I tried and failed miserably. I’ve been trying to restrain the urge to reference the 187-week New York Times Bestselling Book by Elizabeth Gilbert since I started writing about the Ubud leg of our vacation in Indonesia. Now, on my fourth article chronicling our Ubud respite, I give in to the cliché that many people associate when visiting this part of the island of Bali.
I’ll be honest, I haven’t read the book. Everything I know about it I got from the movie starred by Julia Roberts. Though it has its moments, I ultimately was not able to connect with the characters in the film. Perhaps it was not a very good adaptation, like most book-to-film movies are. Anyway…
Traffic in Ubud is not as congested compared to Kuta, except in the afternoon when the tourist buses arrive. Most of the restaurants, shops and hotels are crammed along the three main streets of Ubud: Jalan Raya Ubud and the parallel streets of Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Hanoman. Jalan Monkey Forest, the busier and more commercial one. All of which can be easily covered on foot.
Expect a lot of tourists. Despite the many commercial establishments in Ubud, the place still retains a certain artistic and cultural feel, seen not only on the products being sold but also the store decorations themselves. Most establishments, especially the spas, are open until 9 pm. There are also convenience stores and ATMs everywhere.
Everywhere in Ubud, every now and then, you’ll see someone lay an offering. I noticed that these are not confined to the statues and altars, some are laid in front of gates, stores and even the sidewalk. Better watch your step. We enjoyed taking photos of these little offerings. Most contain the traditional flower and incense, while some have biscuits and candies in them.
We were not able to go inside Ubud’s Monkey Forest. Our cash was running thin and we still have a few more days to spend in Kuta. If there’s one thing to remember to do before you leave for an out-of-country vacation, that is to call your bank so you’d be able to withdraw from your account. How very amateur of us!
Fortunately, you don’t have to go inside the park to see the monkeys. They are everywhere, terrorizing anyone foolish enough to give them food. They are very curious and will grab anything from you if you let them get too close.
Monkey Forest is located at the south end of Jalan Monkey Forest. Did you see that coming?! Hahaha! The entire street has monkey sculptures depicting daily human activities. The one with the scooter and the romantic couple are my favorite.
Jalan Hanoman, where Jangkrik Homestay is, and Jalan Monkey Forest intersect on both ends. There are also narrow alleyways that connect the two, making for less hassle when exploring these two main streets in Ubud.
On our last day at Jangkrik, we were presented with a visual treat. Our host’s entire family were preparing offerings. They make everything themselves, from the tiny baskets to meticulously placing the little flowers inside them. It was very nice seeing their entire family so involved in maintaining this tradition.
Upon check out, everybody said their goodbyes and send us off with the warmest thank yous and smiles. At that very moment, we wanted to stay in Ubud few more days. :)
Our three days stay at Ubud is definitely not enough. Ubud is the kind of place where you just want to take things slow. Drink all of that culture and art in, let it simmer inside you and be one with it.
I extremely enjoyed walking around Ubud. We did it the first night we arrived and was at it again and again until the day we left for Kuta. Ubud has this vibe that makes you think, “I can live here…”
More than the tours, walking around Ubud is definitely the highlight of our stay there. No wonder Elizabeth Gilbert fell in love in Ubud.
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