One of the things we had been looking forward to about Indonesia was the prospect of slowing down after two hectic months of zipping around New Zealand and Australia. Back in London I’d organised 60-day visas so that we’d be able to stop and catch our breath once we arrived in Indonesia. I had pictured us staying in luxurious, cheap hotels where we could go swimming; I imagined days filled with relaxing and exploring combined with plenty of time to write and catch up with freelance work – it would be perfect.
Ubud became, without a doubt, our favourite place in Indonesia - a cool, leafy haven away from the strangeness of Java, the bars in Kuta and the fierce heat of the beaches in Lombok and the Gili islands. Overall, we had a pretty tough time in Indonesia; the six weeks we spent there were marked with struggles, tears, illness, frustration and plenty of soul searching. Ubud, however, became a kind of refuge for us and we look back on our time there as the most serene during our six-week stay – here are the highlights of our time in Ubud Bali.
I couldn’t stop them any longer – flopping down on the hotel bed I buried my miserable face in the pillow and let the tears flow. I’d been holding them back for days, trying to ignore the disquieting feeling in my gut that I’d made a terrible mistake coming to this country. We’d been in Indonesia less than a week and I was already longing to leave – what had gone so horribly wrong?