My Favorite Things: Ubud, Bali

After our stay in Sanur, we headed inland for Ubud. I’d been told Ubud was the hip part of Bali, more artistic, quieter, and much cooler. The cooler part was true, temperatures must have dropped 20 degrees or so in the hour it took to drive from the coast inland.

The streets were filled with shops and restaurants, similar to Sanur, but with more shops. Wood carving is big business here, and if we had more space in our suitcases, everyone I know would have gotten a piece as they’re really pretty awesome. (For some reason, every shop also has penis carvings in every size, shape, and color??? So bizarre.)

The pool view from our room at Ruma David
The pool view from our room at Ruma David

We stayed at Sanctuary Ruma David, which was a fantastic place minus the nearby roosters that haven’t seemed to grasp the concept of only crowing at daybreak.

The staff was incredibly sweet, we even ordered in food one night and since the restaurant didn’t answer their phone, one of the guys from the villa went and picked it up on his scooter! Our room was way too big for just the two of us, with a full kitchen, dining room, two bedrooms, and two bathrooms and paid hardly anything for it. We did have to get cabs into the center of town every time we wanted to go but they were like $3 per ride so it wasn’t a big deal.

Going to Ubud? Here are some of the things we loved:

Working away at Three Monkeys
Working away at Three Monkeys

EAT

Coffee & – Excellent wifi and amazing white cheesecake drizzled with caramel sauce. This is also a good place to try Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee (with an interesting secret.)

Three Monkeys – A great place to camp out for the day and don’t miss my favorite drink, the guava lychee granita. Their hummus with Moroccan bread is also really delish.

Nomad – It deserves its reputation as an Ubud staple. The food is excellent, the staff is off the charts nice, and the restaurant is right across from a shop selling the delicious activated charcoal gelato.

Sari Organik – Yummy organic food straight from the farm across the road, but the real draw here is the walk through the rice paddies to get to the restaurant.

Playing in the paddies
Playing in the paddies

PLAY

Sacred Monkey Forest – Be sure to go on a day when it’s cool, and preferably early in the morning to avoid crowds. Take cash to buy bananas to feed to the monkeys!

Snag a driver for the day – Ask him to take you on a temple tour, you can negotiate the price based on how many hours you’d like and how far away you’d like to go. Choose your top 2 or 3 temples beforehand and have the driver take you to interesting sights around those.

Rice Paddies – Walk up and down and around them for as long as you’d like (watch out for lizards!)

Campuhan Ridge Walk – Pick up the trail and walk for as long as you can. If you have tennis shoes, wear those, since some parts are a bit of a hike. It seems locals go here for exercise, and it’s fairly quiet.

Nameless Shop, Ubud, Bali

SHOP

Biasa – Probably my favorite store in all of Bali, home to impossibly chic monochromatic linen pieces and a bright airy shop on Jalan Raya Sanguinegan.

Nameless – A store that is literally nameless, but they have every style, color, and variation of tassel necklaces you could imagine. Go to the bright blue Studio Perak on Jalan Pengosekan and it’s a couple of doors to the left.

Kou Cuisine – I saw this store on Jalan Monkey Forest and immediately fell in love. Full of homemade jams (which you can sample!) and different types of salts, this is a great place to buy treats for your friends back home.

Markets – The Ubud Market is overwhelming and loud and hot, but you can find some gems. Sarongs for $1, woven baskets, beaded pouches, and tons of wood carvings. Also, walk down Jalan Dewisita for a little bit of a break from the noise and some unique shops.

Presenting an offering during our temple tour
Presenting an offering during our temple tour

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