Of butterflies, hot springs and an ancient temple ~ Central Bali

After a week in Ubud, we are ready to discover a different part of the island of Bali.

We have a home exchange waiting for us in a village near the Southern beachside location of Canggu.

One of the fun parts of home exchange is that it provides impetus for finding ourselves in locations that we would not go to otherwise. Canggu is not as far South as the built up, overly touristy Kata and Seminyak, and the house we are headed to is located between 2 small villages, and about a 15 minute bike ride from the beach.

The family’s driver picks us up in Ubud ~ a rather nice perk, and we relax as he winds his way through the countrysides curvy streets, past rice fields and small houses, motorbikes and children playing, until he says “We are here!”

In this case, “here” is an attractive modern joglo (teak Javanese house) guesthouse, right next to an inviting looking pool and the main house. The only sounds are of the water filling into the fish pond directly next to the little house, and the distant sound of Balinese gangalang music

And in this case of home exchange, the U.S. family is here in the main house but nonetheless have offered us the use of their guesthouse. Jenn and Dave live here in order for their 14 year old son to attend the unique Green School in Ubud.

The first time I ever got interested in coming to Bali, was when we were immersed in the world of bamboo and our business CO2 Bambu and we read about Bali’s bamboo school, constructed from soaring bamboo and focused primarily around providing an environmentally focused curriculum. We visited green school in 2014.

Talk about coming full circle…..

We have loved doing home exchanges over the years, against our home in Nicaragua. It has been such a unique and economical and fun way to travel! Not only for the houses and places we have stayed in, but often for the people that go along with those houses whom we have occasionally met and in some cases, still keep in touch with.

Those of you who have been following the blog and or know us, know that we have stayed in home exchanges in a medina in Marakesh Morocco, the ancient cities of Toledo and Granada Spain, a Parisian atelier, Istanbul, Portugal and overlooking rice paddies in Bali, to name but a few.

One of the disappointments with selling our home in Nicaragua was our expectation that we would lose the ability to do home exchange. Then it occurred to us that we can exchange our loft in Chicago. Though not as exotic a location, still nonetheless an attractive destination to barter with.

So, we are doing a (our second) non simultaneous exchange for future use of our loft in Chicago.

Well, we luck out, big time. Score!!

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Small modern joglo (Javanese wooden house), which was our little nest in Ccangu.

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The room is just big enough for a king size bed, with small attached bathroom on the side.

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Pretty nice setting! The pool is just behind the greenery, and the stepping stones to the right go through a large fish pond to the pool.

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Good way to end a day of exploring beaches and countryside.

The family are super friendly and hospitable. We are offered the use of the family’s driver for taking us out on day trips, as well as use of their rented motorbike. Talk about easy…

Now we really feel like we are on vacation. We take time to discover the rural area and villages nearby by motorbike, go to the beaches, get massages, jump in the pool, relax! We drive down small lanes, past temples, past women crafting offerings and placing them along their path. .

The house driver, Oka used to be a tour guide. He plans a day’s outing for us, and we head first to a beautiful butterfly sanctuary (much like the ones we visited in Laos and Cambodia), always a treat.

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The butterfly sanctuary is a very large garden with netting enclosing it above, filled with flowers which are attractive not only to butterflies, but to humans as well.

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This butterfly is larger than Ben’s hand and is only a few hours old!


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The newly born butterflies are kept inside an enclosure for a day and then released into the sanctuary. These babies are a gorgeous bright turquoise blue with a black border.

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Beautiful blue butterflies as live jewelry…

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A most unusual insect. No idea what the name of it is, but the body looks exactly like a few leaves clustered together. Brilliant camouflage.

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Ben braves holding this very large (live) rhino beetle.

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The sanctuary also houses a small museum with a large variety of different colored butterflies. Their designs and colors are amazing.

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This zebra-like butterfly would appeal to you, Ezra.

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no words for the beauty of these large, turquoise butterflies

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From there, we go to hot springs nestled amongst the rocks, under trees adjacent to a river flowing by with cool water and hot boulders. Peta loves hot springs, even when the climate and the air around us, as in this case, is hot. We are the only ones there today and have the place to ourselves.

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The river which flows cold below the hot springs, has boiling hot boulders.

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Small pools of hot water overlooking the river below. Pool with cold water nearby to cool off in. We have the place to ourselves.

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Peta in particular is a huge fan of hot springs!

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Swimming pool with cold water for cooling off in after the hot spring water.

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This is the entrance to a small temple area on the grounds of the hot springs.

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Temple shrine.

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Sculptures grace the gardens of lush foliage and flowers.

The next stop on rural adventure is a beautiful huge temple, with ornate deities, stone carvings, pathways and gardens, situated in the shadow of a misted mountain behind. We slowly stroll through the ancient sacred grounds, visualizing ancient processions of Balinese kings and commoners who frequented this temple. Easy to visualize given the fact that Balinese men and women dress today, much the way they used to. (Although the women used to be bare chested until less than a 100 years ago.)


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Entrance to the large temple.

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Note the name of the courtyard behind Peta… “PETANGAN”.

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Everyone has to wear a sarong to go into a temple, no matter when you go, even if you are the only ones there. In case you don’t have one with you, they are handed out at the entrance.

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The gardens at the temple are fabulous. Tree lined paths, shrines, courtyards….

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Peta, sharpening her Balinese persona, courtesy of ancient Balinese sculptures

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We then proceed through the central region of Bali, which is dominated by terraced rice fields. The tones of green, from deep emerald to bright lime are so intense that they seem surreal. Farmers here and there work the land in its varying stages of growth.

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The center of Bali is predominantly made up of rice fields which are tiered in step like fashion. The paddies are all in different stages of growth. These here await new seedlings.

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The beauty and serenity of the rice fields is quite incredible.

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A female rice farmer hard at work tilling the fields.

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We like it here, in Bali!

16 thoughts on “Of butterflies, hot springs and an ancient temple ~ Central Bali

  1. Janice

    Thanks for the wonderful journey into your paradise ! Great photos. Peta I love your clothing…. So ethnic and becoming. Love the photos of the butterflies.
    Lots of love.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Glad you enjoyed journeying with us!

      I like buying a few locally made pieces of clothing when we are in a place for a while. It’s a nice momento from a place. In the temple photos I am wearing a sarong handed out at the entrance, as one has to be wearing one in order to enter a temple.

      The butterflies were really amazing ~ hard to believe that they were real. So vibrant in colors and some so large!
      Love to you!

  2. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

    Boyd J :

    Did you guys move again or just in some extended fabulous get away?? Either way I’m envious!! Have a great adventure!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Continuing our nomadic Green Global Trek…but anchored currently in Chicago for Ben’s work and to enjoy being near family. Thanks for reading us!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Eric! so nice to hear from you. Welcome to our blog. Glad you are enjoying the photos and reading us!

  3. Franki

    Love reading about the adventures of two beautiful people relishing and appreciating their total freedom away from the rat race. WOW guys, such beautiful photos and such wonderful tales of your travels continue.
    Love you huge.

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Ahhhhh! Thanks Fran!
      You are absolutely right about how much we relish having the time and freedom for adventure. Looking forward to meeting you again for another adventure together! Hoi An Viet Nam was the first, but let’s have another reunion! Happy to hear you think the photos are beautiful – coming from a professional photographer doing beautiful work, that is compliment indeed.
      Love you equally huge and more!

    1. GreenGlobalTrek Post author

      Thanks Chuck and Lori!
      Home exchanging has been a terrific way for us to travel, especially in Europe and the U.S. where prices are higher. We have been doing it for years and it has been quite an asset overall!

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