Ubud is a certain version of paradise.
While not on the beach, the small town has lots to offer – rice paddies, crafts, traditional dance, delicious organic food and of course, more shopping. It is the “cultural center” of Bali and was much more of what I had in mind in coming to Indonesia (as compared to the techno-thumping Kuta). I have so many amazing photos, I could barely choose which ones to post!
Ubud marked a change in my travels, as Stefanie and Caitlin departed after just 2 days. The rest of the week was spent traveling alone and picking a few things to concentrate my time on. That will be the next post!
While I still had my friends, we explored Ubud from our very nice accommodation at Sri Ratih. For about $25 USD per person per night, we were treated to a room with three beds, an outdoor shower and bathroom, a quaint little patio, a fantastic pool and a full breakfast overlooking the koi pond each morning! It was a nice little oasis.
The day we arrived was spent exploring the main areas of Ubud – perusing silk shops, picking up souvenirs at the Central Market, seeing the Palace and stopping for lunch at Nomad for an Indonesian spread. The food in Ubud seemed fresher and more healthy than some of the other cities – it just has a wellness vibe!
We did a lot of shopping (most of my presents will be from Bali!) and thankfully Stef carried home some of my souvi’s for me so I won’t be lugging them around for the next two weeks.
The last major stop of the day was the Monkey Forest – an area right in town that has a few temples in the “jungle” and a ton of monkeys roaming about. We already established my disinterest in monkeys back at the Batu Caves, so I had a bit of trepidation entering the forest.
The monkeys could obviously sense my fear, because within 5 minutes of being in the forest, I was minding my own business taking a photo and a mid sized monkey lept onto my back from its perch a few feet away! Bahhhh! At first I didn’t even realize what had happened…didn’t believe it could be true that a wild monkey had just pounced on me. I was nervous about getting bitten or scratched so I just froze completely! Luckily, after about 30 seconds (which felt like a lifetime), I moved a bit to put down my phone (I thought perhaps he was after that) and he jumped off and walked away. Phew!
I was a bit rattled after that.
A little walk through the forest and then some pool time back at the hotel managed to calm me down well enough.
The next day, we spent the morning by the pool before heading to an organic salad shop to meet a friend of Caitlin’s who lives in Bali, Melinda. She had great suggestions for how to spend our last afternoon together and also shared some perspectives on living as an American in Bali.
Following Melinda’s advice, we spent a blissful afternoon at cantika spa, having an hour and 45 minute Balinese spa treatment – including a full body massage, scrub, lotion and flower bath. It was much more enjoyable than the brutal Thai massage last week! As if 100+ minutes weren’t enough, we also had an hour facial on the terrace overlooking the rice paddies. All of this for about $35 USD. Seriously paradise.
We followed the rice paddy walk back a ways to Cafe Organik, where we dined Indonesian style on fresh veggies and other organic dishes.
I had a fantastic grilled vegetable salad with sesame seeds and a light dressing, along with a homemade pesto pasta. Dining in the rice paddies and watching the star filled sky was a perfect ending to our trip together!