Ubud, the heart of Bali

Ubud is a place you could easily never leave. We had five days/nights. One was spent on a tour, one was spent with Bali belly and the other three were spent exploring, eating and relaxing.

Accommodation: we spent all five nights at Kubu Ubud by Baio. This was the cheapest accomodation of our trip, I think we spent about $150NZD for five nights, including breakfast and some toiletries. Kubu was about 5km from the centre of Ubud. At first we were worried about this but it turned out to be a real blessing. The property was lovely and jungle like and the pool was huge. The whole place was a bit shabby but very comfortable. It was either on it’s way to or had been very fancy. The whole stay was worth it for the bed. It was huge and passed the ‘jumping on it with a wine glass’ test.

Getting around: Ubud provided our first opportunity to ride a scooter! Our initial concerns about being far from the centre, were quickly solved by hiring a a scooter to whiz around on. We had this baby for our whole stay in Ubud and she reliably took us in and out of Ubud and on our adventures to the rice terraces.

What to do: Ubud is a lovely place to just hang out. We spent a lot of time enjoying the atmosphere while wandering around the streets and eating a lot. In Ubud you can be a modern tourist or slot in as a yoga lover. We didn’t do any yoga. I fully intended to, I even looked at yoga schedules and a map, but it wasn’t meant to be.

Subak Juwuk Manis (Ubud rice field)

Wandering down a central Ubud street, Daniel spotted a a tiny little wooden arrow labeled ‘rice terrace’. Daniel led us up a very narrow path and had to encourage me to keep going once or twice. I was slightly concerned that Daniel was leading us nowhere. It turned out that he had found hidden jem. These rice fields were lined with little paths that you could follow, eventually popping you out at the other side of central Ubud. On these paths we saw farmers at work, all friendly and waving. There were also a few warungs. I really regret not stopping for a bite to eat or drink. If you ever visit Ubud please find the little path and stop to enjoy the view. There are also a number of places to stay within these fields, I can only imagine this would be awesome.

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The wrong rice terraces

Tegallalang rice terraces are one of the must visit, tourist spots of Ubud. I advise spelling Tegallalang correctly before just sticking it into maps. If you get it wrong, like we did, you will be taken to Tegalalang. We went in the opposite direction to the desired rice terraces but had a great adventure anyway. We went way out into the country and wondered the whole way where the other tourists were. The further from central Ubud we got, the more authentic Bali we saw. We eventually found the wrong rice fields and they were on fire. Literally. Locals were working the fields with their families and busy laughing at the lost tourists. We saw one other lost couple looking confused

Tegallalang rice terraces

The following day we reattempted our Tegallalang expedition and with a wee tweak to the spelling we found the right place. Again this was another stunning sight. You have to give donations as you go around as you pass across the land of different farmers. This is worth knowing beforehand as we gave quite a lot of our cash as we entered. We went on a cloudy day so we didn’t get quite the view that you see on every other blog but it was still great. The paths were steep and a bit slippery with the odd massive step up so decent shoes are a must. You can buy drinks as you go around and also have a meal or drink in cafes overlooking the fields. This was a great way to finish up our walk.

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Museum Puri Lukisan

For a bit of serenity in central Ubud, a trip to the main art museum is great. Daniel and I spent an afternoon here and it was a great escape from the hot sun. You also get a drink with your entry. The museum is the oldest in Bali and features modern and traditional Balinese art and carving. Most of the art told the same stories of battles between good and evil, much like the Barong dance from our Ubud tour (https://twokiwisgoroaming.com/2017/09/18/ubud-a-tour-for-the-day/). The highlight was the gardens and we spent a long time taking photos amongst the trees. I only wish I’d dressed up for the occasion!

Local food

The biggest perk of staying out of Ubud was the local nightly market, consisting of a range of food and clothing stalls. Here we found the tastiest (and cheapest) food in Bali. This appeared to be where everyone who lived nearby went for dinner. Every meal, no matter what you asked for, cost $1NZD for locals. There was a 50% extra charge for tourists, bringing the meals to a steep $1.50. We tried a few bizarre and unknown meals and found the best nasi goreng of our trip. It was possibly the chicken sprinkled on top that resigned me to a night in the bathroom and only being able to consume flavoured soy milk for three days.

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Pampering and awkwardness

I meant to have lots of massages while in Bali. I failed in Seminyak and finally got around to it in Ubud. Not being one who has massages frequently, I didn’t really know what to look for, so picked a cute street and the first place we came across. The lady was lovely and the massage was relaxing. This also precipitated the most awkward moment of my life. Whenever I have had a massage in the past I’ve left only my knickers on and there has always been a towel to cover my top half, not this time. There was no towel so I just left my knickers on and lay face down, assuming the towel would come when I needed to turn over. Never assume anything!! When I was asked to roll over the towel didn’t magically appear and I was too embarrassed to ask for one. I just thought I’d ignore and once again made an assumption. I assumed she wouldn’t touch my breasts. Wrong again! I am now firmly of the opinion that breast massages should not be given by strangers.

Ubud market

The Ubud market is on every ‘must do in Ubud’ list. We visited only briefly but found it quite pushy. Daniel hates these places where people can get right into your face to try and sell their goods. I got bullied into buying a a pair of pants which I didn’t want but now incidentally love! If you were looking to go shopping in Ubud and stock up on floaty clothing, the central market is the place to go. You can also get a range of tea coffee, wood work, fabric and more, so would be great for gift shopping.

Ubud was wonderful and hard to leave. If you go to Bali, you must visit! Following Ubud we headed to our final destination, Uluwatu. Follow us to find out what we got up to there. We are also planning on putting together a quick guide to two weeks in Bali.

Peace out! Chloe and Daniel

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