January 8

Ubud: Bali’s cultural capital and best bargain of SEA

No trip to Bali is complete wthout visiting Ubud, Bali’s second largest city and cultural center of the island. It has a very entertaining market where you will probably find the best deals in South East Asia ( OK, perhaps Chiang Mai in Thailand is in the same line), picturesque rice terraces only a short drive away, captivating temples, entertaining live theater performances (don’t miss the Lebong dance) and again probably the best valued accommodation in all Asia.

We chose to rent a scooter to get there (3 USD/ day) and calmly meandered our way there through the main and secondary roads, watching for the careless driving and only having a nice scenery as we got closer. We passed some stunning private pool villas in Ubud as we looked for accommodation in Bali, but ended up choosing the first palace room we saw at 7/ night including a 3 course breakfast for two.

Once we settled in we headed to the market and surrounding area, which I remembered quite picturesque and knew that Liza would like it. We did make a few purchases, and found such good deals particularly for home decor that we considered buying many things, shipping thenm home, and selling them there. However the cost of shipping them was too high, and thus we discarded the idea despite our enthusiasm. That night we went to sleep hoping that the gray clouds that had been with us all day would leave and lead to a clear blue sky.

Of course it didn’t happen. A thunderstorm woke us up early and the consistent rain continued all morning. Realizing that it was going to be like this all day we chose to do as the locals: we covered ourselves in plastic raincoats and made our way to the rice terraces with the scooter.

We were surprised to find so many tourists despite the rain, but still found a place to take some pictures from without getting wet. We then decided to drive through the country roads for a while, and enjoyed finding small villages excited to see tourists visitng their town. However the rain became unbearable and we decided to drive back to Ubud, just in time for a late lunch. The rain did not stop during the afternoon either, and chose to check emails and purchase the visas for Australia.

It was not raining as hard the following day, so we decided to visit some more temples and walk through the lush green fields, listening to the peacefull sounds made by the small creeks that criss-crossed them and the not-so-peacefull roosters ever present as well. That night we were scheduled to watch a Lebong performance, but unfortunatelly the death of a relevant person in town had it cancelled. Bummer.

Seeing that the rain was not about to stop, we left Ubud and made our way back to sunny Kuta, planinng to come back whenever we learned that the weather was fine again. But we never did. News was that it rained heavily every day for the next 2 weeks, and thus chose to do other activities instead.  We enjoyed Ubud despite the rain, and recommend you don’t miss it no matter what if you ever visit the best of Bali. But don’t worry Ubud, we’ll be back!


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