Ubud. They call it a little town, an art village, the cultural heart of Bali, best city in Asia (voted by Conde Nast Traveler in 2009), Eat Pray Love movie shooting location. Whether you opt Ubud for your holiday in Bali or just for a weekend getaway for Bali expats and locals living in the island like me, this town remains one of the main destinations in the island.
Here are my 3 things in Ubud I love :
Ubud managed to keep its identity and integrity among the continuously expanding Bali with the unstoppable built luxury resorts and hotels, and other trendy clubs that mostly happening in Seminyak and Kuta. Even among the existing upmarket hotels such as Four Seasons, Como Shambhala, Aman Resorts, Alila that stretch along Sayan and Kedewatan village, you can still breath the strong cultural atmosphere here in Ubud. Like in any particular day, you could find yourself sipping your hot espresso and eating gluten-free cupcake and grilled panini next to a village Odalan ceremony right in front of your eyes where you are sitting at an open style mini cafe with a free wifi, browsing the world wide web on your iPad. It’s a harmonious collision between a tradition and today’s lifestyle. In Ubud you are part of its life, not the spectators, more than just visitors, nicely blended I should say. People come to Ubud to learn about the natural medicine and healing or learn to paint from the local painters, to meditate and yoga, in brief, to experience the real Bali.
Are there traffic jam and tourist chaos scenes in Ubud? Yes there are! Specially if you make yourself stuck between Ubud market, Suckling pig Ibu Oka, smoked duck Bebek Bengil. Monkey Forest, and shops on Hanoman streets (try to park your car here – it’s hopeless..), but still you would love Ubud and this town will always be your little getaway.
Who could escape a culinary journey when one is in Ubud without (again) suckling pig Ibu Oka, the pork ribs of Naughty Nuri, the balinese cooking class at Cafe Luna, the Michelin cuisine of Mozaic Restaurant. The old style and legendary cafes and restaurants still attract the loyal visitors while the newly built petit bistro, bakery, coffee shops with free wifi belongs to expat europeans or Jakartans are trackable on some location-based social networking website for smartphones on the Where-to-eat recommendations.
My all time favourites : Nasi Ayam Kedewatan or Mardika (they are next to each other) which is the famous balinese spicy chicken rice, and Ibu Rai Restaurant offering Asian & western dishes with its crispy Pizza Margherita and crunchy mouth watery Vietnamese Roll… My new Ubud craving : Localista Cafe located on jl. Suweta, next to Rio Helmi Photo Gallery (yes, yes…near the famous suckling pig Ibu Oka) with its signature and yummiest cupcakes I’ve ever tasted in my entire whole life. Relatively new, this place has fast become a buzz for Ubud lover. Try their carrot cake, dragon fruit, lime and vanilla, strawberry cheesecake, tiramisu, mulberry, caramel (I could go on..), mamma mia!
Green green grass of town
Bali for me has the most colourful nature and landscape than any other provinces in Indonesia. When in Seminyak, Kuta, Uluwatu the pristine blue water of white sandy beaches will take your breath away, then the Jimbaran Bay has one of the best sunsets in the island bursting the orange sky. But staying in Ubud means living in serene green surroundings with magnificent green rice terraces, lush gardens and hills, more rice fields, banyan trees. Imagine waking up in the morning and listening to the river flows beneath your hanging-on-a-steep-hill villa, you might be staying in one of the beautiful homey villas overlooking Petanu, Ayung, or Campuan rivers..
Writer Elizabeth Gilbert has found Ubud as her sanctuary of Love marking its place on Eat,Pray,Love story. I have these three above reasons to love Ubud…