Having now finished our tour of Indonesia it is clear to me that Ubud is Bali’s cultural hub. Home to the artful and the creative, this serene town really does live up to hype of Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth Gilbert’s best selling memoir told the story of one womans search for inner balance and spiritual fulfilment. Here in Ubud you will truly find both – far away from the filth of Kuta and tourist trap that is Seminyak, Ubud has held on to its quiet charm and offers a little slice of Balinese heaven for all those who venture here.
Ubud is full of wonderful restaurants and artisans eateries. From fine dining options to quirky bakeries and vegan outlets, but some of the best food we ate during our stay was at Tropical and Ubud Homemade Kajane, both of which we frequented regularly. Packed full of flavour and available at very low prices these dishes were among some of the best food we have eaten during our trip. The roast chicken in Balinese spices is an absolute must while in Bali. We dare you not to order it every time.
The dense jungle of Monkey Forest, offers a cool sanctuary for those who wish to explore faith away from the conventional temples. The forest, which houses three holy temples, is also inhabited by a troop of grey-haired and exceedingly greedy Balinese macaques. Nestled deep in the forest, you will find the temple of ‘Pura Dalem Agung’ or ‘The Great Temple of Death’ crawling with the feral monkeys and featuring Rangda figures devouring children, this temple has a real Indiana Jones feel to it and plays an important role in the spiritual life of the local community. The monkeys here keep a watchful eye on passers by in hope of a handout (or an opportunity to help themselves). Do not feed these creatures unless you want a nasty monkey bite – leave it to the local park attendants and just capture a few photos of these sneaky monkeys at work.
I love Shopping and shopping in Bali is legendary. With Ubud offering the very best in artisan styles and goods, it’s definitely worth making sure you have some extra space in your suitcase. Spend the day splashing a few rupiah on locally made gifts for loved ones at home and indulgence yourself in a little retail therapy at one (or two) of the bespoke boho boutiques that line every street. After you have shopped till you’ve dropped continue the R&R with a well-deserved pedicure and some Balinese coffee.
By Sophie Maguire