I slept in a very basic home stay right in the center of town, (which I wouldn’t actually recommend as It was plenty of mosquitoes, bed bugs and insects that literally have eaten me alive for 5 nights, and very noisy because of the renovating works going on right outside the front door of my room. Why have I decided to stay there anyway? Well, It was super cheap and I was on very low budget, they would give me breakfast for free that would actually fill me up for the whole morning and part of the evening, the local no English-speaking family was super nice, the only 2 English words that would actually say to me were “Walking, Walking” every morning when I was ready to go out, and it was right in the middle of action!) and so very close to everything.
After unpacking all my stuff, my first stop was the local market where I bought for half of the asking price a wooden Buddha (7 euros) and 2 patterned sofa covers for my mum (13 euros for both). Even here bargain is rule number one when you buy!
After that, I walked around a bit and I assisted to a funeral parade where four people were carrying the coffin and behind them, a small crowd dressed up in very colourful clothes was following, laughing and taking selfies. I have been told that not being sad, is actually part of their religion and view of life.
Right after the funeral, I went to visit the Royal Palace, a beautiful and basic structure with lots of monster statues and purple drapes all over. Some areas are private and not available to tourists.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
I love monkeys! and for the first time in my life, I could actually see them not behind bars but free to walk around and interact with people, It was very funny and they actually put a smile on my face for 2 days straight!
The Monkey Forest is open every day from 8.30 to 6 pm and the ticket costs 40.000 IDR, around 2.8 euros. An amazing huge park where you would be able to see 700 monkeys, 186 different species of trees and 4 temples, walking in a fresh green area.
The staff of the park is very protective of the monkeys, they will actually kick you out if you touch them with bad intentions or scare them: these little funny creatures approach people out of curiosity so some of them they steal any shiny weird object they see, some of them simple hug you, other ones want to play…they bite only when they feel they have to defend themselves….so If you end up with a monkey sit on your lap opening your bag, just take the bag back and stand up but do no not scare them off or hurt them!
If you are up for something entertaining to do during the night, every evening between 7 and 7.30 pm, you can enjoy one of the shows where you can assist to amazing traditional Balinese dances and theatrical representations like the Barong or the Kecak Fire and Trans Dance:they all take place at the Ubud Royal Palace, Ubud Water Palace or at the Dalem Temple Ubud. Prices are around 75.000 – 80.000 IDR (4.50 euros circa). For more info about prices, locations, hours and type o f dance, have a look here.
If you decide to for the Kecak Dance at Dalem Temple, on the way, there is a very nice, homey, family restaurant called Dapur Bunda where I had Oseng Kacang Panjang with Nasi Putih and Cold Green tea with Honey for 27.000 IDR (less than 2 euros).
Very close to the centre and right in the middle of the main streets of Ubud (with your back at the Royal Palace, walk down on the right) you will find a hidden sign with access to the rice fields. This is absolutely one of the most amazing things I have ever seen…the impact of walking on a city road and ending up in this green paradise is something that you can understand only if you see it. You can easily follow the path to reach temples, small cafes and you can explore the whole area for hours if you like, but make sure you are wearing a hat and that you have got water with you if you decide to go at noon.
The main reason why I have decided to go to Ubud, it was to have the possibility to book a meditation session to help me to open up my chakras and reconnect with my inner myself after losing all my life reference points.
And so one day, on the way to the Monkey Forest, I found this small yoga and meditation ban where Atman Yogini, a small and cute 40 years old woman, popped out the door welcoming me with a beautiful smile. She understood straight away what I needed and she offered 3 hours of a purification and meditation session with her Guru I Nyoman Rubs, the 5th Guru generation of his family, for 35 euros. I had never attended a session with a Guru before and so I accepted as I was desperate to have some relief to my deep emotional pains. We agreed to meet up the day after at 3 pm.
The day after, I showed up 10 minutes before like a proper Western-European used to busy cities and traffic. She wasn’t there but her mother, a tiny 80 years old woman, came straight to me and hug me. Well, It could sound silly, but that hug touched me right there in the middle of my heart. Atman arrived a bit late on her scooter carrying a massive round wicker basket plenty of fruits and flowers, the offering that the Guru was going to use for my purification ceremony.
At that point we jumped on her scooter (wearing no helmets of course!), I was sitting on the back holding this massive basket whilst she was driving super fast. I found myself smiling and enjoying that moment of madness and freedom like a child, the most peaceful and funny moment I had, at that time, in the last few months. I found myself trusting 100% this stranger that was taking me to see a Guru, a real one!
As soon as we arrived at the Guru I Nyoman Rubs family’s home, she made me wear the ceremony clothes and I broke down, I literally felt into pieces crying my eyes out even before the ceremony started. After I managed to recompose my self we started with the purification first, after that we have a meditation session, a healing session to open up my chakras and a small prayer to thank the Balinese Gods (Religion is a big part of their life, they pray 3 times a day and they pretty much live their life around it).
The wife’s Guru made dinner for us as well, and around 9 pm we left the house.
Did I feel anything after this session? I don’t know what I was supposed to feel but I felt incredible awake, like my eyes and my ears were bigger, like I could see more or hear more and the colours were brighter…this feeling lasted for few weeks actually.
I had such a deeply emotional experience here in Ubud, that I wanted a constant reminder to me of what I have learnt from Atman Yogini: ” Have a good relationship with yourself, speak good words, have a good relationship with your loved ones and the spirits”.
And so I decided to tattoo on my skin a small symbol, The Third Eye, the 6th Chakra, to remind myself to follow my instinct as guidance.
Need to know: If you ever decide to get a tattoo in Bali, please be aware that if you pick any symbol containing the “OM” sign, their God, the won’t be allowed to design it on your body from the bottom down as it would bring bad luck to them and to you as well.
Curious facts: Ubud is one of the places where Eat, Pray, Love with Julia Roberts, has been filmed and if you are interested in doing the film tour, you can find online lots of info, for example here.
Next stop of my solo backpacking adventure in Bali: Semimyak!
#Ubud #chakras #Meditation #Bali
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