Ubud: Swings, The Monkey Forest & Getting Grabbed

After a heavy birthday night out, it was safe to say that I wasn’t feeling the best…

But living in actual paradise quickly knocks the hangover out of you!

Veera and I woke up not too late and not too early, we packed our bags, I had a cheeky Nasi Goreng for brekkie and then we checked out. This was because it was time to say goodbye to Kuta & Seminyak and hello to Ubud!

Veera suggested that we get a Grab (which is like Uber) up to Ubud because it would be a lot cheaper than a normal taxi, however I was hesitant due to a few people telling me back in Oz that the locals despise Grab and send the mafia on them. Veera dismissed my claim and I did too because it did sound crazy. Oh, how wrong we would be…

So, we headed to good ole Circle K for some seaweed and diet coke; once we had our road trips snacks, our Grab arrived, and we headed to Ubud.

The journey was surreal; we were in this fancy car driving past rice fields, farms and local towns. I loved getting out of the touristy area and experiencing the real Bali.

We finally arrived in Ubud, an hour’s journey cost us $5 so that’s why we took a Grab!

I was quite worried about our next accommodation because I had booked it purely on aesthetics, and when the owners said we needed a flashlight to get there at night, I had no idea what we were in for.

Good news! It wasn’t a dodgy place, in fact it was the exact opposite – it was like a hidden treasure. You see, to get to the Air BnB you had to walk up a wee hill, then through some rice fields, you pass some Balinese builders, follow a stream down these rock steps and you arrive in the middle of a jungle paradise.

The Air BnB was called Eco Lodge, so it was all very eco-friendly and natural. When we first arrived, we went into this communal area and were served a fruity drink; which Veera didn’t drink because she was very cautious over Bali belly (more for me!). The room was absolutely stunning; it had a mini infinity pool, a bar and a swing (which we were so excited about), this all overlooked the gorgeous jungle.

We obviously had to get some swing photos for our Insta:

Notice the artistic differences between the two of us.

Once that excitement was over, we were shown our room. Well, it wasn’t really a room… It was a tree-house!

It was all handmade and surprisingly spacious. The bathrooms were outdoor too which I absolutely loved!

It’s so hot and sticky in Bali, you barely even notice you’re outside.

Oh and there were two wee pet bunnies right by our treehouse too. Can you tell I loved this place??

The day was almost done, and we were on a tight schedule, so we decided to one touristy thing in Ubud that day and that thing was the monkey forest.

Side note, Veera absolutely LOVES animals so this was a big deal for her…

We were told that the walk would take around 20 minutes, so we headed into town, taking in the local sites as we headed down.

It took way longer than 20 minutes, we were sweaty, and I was chafing majorly but we made it!!

It cost $5 to go in, bargain, and we were so excited. As soon as we entered, we found monkeys.

If you wanted a pic with one, you had to give a little tip to the men that worked there, and they’d get one on your shoulders. Which obviously we did.

They’re not the lightest of things…

We walked around the park for around an hour, honestly it was massive. Veera was having a ball, she was getting so many good shots of the monkeys, especially wee mama’s and their babies.

I was so tired by this point, so I decided we have a seat in the amphitheatre to have a break. It was so random, there was a Balinese birthday party going on, or a school show, and there were monkeys climbing around above us.

After our break, we walked around the park some more. Veera was channelling her inner David Attenborough and getting so many good photos. However, she had sunscreen in her backpack pocket that she was told to put away, which she did but a monkey must have remembered her previously because things turned for the worse…

Veera was doing her usual, getting her gorgeous shots and a monkey toucher her hand, which was kind of sweet, he then leaned over to her bag and got angry (must have wanted some sunscreen) and then tried to bite her. Honestly, it turned from sweet to terrifying in a matter of seconds. Thankfully she didn’t get bitten.

I on the other hand, had a hilarious monkey who was playing hide and seek with my dress.

We ran off to the other side of the park, part terrified and part hysterically laughing. Only Veera would have that happen, bless her.

We found a dog in the park and because we were done with monkeys, we went over for a stroke. The dog growled at us and showed us his sharp teeth, so that was when we decided to leave.

Leaving wasn’t that easy though, we went out the wrong exit so had to go all the way back through the park and the monkeys to get to where we wanted to be! We made it unscathed, however did see two other girls getting bitten which scared us even more.

Basically, if you want to see wild monkeys – remember that they are WILD and very unpredictable.

After that fiasco, we wanted a seat and I was hungry, so finding a nice restaurant was the best answer. It had a lovely pond right in the middle of it and the gourmet food was so cheap. So, I had to get a three-course meal, otherwise it would be a waste…

We shared nachos to start, then I had a seafood spread for the main meal and finished with a chocolate mousse. It was so dang good.

After that dinner, we headed back into the main area of Ubud and I had some cocktails. Veera then started to get peckish, so we went to a vegan restaurant where she got her fill of veggies. There was a very weird woman sitting next to us, who judged how we weren’t doing ‘authentic Bali’ because we’d been to Kuta, but apart from that the food was great!

I couldn’t be rude, so I had some veggie gyozas:

They were delicious, but I was way too full after all that.

Next on the list was a trip to this massive supermarket opposite, which had a tourist shop above. Honestly, take the two of us anywhere and we’ll have the most fun in a supermarket. We bought new clothes, some snacks and bug spray. Then it was time to go back to our treehouse.

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is when we learned the truth around Grab and their relationship with local taxis.

So, we tried to get a taxi back to our place, which was a 5-minute drive and all the local taxi drivers were charging $10. It was at this point we knew we were getting scammed…

Also, fun fact about me; I hate confrontation and I absolutely CANNOT barter. So I agreed to this price and Veera had to set me in my tracks, because we were getting scammed.

All the drivers wouldn’t go past $7, which was still so much. I know this sounds incredibly cheap to us Westerners, but we were kicking up a fuss because they were literally taking advantage of us because we were tourists. By this point, we were surrounded by a sea of drivers and feeling very overwhelmed – it was then, that this lady came up to us and said she was a local, so she wanted to help. She told us about Grab but in coded language spoken very quietly. Honestly, I felt like we were taking part in something illegal! She suggested that we get it from the supermarket and we thanked her for helping us. However, Veera and I knew felt that it wouldn’t be safe for us to get a Grab in that area, considering all the taxi drivers knew we needed a ride. Thankfully, we managed to barter down to $6 with a local driver and got home unscathed. I’m not sure about that lady though.

We walked in the pitch-black back to our treehouse, laughing that Veera nearly got rabies from the monkeys and that we were close to getting a visit from the Bali Mafia; because if you can’t laugh – you’ll just cry!

We got ready for bed, climbed the bamboo stairs to our treehouse and slept with nature.

However, it wasn’t going to be a long, relaxing sleep since I had booked a trip for the next day – which meant we had to get up at 6am…


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