Ubud Streetlife – Bali

Ubud, Bali

Ubud is considered to be Bali’s cultural centre and is becoming an increasingly popular choice with tourists. Travellers come to this mountain town to experience its restaurants, spas, arts and crafts. It is also a perfect spot from which to explore the surrounding countryside.

Most people associate Bali with balmy relaxed days by the beach followed by hectic nights out in the southern coastal resort areas. Nonetheless, travellers are becoming more aware of other points of interest such as the temples, forested volcanic mountains, rice paddies and interesting culture. By visiting Ubud, you will experience a very different side of Bali.

It takes about an hour to drive the forty kilometres to the town centre from the airport due to the congested motorways. On reaching your destination, everything seems to slow down and the whole atmosphere is more relaxed. The feeling is one of being in a large village. Which in effect your are, as the town is a conglomeration of fourteen villages each run by its own council of representatives.

One of the biggest attractions of Ubud is its people. They are some of the most friendly you will meet and make excellent hosts in hotels, restaurants and other local attractions. My post today is a tribute to the people and culture of Ubud.

Ubud Portrait – Policewoman

An elegant policewoman keeps an eye on proceedings at a ceremony through the streets of the town.

Ubud, Bali - Policewoman

Ubud Streetlife – Scooters

The public transport system in Bali is non existent. As such, the roads are extremely congested even outside the major city precincts. The best way of avoiding the traffic jams is to hire a scooter.

Ubud Streetlife - Scooters

Portrait – Interesting Old Man

Ubud Portrait - Old Man

Group Portrait – From Young to Old

Bali Portrait - From Young to Old

Traditional Balinese Man

Traditional Balinese Man

Cimeira Cafe – Relaxed & Friendly

Many of the restaurants and cafes in Ubud are open to the street in order that patrons can sit and watch the world go by. The atmosphere in these eateries is generally relaxed and often the style is quaint. 

Cimeira Cafe Ubud

Ubud Portrait – Tourist

Even the tourists in Bali’s cultural capital tend to be relaxed and friendly. As an example, this vibrant young lady was all smiles and more than happy to be photographed. She told me that this was her first visit to Bali and had loved every moment of it. 

Bali Tourist - Ubud

Qatar– A New Adventure Begins

Qatar – A Rising Falcon

Qatar is situated on a peninsula that juts into the Persian Gulf. Saudi Arabia provides the solitary border and land extends a mere 160 kilometres northwards from this southern boundary. The country is a constitutional monarchy and has developed at breakneck speed over the last few decades. Abundant reserves of oil and gas have been the main drivers towards this robust growth. In particular, the latter is available in copious quantities. Gas accounts for approximately 14 percent of total known global resources.

Doha is Qatar’s capital city and, with a population of almost 1.5 million, is home to more than 50 percent of the nation’s population.  This modern metropolis has a multitude of world class hotels plus a growing number of cultural attractions. Notwithstanding this, Qatar authorities have maintained the nation’s ancient traditions by ensuring they remain an integral part of the city. It is this rich culture blended into modern sophistication that has propelled Qatar to the top of my travel bucket-list. Fortunately, an opportunity to visit has arisen much earlier than I had anticipated. My journey starts this evening!

Qatar Airways – Perth To Qatar

An added benefit of travelling to Doha, is that I will once again have the privilege of being hosted by Qatar Airways. The airline was recently awarded Airline of the Year at the Skytrax World Airline Awards. I am also lucky enough to be flying in one of my favourite aircraft, the Boeing 777-300.  This will make the normally onerous eleven hour plus flight from Perth a pleasurable experience.

Qatar Airways

The Mondrian – Doha

I will be staying at the magnificent Mondrian Hotel in Doha. Opened in October 2017, this luxuriously appointed 270 room hotel has had exemplary reviews ever since.

The building and interior draws inspiration from falcons. For instance, the entrance has been shaped like the beak of a falcon and the rooftop is fringed with wing shaped extensions. The lower exterior also appears to be carved out like a nest. Paintings and ornaments depicting these magnificent birds of prey fill the interior. I cannot wait to sample the hospitality of this magnificent hotel and report back to my subscribers.

Mondrian Doha

Sacred Temples of Bali

Bali Temples

No trip to Bali would be complete without seeing one or more of its more prominent Hindu temples. There are over twenty thousand on the island but the vast majority of these are small village shrines. Nonetheless, there is a significant number of extremely impressive temples that are worth visiting. A Balinese temple is known locally as a Pura. They have a very definite style and layout that is common amongst them all. The following are some of the temples that are worth considering.

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

Pura Ulun Danu Beratan, or Pura Bratan, is a prominent Hindu water temple in north Bali. The temple complex is scenically located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedoegoel.The unique setting on the lake gives the impression of the buildings floating on water.

Bali Temples - Pura Ulun Danu Beratan

Bali Temples - Pura Bratan

Lempuyang Temple, Bali

The Lempuyang Temple or Pura Luhur Lempuyang Bali is a series of six complexes built on the slopes of the mountain with the same name. It is one of nine directional temples on the Island that were built to protect the island from evil spirits. Collectively, they are known as kahyangan jagaton. Be aware that the hike to the top temple is steep, takes up to two hours and is often clouded over. If you are lucky to have a clear day the views of Mount Agung and the valleys below are spectacular.

Bali Temples - Lempuyang

Tirta Empul Temple

The Tirta Empul or Holy Spring Water Temple is located near the town of Tampaksiring about a thirty minute drive North of Ubud. This most sacred of religious sites is dedicated to Vishnu, who is the Hindu God of water. The most recognised section of complex is the Jaba Tengah which has two purification pools. Worshippers come here to cleanse themselves by dipping their heads under the water spouts.

Bali Temples - Tirta Empul

The Tirta Empul Holy Spring – Bali Temples

The Jaba Tengah purification pools have thirty water spouts that are fed with water from the holy spring.

Holy Spring Water Temple

Lake Batur Shrine

There are a number of temples and shrines around the volcanic lakes in the north of Bali. The more prominent of these can be very congested, especially at weekends. For those wanting to get away from the crowds, it is worth hiring a guide for the day to take you to lesser know sites.

Lake Batur Shrine

Entrance Gate Pintu Bintar – Lempuyang Temple

On a clear day, the views from the Pintu Bintar entrance gate to Mount Agung are spectacular. On the day I visited, the clouds had rolled in and hidden the peak. Instead, I was graced with the beauty of an eagle riding the thermals.

Bali Temples - Entrance Gate Pintu Bintar,Lempuyang

Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan Temple

The Pura Ulun Danu Tamblingan is not as famous as the prominent temples on lake Bratan and Batur but, for me, it is a far more enjoyable place to visit. The reasons for this are that it is less crowded, is superbly located and is frequented by the most interesting local people.

Bali Temples - Pura Ulun Danu

Goa Lawah Temple, Candidasa

The Goa Lawah Temple is an impressive Hindu religious site close to Candidasa in east Bali. Drawcards include architecture that is very traditional and buildings that are built around a cave inhabited by thousands of bats.

Goa Lawah Temple, Bali