Skip to content

Bali – discovering tourists and temples

Ubud was the next destination- 2 hours by car from Tulamben and in the heart of the island. We drove through, admiring the sudden frequency of little cafes, restaurants and posh spas. We also noted the massive increase in westerners who filled the streets with their sunhats and sarongs. This was clearly different to the northern coast and hummed with activity. Balinese wood is famous the world over and we admired the many shops displaying beautifully carved pieces and unusually decorative furniture.

Ubud is considered important in Bali and has many temples to admire. A little further out of town, one can wash in the sacred water of Tirta Empul and receive a blessing. In town there is also the Sacred monkey forest which in itself, is a beautiful forest with a river running through and a small temple at its heart but is made all the more special by the monkeys which inhabit the forest and protect it from tourists by stealing their food and handbags!

Simon’s beard off with a monkey

At one point, we came across a little shallow pool under the boughs of two small trees. We heard the unmistakable splash of a belly flop and to our amazement saw that the baby monkeys were running up to the branches and diving (belly-flopping) int the water below!! Add to that the fact that they were play drowning each other and pushing each other into the water and we could have been in any family friendly all inclusive resort where naughty siblings horse around the pool.

The monkeys were pretty naughty with tourists too- a few of the smaller monkeys frequently limbered up unsuspecting legs and dived straight into handbags, running off with sunglasses, hair bobbles and keys. They’re encouraged to interact with the visitors by being fed bananas or sweet potato but clearly they’ve become bolder with time and are no longer interested in the soft stuff, preferring to go all-out valuable-robbery.


We frequently saw docile mothers with the tiniest babies clutching their bellies as they raced across the paths. Big adult males would strut, bow-legged, through their harems and glare at any men who came near. Simon was challenged by one young male who thought his camera work too aggressive but just to note- no animals were harmed in the production of this footage.

Family afternoon day out



It’s behind you!

So the forest is worth visiting regardless of the monkeys, which were pretty hilarious at times.  Later that day we went to a Balinese restaurant and had aubergine and tofu in a special balinese sauce. It was declared the best thing either of us had eaten in the last 6 months away!! Research will be made into how to cook it for future.

Delicious tofu! Not words you hear together often














Double Sumatran espresso

Indonesia is famed for its excellent coffee. Also located on the coffee belt, beans are grown in the volcanic, rich soil of various islands. Obviously we had to try some, this time it was made in an espresso machine to give Simon a proper caffeine hit.

Ubud had loads of coffee shops catering to Italian style coffee. The usual coffee to be bought in shops tends to be roasted with coffee or to come pre-mixed with powdered milk and sugar.  We’d also spotted some Kopi Luwak in one shop and vowed to try some.

Alex delighted at the choice of coffee in this tiny cafe above the shops.










Once satiated with a coffee, we walked to some of the many temples within Ubud itself. Bali is predominantly Hindu despite Indonesia being an Islamic country. Ubud is rich in both Hindu and Buddhist temples, although only 11% of the population identify as Buddhist. It used to be the principle religion along with Hinduism until Indonesia found Islam in the form of Sufi traders in the 13th Centrury, three centuries later and Islam was the dominant religion. In fact “Indonesia” means “Of Hindu Surrounded by Water”.  Just by walking along any street, you’re treated to glimpses of temples and offerings.

Buddha just chilling in another courtyard

A welcoming doorway


















Tired from producing coffee

Satisfied that we’d seen much of what Ubud had to offer, we moved south in order to visit Tanah Lot, one of the holiest sites in Bali for Hindus. We headed for Kuta and again were blown away by how full of tourists it was. Even more so than Ubud, Kuta seemed to be filled with a majority of tourists and westerners. It didn’t really feel like we were still in Indonesia. We hired another trusty scooter to visit a number of sites and the beach. First port of call was a coffee and spice farm in search of the famed Kopi Luwak. We weren’t disappointed and even met one of the friendly Luwaks whod been busily producing fermented coffee beans all night!

All one needs to make a good cup of coffee

We visited the farm which had a collection of 10 cats on site. They also roasted the beans themselves before grinding and mixing with other spices (optional). Some of the mixed coffees included ginger coffee, coconut coffee and cocoa coffee. All of them were delicious but it was seeing the roasting and grinding that was most special.

The lady working even let Simon stir the beans!

Roasting beans the old fashioned way





Eventually we were allowed to sample the coffee, including the exotic flavoured versions. They were presented on a beautiful tray:

The many flavours of tea and coffee at the farm










We scooted next to Tanah Lot and wrestled our way through the throng of tourists. We were lucky enough to be there during a ceremony so watched people walking solemnly up to one of the temples on the complex. Tanah Lot itself was cut off because of the high tide. People were, however, drawn to it and a mass of worshippers and tourists alike crowded on the beach as close to the temple as they could get. As the tide wore out, the crowd closed in further.

Tanah Lot

Service as usual at the other temple on the site

After walking around for a bit, trying a Durian ice-cream, we stopped again for a coffee. Incidentally, shops, lifts, trains etc.. all public enclosed spaces have a sign saying NO DURIAN! Apparently the smell is too much for polite society although it tastes creamy and good.


We caught sight of a small coffee shop which had three pet Luwaks and a pet fruit bat. The owner prepared the coffee in a cold drip method and it made the most intense and rich coffee imaginable.

A fruit bat hanging around waiting for coffee

Coffee at Tanah Lot












We rode back through flooded paddies and once again admired how green and fertile the countryside is. The inland is beautiful in Bali, the coffee is good but the beaches in the south were terribly dirty. For us, the serene magic of the island was to be found in the north- in Tulamben where one could really escape in the landscape and breathe fresh air.  Nothing beat the neatly separated paddies. It was time to leave Indonesia and head for Singapore. No doubt a huge change of pace lay ahead!

Rice paddies by the road


  1. Francine on 09/02/2017 at 10:37 am

    Simon has probably ancestors in that forest! Naughty me!
    Perhaps more details are required about the special coffee produced by the luwak and what a durian is made of?
    Sumptuous pictures!

    • alex on 11/02/2017 at 6:04 am

      The special coffee is fermented the natural way! The Lowaks eat the ripe cherries and the beans ferment in their gut. Once it is excreted it was washed and then roasted. It gives a deeply rich flavour to the coffee.

Leave a Comment

All content and images Copyright © 2016 Journey Limitless. Website designed by One Day Labs.