Ubud is sold as Bali's cultural city and driving in was really nice. Green rice paddies everywhere with locals going about their day to day life.
We stayed on Monkey Forest road, where most budget accommodation was situated. This area was definitely more touristy, although it definitely felt slightly more geared for for day tripper and ahm...the more mature tourist, but still enough to do for us young uns.
As we arrived lateish we had a quick walk, thought about trips and wondered around the market where we bought more tat. I think another parcel will be on its way to England soon! We ate like kings that evening on BBQ ribs - amazing!
Theres quite a lot to do in Ubud and further afield so we decided to... rent a scooter. Don't freak out parents we survived! Kris now has a few extra scooter skills though and we only broke the law twice!
The day started beautifully and it was a nice drive towards the first stop, Goa Gajah or elephant cave. We then decided to drive further out towards 2 temples and grounds, Gunung Kawi and Tirta Empul. They were all in pretty amazing jungle settings. Gunung Kawi is one of Bali's oldest and largest ancient monuments and was particularly cool with impressive statues and shrines carved into the rock. There was great scenery on way, so great for photos. (See coconut and rice padi photos.) The holy springs of Tirta Empul is one of Bali's most important religious sites as the water there is believed to have magical powers. Magic powers or not, it was so hot we were both tempted to jump in!!!
Whilst we were having lunch we overheard a guide saying to his tourist that locals eat rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner and very often exactly the same for all 3 meals as the wife will make it in the morning and it will last all day! He then said his plate feels empty if he doesn't have rice, funny that, as that is ALL that is ever on his plate!
As soon as we left it started to rain...tropical style. We found the first shelter and waited with about 6 other local cyclists who also don't like riding in the rain. We eventually carried on and the rain eased but never stopped.
When it got too heavy, as in sting your cheeks heavy rain, we pulled over. By the time we got back to Ubud after getting lost a few times the place was flooded. We made it back though and were drenched. Even money in our wallet was dripping! So Kris can now drive a moto with passenger through tropical thunderstorms and floods!
It stopped raining and Ubud de-flooded so we went to the Monkey Forest temple closeby. Predictably, monkeys everywhere but a few good sights and photo opportunities.
On our way out Kris almost got pickpocketed. We thought it would happen at some point. It happened right in front of his eyes, the cheeky perportator had a distinctive grey coat, grey beard and stood at 60cm tall. He put its hand into Kris's pocket but luckily there were only our keys in there!
The thief snarled, Kris knocked the thief with his knee to move him away which was enough for the thief to leave with its tail between its legs! (damn monkeys!!!!!)
The next day we had a rest day. Yes, even we need a day off from doing things on holiday! We did go back to the market where Kris bought a Kris! That wasn't a typo!
A Kris is a asymmetrical dagger used as a weapon and a spiritual object.
"Every man in Java, whether he is rich or poor, must have a kris in his house .. and no man between the ages of 12 and 80 may go out of doors without a kris in his belt. "
The Wikipedia link has all you'll ever need to know about one! http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kris