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
The twin lakes
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.
Looks great again. Those heliconias are called crab claw heliconias, and you need to be in the tropics, such as Darwin, Cairns, Hawaii or Bali, to grow them well.
And it’s really interesting to see all those scenes off the beaten track, away from the heavily touristy areas.
(And tell Elina that Pam and I are following her Instagram feed now, too.)
Hi Jamie, yeah I know the heliconias we have in the backyard are different to these. They are in a pot. I wonder if that makes the difference? Maybe when we’re back I should replant them in the ground and under some shade. Yes, if you move away from the busier areas of Bali, it really is quieter. And that’s the reason why we’re on the northern shore of the island right now in Pemuteran. Mostly European visitors here and quiet as… We met a lovely Australian-Dutch family here. More on that in the next post! Have told Elina to post more pics 🙂