After breakfast we walked down to Legian beach to see it before we went. We had been to the Kuta stretch of the beach and even though it joins on with Legian beach we though Legian might be nicer. How wrong were we. It was worse! There were big piles of rubbish everywhere, a lot of plastic, and it really didn't seem like a beach we would have wanted to spend the day on! We checked out of our hotel at 12pm and got a metered taxi ordered to bring us to Ubud, which took us just over an hour, costing about 250,000 (12.50- can't complain at all for that far!). The taxi driver didn't know where exactly our accommodation was so he rang the owner who came to meet us at the local supermarket and walk us to the accommodation 5 minutes away. You couldn't drive a car to the accommodation anyway as it was down a back alley behind a main road. All the accommodation looked very similar- all guesthouses that were in the grounds of the owners house, which were all built similar to the temples- with that same effect. It was a family owned guesthouse, husband and wife and two children. The husband was the one who came and met us- he seemed really nice and helpful, but a bit nutty, in a funny way!
Our accommodation was our own concrete hut in Balinese style. It was decorated lovely on the outside. There was just ours and one other hut here. The family owned another accommodation- Nugarah 2, which was about 10 minutes down the road, but they lived here at Nugarah Guesthouse. It was kind of like a homestay situation as we were staying in the grounds of their home. They had a hut for the kitchen. A hut for the bedrooms and a hut for the bathroom. There was also what looked like an outdoor bedroom. To the back there was their own temple for prayer. The owner showed us to our room and as soon as he opened the door a baby gecko ran across the floor. After he left Nath spent about half an hour catching it to get it out of the room!
Once we were settled in we headed out for the rest of the afternoon. We weren't given a map for the area as there isn't much in Ubud. We were staying on one main road, which led to the Main Street in Ubud where most things to see were like temples, the palace, the market. The monkey forest, which Ubud is known for, was on the next street to our accommodation, in the opposite direction to town. Everything in Ubud looked very preserved and seemed to be built in the same style as temples. There were still quite a few shops with people outside trying to sell you stuff and people on the street asking if you wanted transport, but nothing near the extent of Kuta. It was much more peaceful and had a spiritual, religious feel about it.
We had lunch in a famous cafe in Ubud called Nomads, which was lovely! We got tapas of Indonesian food, took a seat at the front of the restaurant and watched people go by. After lunch we walked down the Main Street passing temples, we had a walk through the big market and took a very long time to find the palace. There seem to be loads of back alleys everywhere in Ubud and little lanes leading to places. We found one which had a sign pointing down it saying rice fields this way so we followed it down a narrow path past peoples houses until it opened up on the large layered rice fields with mountains in background- it was beautiful!!
We walked to Nugraha 2 later to see about booking trips. We decided that we wanted to an overnight trip- 2 days exploring the island- and then a sunrise mountain trek. The owner didn't have a clue what we were talking about and just tried to sell us anything (he was on another planet) so we decided we wouldn't even try book the 2 day trip through him! We walked to a booking agent and they didn't have the 2 day trip either. It didn't look good! We knew they existed on the island as we had loads of leaflets from the airport and we had seen trips here where you can hire a driver for the day to drive you wherever, but you had to pay for everything. We were lazy and wanted one that was already sorted, a route set out and everything already booked for us!
We gave up and went for dinner at a nice little place near us. There was nobody in there when we went in and then in no time the place was full- people waiting for a table. It was good food and it was a cheap restaurant, so will have been popular. We still weren't ready for Balinese food as such- not the proper local dishes- so we had chicken dishes, which were lovely.
When we got back to our hut we did some research online into the different companies from the leaflets we had but we didn't really find much. We decided we would have to ring one of the companies and see what happened from there. If we didn't think we should go for it then we would just do separate day trips. We found a trip that we liked that had it's own professional website, but no reviews online anywhere. I gave the number a call and Mr. Made answered- it sounded like I woke him up! I asked him a few questions like price, if they could pick up from Ubud and got my answers but I couldn't speak properly as the phone line wasn't good. It seemed okay though and the guy spoke English well. The majority of trips in Bali are private, just for your group so we were just wary about that as we had never done it before, just hired a driver for a trip. Plus we wanted to make sure that it sounded okay as we just rang someone from a leaflet, though the leaflet was at the airport and did look professional. If there were reviews anywhere I think we wouldn't have thought much about it. The guy on the phone seemed nice though. We decided I would email to ask more questions and check if everything seemed legit and if it did, we would just go for it!