If yoga and vegan food become all too much during a stay in Ubud, the surrounding countryside is scattered with a number of attractions to occupy your time.
Goa Gajah, or the Elephant Cave is located in the village of Bedulu, about 2km south-east of Ubud. The centre-piece is undoubtably the ornately carved entrance to the cave, dating back to the 11th century. To enter the cave one must pass through the mouth of the demon carved into the rock.
But even before that one needs to enter the whole complex through the gauntlet of shop owners and street-hawkers touting their wares – Bintang shirts – a seemingly favourite of most Aussies – sarongs, wood carvings – all at a starting price well over market value.
But once inside, a sense of peace descends as you wander the temple complex – with or without a guide. Statues guard scattered pools, carp swimming lazily in the shallow water. Often preparation is underway for any number of religious ceremonies – offerings being prepared, temples being decorated. A number of the relics would indicated that the temple had both Buddhist and Hindu pasts. Some parts of the complex were not excavated until as late as the 1950’s and the site was listed on the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List in 1995.
But it’s not just the archaeological significance that is appealing. Wandering through the grounds eventually brings you into lush, green, tropical gardens, a sanctuary to sit and rest away from the bustle of everyday life in Bali, whether local or tourist.
Entry price into the park is currently 15,000 RP and it is a requirement to cover knees. Sarongs are available at the entrance for loan if you are not suitably attired.
Once through the entrance there is water, soft drink, fruit and young coconuts for sale, a good refreshment on the way out