Day 7: Munduk, Bali, Indonesia

Us 3 in the middle of the twin lakes, Lake Buyan and Lake Tamblingan, in Bali, Indonesia. It’s so obvious Elina and I are the ones without sunnies on because we’re squinting!

And on the 7th day we set off from Ubud to Munduk, which is about 65km of windy road north, with Paul behind the wheel of our hired Toyota Avanza (one of those Asia-only Toyotas).

Munduk’s elevation makes it cooler and less humid than Ubud. (Yay!) Travellers who visit this area go hiking through the forest and rice paddies to small villages, waterfalls and coffee and cocoa plantations. We stayed here only for one night but we thought Munduk was a hidden gem.

But first, let me tell you about the hassle with hiring a car. The day before, Paul had test-driven a car and agreed to hire it; but this morning, we were given a different car – a car we noticed wasn’t in as good condition as the one he’d tested. The back tire treads were worn and it was a bit banged up both inside and out. We weren’t impressed. We could plainly see they had 5 cars in better condition in their garage.

After about an hour of faffing around with the car hire place to switch cars, we were finally on the road at 11.30am. We had the use of a Garmin – yes a SatNav, who uses those anymore?! – and that helped take us out of Ubud. We wouldn’t have been able to get out of Ubud without it as there were many turns to make. Yes, we would’ve used Google maps on the iPhone, but I found 3G really slow. After about an hour or so on the road, we stopped for lunch.

As an aside I have to say that the Balinese, on the outset, have always been super nice, courteous, happy and willing to help. This was no different but as tourists/foreigners/travellers, you still do have to keep your wits about you. We knew Bali roads can be rough and steep, and we didn’t want to put our family at risk of any accidents especially since this was the rainy season.

Here’s our journey from Ubud to Munduk in photos.

On the road

Our lunch spot with a view.
We made a stop here at the beginning of Lake Buyan, the first of the twin lakes, because….
Monkeys! Actually they’re crab-eating macaques. They also live in Ubud’s Monkey Forest but we avoided going there because we’d heard they bit people and were feral. These guys here near the lake weren’t so bitey or scratchy, probably because there are less tourists.
A little video of two adolescent macaques eating bread and corn.
A mama and her bub, and the teen chillin’ at an “I’m too cool to be hanging out with my mama” proximity.
“Hey mum, those freaky humans scare me” proximity.
This macaque scored a whole bag of ayam bakar (barbecued chicken) flavoured Cheetos when he came way too close to the lady who was feeding them to him (or her, I can’t tell), the lady dropped the whole bag and ran away…

Rest stop

A huge statue of Rama riding Garuda. The Ramayana is an important story to the Hindu Balinese and dances enacting the epic poem are performed frequently.
A Balinese rest stop. Much better than a picnic table I reckon, ’cause you can actually stretch out and nap under one of those things.
A very big house on the other side of the road to the rest stop.

The twin lakes

A video panorama of the twin lakes.
A short video shot from the car on the stretch of road after our stop at the twin lakes.
These concrete entrance gate marker thingos are all over Bali and tell everyone when they’ve left one village/area and entered another.

Munduk accommodation

We finally arrived in Munduk and this was the view from our room at Nadya Homestay.
This is the balcony accessible only via our room. What a view, eh?!
Another view from our balcony. How lush are those hills!

Munduk streets

After resting a bit in our room – which had no fan and no aircon – we wandered out onto Munduk’s main road, the same road that would eventually take us further north to our next destination.

Bolstered by our really cool ice-creams, we were ready to head out and explore the main street of Munduk. Paul’s was a sweet-corn flavoured ice-cream with a wafer on the outside. Elina’s was the watermelon one with the ‘seeds’ made of chocolate, and mine was the honeydew melon flavour.
The main street was pretty quiet.
Those bamboo pole thingies again. Anyone know the proper name for them?
Some lovely heliconias. Tried to grow them in Sydney, but they’ve never flowered. Must not be humid enough.
A home and adjoining shrine.
Munduk dog.
Believe it or not, this is a petrol station for motorbikes. Yep, right on the sidewalk.
Check out all the ABC brand products: kecap manis, kecap sedang, kecap asin, sambal extra pedas, sambal ayam goreng, sauce tomat. (In English: sweet soy sauce, medium sweet soy sauce, salty sweet soy sauce, extra hot sauce, fried chicken sauce, tomato sauce.)
A colourful temple gate with the Hindu swastika (Sanskrit for sun, prosperity and good luck).
What you see looking through the temple gates. Verdant mountainside!
We ended up at Warung Classic for dinner. It was run by a guy from Sumatra and his wife, who was Balinese. He’d lived in Kuta and Denpasar for several years but found it stressful and busy so they moved here. This was the view from the warung, which was on the top floor of a building and just up the street from our accommodation, Nadya Homestay.

Munduk walk through rice paddies

The guy at the warung told us that you could pay a nominal fee to use the swimming pool at Puri Sunny Camp, which was a 20-minute walk from our accommodation. So the next morning, after breakfast we went for that walk. We came across more bamboo pole thingies.
And these happy children.
It’s hard to get an understanding of how big these bamboo are; they were humongous.
We passed by these terraced rice paddies…
And arrived at our destination: the pool at Puri Sunny Camp. The water is runoff from the mountain, so it was fresh, very clean and quite cool. No one was staying in the little huts because, as they caretaker explained, it was quiet season right now.
There was a little kiosk behind the pool and later, some school kids showed up and also used the pool. They didn’t have swimsuits and jumped into the pool in their clothes. What they did have was a mobile phone each.
We walked back, got showered and hit the road. Munduk was such a great midway stop between Ubud and Pemuteran. We hope to be back here one day.