Destinations, Indonesia, Travel log

Ubud: the spiritual heart of Bali

Experience the Balinese culture

Ubud has always been a center of attraction for those who want to experience the balinese culture. It got even more famous after the release of the famous movie “Eat, Pray, Love” in 2010 (from the best-seller book). Therefore, it is attracting more and more tourists and developing at a very fast pace. The city center is now packed with guesthouses, hotels  and restaurants. However, Ubud somehow has been able to keep the most important part of the attractiveness: its spirit.

Centre of arts and crafts, Ubud is full of family temples, traditional balinese architecture houses and exhibitions of fine art. Wherever you walk in the city something beautiful will attract your attention!

This is also one of the best places to attend a dance show if you are interested in this.

Enjoy a walk in the rice fields

There are a few options to wander around the city and explore the surroundings. We opted for a walk in the rice fields in the North of Ubud. The beginning of the trail is close to the Royal Palace. The trail is easy to navigate and it passes by beautiful rice paddies. We highly recommend it if you are in the area. Silviu really loved it …

If you continue the trail towards the North you will walk along a small canal that will lead into a more jungle kind of vegetation.

It also possible to walk towards the West, hike down to a river with a small waterfall but the trail is not very easy to find and we found the river banks to be relatively dirty unfortunately. It was still beautiful but this doesn’t necessarily make it worth for the detour.

There are several places along the way where one could stop for a snack or a fresh coconut. You can also find beautiful villas, hotels and restaurants, most of them making an impressive effort to respect and enhance the beauty of the landscapes.

We had lunch at one of the organic restaurants: Joglo Organik. We had a lovely time there with a delicious meal facing the rice field followed by a restful nap! They offer all this in a very welcoming environment where you can practice yoga, eat, take massage lessons and nap.

Have fun in the Monkey Forest

The Monkey Forest is a beautiful 1.5 hectares of preserved forest with endemic plants and trees. It includes a temple and many statues. Even though it is relatively small, it does offer a unique atmosphere. You need to pay an entrance fee (50K / $3.5).

When we were there, there was a graduation ceremony for primary school. Many of the kids were wearing traditional outfits, it was very cute!

The main attraction of the Monkey Forest are the monkeys themselves! Over 700 monkeys live here!

While it is one of the safest place to actually interact with monkeys (since there are many rangers around with big sticks), you have to remember that there are still wild animals and can become aggressive if provoked.

Beware of what you are wearing as they are known to be very prompt to steal whatever could look like food or whatever they could trade for food (for instance, your sunglasses). Make sure to have nothing pending. If you have a bag make sure it is closed as they will not hesitate to come search it for food, even on your back.

Another case you would like to avoid, is having food in your hand (to take a picture for instance). Do not hold it too long as they can quickly start fighting for it (with other monkeys or with you, in both case you don’t want that).

If you are respectful on those rules, it can be a lot of fun!

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