Our first day in one of Bali’s most popular destinations was already full of sites, activities, and lots of great photos for Instagram. The day we arrived in Ubud, the boys and I decided to just walk around, window shop, and visit the local yoga studios. We saved all the activities for our next full day in Ubud. We woke up the next morning at our (gorgeous) Airbnb, Sania’s House, and had complementary breakfast sitting on the porch of the royal family house.
Sacred Monkey Sanctuary
Our first stop that morning was the Monkey Sanctuary, located not too far away from Sania’s House. We typed in the address to our GPS, and was confused as to why the app was telling us to go the long way. Stupidly defying the app, we ended up going the wrong way on a one-way street and had to turn back around anyway. Half an hour later, we finally made it to the Sacred Monkey Sanctuary. We paid a 40,000 IDR fee (about $3) to go inside, and I immediately bought 50,000 IDR worth of a “big batch” of bananas. We walked through the entrance and saw a few tourists freaking out because a monkey tried touching them. Eager to befriend a monkey, I took out a banana and said hello to the first monkey I saw. I bent down, reached my hand out, and a small monkey hand reached out to grab my banana.
We walked around the entire sanctuary and saw protective mama monkeys carrying their babies, and a few monkeys picking fleas and bugs off of other monkeys (and then eating them), which Alvin said reminded him of me and Josh. We made friends with more monkeys, until we went deeper into the forest and got mobbed by some. They first jumped on Josh and then jumped on me. I had two monkeys on me at once trying to get into my backpack, and eventually succeeding. However, even after they attacked me I still wanted to hug all of them. I left the sanctuary wanting to take a monkey home with me.
Goa Gajah/ Elephant Cave
Not too far away from the Monkey Sanctuary was our second destination, the Goa Gajah temple. Upon entering the parking lot, we were swarmed by ladies who insisted we needed to buy sarongs to wear inside the temple (although we later saw a lot of people inside the temple who weren’t wearing them). Thinking they were the only vendors around, we bargained and bought sarongs with beautiful rich colors that were accented with black and gold. Walking towards the temple, we soon realized that there were a bunch of other vendors also selling more sarongs. We bought our tickets and were on our way inside. One of the tour guides inside the temple told us that the temple was both Hindu and Buddhist. He offered to give us a tour with the history of the temple, but we decided to explore on our own.
We went inside the man-made cave, which was a little difficult to get into since there were so many tourists. There were only two statues in there at the time so there wasn’t much to see. We walked around over to the other side of the temple where we could pray and receive blessings. Our last stop at the temple was the fountain. At the fountain, water flowed out from the ground and into statues carved into the stone wall that spouted water for us to wash our face and hands with. I found it so beautiful that in so many religions, water is used to both spiritually bless and heal.
Yoga Barn (Vinyasa Flow)
Of course, we had to start fitting in some yoga time into our schedule. We took a 4PM level 2 vinyasa flow class at one of Bali’s most famous studios, Yoga Barn. The yoga studio (which also has a cafe) is located very close to the Monkey Sanctuary in central Ubud. The studio is a bit hidden, with only two small signs pointing into the alley to turn into to get to the studio. We arrived half an hour early to register and get good spots for the class. I hadn’t taken a class in four weeks, and was excited to finally be able to practice again.
Our instructor, Nadine, introduced herself at the beginning of class. She had a very warm and fun aura to her, and I knew class was going to be fun. Her theme for the class was “fake it ’till you make it.” She said we had a choice with everything we do. We can either get aggravated when things don’t quite go as planned, or act with grace. As class went on, she integrated all beginning, intermediate, and advanced poses for everyone. Class was full with more then 50 people and the energy was high. The boys and I left the studio very happy and excited to try other classes at the studio.