travel bite: Ubud, Bali

I’M struggling with the words for Ubud.

I can tell you the facts, here you will find: brilliant food of a refreshing variety (veggie, vegan, ‘raw’, gluten / wheat free, even authentic key lime pie); gorgeous boutiques for clothes, beauty and homeware; spas; bookshops; Balinese dancing; great live bands (they are generally awful in Bali); shisha; monkeys; markets; beautiful homes and temples; rice paddies; yoga and antiques.

But this is only Ubud’s surface. What makes Ubud such an enchanting place to stay is the ambiance of wellbeing – both of body and mind. Bali in general very much exudes the aura of karma, and the Balinese truly encompass the mantra that by doing good to others then good will be received in return (and vice versa). Ubud however, seems to wrap it up into a beautifully packaged bundle.

statues at the entrance of a homestay

a family temple peeking out from over a wall

offerings outside the home

And no, I’m not going to deny it, Ubud is a food lovers paradise, and possibly one of my favourite things about the town. You can easily spending the day cafe/restaurant hopping. I spent about nine days in total here, returning after a short stay to make sure I could fully enjoy the charm and food at the pace of a local.

I won’t oversell Ubud though. There are tourists (who can be avoided), a horrific reggae band, taxi touts and very little nightlife. And perhaps it was the perceptibleĀ  Western influence on the town’s shops and eateries that made me feel so comfortable. But when you walk down colourfully decorated streets with dried palm hangings and offerings outside every intricate doorway you can’t help but smile.

Ubud is a beautiful place, both visually and in spirit. A place that all I know who visited found hard to part from.

elaborate entrances surprise you everywhere in Ubud

affordable accommodation is often the most attractive in Ubud

local ice-cream 'van' that travels around the quieter roads with its music tinkling away

wander the upper parts of the market to escape the crowds

a view onto the umbrellas of the market down below

playful reference to a certain film that was partially set in Ubud...

handmade kites for sale

crispy fried baby eels from a little warung on Jl Hanoman

hanging coconut decorations from a restaurant roof in Ubud

Things to do and see in Ubud:

Chillout Lounge: peaceful garden that’s great for soaking up the sun if you don’t have much outdoor space at your accommodation. Tasty food at affordable prices – try the Mutabarak: roti style bread filled with chicken, onions and cheese, and ask for curry sauce on the side.

Kafe: on Jl Hanoman. Mid-range prices for a large variety of healthy dishes and Mexican themed options. Great decor and setting for watching life go by outside.

Art Cafe: on Monkey Forest Road. Delicious food – I had a great burrito here – with mismatched furniture and wall hangings with a vintage feel.

Fly Cafe: take a long walk up to here (approx 45min without stopping) and reward yourself with a wonderful tart key lime pie. The walk takes you past many antique shops and galleries that are worth popping into.

antique shops that you pass on the way to the Fly Cafe

a gallery selling art and furniture made from old fishing boats along the walk to the Fly Cafe

locals are bathing in the river you cross on your way towards the Fly Cafe

Rai Pasti’s: on Monkey Forest Road. Offering generous and fresh portions of Indonesian fare as well as cheap salads, this is a great budget option that we returned to time and again which also offers views over rice paddies, wifi and bargain beers.

Rai Pasti's colourful fresh salad

Sopa: on Jl Sugriwa. Small but perfectly formed menu. Food is cheap, fresh and vegetarian, the vegan tomato tart particularly tasty and a steal at only 10,000 rp. Pleasant attention to detail and service within a chilled environment that allows for you to sit and relax.

delightful condiments accompany your meal at Sopa

Jazz Cafe: the best bands play here. Try to catch the ‘gospel’ band, which isn’t gospel music at all but boasts fantastic guitarists and a strong soulful singer.

XL Shisha Lounge: on the side of the football field you will find this chilled out shisha bar with a Middle Eastern style interior that stays open serving food and drinks until 3am. There is also often a good band playing.

Hutama: on Jl Jembawan. Simple, affordable and clean rooms hosted by a pleasant family. Rooms face a traditional family temple complete with fish pond and breakfast is included.

part of the view of the garden from our room at Hutama in Ubud

Merthayasa Bungalows: on Monkey Forest. An absolute bargain for a pool, hot water, wifi, breakfast and large, clean rooms. We paid 210,000 rp per night for three people sharing.

the pool at Merthayasa

Wander the surrounding area by foot: it is easy to go for long walks and discover rice paddies and local artists.

you get to see a variety of constructions when wandering the outskirts of Ubud

made to order Mie Goreng at Texas BBQ - a great little restaurant discovered on a local walk - that also provides cooking classes

attention to detail and complimentary snacks made Texas BBQ a wonderful discovery

impromptu music played at Texas BBQ

pop into the Monkey Forest for some up close interaction with the animals

3 Responses to “travel bite: Ubud, Bali”
  1. Ashley says:

    Makes me want to go there! Loved all the photos!

  2. Carrie Haines says:

    Food critic budding I sense. Anything as good as Terre a Terre in Brighton?!

  3. Lal says:

    I have been there twice very beautiful place

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