Bali is a magical place. So many adventures to be had. So many sights to see. From beaches, to sunsets, to the food, and the architecture, it’s a breathtaking place. We finally made it up to Ubud this time, which proved to full even of more adventures. We motorbiked up from Jimbaran Bay, which was eventful & exciting, but allowed us to be mobile. We checked into a beauty home stay at Grey’s House. I’d recommend it to anyone planning a trip to Ubud. Then we began taking in the sights.
While Ubud is not a beach town, it holds it’s own sights to see. Ubud is the spiritual and cultural center of Bali some say. It’s where you go if you fell in love with Eat, Pray, Love or if you are a vegan hippie backpacker. It was such a laid-back, easy going, beautiful place to immerse.
Probably the highlight of our Ubud weekend was visiting Goa Gajah, just outside of city center. There’s a small cost to enter, but worth every rupiah. It’s called “Elephant Cave”, for good reason, the carvings and sculptures are something to see! The cave itself is tiny, and rather anti-climatic. The bathing pools aren’t ideal for swimming, but make for some cool photos. The most incredible part of Goa Gajah is the hike to the waterfall. Some may even miss it, because it’s obscurely marked with signs for a Buddhist temple.
Start by walking down some stairs, toward a pond with huge boulders and waterfall nestled in the back. The lily pad pond and stone bridge and running river make it idyllic for photos. But don’t stop there! Keep following the path, sometimes the trail, farther into the lush greenery. Occasionally crude wooden signs appear to confirm you are heading the right direction. You’ll pass a medicine man awaiting to bless you on your journey. You’ll encounter a woman arranging her offerings on a stone altar. You’ll meet a young girl selling drinks to any travelers that happen to pass. Almost 30 minutes from when you begin, you’ll arrive at a lookout, down to the base of a raging river and waterfall just out of sight. Navigate the slippery steps to the waterfront, and a seemingly unstable bamboo bridge provides passage to the hidden waterfall. Cross at your own risk! And then once you arrive, take in the wonder of hidden Bali. A waterfall, a river, prayer caves for monks in isolation, and so much greenery that you can’t take it all in at once.
It’s for places like this that I travel. It’s breathtaking and beautiful, it’s an effort to get there and memorable for a lifetime. It’s off the beaten path, quite literally, and that in itself is rewarding. Sometimes it’s fun to do the touristy thing that everyone else is doing. But sometimes it’s fun to step off main track, and discover something new. We passed only 4 or 5 others doing this same trek, and for the first time in Bali, I felt refreshed.