famous Ubud

Posted from Bali, Indonesia.

Ubud is supposed to be this romantic getaway filled with lush green landscapes and cute country roads. Yes. I saw Eat, Pray, Love. And yes. I’m totally let down. Maybe I didn’t give it enough of a chance. I spent one day, just one, in Ubud, and didn’t see hardly anything. So why write a post?

Truth is, I chose to not see anything. My RA was in a flare (still!!) and I was absolutely disgusted by how touristy and developed the place was. It was so busy. The image in my head of a calm, serene, tranquil, sedated place in Bali was shattered. When we drove by a Ripcurl and a Polo (Ralph Lauren is made in Bali) shop I knew this place was ruined.

Ah yes. The rustic-ness of Ubud. It still baffles me. The place is inland, but there were heaps of surf shops.

Ah yes. The rustic-ness of Ubud. It still baffles me. The place is inland, but there were heaps of surf shops.

Sure, there’s rice fields and beautiful lush green surroundings. And the view of Mount Batur is gorgeous, but I can’t go on any hikes due to my darn foot. I have other much more choice words for my foot. But the hikes look wonderful. There’s one that starts in the wee hours of the night and have you hike up (a fucking volcano) to see the sunrise from the top. Of course, this is all outside of Ubud. The town itself is just a non-stop shopping arcade.

Inside one of the shopping plazas there was just a pile of garbage. It stunk.

Inside one of the shopping plazas there was just a pile of garbage. It stunk.

I arrived in UBud after spending nearly three weeks on Gili Trawangan. I had the van driver from Wahana Gili fast boats find a guest house for me. He brought me to a place called Canderi that was about $15/night and probably hadn’t been properly cleaned for at least a week. There was still the old soap on the shower tray and someone had left a towel hanging up in the bathroom. It was a cold water shower, so I knew I wouldn’t bother to use it. This also helped me decide on staying only one night. Coincidentally, when I was scouring the Internet for a guest house the day before, Canderi was one of those budget locations I had written down, and even put an asterisk beside. But the place did have a lovely garden and beautiful shrine.

Part of the lovely garden of my guesthouse. They served food here too. Nasi goreng anyone?

Part of the lovely garden of my guesthouse. They served food here too. Nasi goreng anyone?

I limped around the streets and did a little bit of shopping trying to find souvenirs and something for my Paris host ┬áto thank her for my stay. (Did I mention I’m going to Paris in a few days?) There are no shortage of souvenir shops here. It also seems that thousands of taxi drivers are out of work as I was constantly harassed to stop walking and take a taxi, sometimes consecutively by four drivers within two feet of each other. It was a chain-gang. It’s as though they figure if I said no to their buddy chances are I could say yes to them. Dealing with the parasitic taxi drivers, masseuses and restaurant hosts is exhausting. My voice was harsh after one hour. I don’t know how many times I can say no. I sounded like a toddler.

A water fountain I passed on my way.

A water fountain I passed on my way.

The streets are packed, though. And it’s low season. I can only picture that all these people were lured under the same pretences as I – that Ubud was a magical (and expensive) place to see the true Bali. What I’ve learned is that it’s a wonderful place to see Bali from. It’s kind of central, so heaps of tours leave from Ubud. There’s springs, spas, temples, beaches, cultural activities and (of course) rice fields within a few hours drive from Ubud.

There’s also plenty of cultural experiences, like Balinese dances. Even though they traditionally last for hours and hours, tourists can experience a short rendition during an expensive but authentic Balinese dinner. It’s a dinner show. I kind of wanted to see one of these dances, but I didn’t want to pay the crazy price. Instead I took photos of statues and looked at the mass-produced art for sale on the streets. That’s cultural, right?


One can also not forget the Monkey Forest. Under a dreamy canopy of trees and this ominous land of tamed monkeys – which probably means they warn you before they bite, one can waltz through this cleverly disguised forest and visit … wait for it … a temple. Being that I hate monkeys I didn’t go.

So if you’re into shopping, Ubud is the place for you. If you like hikes and trekking, Ubud is a good place to start from. But I think if you rent a scooter you can get to the volcano, the springs, the temples and the dinner show on your own. The streets aren’t as busy as Kuta, but they are busy.

From here I head to Sanur, my final location on Bali. It’s said to be lovely and a little more chilled. Guess I’ll find out.


3 Responses to famous Ubud

  1. So wht you’re essentially saying is that you only went for a day that you spent in the tourist area because you we’re too injured to do anything? Sounds like you have made a very educated judgement of ubud.
    Of course it’s a tourist trap, a terrible movie starring a famous actress was made about it. The good news is, it’s only one or two streets that are touristy (I had the same impression the first time I went which was just for one day as well). But…I didn’t write a slagging post about it assuming I knew the ins and outs after a day.

    You missed out on Ubud. And it’s too bad, it’s got a lot of good to offer in so so many ways.

    Anna June 9, 2013 at 6:07 am Reply
  2. And monkey Forrest is a Macaque sanctuary. Hy will absolutely bite you if you don’t follow the instructions of the park rangers. It’s a gorgeous and diverse arboretum and the history of the area in Hindu culture is rich with legends Surrounding monekys-this type in particular are the figure heads symbolically of the area. You didn’t even go? Man oh man, this post is so mis-informed and full of itself.

    It’s like you didn’t do anything but you assumed quite a bit, and then wrote a warning to other people not to go based on your assumptions of things you never experienced. You must be North American. Only an American would be so bold and full of themselves to write something like this. It’s embarrassing.

    Anna June 9, 2013 at 6:13 am Reply
    • Yes. I am Canadian. Thank you for your opinion. But this is a blog. And a blog is opinion. If I wanted to write a proper journalism piece I would’ve done the legwork and been more thorough. But I’m not interested in that. My experience in Bali is only a few posts. And yes, I was injured. That’s part of MY experience on MY blog. Not everyone loves Bali. It’s a sad reality. I’m sorry it hurt your feelings.

      Sheri June 9, 2013 at 6:36 am Reply

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