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Chedi, Chedi Good

Thursday 30th July 2015

sunny 32 °C

We are happily settled in Ubud in central Bali, but aware that tomorrow will see us leaving to go to Australia. The transfer here yesterday went smoothly, with our driver arriving at the Kejora Suites at the pre-arranged time. It took us about an hour to get to the Ubud area, and our driver was chatty and informative and explained quite a lot about the history and way of life in Bali. It seems that most of the villages have a craft or trade that they are known for such a batik, silverware or wood carving and it became a bit of a challenge to try and work out each villages speciality before he named them. When we arrived at our second hotel, The Chedi Club, we were immediately struck by its opulence. Slightly disconcertingly all vehicles are checked thoroughly underneath by security men before they are allowed to enter. We were greeted inside the gate by Bawanta who told us that he would be our butler for the duration of our stay. We were driven the ridiculously short distance to reception in a golf buggy and after checking in he gave us a guided tour of the site. The villas, only 20 in number, are situated in large and beautifully maintained grounds with a large swimming pool, pathways giving great views of the rice fields and a large pond with both white and Australian black swans. Once we had been shown around, Bawanta took us to our villa, with its private pool, massive indoor/ outdoor bathroom and outdoor sitting eating area.

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We were happy to spend some time settling in and also took a dip in the pool, which although a little chilly was very refreshing and it was lovely to be able to swim with views out to the rice fields. As we hadn't eaten any lunch we decided to take advantage of the complimentary afternoon tea which was delicious.

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We had intended to explore the town after tea but by this time the weather had clouded over and it looked like rain. Instead we decided to wander the grounds a little more and then just relax in our beautiful villa before going back to the restaurant for dinner.

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The meal was of a very high standard and the waiting staff very attentive. When we went back to dour villa at the end of the evening we were feeling well fed.

This morning we had a fairly early start as we were being picked up from 8:30 onwards to be taken to the Petanu Valley for a forest walk. We had arranged with Bawanta to have our breakfast brought to our villa. Our driver duly arrived and took us the half hour drive to the forest area of Bayad near the town of Tegalalang. He then introduced us to our guide who lived and farmed in the valley. We started off with a cup of tea and then began our walk with a tour of the garden. He grows fruit and vegetables but also lots of herbs and spices, used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. The garden seemed to blend pretty seamlessly into the forest which seemed to be a mixture of naturally occurring and cultivated plants and trees. The walk was advertised as gentle, which in many ways it was, but there was quite a lot of up and down, and given that there had been recent rain, a bit slippery. Our guide, whose name I sadly cannot remember, was very patient with me when I explained that I needed to be extra careful having broken my ankle last year. He continued to talk about the vegetation and local, planting practices. At one point we stopped at a little hut and another elderly local man showed us how he roasts and grinds the coffee grown in the forest, and then made us all a cup and entertained us by playing a bamboo flute.

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We then continued on our walk reaching the rim of the valley from where we could see some rice fields prepared ready for planting. From there we continued back down and entered an area of narrow tunnels and ravines. It is believed that these were originally produced for irrigation but we're also used as hiding places in the Indonesia 1965/66 anti-communist purges in which approximately 5% of the Balinese population were killed. In this valley alone they stretch for about 1.5km and it was easy to see how local people would have been able to escape using them.

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They also contained several small Hindu temples hewn into the rock, decorated with offerings of flowers and fruit by the local people. After our walk we returned back up a series of steps to the restaurant. We had a delicious lunch of soup made from garden grown oyster mushrooms and Nigel had satay and I had a delicious chicken noodle dish, all washed down with a small beer.

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After lunch our guide went off with his next group of walkers and we were transferred back to our hotel. Our pool was a welcome place to relax and to cool off and late afternoon I went for a bit of pampering in the form of a pedicure and later we went for refreshing cocktails, later returning to the restaurant for another delicious dinner.

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Posted by Gill's Travels 00:20 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali ubud chedi_club

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Comments

It's amazing what extra things emerge like the tunnels during our jungle trek. What I thought was 'just' going to be a straightforward 'take in the beautiful scenery' walk had the added dimensions of tunnels, underground temples, a real coffee from local plants stop plus our guide's expert commentary including great passion and knowledge of the medicinal properties of dozens of plants!

by Nigel's Travels

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