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A Day in Ubud, Bali
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A Day in Ubud, Bali

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Ubud is a small artsy town located in central Bali, famous for its farmland, rice terraces, rainforest, temples, and culture. On my month-long backpacking trip across Southeast Asia, I spent a week exploring Ubud. During that week, I stayed in a hostel called Taman Dewangga, a small family-owned hostel located on the outskirts of Ubud. This hostel was gorgeous, and the employees treated my friends and I like family. This week was epic, and one day really stands out from my memory.

 

On June 25, 2018, my friends and I decided we wanted to find Tukad Cepung, a little-known waterfall located INSIDE of a cave, about an hour away from Ubud. We started that morning by getting breakfast at a local restaurant a couple of doors down from our hostel. I ate a crepe-like pancake that contained nutella, banana, and cheese; it was delicious and so fulling. It only costed 10,000 rupiah, which is equivalent to $0.69. That still blows my mind every time I think about it. The power of the U.S. dollar in Indonesia is mind-boggling.

 

After breakfast, we downloaded an offline google map of the area leading to the waterfall, packed our bags, and got on our motorbikes and headed towards the waterfall. The drive took about an hour, and we followed the map driving through the coolest backcountry roads. These roads were really steep and winding. They went through rainforest and lots of farmland. These roads were fun to drive due to the terrain and extremely scenic. After an hour of cruising, we finally made it to the area that we had to park at for the waterfall. We were in the absolute middle of nowhere, just surrounded by lush, vibrant rainforest. We parked our motorbikes, and seconds later we saw several branches and coconuts fall off a tree overhanging the main road and smashing into the ground where we just were. If we were delayed just a few minutes, those coconuts could have hit us, so I was beyond stoked our skulls were still intact. After this, we descended down into the rainforest. After about 30 minutes of hiking we finally reached the cave, the floor of the cave was like a small river, so we took our shoes off and continued walking into the cave. After ducking under some small overhangs, and climbing through some holes in the rock, we finally reached the waterfall. Wow. This was one of the most unique waterfalls I have ever been to in my life. The waterfall was on a wall at the end of the cave, with an exposed skylight showing the rainforest above, allowing for some of the most stunning light rays to shine through, causing a beautiful contrast in visual aesthetics between the bright water, mist, light rays, dark rock, and green forest. It was breathtaking. We went under the waterfall and let the water completely soak us…it felt soooo refreshing. After a solid session of just enjoying the waterfall, being in pure awe, and shooting photos and video, we hiked back up to our motorbikes and drove back to our hostel.

Upon arrival back to the hostel, we grabbed dinner and then decided to book a last minute sunrise trek to Mount Batur, an active volcano in northern Bali. It was supposed to rain the next day, but we decided to take a chance as this was the only day that we could all hike the volcano together…We didn’t get a single drop of rain. We went to bed around 10 PM and got a couple hours of sleep, before getting picked up by the shuttle to head up to Mount Batur at 2:30 AM. The drive took an hour. We had two guides, an older Indonesian man who was probably around fifty years old and kid who looked to be about eighteen, they were both really funny, friendly, and knowledgeable. There were about seven other people in our group from all over the world who also were hiking with us. We were given flashlights, and we followed our guides up the volcano in the darkness, which took about 2 hours to summit. The hike was full of monkeys, volcanic steam, clouds, and epic views. Upon reaching the summit, we sat down and ate our breakfast of eggs, bread, and a banana, and waited for the sun to rise. Golden hour was insane. The sun lit up the ocean and the adjacent Mount Agung in the distance in a beautiful array of golden hues. The clouds would float by in front of us getting soaked by golden light, adding to the mystical vibes that this area gave off. I was on top of an active volcano in northern Bali, with the most random people that I had just met…I did not want to be anywhere else in the world. I felt ecstatic. After an hour of enjoying the views, we hiked back down. The hike down felt soooooo much longer than the hike up, and we were thoroughly exhausted by the time we reached the shuttle. Fun fact, Mount Agung actually erupted 3 days after we hiked Batur, and the volcanic smoke from the eruption even delayed my friend’s flight by two days.

We knocked out on the shuttle ride and got back to the hostel at about 1 PM. We were exhausted from the past day’s events and the lack of sleep, so we just decided to order pizza and watch a scary movie called “The Ritual.” This movie was freaky; it was about a group of hikers that get lost in a forest and stumble upon a weird community of people worshipping this Nordic demon. After the movie, we all entered a food coma and napped for a couple hours. Later on, we grabbed dinner, and watched the World Cup at a place called LOL. Super fun place. They had a massive projector playing the world cup, live music, pool tables, tons of TVS, friendly people, and delicious food. LOL seemed like the hub of Ubud, it was the place to be.

The next morning at 4 AM, everyone and I mean everyone, in our room was awoken by this extremely loud phone alarm. I am talking full volume, and this alarm was made up of dolphin noises. It was so bizarre, but I thought it was hilarious. This massive Indonesian man in a top bunk, had his phone right next to his face, but would not wake up to his alarm. This man was still DEEP in a R.E.M cycle. After about 5 minutes of the alarm going off, my friend decided to try wake him up but after several unsuccessful attempts, she decided to just snooze his alarm. 10 minutes later the alarm goes off again but its chicken noises this time. I was dying laughing…and my friend tried to wake him up again but was unsuccessful, so she snoozed the alarm yet again. Another 10 minutes go by, but this time we hear dog barks. My other friend who was in the bed below him, was so fed up so he decided to start kicking his bed from underneath. After a couple minutes of kicking, we hear the man finally wake up and snooze his alarm. It has been 30 minutes since his first alarm went off and we heard him rushing to get down from his bed…he had somewhere to be and he was definitely late. From my bunk, I hear the man head towards the ladder at the bottom of his bed. Next, I heard him put one foot on the first rung, heard the wood creak, and then heard all the rungs break and a massive crash, as he broke all the rungs and fell to the ground. I stuck my head out from the privacy curtain on my bunk, concerned…hoping he was okay. Upon looking out, I saw this man sitting on the floor with his glasses shattered on the floor next to him, the ladder completely destroyed, and his really small Indonesian friend pointing at him just dying of laughter. Realizing he was not hurt and completely okay, I felt laughter start to come on…I tried to hold it but I just exploded in laughter. I had never laughed so hard at a situation that I only witnessed unfold audibly. The entire situation was so bizarre and funny, I could not keep it together. Everyone started laughing uncontrollably…I am giggling just typing this. It was the most bizarre experience ever, I will remember it for the rest of my life. Anyways…Ubud, Bali. 12/10. Highly recommend.

-wrv