Bali is one of Indonesia’s many islands, it lies between Java and Lombok in one of the most southern parts of South East Asia. Bali is unique to parts of Indonesia as it follows the Hindu religion unlike the rest of the population who follow Islam.
Ubud is the cultural centre of Bali, most famed for its arts and religious heritage. The area which is consists of bohemian style shops, cafes and art galleries is beautifully located amongst lush green jungle, rivers and rice paddies. It great place to take a yoga or art class and explore the surrounding Balinese villages but above all else it is the perfect place to relax, unwind and do very little – In my opinion it is the ultimate retreat.
On arrival in Ubud we were exhausted from our mammoth trip through Java and looking forward to some chill out time before the remaining two weeks of our big adventure. We were very relieved when we discovered the ideal accommodation – Oki Wati – this 1970’s balinese hotel is run by a lovely lady who grew up in Ubud and feels much more like a luxurious home than a hotel. It is located just off the Main Street ‘Monkey Forest Road’ but is hidden amongst the surrounding trees and rice paddies. The hotel is one of the oldest in Ubud and has vintage features such as Hindu engravings in the walls and baroque stone carvings. Every morning we were awoken by the sound of the wildlife and a homemade breakfast served to our balcony, it really was paradise.
We spent a bit longer in Ubud as do most who visit here, alongside the reading and relaxing did some white water rafting with our new friends Christine and Ant from Berlin and Pete from down South – we really enjoyed being on the river and the views of the surrounding jungle were amazing. We also explored the monkey forest temples, watched a cultural dance show where unfortunately our camera battery died and attended a Batik Art Class run by I Nyoman Suradnya a highly regarded Javanese artist.
Rafting on the Ayung River
Batik Art Class at Nirvana
Batik is a piece of art work on cloth that is traditionally made using a wax resist and dyeing techniques. Batik clothing is and longstanding Javanese tradition and is often worn in ceremonies to determine the royal ancestors of a person. Traditional colours were indigo, dark brown and white as these were the colours of the natural dyes and also represent the colours of the gods.
The Process Of Batik
Usually the process of Batik would take many days of waxing and dyeing, adding lots of layers to the piece. In my Batik class we had just 4 hours to create our cloth but was able to gain a good knowledge of the process involved. The first step was to sketch a simple illustration in pencil that we would later mark in wax using a ladle. Once the wax is dry we would paint in a thinner wax in the area we would like to crackle. Leave the wax to dry then add colour using the dyes. Paint a wax layer over the colour so it doesn’t bleed then crease the cloth to create crackled effect. Finally dip the the piece in the dye, leave to dry before dipping in the hot water to remove the wax.
The Monkey Forest