Ubud was not love at first sight. I had just arrived here after 7 days in a beach paradise. I still had my sunscreen on, my hat and my swimming trunks underneath, ready to dive into a pool, or ocean or water or something. Had my sunglasses on, my beach swag on and here I was left by my cab in this leafy lane with zero telephone and internet connectivity. This lane that I looked around was going to be my home for the next 10 days and I would grow to visit quite often in what would be my next 25 days stay in this town. I looked around the older buildings covered in a thick foliage and I told myself, finish off your week long work assignment and we will head straight back to the beaches girl!
I stayed. I stayed. I extended my stay beyond my dates. I rescheduled my flights. And all this for love! Love for this town and everything it represented, and wont you ask me why? Because I just may tell you.
TEN reasons why I fell in love with Ubud
Wellness and therapy: Ubud is not a place to party. It’s a great place to nurse a hangover. If you think your last 6 months have been an endless series of recklessness, Ubud will take you in her arms and nurse you back to health. From breathing workshops, to meditation classes, to yoga classes , to some great organic food, this town has it all. You can choose some water therapy, or some music to soothe your soul, indulge in some new art form, or make new friends and laugh, the best therapy ever. Swimming, hikes, cycle rides, healthy food, so much love for your body and your being, it is like going back to being a baby again.
On two wheels: I loved this about Ubud, if you are staying here a wee bit longer, hire a bike and use it to go everywhere. If you are meeting your friends at the Campuhan Ridge or heading to the supermarket to buy milk, or catching a 8:30 show at Paradiso, hop on your bike and go everywhere. Always wear your helmet, else cops will catch you and ask you for papers, and that’s not a conversation you want to get into, when your friends have ordered a pizza for you and its waiting!
Close to nature: Wake up to the sound of a rooster, sleep to the sound of cicadas, a breakfast with butterflying flirting with the sunlight infront of you, sit out under the stars at night and have fireflies keep you company. This was daily life in Ubud. You get used to waking up to sights like these and then when city life hits you again, you really really miss it! Miss it enough that you want to do something about it! But its just an extension of the wellness theme of the town I feel, you are surrounded by forests and rice fields and you feel like eating healthy and being healthy. It all just comes organically, puns intended.
Beyond the sights: Beyond the temples, beyond the famous rice fields, beyond the caves , beyond the must-see sunsets is where the real Ubud begins, and that Ubud is spectacular. Living the daily life, going to get your supplies in Bintang supermarket (the only supermarket), going to catch a show at the Paradiso Ubud, or catch your daily yoga class , jump in your friends pool to spend the day lazing or meeting your friends over smoothies or dancing it out on a reggage night! That’s where love happened, in everyday daily life, which is fabulous to say the least!
Great food and thematic cafes: Oh! What Ubud lacks in party options, it makes up in food! Food from all over the world and great prices, great ambiences and a delight for a food lover of every kind. The vegan, the organic junkie, the carnivore, the salad devours, all of them can be happy under one happy roof of Ubud. Head to Seniman for some great coffee and cakes, if you prefer it a little more laid back and want to get a meal at the end of your cuppa, the Clear Café with its fresh organic fare on Jalan Hanoman is great or Earth cafe, or Little Talks tucked away in Jalan Campuhan. Café Kebun on Hanoman serves blissful Italian fare with candles et all, and then you have Sari Organic , if you are looking for organic fare over looking beautiful rice fields. You will to hike 800m to get there but the food and the view will be well worth it.
Spas: Ok. When you get a full body massage for Rs. 600-1000, you are in a happy place already. Great Balinese massages await you here, so you don’t need an excuse to indulge in some pampering.
Peace: A strange sense of calm prevails in this town, with its temple ceremonies and incense smells, its lazy trails and its happy smiles, I can’t really tell from where it comes exactly, but it is a strange kind of peace and its contagious. You feel more inspired and creative, you feel like doing more with your life, you feel like letting go of your dark spaces and the thought of starting anew has never been so alluring, as during my time in this town. Some may call the place a bit pretentious and bourgeois bohemian, some take digs at the yogi vibe but haters are going to hate. So yes there are pockets of it, where you will find the usual yoga-loving wheat-grass-smoothie-gulping: but then who am I or them to judge? Letting go of judgement is something I learnt during my stay in this town and with that peace prevailed within.
Communities: The stories of the power of this mystical town have reached far and wide and many travelers have come back to this town post their holidays to live out longer periods of 6 months, 1 year or four, whose counting? giving rise to a few communities. So there are the digital nomads who work out of Ubud and you can connect with them at these really co-working spaces Hubud and Outpost. You will meet many dreamers like you and me and if you were always looking to living a life free of geographical boundaries Ubud is a great place to start. Many of the people you meet here will tell you so. The if you are into Wellness and detox, that is another community in itself. You will bump into them at your yoga class or that breath work workshop or that meditation class you signed up for, and that is how you start making friends and eventually building a little life for yourself here. It will open you up to a new world where anything is possible, quite literally as you meet and interact with people from all over the world.
Weekends away: If you have had a productive week and want to just getaway for the weekend fret not! Everything glorious is just a ride/drive away. Beaches of Sanur/ Seminyak/ Jimbaran are an hour away on your two wheeler, Uluwatu sunset and parties are 30 mins more. If you want to do something adventurous, then you can take the boat from the jetty at Padang Bai and head to Gili Air, and spend your days vegging on the beaches or diving into the clear waters. If you want to explore more of the island life, you can also head to Nusa Lembongan a tiny island away from civilisation! So much to do, so much to see , all on these weekends away from Ubud. I spent most of my weekends on some impromptu plan to hop on to a bus, or a bike to take off to a beach side party, or a snorkeling afternoon or just an evening of good food! Good times they were!
Slow Down: If you are looking to slow down, from the mad pace of the city, looking to get away and just be, Ubud is a great bet. To live everyday as It comes, take it easy, invest some time and energy in the going ons of your mind and heart Ubud is your place to go. I know it will forever be my go-to place whenever I need some time to myself to figure things out and it will be the place closest to being called home!
I heart Ubud for reasons explained above! And you will too, if you go there for the shortest 2-3 day tryst or a long week or a month, you will find one of these elements tugging at your heart! If you have had similar experiences in Ubud tell me so I would love to hear from you!
WHAT: Ubud is a town in the island of Bali in Indonesia
WHERE: Indonesia is located in between the Indian and Pacific Ocean. Flights from India are via KL, Singapore or Bankok. Recently AirAsia started direct flights too
HOW: Visa is on arrival for Indian Tourists for a period of 30 days and its free!
WHEN: Best season to visit will be June-September. The rains set in December-January. But overall all Ubud can be a year long destination.