I. LOVE. Ubud!
As hesitant as I had been about it prior to my arrival, due to my lackluster introduction to Bali, Ubud did not disappoint.
I had made a couple of Coushsurfing requests for Ubud but the 2 people I contacted were unavailable and unreachable respectively. However, I had one woman who actually reached out to me. While I usually don’t accept unsolicited invitations, there was something about her profile and references that made me want to stay with her so I accepted. Good decision.
Surien is a beautiful, caring, kind, spiritual and friendly woman. We quickly formed a friendship and joked with one another constantly. She was born in Lombok and had been living in Jakarta for years before moving to Ubud just a few months earlier.
I spent 4 nights staying with her, and then another 5 nights staying at a homestay nearby called Goutama which was perfect for me. Surien had another Couchsurfer just before me, Christy, whom I met when I arrived and we all became fast friends.
Ubud has some incredible shopping, but you must be prepared to spend more than you would plan to on a backpackers budget if you actually intend to indulge. I was swayed a handful of times to buy some clothes that I knew were actually great quality and would last me a long time as opposed to my usual cheapie purchases.
Ubud is very green and lush and has a wonderful energy about it. It just felt like such an easy and lovely place to stay awhile. It turned out to be one of the cities I’ve spent the most time in in my entire trip. That’s just how much I enjoyed it there. Perhaps it was in part because I made some lovely friends, but the feel of the place is what held me there.
I did go to visit the Royal Palace which was nice and the monkey forest which I loved. The monkey forest is a gorgeous sanctuary and the monkeys are adorable and so much fun to watch. One even jumped on my back at one point which is evidently good luck.
I rented a moped while I was there and just spent my time idling around, trying loads of different and delicious food and hanging out with friends. One day, Surien, Christy, Thomas (a friend I made in Seminyak) and I all took our bikes out to see some rice fields and the Kintamani volcano which were both incredibly beautiful and scenic although the fields had unfortunately already been harvested.
On a couple of different nights we went to hear live music played; once it was soul and jazz music at the Jazz Cafe (bland food) and the other time was latin music at the Laughing Buddha (amazing food). We ate at the most incredible restaurant where all the vegetables are fresh from their garden/rice fields which are surprisingly huge and located just behind the restaurant. I forget the name of the place but will get and add it later.
One day I even went with Christy to a hula hooping class where I learned some new tricks and decided that I want to try doing it more at home. It was such a blast!
We spent one evening at another couchsurfers home for a potluck dinner at his beautiful house surrounded by flowers and trees on the outskirts of the city. And another time we went to a TedX event to watch the live broadcast of the bi-annual TED conference.
I even managed to go watch a ritual ceremony on one day though I’m still confused to this day what the ritual was celebrating or dedicated to.
More than anything, I just loved BEING in Ubud. There was something so peaceful and rejuvenating about being there and I’m glad I was able to spend as much time there as I did.