July 30, 2014

Ubud- Cultural Capital of Bali...!!

Less than an hour's drive from the bustling Kuta lies the contrasting Ubud to its north. This little Indonesian town in Bali is an art lover's paradise with innumerable art galleries, art streets, paintings, woodwork, silver work and a host of other art related works. Also popular are the paddy fields of Ubud making it one of the most sought after destinations in Bali. Ubud has gained a considerable amount of importance on the tourist map in the recent years (partly due to 'Eat, Pray and Love'). 

It is not without a reason, that Ubud is referred to as the cultural capital of Bali. The significance of its culture in its art is immense. There are numerous art galleries on every road selling magnificent paintings. The art street is quite a popular one with a wide display of creations. Ideally this is the best place to buy a souvenir to take back home. There are many art museums within the town which displays the exceptional works of renowned Balinese artists. As seen across Bali, temples are ubiquitous in Ubud too.

A art gallery
An alley in Ubud
The road that leads to Ubud has many art shops selling wood works and stone arts. Most of these creations are of characters from Ramayana. There are also workshops of Balinese and Batuan paintings, woodwork (in Mas) and silver ware (in Celuk) in Ubud where visitors are taken on guided tours and briefed about making of the creations.  

An artisan working on silverware

Woodwork by an artisan in Mas
Ubud palace with magnificent sculptures stands right in the middle of the town and is another major attraction. Visitors do not have access to the insides of the palace. A short walk away from the palace is the monkey forest which is also quite popular with tourists. 
Ubud Palace

Ubud has always been known for its terraced paddy fields which are not far from the town. As you move away from the main streets, it becomes less crowded, more serene and the roads snake past the lovely paddy fields. The stepped terracing makes the landscape breathtakingly beautiful and the best place to see this is Tegal Lalang, a short drive away from Ubud town. The ideal way to soak in the life of Ubud would be to cycle through its alleyways and paddy fields.

Paddy fields at Tegal Lalang

I was dropped of at the main street in Ubud and all I did was to roam roam and roam through the alleyways and art streets, gaze at the gorgeous paintings hanging outside the art galleries, watch artisans make wonderful creations  and haggle with the street vendors. Post the stroll, treated myself to a cup of Balinese coffee in one of those quaint coffee shops by the road and stared in oblivion as the world went by. 

Signing Note- An art lover's paradise...!!

Distance- 35 Kms (from Kuta)

July 23, 2014

Kintamani- The Little Hill Town...!!

The balmy weather turned surprisingly chilly and windy in a matter of few minutes. The narrow roads with intermittent shops gave way to winding ones with orange orchards. The drive ended at the expansive open vistas that lay before me at this tiny hill station, if I may call it one. I was in Kintamani in northern Bali, a small hill town people escape to from the hot and humid Kuta and Ubud. Kintamani can be quite a pleasant surprise as Bali is always associated with only beaches and paddy fields.

Before me stood the imposing Mount Batur, with the overflown black lava that had tarnished most of its greenness.Though still active, it last erupted in 1968 and the remnants from that nature's cry is still very visible. Black lava covers most of Mt. Batur but still makes for a beautiful landscape with the years old lava marks and patches of greenery. There are treks organized early in the morning all the way to the top of the mountain. I would have definitely taken up that challenge had I not reached at mid noon. Adjacent to the mountain lay the beautiful azure Lake Batur as calm as ever. The lake which was once a crater seemed surreal as mist floated over it. There were a few yachts docked in the distance along with some houses by the bank way below. The active volcano and the charming crater definitely made a mesmerising frame. The best way to enjoy Kinatamani is to languorously stroll around, haggle with hawkers, delve into some Balinese delicacies, enjoy the views and soak in the lovely climate.

The breathtaking panoramic view of these two natural beauties from the view point at Kintamani brings in hordes of visitors, both domestic and international. The weather remains pleasant through out the year. There are numerous restaurants facing the wonderful landscape. Having lunch while enjoying the gorgeous vistas is quite popular amongst tourists here. Though there isn't much to do other than walk around and enjoy the views (unless you want to trek), it definitely is a lovely break from the sunny beaches of Bali.

Signing Note- The surprise of Bali...!!

Distance- Kuta to Kintamani- 70 Kms

July 12, 2014

5 Years of Travel Blogging...!!

I started writing this blog five years back to woo a girl who is a blogger herself. Though she is not a travel blogger, the only subject that I could relate to was travel. That wooing turned into an inspiration to write and then a passion to travel and write. Five years down, I find myself one of the popular travel bloggers in the country (as quoted by many websites), have had the chance to see my name on prints and portals, been fortunate to appear on television, been lucky to be a part of travel invites and FAM trips and above all, has made me passionate and serious about travel and writing. It has been an exciting five years as Tales of a Nomad got me introduced to many other travel bloggers, writers and photographers, made me study interesting itineraries, gave goose bumps every time I read about those un-trodden lands, made me learn new cultures, gave a chance to taste global cuisines at local eateries, made me love milestones, deserted roads and signboards, bumped me into friendly strangers, made atlas my favourite book and has given a great insight into the world of travel blogging.

I have not always been a travel enthusiast; it was a slow fascination that turned into an addiction over many travels. Similar has been the case with writing. It started one fine day and am still trying to find my feet in the world of travel writing. The transition period has been a great experience for both the traveller and writer in me. Though I have grown both as a traveller and writer over the years, there is a lot more work to be done to become an inspirational travel writer. The confused soul in me is still not sure whether I travel to write or write to travel.

I do not intend to set goals on travelling or writing in the coming years but would rather travel whenever I get an opportunity (either it comes to me or I create one) and write as soon as I get time to jot down my experiences. However, would love to travel as much possible and write to inspire people to travel to all those lovely places around the world. Thank you readers, followers, inspirations, fellow travellers/ bloggers and all those people out there who have made these five years of travel writing an amazing journey.

Happy Birthday, Tales of a Nomad...!!

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