Wanting to avoid staying in touristy Ubud, but with an interest in seeing how this part of Bali has changed since we first visited 17 years ago, we stumbled upon Lodtundah – a small peaceful village only 10-15 minutes drive south from Ubud.
For the record, if you are planning to visit Ubud, stay in a village like this instead! This way, you will discover the real Bali and not be surrounded by a tourist trap (and it’s cheaper!).
We stayed with Naja and his family (Naja’s House), booked through Airbnb, and couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome.
Here, we enjoyed Naja’s wife’s cooking, and tried new local foods and specialities, all prepared with fresh ingredients from their garden.
The green pancakes were particularly delicious!
This hidden gem lies amongst rice paddy fields where the locals farm. They were happy for us to meander through the tracks, watch them work and pose for photos.
And we helped some of them with their daily labours!
We were also pleasantly surprised to discover a magnificent view of our, now named, friend, Agung.
Whilst we were there, the locals were preparing for the full moon ceremony, making gifts/offerings and decorations – this is a very special time of the month for them.
Visiting a local temple, we were enthralled by the Barong dance, which tells a story of good and evil. Balinese dance is a very ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression of Balinese people. Dances express the stories of dance-drama through bodily gestures including fingers, hands, head and eyes.
Before it started, we watched the dancers apply their detailed make up.
Inspired, Lola and Albie had a go at replicating the make up techniques back at our homestay!
A quick drive to Ubud confirmed that the ‘village’ we remembered was gone; instead we found streets lined with shop upon shop. Our memory told us that the main road used to be a simple track road with the monkey forest at one end and palace at the other. Dotted with the odd shop, there’d been mostly beautifully carved doors behind which were ‘compounds’ of homes. We were so glad we’d discovered Lodtundah, which helped us remember Ubud as it was!
With only 2 days remaining in Bali before our adventure in Australia begins, we moved closer to the airport (keeping our fingers crossed that our flight would be running. At the time of moving, all Jetstar flights were cancelled due to Agung’s ash!).