Ubud, the place of inner peace and tranquillity. It has to be one of my favourite places I have been to so far. Many say Ubud is now too touristy and it’s not the ‘real Bali’ anymore, but from my experience I thoroughly enjoyed it there despite the rise in tourism. I am never a person that likes to follow everyone else and go to the tourist traps, I would rather get out and see the local life, but I felt this place had a real sense of both. Of course, there are going to be western restaurants that will cater to your western tastes, but simply do not go to those places and you will find the local cuisine easy to find!
Day 1: We started off our stay at Ubud View Bungalow where we stayed 4 nights in total. The place was amazingly beautiful! We paid a total of 1,272,000 Rp. I would have happily paid more for the level of service we were given.
The price included breakfast which was either Continental with toast and spread, an American breakfast which was a banana pancake or an Indonesian breakfast which came with either mie goreng or nasi goreng. Each option came with either a fruit platter, fruit smoothie or a fruit salad. You also got a pot of either coffee or tea. I would definitely recommend the Indonesian breakfast! They will set it up on the table outside your room or you can choose to have it by the pool.
The room we purchased had air conditioning and was clean, tidy and very quiet. We had a noisy rooster roaming around in the early hours so if you are a light sleeper you may be woken up at 5am, just a warning! One of the main highlights of the bungalows was the staff. They were so friendly and really helpful if you had a question. A smile goes a long way in my books! The Balinese are fantastic people and they were always willing to help us.
The location of the bungalow was great too. Not far from the main strip of restaurants and spas, and close enough to all you would want to see in Ubud. The pool is pretty amazing as well! If you are heading here then make sure you check these guys out because we had a fantastic experience staying here!
As we arrived into Bali on late Christmas day all we wanted was some familiar food as plane food really doesn’t cut it these days. We looked on trip adviser and people said that Mamma Mias on the main strip was pretty good so we went there for a pizza and a nice cold beer. I got the three cheese one which was divine. We paid around 65,000 Rp for a three cheese pizza and 45,000 Rp for a margarita pizza. These sizes were large as well and with a thin crust just like the Italians do it! I was quite impressed as wasn’t expecting much quality for a pizza place in Indonesia! Not bad for two very hungry travellers that’s for sure. I know I said above there’s plenty of Indonesian food available, but when it’s late and we were getting ‘hangry’ then we just felt like something familiar. I’m sure you can understand if you have been on a 10 hour flight with sh*tty plane meals.
Day 2: We decided to take a visit to the Monkey Sanctuary. I have never been close to monkeys so this was pretty new to me and you can say I was a little hesitant as they are so clever! The only advice I have is to keep anything that is not attached to you in a zipped up bag that is attached to you! I didn’t realise my handbag wasn’t around me and then out the corner of my eye I saw a monkey’s hand reaching to steal my bag! Luckily, I had a quick reaction and got to it before he did. We saw the monkeys steal bags of chips, water bottles, you name it and the monkeys stole it so keep your wits about you! It’s pretty amazing being that close to them though, and I got to hold a baby monkey’s hand while it came and sat on my lap!
There are a lot of people that say to avoid the monkey sanctuary because they can be quite violent. The main tips for avoiding any conflict are to not show your teeth! The monkeys take this as a form of aggression. Also, don’t freak out if they come towards you or jump on you! I saw a man who absolutely went mental and started hitting the monkey when it jumped on his shoulders. The monkey obviously defended himself and bit the guy on the arm! If you don’t want any attention then don’t take any food or be seen to go into your bag. *Note: This is not a sanctuaray where the monkeys are stuck in one little area and are owned by anybody. These are free monkeys that have just taken over a park!
*Note: This is not a sanctuary where the monkeys are stuck in a zoo-like environment. These are free monkeys that have just taken over a park!
Day 3: We decided to do the Campuhan Ridge walk, but we failed miserably. We got a little lost as there are numerous paths leading in different directions so we thought we got half way through the walk but then had to turn back as had no idea where we were going and started feeling a bit of heat stroke coming on. It turns out it wasn’t even the ridge walk but a path leading to and from Sari Organik which is a café out that way! If you do want to do the ridge walk, or even the path we took then definitely do it early in the day to beat the heat because it can get unbearable and you’re exposed to the sun the whole time. It is really beautiful out there though. You get to see the locals tending to their daily life in the rice fields, lucky for us we got to speak to a couple of them. They are very lovely people and just so peaceful. I loved the wooden wind chimes, really felt like you were seeing the real Bali. I was actually kind of glad to get off the beaten path a little bit because then you get away from the touristy parts and get a window to look into the life of a Balinese farmer, it was incredible!
Sari Organik café is situated at the start of the walk where you can get some delicious Indonesian food and a fresh coconut or a cold beer! You can chill on their bean bags and enjoy the view of the rice paddies.
Day 4: We did a little research and decided to do the Mt Batur sunrise climb as the reviews were amazing and it seemed reasonably cheap. This is not in Ubud but about an hour drive away. We paid 300,000 Rp each. This included picking up from our hotel at 2am, breakfast (which was one pancake and a cup of tea or coffee) local guides who took us up the mountain and transport back to the hotel afterwards. I suggest having something to eat or take snacks because it wasn’t enough food for me before a 2 hour trek. When you get to the top you also got a banana sandwich and a boiled egg “cooked in the steam of the volcano” but that is if the wild monkeys don’t attack you for your food beforehand and the boiled egg is actually cooked in a pot in the kitchen which I saw with my own eyes when getting a cup of tea! The guides were not so helpful, I heard some people complaining because they tried to rush them up the hill but the two we had were okay, although most the time we were by ourselves and they weren’t even in sight. They don’t actually teach you anything or tell you any information about the walk or the volcano and some of them are corrupt so just be careful about who you choose. Do your research!
The experience was amazing however and the view was unbelievable. The view of the lake was stunning and you get to see the dried black lava at the bottom of the volcano. I would recommend this experience any day. Beware, some people said on trip advisor that this was an easy trek but I wouldn’t consider it easy. I think a lot of people got caught out on that and there were moments where I felt like I was rock climbing and didn’t seem to be any path.
When booking this kind of thing there are loads of tour groups with little stands around Ubud. I think we could have got it cheaper so make sure you bargain off each other so you can get a good price. Never buy this sort of thing online as it is always ridiculously overpriced for what you pay when you get to Indonesia!
On the way back we got to see the famous rice terraces!
I would recommend Ubud any day because the people who we meet we so amazing, it really was a highlight for us. The locals were such sweet characters and once you see the real Ubud it’s incredibly moving. We were in Ubud for Kuningan festival which is at the end of the 10 day festivities of the Galungan. It’s when the ancestors and the Gods are supposed to descend to the family temples and be prayed to. You will see the town in full celebration during this time!
Tell me below if you would love to check out Ubud!
*Prices are as at December 2014