Ubud, The heart of Bali.
When I first stumbled into Bali from Australia on what then was a small “holiday” , I could tell something was different. First off leaving a first world country and going into a 3rd world one always has a bit of a culture shock. You always have to expect the wave of cigarette smoke and ridiculous amount of taxi drivers trying to get you to be there special someone they can happily rip off. Other than that the whole place around me opened up with flower offerings and very intricate statues that seemed like they took ages to manufacture. That was just the airport, I soon found while driving in my 2 hours taxi to Bud that I immediately had a connection with this majestic and magically powered place. “They call it Island of the Gods” my teethy taxi driver said to me in a very confident way. I believed him and if you saw this place you would believe him too. So on my quest into Bali I found myself doing many things, very very quickly. From the ride from the airport to kuta we literally saw silver making in sweat shop style, wood carving magic, had babi Gulang, saw monkeys, roosters, and a bunch of dogs. This in 2 hours in people. Dear lord what did we get ourselves into? Where are we going, who is this man? Alast though we arrived to our surprisingly nice accommodation I only paid 20 dollars AUD for. So hey, we are happy. We trek to find food in Kuta, an easy task. At first they seem like they have it all, Mexican, Italian, German, Indonesian, and any kind of western food. Soon we found out it was smart to st ick with Indonesian, I mean that's the point anyways right. Plus if you have a craving for a Delicious burritos.. You will be disappointed. So lesson learned right? Wrong, we would continue to make these constant mistakes. On a Daily basis. That’s a part of the trip though and we embraced it, plus we got drunk on Arak so that helped. Arak is a Levantine alcoholic spirit that's 126 proof in the anis drinks family and it gets you disgustingly drunk.
The next day we made our way to Ubud and absolutely fell in Love. The love you fall into when you met your soul mate. The flowers and offerings, the statues, the colors, the smiles and the prayer flags everywhere. It was like every girls dream who shops at world market in the states.. Is this real life? The art is phenomenal, there are literally statues and amazing carvings in every nook and cranny. It is a dream, a dream that you never want to wake up from. After I was visually stimulated I stopped at a restraint to get that free wifi, and ordered a tuna steak with a small Asian salad for a whopping 6 dollars Australian. After traveling Australia for a year I got used to meatless salads being 23 dollars. So this was a real treat. A delicious treat. After I geared up on food I moved along looking in stores like a kid What to do?
There are many different areas of your interest that you can explore while here. My perfect day consisted of teaching in the morning, yoga after that and then a trot through the city to find delicious clean meal and probably a talked down lamp carved out of coconut, AND then an hour massage followed a coffee body scrub. Magic.
Throughout your stay in the heart of Bali you can access any artistic part of yourself. You can put your best foot forward and try to learn from the best. There are options of woodcarving, ceremonial offerings, jewelry making, batik painting, Balinese dance, or traditional and modern paintings. After you are done exploring your artsy side you can walk or scoot that butt into town and enjoy some AMAZING food. The cleanest, rawest, juiciest, and most healthy type of dishes around. This city is known for this. Explore it and enjoy it. There is something for everyone.
Where to stay?
When I was living in Ubud for 6 weeks I stayed in a small village with the majority locals and tons volunteers floating around here and there. But throughout the stay we had days or weekends where we wanted to venture off to something a bit more.. Nice. Less roosters and dogs if you know what I’m saying. We stumbled upon a few gems. Some expensive, some super ridiculously cheap. I seemed to go cheaper as my travels continued, smart move indeed. You can go cheap for $10 australian a night at The Style Hostel, or you can one up yourself at Jungle fish if you want to feel like a celebrity. The pool might be the most amazing thing you have ever seen Way more expensive, but all of us want to feel fancy every now and then. Flashpacking with the fanciest of the fancy.
Where to eat?
I have a few places that come to mind. During my program I got fed traditional Balinese meals for Breakfast lunch and dinner. But when I wanted to enjoy something special I would venture into town. Alchemy definitely takes the cake for
their raw meal choices. Now I am all for sugar, Dairy, Bread, but this place has an amazing menu sans all of those fillers. Very fresh, healthy, and very diverse. Also they have a little shop and a holistic center for healing on the second floor. My absolute favorite is a place called Rouge sushi, the building itself is very appealing to the eye. The color Red swallows the whole building, they even have a bright red piano for when they do live music. The back area is filled with red pillows and a narrow pond that takes you over to the very posh hotel that is connected. Once you actually sit down after the awe of everything around you, you will notice the menu. So the people of Bali will accommodate to anything and everything you need. Do they do it well? ehhh, sometimes. This is one of the places I have found that actually accommodated well. The sushi is wonderful and the service is impeccable. The Laughing Buddha, Lotus Cafe, Oops, and Clear cafe are also all great. To be honest, Ubud has many many restaurants that will make you happy, and not because of their happy hours. Doesn't hurt though!
To be honest, Ubud is not the best spot for partying. usually the city shuts down after 12 and There has only been one club I have found(CP Lounge) . The only bar I found that was actually opened past two was a bar called Cupit's. It is in Penestanan Kaja (5 Minute taxi away from ubud) and owned and ran by a magnificent man named Leo. He Usually holds live music and can sing angelically himself. That place is always a good time. Other than that The laughing buddha also has live music and good cocktails. If you are trying to Get ridiculous, head over to Kuta. <3