Sunday, 25 March 2018

Bali: seeking serenity in Ubud


After a few days in chaotic yet glossy Seminyak we were ready to explore further afield. This initially took us to Canggu where we spent a fairly blissful 48 hours by the sea, relaxing in cool coffee bars and biking up to the incredible (but far less relaxing!) Tanah Lot. Craving a quieter life, we hopped in a taxi to Ubud. It's known as a hub for arts and culture and is what many will imagine when they picture Bali in their imagination - I think one reason why many are so disappointed when visiting Seminyak / Kuta! Arts and culture, it aint. Ubud, on the other hand, had a far more authentic feel to it. 

Getting there
The island of Bali is actually pretty small, and transport between Canggu and Ubud only takes around an hour or so. As I mentioned in my previous post, getting a taxi in Canggu can be pretty hard work - they are banned in the most part, and Uber didn't seem to operate at all. So we waited on the side of the road for about 10 minutes, until someone drove past offering us a lift. We haggled a price for our journey, ending on 250,000 rupiah - around £12. Considering this was a private ride, it was pretty good value for money - but a minibus would probably be cheaper. In hindsight, jumping in to the back of a random car on the side of a road in a taxi-free zone probably wasn't the safest thing we did whilst in SE Asia! In the words of our dairy "seemed a bit dodgy, but we got there fine!". Sorry, Mum. 

Where we stayed
We found accommodation in Ubud a bit of a tricky one. So much was booked up, and the nice stuff seemed to be really pricey. We settled on Ramaniya House - not cheap at £30 a night, but not bad. It was clean but basic, in a fairly good location. The breakfast was what you'd expect - banana pancakes - brought to your room. I don't think I've ever eaten as many banana pancakes as I did in that 6 months in SE Asia! Would I go back? No. But it was fine. 

What we did
Whilst Ubud is hardly a zone of complete serenity, it is a world away from the madness of south Bali. It's more green and luscious, with a real hippy vibe - yoga on every corner and wheatgrass shots a plenty. I ate a lot of tofu during my time in Ubud! Of course, there are still heaps of tourists here - it's no hidden gem - but the pace does seem a little slower, and the culture does seem to have remained more in tact than in the south of the island. 

Check out the market - luckily this was right next to our hotel, and we visited a couple of times to pick up various souvenirs and bits and pieces. I still have a gorgeous sarong I bought here back in 2011, and this time left with a beautiful patterned robe / cotton dressing gown and a few small tokens for our friends and families back home. It was the last country in our 6 month trip, so now was the time to stock up! Be prepared to haggle, then haggle some more. 

Walk the Campuhan Ridge - a beautiful walk over the top of rice terraces with gorgeous views, around 2km in each direction. It was pretty easy to find, but we followed this guide for info. We stopped for a fresh juice at Karsa Kafe; such a beautiful cafe with picturesque views over the rice terraces.

Chill at JungleFish - billed as the no beach beach club, Jungle Fish is home to a gorgeously luxe pool right in the middle of the Ubud 'jungle'. A definite treat day, but one I would have done every day if we had the money! We paid 100,000 rupiah each (only £5 each, but a luxury for us at the time!) for 'entry' to the pool - basically for your sun lounger and a towel. We arrived nice and early at 10am so we could get the most out of the day, and it was almost empty! This meant we could choose whatever sun loungers we wanted and have an hour or so of complete peace - it got busier after 11am. We ate lunch in the restaurant - a Greek wrap for me with lamb and tzatziki which was just so delicious - over looking the pool, and ordered drinks from the pool bar throughout the afternoon. Definitely a day of luxury! 

We got a taxi to JungleFish which cost 70,000 rupiah (around £3), but decided to walk back. JF is about 500m past Karsa Cafe, so definitely walkable should you not want to hire a bike / pay for taxis. The taxi queue at the end of the day was huge, which you might want to take in to consideration. We got bikes (mopeds) everywhere in SE Asia but didn't in Ubud - can't remember why! Be sure to check out Sheree's review of JungleFish here!

Where we ate / drank
Juice Ja Cafe - right near our accommodation, we ate lunch here soon after we arrived in Ubud. Good, light meals and all your health fads covered! Sorry, was that harsh? You know, wheatgrass shots, protein balls, chocolate-free-chocolate. In seriousness though, it was a nice little haunt. (TripAdvisor)

Warung Little India -  a bit of a walk from the main drag, but definitely worth it - for the interiors alone! Luckily the food was equally as appealing; the thali plates are a great way to try a bit of everything. (TripAdvisor)

Karsa Kafe - as I mentioned earlier, a great stop on the Campuhan Ridge walk. Take a book, and settle down. (TripAdvisor)

Kebun Bistro - we found local food was far nicer and plentiful in Ubud than Seminyak, but should you find yourself craving a quiche or a steak baguette, this French restaurant is for you! (TripAdvisor)

Melting Wok - super busy, for a reason! We both went for one of the daily specials and loved trying a different take on local cuisine - a great find. (TripAdvisor)

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3 comments

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  2. Thanks for sharing this tour experience with us, and i hope you have enjoyed this journey very well, These all photographs looking so beautiful and incredible. Same Day Jaipur Tour

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  3. Wonderful place to visit in indonesia. Thanks for sharing this tour experience with us. I am also planning to visit Bali next year with my friends. First i Will go India. I have already booked Golden Triangle Tour 5 Nights 6 Days tour package.

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