagen for Noma – the worlds best restaurant. After the intro at the bar and a tasty welcome from the chef followed 8 delicious courses and some petit fours back at the bar. All the while we would choose from 5 different kinds of bread, 3 kinds of butter and 10 different steak knives from different countries. After 3 hours of culinary treatment we paid as little as 4.961.000 rupiah (290 €) for the both of us including wine, a coffee and a drink. A strong recommendation if you want to fine dine for affordable price.
Day 2 – Waterfalls in the north
For our second day in Ubud we had a driver booked again, to drive us to some waterfalls up north. This time we found Baliandcar.com to be the best option but GetYourGuide (sponsored link) was our choice on other occasions. We had a load of waterfalls targeted from home and planned a little along the way with the help of our driver. There are tones of waterfalls in northern Bali, and as the infrastructure is not like we are used to, it will take multiple days to see them all. You will also need to pay an entrance fee at almost all of them, so we were satisfied with just handpicking enough waterfalls for one day. We began at the Banyumala Falls also known as Twin Waterfall, which was 50.000 rupiah each (3 €). That was even including a bottle of water, a printet ticket you could save for your travel scrapbook and a little bracelet. In the valley just 500 meters from the parking area was two beautiful waterfalls side by side running into a little lake below. There was some modest changing facilities, so we could easily change into our bathing suits and take a dip in the cold water and shower below the waterfalls. Beside the main attraction, where was yet another waterfall in the beautiful little valley.
The second waterfall was Munduk just 10 minutes from Banyumala – a smaller waterfall, but also with the option to lower yourself into a small pool, or even a longer hike in the area. It was a lot quieter than the first one, as there was only one other couple (Belgians) there, and they were about to wonder into the wilderness on a three hour hike. The price at Munduk was just 20.000 rupiah (1,2 €) and there was no extra fee to pet the incredibly cute puppy there.
We had planned to go for the Instagram famous waterfall named Aling-Aling, but we swapped it for Sekumpul. At Aling-Aling you can supposedly slide and jump from the rocks (if you pay of course). From the reviews we found online, there should be lots of locals ready to semi scam you into paying for all sorts of “guide” services. Our driver recommended Sekumpul instead, which was also a little closer, so we went and hoped to get the same experience there. They sold three different packages. The big one was 300.000 (18 €) each for a three hour tour including a slide. We could probably make it in time, but we chose the two hour tour (200.000 rupiah – 12 €), which in the end was more like 2,5 hours. We had our own guide all the way. First he drove us a little closer on a scooter, and from then hiked down the steep stairs. The area was amazing in itself with its rice terraces, coffee plants and cloves. As we made it down, there was a little shed for changing into swimming suits and flip flops, so that we could walk through the river to the first waterfall, Sekumpul. Two stunning waterfalls just side by side fell 95 meters into the valley next to hanging plants and various vegetation on the rocks.
The strong forces of nature gave a cool refreshing wind in the area, but we could still go for one more swim. The guide took us to the second waterfall, Fiji, and a small “shower” waterfall on the way there. Once more we could swim in the waterfalls surrounded by vertical green rock walls and running water. Our timing was perfect, as we were there all by ourselves. When we finished, it was time to go back up the stairs, and even though it was rough and extremely hot, we were happy to see, that we were still able to pass a few groups that were struggling harder than us. Even our guide was a little sweaty and out of breath.
On the way back to Ubud we drove right past Ulun Danu Beratan Temple, which according to photos should be quite pretty. You can safely skip this in our opinion. The temple by the lake was pretty, but smaller than expected. The larger temple in the area was only for the praying, and the rest of the experience was just flowers and strange figures. Yes, they were weird. When did you last walk inside a dinosaur to look a cactuses and then exit through the dinos ass? Besides the entrance fee of 50.000 rupiah (3 €) the also charged extra for a specific area as well as using the bathrooms. We did get to see a “vampire deer” aka water deer in a small cage, and we had a fun encounter with a muslim girls school, who had a blast interviewing Cecilie and taking photos with us.
Day 3: Urban Exploring
We started our day slow with a swim in two of the five pools at the hotel. We then had breakfast at Yellow Flower Café, a small and cozy café only accessible on foot, through some tiny streets above most of the city. The paths on the back of the building was even smaller, and you could hardly pass oncoming traffic, without one part stepping down into the water on the rice fields next to the path. That would certainly disturb the many ducks, that ran around between the rice plants.
The plan for the day was some urban exploring. After exploring an abandoned hotel i Dubrovnik, Croatia in 2021, we have grown a liking for it. About one hour from Ubud was another hotel, which had never opened before it was abandoned. It is nicknamed Ghost Palace, even though it’s real name is Hotel Pondok Indah Bedugul. Our research told us two things about it: 1) It wasn’t exactly allowed to go there, but you could pay the guards 10.000 rupiah (0,60 €), and they would look the other way. 2) The place was closed off, but next to the main entrance is a little shop, that would let people in for a small fee. Either way multiple reviews showed good experience with the hotel.
We found the hotel, and there was a fence at the driveway as we expected. The shop owners next to it was not helpful, but made it clear, that the hotel was closed. We walked along the road up the mountain to the backside of the hotel and found a way in. We ware careful not to be spotted by anyone, who might get offended by our presence. It was a bit creepy sneaking around, but the paranoia wore off over time.
The hotel had a huge driveway from the street below, and a massive staircase from the street above and all the way down past every single floor. On either side of the staircase was a waved stone dragon. Most of the hotel was partly outdoors, and used to have beautiful stone floors with decorations. The rooms and balconies had a stunning view over the mountain side and the rice terraces running down the mountain.
The top floor had a huge hall, probably the dining hall, with access to a large terrace. We sat there in the shade, while we enjoyed the 270 degree panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. After exploring the hotel for two hours, we went back to Ubud and visited Ubud Palace and a little market. Neither was anything special, but fortunately they were both free and close to each other. In the evening we had a visitor in our room: A Tockay Gecko seeking shelter in our bathroom. We didn’t manage capturing in to let it out, but luckily they are an omen of luck and fertility, so it was welcome.