Ubud is near the center of Bali and is surrounded by sloping rice paddies and village huts. Ubud is known for its incredible arts scene. Paintings, drawings, wood carvings, etc. are sold in storefronts and markets on the tight, winding, streets that weave through the forest canopy.
The overall atmosphere in Ubud is very friendly. Transport is somewhat slow because all the streets are barely wide enough for one car and a scooter but that is part of the islands appeal. Early Europeans were drawn to the island to seek adventure and explore the untamed tales of witches and mysterious societies. Even the famous English author, H.G. Wells, sailed to Bali to stay with prominent painter, Russian born artist, Walter Spies.
My first stop in Bali was to watch a play that combines parts of the Hindu religion and local tradition. Indonesia is primarily Muslim but the island of Bali is Hindu. The Barong play represented an eternal fight between a good an evil spirit. The Barong is a mythical animal that represents the good spirit. Balinese people believe that the Barong is a symbol of protection.
Mount Batur was another exciting stop. The volcanoes largest eruption was in 1926 and the lava that is visual now is from recent eruptions since 1974. The volcano is still active and smoking. Batur Lake, sits at the bottom and offers a great, contrasting view to the mountain. Luckily I got in a few quick shots before the fog rolled in.
One inspirational school that I wanted to visit was Green School. They actually give about an hour long guided tour twice a week but we missed it because a bridge was out and we had to take a detour. Our driver took us down a long, bumpy, gravel road for about 45 minutes to reach another entrance point. We had to backtrack several times and ask for directions at literally every fork in the road we came to as there are no signs. Luckily all the locals had heard of the school. I came to find out about the school after the founder gave a short lecture on TED Talks. The lady I spoke to said they started receiving about 100 emails a day since the lecture was published. Anyways, check out the website or the link to the talk to learn more about the project.
The main spot for Australian and European tourists is Kuta Beach. But if you travel inland, you can discover a more remote Bali.