Ubud Botanic Garden
A little bit of research on the holiday destination always pays off nicely in the end. The first time that I went to Indonesia was simply a recommendation from my travel agent. It was an all inclusive Bali package for 9 nights in Kuta. I flew in without much of an understanding and found the town hot and noisy with too many tourists and drunk party-goers at night. While the sceneries were breath-taking near the coast and in the mountains, the group tour of 50 tourists in a coach bus hurried from point A to point B was not my idea of a nice tour.
So on my 2nd time to Bali, I booked my own hotel for 2 nights and planned to just visit the Ubud Botanic Garden to relax after a 12 day Java overland tour.
Taman Harum Cottages are situated near Ubud, in the town of Mas. They are a group of traditional Balinese style houses turned into rooms of a boutique hotel. This hotel has the best rate and best service including a welcome drink and a shuttle ride to the nearest town Ubud which is 30 minutes away.
Ubud Botanic Garden is a five hectare terraced land on the side of a valley in the town of Ubud. Originally, the land was terraced rice fields under the constant threat of erosion. With the hard work of the crew, now the area is turned into one of the most beautiful private display gardens in Bali. The entrance of the garden is a humble wooden farm house displaying photos of how the rice fields were transformed into the garden. This is the highest in elevation of the garden. Stairs gently lead one down to a contemporary fountain area with lipstick palms (Cyrtostachys renda) and roselle plants planted. Garden gazebos are planted with vines such as Thunbergia mysorensis and Strongylodon macrobotrys. Further down are pathways meandering down a very steep slope planted with Heliconia and Canna. Big Banana plants are everywhere near the bottom of the slope. This area is the sunken garden with pots of Nepenthes displaying the carnivorous pitchers catching insects. The ground is very wet and slippery with pools of water everywhere. The Titan garden is an enclosed swamp with lots of mosquitoes. Amorphophallus species are in leaf only. Here and there are wild Merremia peltata, or cultivated Clitoria ternate. This area receives less sunlight and is best suited for an under planting of shade-tolerate plants. Anthurium species have bright red, pale pink, pure white or even purplish green blooms. I saw a fine specimen of Anthurium crystallinum in the Meditation Court. In complete silence, one can do Yoga or simply rest in witness of the Buddha statues in the garden.
Walking along the pathways of the garden, I saw collections of Bromeliads, Alocasia and Anthurium. Steps lead upwards to higher grounds of the Islamic Garden with a beautiful fountain in the centre of a courtyard. Passiflora edulis is cultivated. This is the sunniest spot that is difficult to negotiate during mid day. I opted for the shady Orchid House with the collection of pretty orchids in various displays. If you get thirsty and tired after the walk, order the icy cold Roselle Tea or the Passion Fruit Juice from the garden Café. The staff cooks snacks and simple meals for lunch hour.