Travel Diary: Balinese Funeral

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When in Ubud, we joined the early morning crowd gathered in the village of Peliatan to farewell a member of the Balinese Royal Family.  A royal cremation is a huge affair, with men from all the local villages involved in carrying the ornate funeral pyre for kilometres down Ubud’s main streets.  The men take turns carrying the heavy pyre for short distances, and are helped along by some impressive drumming.  The men join together to pick up the pyre and run with it for a few metres, before they are replaced by another crew. What with the uneven gutters, large crowds and a constantly moving swell of villagers as the pyre changes hands, watching the parade was a chaotic but very interesting cultural experience.

Thank you very much to Rana, Manager at Bidadari for helping us dress appropriately and taking us along.

Campuhan Ridge Walk, Ubud

Campuhan Ridge

They call it ‘trekking’ in Bali, and it’s one of the best ways to explore.  There are plenty of walking tracks around Ubud, and all tracks lead to rice fields.  If you would like to spend a lot of time exploring the Ubud area by foot, I would highly recommend the Bali Pathfinder Map (which you can buy from book stores in Ubud for about $5).  I also found a lot of useful information in blog posts by other travellers.

Campuhan Ridge was the walk I most enjoyed on both our trips to Ubud.  I loved it for its beautiful scenery, and the tasty places to stop and eat on the way.  I was also very taken by the idea that this is where lovers in Ubud go for some romantic alone time, and we were actually lucky enough on our last trip to see a local couple meeting here in their beautiful wedding clothes, before their ceremony.

Directions: Walk from Jalan Raya Ubud towards Penestanan.  Just before the Temple, at the sign to Hotel Ibah on the right side of the road, turn right up the driveway to the hotel and then right again up a narrow walled pathway.  Careful, there could be motorcycles coming down from the ridge in the opposite direction quite quickly.

Girl in Ubud

Flights from Australia often arrive at Denpasar in the afternoon, which means that the drive to Ubud delivers you to your destination in darkness.  This leads to a delightful experience your first morning in Ubud that I like to call ‘waking up in the green world’.

Waking in your four poster bed, pushing the gauzy curtains aside, and peeking out the window at the deep green swimming pool waiting for you, with a jungle valley teeming with insect life and other biota below, is one of the special things about treating yourself when travelling to Bali.  It’s magical to wake up in a new world.

With two visits to Ubud under our belt, we have stayed both times at a gorgeous little private retreat called Bidadari.  With only six villas, built in the traditional style, this resort offers a lot of privacy and plenty of opportunity for relaxing.  Another thing we like about Bidadari is that it is located away from the busy town center of Ubud, in a village called Kelabang Moding (on the way to the Tegalalang Rice Fields).  Bidadari only hires staff from the local village, so it’s a great way to get to know a community and learn a little bit about village life.

When in Ubud, we tend to start the day slowly and then wander through the rice fields surrounding Kelabang Moding and maybe take one of the various walking routes into town, something the locals call ‘trekking’.  Between walking and eating delicious food, and lounging in our little jungle pad, we find we fill our days quite nicely.

Stayed atBidadari Private Villas and Retreat, Ubud
Ate at: Hujan Locale, Swept Away at the Samaya
Explored: Mt Batur to Ubud by Mountain Bike with Infinity Mountain Biking