After a week at the beach we headed inland for a little taste of the jungle and a huge taste of Balinese culture.
Ubud is an amazing art colony that is incredibly full of history and culture situated amongst the picturesque rice fields and farms in a valley of some of the highest peaks in Indonesia. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been (who’s keeping count of how many times I’ve said that since arriving?)
We stayed at the Sungu Resort (after a very short lived stint in a hostel that after one night we discovered bed bugs and had a power surge break my phone… not fun.) and it was fantastic!
We had a great villa with 2 floors, giant beds clad in pristine white sheets and curtains and of course a drool worthy indoor-outdoor bathroom. It was so nice to have a little bit of space to stretch out, although the four of us spent pretty much every waking moment we were in the hotel sitting on one bed together so maybe space wasn’t what we really needed. We especially loved the amazing included breakfast full of fresh fruit, fresh squeezed juice and huge portions and the proximity of the pool to our villa, it was a perfect retreat when we got back from exploring the surrounding streets of Ubud.
Walking through the city is like being transported back in time, the city has an ancient feel to it, we spent a lot of time walking through the markets, popping in and out of galleries, sitting in cafes and exploring little side streets.
The vibe in Ubud was definitely my favorite of all the places we went to, it didn’t feel like a touristy place at all, which was refreshing. I finally felt like I was in Bali, despite the huge community of ex-pat entrepreneurs living in this bustling Balinese town. Sitting in a cafe- Kismet was our favorite- you can hear any number of westerners having Skype meetings or doing various types of work. Gives the idea of working remotely a whole new meaning! There is also a massive community of artists and a huge emphasis on yoga in the community.
One of the highlights of our trip was after dinner one night, we were walking through the city and decided to pop into a gallery to watch one of the artists, Ketut, while he was drawing. We were watching him and he stopped and turned to Mikku and offered her a temporary tattoo we figured why not. That simple offer turned into the three of us sitting on the floor of this gallery with Ketut while he gave each of us a different, incredible tattoo using the markers he was using just moments before to create the art that the gallery sold. Mine started with a bruise (you can kind of see it in the picture below) that he noticed on my leg, he drew a circle around it and then it went from there, it was amazing.
The conversation we had with him was amazing, he talked to us about everything from life and love to travel and respecting the Gods. He talked about the Hindu principal, Tri Hata Karana which is a harmonious relationships between humans and humans, between humans and the natural environment, and between humans and The Supreme God, a concept that you find in almost every aspect of life here in Bali. It was such a wonderful experience and one of the aspects of this trip I will always remember most vividly.
A great way to escape the city and see some of the country side is the Campuhan Ridge Walk, it’s roughly a 10 km loop that takes you through local villages, rice fields and farms. It’s so gorgeous, a quick stop at Karsa’s Cafe for breakfast or lunch is a perfect way to break up the walk and the view is awesome.
If you can, I highly recommend planning your stay in Ubud based on the full moon. There is an incredible eighth century temple on the valley floor called the Gunung Lebah Temple and it is a massive site of pilgrimage for the Balinese, especially during a full moon for a huge ceremony. We caught the tail end of the processional into the temple and it was amazing, I wish I could have been inside the temple to watch the ceremony but even seeing the parades was incredible.
If you are planning a trip to Bali, Ubud is an absolute must see! These are just some of the highlights of our stay there!