Rice Fields & Swings in Ubud (Bali) – 21st August 2022

This morning we had breakfast at the our resort’s Deeva Restaurant. (By the way, anything I highlight is usually a link to whatever the place is I mentioned)

We started off with fresh fruit, a home made bread selection basket and a couple of Pineapple Juices. They didn’t have a buffet so we ordered off their menu. I got the scrambled eggs with a side of tomato, sausage and potato hash brown. Nathan got something similar but I didn’t rate the food that highly. I found the portions very small and simple and to be honest – a little underwhelming.

We had organised a driver to take us around Ubud for the day as we wanted to see a few temples, waterfalls and rice-fields while we were in the area. Surya from Bali Customized Tours was waiting in our lobby at 8:00am to take us on our adventure which I had booked prior to arriving in Bali.
First stop was the Tegallalang Rice Terraces which is the most popular rice field in Ubud.  As it’s located on a high roadside, the fields are nice and cool and breezy – a well-known spot for tourists to stop and take photos. I’m happy we went early in the morning as we did a bit of walking up and down steps which would have been way hotter in the afternoon. The rice terraces also have great Bali photo opportunities which we definitely took advantage of! Thankfully our tour guide Surya was a pro on the camera and took some great snaps.
I presume over the years, Balinese tour guides have been trying hard to up-skill themselves so they stand out from other tour guides. With the rise of social media and everyone taking photos, you can really tell that they’ve spent a lot of time learning how to take amazing photos on your phone.

We learnt that the soil in Bali as well as the humid tropical climate is great for growing rice. All the crops are watered from a Subak system which is the water management system in Bali. As rice is seen as the gift of god, and the Subak system is part of temple culture. Water from springs and canals flows through the temples and out onto the rice paddy fields which Balinese communities jointly help to manage as they are working together for the good of the community instead of thinking of the individual farmer. As there is a lot of water and muddy areas, I wouldn’t recommend walking around the rice fields if you don’t have good fitness as the path is uneven and slippery due to the mud and water.

While we were at the Rice Fields, I did one of the famous Rice Terrace Swings (AUD$20 per person).
A little bucket list item to tick off, however I definitely didn’t get any amazing photos hahaha! Was just a fun little experience to do.

After we’d finished at the Rice Fields, we went and saw a couple of Temples.

A little learning for you all – In Balinese culture they follow Hinduism. Hinduism has five pillars of faith:

  • belief in one Supreme God
  • belief in the soul as the universal principle of life and consciousness
  • belief in the process of reincarnation
  • belief in the fruition of one’s deeds and
  • belief in ultimate release, unity with God

Reincarnation in Bali is usually within the family, so every newborn baby is believed to have one of the ancestors’ soul. When it comes to Karma, what you give is what you get. You bring your karma from your past life into the present life and will take karma from this life to your future one – your next reincarnation. Our tour guide was explaining that’s why Balinese always try and do good things in life so they can have a good ‘next life’
After death, your soul passes to another body, but is always seeking to free itself from incarnation so that it can attain enlightenment – the unity with the God. When a person dies, but its soul has not yet achieved this state, it continues with the incarnations.

If you ever come to visit Bali, you must see at least one of the temples. And if you come during a big ceremony, you’ll witness the crowd of people dressed in white or colourful traditional clothes, bringing plenty of offerings made mostly of food, fruit and flowers. After they place the offerings, they sit together and follow the praying ritual led by a priest.

After learning more about the way Balinese people are and how they’re so spiritual throughout their every day life, it really made us understand why they’re all so kind, welcoming and hospitable. You get bad people in every country, however I find Balinese to be some of the friendliest people – especially compared to other places I’ve been to in South East Asia.

After the temples, we went and saw one of the waterfalls in Bali! Probably the most famous one in Ubud – Tegenungan Waterfall which is located in a tropical jungle. Our tour guide said this was one of the smaller waterfalls but lots of people come to visit it.
If you’re looking at visiting some other waterfalls in Bali, I’ve read Sekumpul Waterfall in Singaraja is one of the most beautiful waterfalls but is a tough trek to get to. Otherwise Aling-Aling Waterfall in Sambangan is a natural water slide Waterfall. The waterfall falls from a steep cliff and is surrounded by lush jungle. It’s about 35m long which you can slip and slide down. The journey to get there can be a little tiresome, with treks across rice fields and up and down many steps but I see it in lots of TikTok videos so it must be worth it!

I highly recommend going to the Omma Day Club if you’re in Ubud for the day and don’t want to do anything too strenuous. They day club is situated right next to the Tegenungan waterfall so you can have a couple of drinks while you watch the 25 meter waterfall cascade into the pool below!
I really wanted to chill at the day club however we ran out of time on this particular day 😦 oh well – next time!

By this stage, I had seen two temples, a waterfall, rice paddies and done about 300 sets of stairs haha. I was getting hot and kind of just wanted to go and get lunch and chill back at our resort for a bit. We asked out driver Surya if he could take us to one more place and then drop us off somewhere for lunch. He agreed so we headed to our last stop, a traditional Balinese compound where we saw how the locals lived.

The Kitchen

The Balinese traditional compound is basically divided into three parts on which each part has a different purpose. The holy structures like shrines are built at the mountain side of the compound, in the middle of the yard you’ll find all the living structures and in the direction of the sea is where the kitchen is.

The kitchen is usually shared by the family’s married children if they all live together. However if the parents are more well-off, than the children are provided with a new compound in another village. Water is taken from the wells in the compound if it’s available, if not they take water from a nearby stream or natural spring. They also have no special dining room and just eat wherever and whenever they feel like it. When we turned up, the family that lived there was spoon-feeding some type of mushy liquid that looked like baby-food to what looked like a small bird. I’m not sure what it was but our tour guide tried explaining it saying it was some type of small animal that fell from a tree that the man was now looking after. Interesting?..

If you do any tour in Ubud they’ll be happy to take you to a Balinese Compound. You just pay a small donation while you’re there which goes to the family.

After the compound, we asked Surya to take us to an ATM as we were running out of cash. He stopped somewhere and I went with Nathan to get about AUD$300 out from the machine. The cash was ejected but when it came time to take the card, it wouldn’t come out. You could see the machine was trying to push the card out but it was stuck. I tried getting it with my long fingernails but I still couldn’t reach. In the end the machine swallowed the card and Nathan had to block the card on his banking app. Weirdly enough, I had such a gut feeling this was going to happen on our trip. When I was packing my suitcase before we left I thought to myself, I wonder if I bring one credit card or two…. I decided on two as I just knew something was going to happen to one of our cards.

Good thing to note, always make sure to use an ATM in Bali that’s attached to a Bank. Or just bring two separate bank cards incase this happens to you.

Our driver was super apologetic! (Not that it was his fault) and offered to call the bank for us. Even took pictures of the Machine and the location of where it was so we could follow it up. To be honest, we weren’t overly concerned. The card was blocked and Nathan moved the money out of the account just on the off chance the card was skimmed. Just meant we had to use our Credit Cards to withdraw money for the rest of the trip.
Luckily most places in Bali take card anyways. All the hotels and resorts will take card, as well as the restaurants, day clubs, day spas, at the shopping malls etc… The only time you’d use cash is if you were shopping at the markets, paying cash to your driver or getting a cheap massage or spa treatment where it makes sense to just pay in cash.

After the card incident, Surya dropped us off at Melali for lunch which was only a 2 minute walk from our resort (I didn’t even know this until we got there) but it made it easy as we ended the tour there and told Surya we’d walk back to our accommodation without him having to wait around for us. We paid USD$35 each for the day tour which I thought was pretty reasonable especially for all the driving around he did for us and the great pictures he took haha!

I ordered a Falafel Wrap for lunch and Nathan got Beer-battered Fish & Chips as well as a Chorizo flat-bread pizza from Melali. So good! I highly recommend this place if anyone is staying in Ubud. The staff are also really lovely 🙂 Great prices too, we paid around AUD$30 for all of this.

When we’d finished our meals, we headed back to our resort and had a little swim in our private pool!

Even though Bali is warm, Ubud is a bit cooler so I didn’t last very long in the pool as I was too cold haha! We had the afternoon free and my hair felt like it needed a wash so I Googled the somewhere in Ubud to find if there were any hairdressers nearby. Unfortunately all the ones with good reviews were either closed as it was Sunday or booked up for the day.

I eventually found a day spa called Fresh Spa Ubud and they had good reviews so I booked in for a Wash & Blow-Wave at their blow-bar for AUD$20 and a Gel Pedicure AUD$39 for that afternoon.
After quickly having a shower I ordered a Gojek and got to the spa around 4pm.
The spa looked cute when I walked in with all the chairs set up nicely looking out to the street. But had a slightly ‘cheap’ feel. As in, they were selling products on the shelves that you could tell had been sitting there for ages.

The ‘Blow-Bar’ they took me into was a room with two hairdressing stations but the basin to wash hair in was in the corner and was not very comfortable when I had my head in the sink. It was awkwardly close to one of the hairdressing stations too and I had my feet up on a swivel chair when my hair was getting washed haha! Not to mention my neck was hurting from the basin as it barely had any support.
It really only got worse from here, the hairdryer they used wasn’t the best so it felt like forever to blow dry my hair. They used no protectant product in my hair before they used any of the heat tools (however I must say maybe this is a Bali thing because I swear no place I went to put any serums or sprays in my hair before they used heat tools – which I find weird as don’t hairdressers go on about the heat protectant products being A MUST!??)
Once she finished blow drying my hair, she started to curl it with a flat iron (totally fine) however the iron was old so it wasn’t smooth and easy curls like your GHD or Cloud Nine Iron would be. I could just see my hair absolutely being FRIED in the mirror as she held my hair in the iron to make the curl then I watched as my hair got roughly dragged through the iron to finish the curl off! 😦 . Not to mention the smell! She got about two curls through before I thought to myself, maybe I should say something but I’m too polite so I just sat there and let my hair suffer. I think I kept just telling myself “you’re going to get new hair extensions for the wedding so saying goodbye to this hair isn’t the end of the world” I think if I’d just bought new hair I would have mentioned something. Anyways, the hair looked fine afterwards even if it felt like crusty toast haha.

Next were my toenails. Negative points for taking my previous gel polish off with a nail file (I’ve had this happen before and find it weird, Gel should really be soaked off. Not filed off) however the rest of the pedicure was fine. Not heaps of colors to choose from so I went with just a basic white but the equipment they used looked clean and the chairs they had were relaxing.

I probably would go back to this spa for my nails, but not for anything else.
I’ve read Rob Peetoom | Hair Spa in Ubud is meant to be the best for hair (They use Davines hair products) or Rasa Gaya Hair Studio (Davines, Keune, Sachajuan)

Nathan came and met me after my appointment as we were going to go and grab some dinner. We walked around Ubud markets for a bit first though and I did lots of bartering for a set of 4x wooden bowls and 1x wooden chopping board. In Ubud they sell lots of wooden items which I thought would look good in the new house we’re building. I went to about 5 different vendors before I got my bowls for the price of AUD$30 hahaha.
I do feel really bad though as one lady really wanted to sell me some bowls but she only had 3 in stock when I wanted to buy 4. I thought she’d just be able to get another bowl off someone else but she couldn’t and she started to look a bit upset frantically looking around everywhere for another one to make a sale. I suppose looking back I could have bought 3 off her and 1 from someone else but all the bowls were slightly different shades of wood.

Nathan was fretting I wouldn’t be able to bring the bowls and chopping board back into Australia as they were wood but we were absolutely fine. They’re pretty much the only things that took up room in my suitcase as I really didn’t buy much at all in Bali.

A little picture I found on the internet of some of the wooden things they had to buy at the markets

Once we’d done our shopping, we went to a little Mexican place called Taco & Grill Ubud for happy hour. We ordered some nachos to nibble on while we drunk our cocktails. I ordered the Vege Nachos so I assumed it would come with beans, salsa etc… but it came with cooked frozen vegetables (like peas and corn) with Avocado, salsa and cheese – super random!
After finishing our drinks (and probably getting a little tipsy) we walked to Milk & Madu for a proper dinner as they were doing 2-4-1 Pizzas.

I have no idea why we ordered a Large Pizza EACH as we were literally not even that hungry after our big lunch. I think when you’re in Bali you’re like ‘Oh wow the food is so cheap I’m going to order this and that and some of that’ and then you end up with far too much food. I ordered a Pineapple pizza called ‘The Pipeline’ that came with caramalized onions, ham and bacon while Nathan got the BBQ Chicken Pizza. We also ordered a side of this garlic bread loaf thing that was super tasty!

If you’re in Ubud, I highly recommend this place! If you follow them on Instagram you’ll find when they have all their deals (like 2-4-1 Pizza). We didn’t have breakfast there but the menu has lots to choose from like French Toast, Breakfast Burritos, Omlettes, Corn Fritters…. can you tell it’s lunch time as I’m writing this? *drool* I might have to go back when I’m in Bali in October. I know they also have a Cafe in Canggu and Berawa too.

After a few more drinks we ordered Gojek’s and had a slightly tipsy ride back to our accommodation. Of course knowing me when I drink I was fast asleep as soon as I got into bed haha!

Tomorrow – Spa Morning & Jimbaran

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