Another heavy travel day for us as we made our way back to Bali after a quick 24-hour jaunt to Komodo. We ate a nice breakfast of banana pancakes and fruit and chilled out until we had to leave for our 12pm flight since there really wasn’t too much to do in town, or at least with the time restrictions we had. Departures at this airport were a whole other experience. There were 2 gates, and since the one security belt at the entrance wasn’t working, they just let us through. Just like that, no scanning our luggage or selves. Not even an ID check! We picked up our tickets since we prepaid these at a travel agency in Yogya (which they then faxed in for confirmation), at least these weren’t handwritten this time. We waited in the random departures holding room, then off we went via Lion Air. This was a pretty old school plane, what with its propellers being external under the wing and all.
Upon arriving, it still took us a while to get our luggage and a taxi, and with the trip to Ubud lasting 1.5 hours, we didn’t arrive until 4pm at Murni’s Houses. Murni is a local legend that seemed to own half of Ubud, with a restaurant, arts and gift shop, houses to rent, and some villas. The complex we stayed in only had 4 units that were surrounded by some lovely gardens filled with fountains, frangipani flowers, and statues. We stayed in their suite, which included a large living room with an extra day bed, decorated very much in the Balinese style with intricately carved doors and beautiful furniture. Since we again didn’t have much time, we took a trip to the Monkey Forest sanctuary on one end of the main road (aptly named Monkey Forest Road). Boy, were we in for a surprise. The name implied we would see some monkeys, but nothing prepared us for the number of monkeys freely jumping around, without any fear or hesitation of coming close to humans. I think even Doug got a little scared! The sign at the entrance had about 10 warnings, one of which was to avoid bringing in any food as monkeys have a keen sense of smell and can rip open bags to find food. Crap, we had previously smuggled a few cookies and breakfast rolls from other establishments into our backpack. We held tight to our belongings, and wandered through the forest which had pockets of ancient temples, walkways by the river, and bridges. We even saw a great number of baby monkeys which was pretty cute.
By this time, the sun had set and we definitely didn’t want to be stuck in this forest in the dark, so we went back out to the main road to check out some shops, and ended up at our first spa experience at Dewa’s Special Spa. For only 80,000 rp apiece ($8), we got to indulge in an hour long Balinese massage. This entailed starting face down on some beds with essentially nothing but our underwear on, which was fine because I was with Doug but not fine when some inconsiderate Aussie man barged in looking for his wife and walked right in on our massage!
In an effort to eat somewhere that wasn’t as purely and authentically Indonesian, we finished our night at a place called Casa Luna that specialized in more of a global cuisine with a local twist. We started with a Mediterranean sampler of tzatziki, a mint parsley dip, and sumac powder, then moved onto a rendition of “nasi campur,” with chicken sate, curry chicken, corn fritters, and a salad. Doug went western with a steak 🙂