Any fan of Eat Pray Love will know that Ubud is the place to head to when in Bali if you’re wanting to feed your spirituality, as it did with Elizabeth Gilbert. I may not have headed here hoping for divine intervention but I have to admit that I quickly fell for the chilled atmosphere and relaxed vibe that seeps from every ornate door frame.
Away from the noise and chaos of Seminyak (more on this soon) it took us less than two hours by car to get to the spiritual centre of Ubud. *Side note – hiring a car and driver sounds utterly indulgent but when public transport is practically non-existent as it is in Bali, then this is a cheap and easy option of getting around.
The main streets are still full of what I’m quickly learning is the Bali way of life, men hollering for you to take their TAKSI TAKSI!, women calling out offering a massage and car horns beeping as you try not to fall off the crumbling pavement into the busy road. But, a few short streets away lies the stunning lush, green space that I’d been desperate to see.
The countryside surrounding Ubud centre is fifty shades of green where locals grow rice in the fertile ground. It is here that you feel like you can finally breathe.
Just watch for the scooters and motorbikes whizzing past you down the single track! These are the kings of the road over here. I’m still in awe that there are not more crashes as drivers seemingly follow their own made up highway code.
Lunch was first on the agenda. A fifteen minute stroll from the main street and a little off the beaten track (but what a track to stumble down) was Sari Organik.
Bali is a hotspot of vegan, organic and super food fans. I’ve never seen so many vegetables on a menu and most of them I’d never heard of before. Whether this is part of the spiritual cleanse I don’t know, all I know is that I’ll never judge healthy grub in the same way.
An organic farm next door to the quaint open-air restaurant provides fruit and vegetables so fresh that you can pick them and add them onto your plate yourself. I went for simple vegetable egg fried rice and Mr Notwedordead opted for a healthy wrap, both were full of healthy goodness and packed with flavour. Stuffing my face, overlooking rice fields, and enjoying the warm breeze easily made this one of the best meals I’ve ever had.
I can see why so many travellers fall in love with the charm of Ubud. I wished we’d had more time here to explore as it seemed that behind every intricately carved door was another path leading to some cute cafe, stunning temple or swishy grass of the rice terraces.
After wandering along soaking it all up in the limited time we had, it was a quick drive out of town to see the rice terraces in all their glory.
Now, this can be a bit of a tourist trap and I’ve heard there are far better places to go in Bali to get a glimpse of the stunning terraces where you’re not surrounded by people selling you tatt. However, if time is tight then try and ignore the noise behind you and focus on how pretty it all is. Because, let’s face it, it is a blooming gorgeous view.
We escaped the crowds and grabbed an ice cold drink at Smiling Coffee to enjoy the view. This place specialises in cat poop coffee that takes pride of place on its menu. Yep, cat poo coffee.
Apparently kopi luwak or civet coffee is the rarest and most expensive coffee in the world which may have something to do with the way it’s created. There’s a type of cat called the asian palm civet that eats the coffee berries from a coffee tree then poo’s them out. These are collected by some poor soul, harvested and turned into coffee. Really. You can find bags of this ground coffee all over Indonesia. It certainly gives a new meaning to the term coffee addict.
I can’t wait to share the rest of my trip in Bali with you! As well as more stunning photos I also have some helpful tips and advice from our time in the gorgeous part of the world that you’re going to love.
++ BARGAIN ALERT++