Four Days in Ubud: Day 1- Ubud Center

To finish off the New Year vacation, I took a short trip to Ubud. It was so great to get somewhere warm and enjoy lots of amazing food! Four days was enough time for me to realize I need to plan another extended trip to Bali.

I arrived in Ubud at night and was dropped off at the base of a hill. The amazing place I booked is not accessible by car. So, I had to navigate my way up, up, up, up the dark mountain to get to my bungalow. BUT, it was WORTH IT!

Dragonfly Village

Alright so, getting to dragonfly village is not too difficult, unless you don’t prepare like me, or end up there at night. There are no lights leading up the path, which is great for getting away from the hustle and bustle, not so much if you don’t have a flashlight. But. Have no fear! I have provided aids if, like me, you need visual directions.

Getting there

The farthest point cars can go are right outside Nando Ubud. Next to the Warung is a little path behind a cement wall. There should be lots of signs posted for places up the mountain. The Dragonfly Village sign is pretty hard to find because it blends in with the bricks, but if ever in doubt look for an Ubud Yoga House sign!

Once you are on the path, just start walking. If you feel like you have missed the place KEEP walking. Once you pass Ubud Yoga House KEEP WALKING. You will walk past lots of little shops and food places. If you are in need of a motorbike rental, there is a place for that too!

This walk ended up being my favorite part of the day. I would wake up early to enjoy the sunrise or find myself wanting to rush back just so I can catch the sunset over the rice fields. The pictures don’t do it justice.

You will see Dragonfly Village on your left-hand side once you pass one of the massage places. Now imagine me in the dark dragging a suitcase up the hill. It wasn’t bad, but it was extremely loud on the brick road. I felt like I was waking up the whole of Bali!

Bungalow

I. Loved. My. Bungalow. I loved it in the morning when the roosters and ducks were starting their day. I loved it in the evening when people on the rice fields were coming in from working. I loved it at night when the frogs and cicadas were having a concert. This place is not for everyone. But, if you love nature and being surrounded by it, this is the place for you.

The room I stayed in had just enough for me. It is not an extravagant place, but that’s what makes it great. Everything is natural, recycled, and environmentally friendly. You should read up on where they got the huts.

I will have more about how much I love my room in a later post.

Morning

I couldn’t get to sleep the night before because I was so excited about what I would do my first day in Bali. I finally got to sleep and it wasn’t too long before the roosters were waking me up in the morning. I love that sound. I laid in bed for a few seconds and enjoyed the sound of the birds chirping around me until I remembered- the only view of the place I got was by flashlight the night before.

I wanted to get a quick peek of outside before I got ready for the day so I opened the window.

That had me RUNNING to put on clothes so I could get out the door. It was so beautiful and serene I needed to be outside asap.

I figured I would get a morning walk around and then come back and really prepare for the day. I was ripping the suitcase open to grab clothes, then in the bathroom on tiptoe looking through the large opening between the wall and the ceiling while brushing my teeth. And then. It started to pour. Buckets. I was screaming. WHHHYYYYY! I guess the universe thought I was too excited.

The morning shower provided me with plenty of time to get prepared… and become super antsy. As soon as it stopped, I took a quick tour around the village to see where everything was.

Then started down the mountain. This took me forever because I had to stop and stare at everything. It is just a place where you want to stand and soak everything up.

I met my friend, who decided to join the trip, at Sri Ratih Cottages, where she was staying. This is also a great place to stay if you are looking for a spot right off the street where everything happens. The staff at this hotel is so amazingly nice and were helpful to us in so many ways. I also got a pedicure and a massage here, so that’s available too!

We headed out, deciding to just wander for a while and explore our surroundings. There would be a lot of walking and a lot of food eaten this day. Mostly by me.

Good Karma

The first spot we happened on was Good Karma. I was looking for a quick breakfast spot and this was the perfect place. I love how easy it is to just walk into place right off the street because there are no walls on the storefront. It really makes it easier to scope out a place before you decide to try it. Because everyone knows when you walk through a door and finally get seated, you are less likely to get back up and walk out. Menus are also conveniently located on a stand outside all the restaurants as well.

I decided to try this place because they have smoothie bowls! And they are huge! With my smoothie bowl, I tried one of their red juices. Both great choices. My smoothie bowl was gone in no time.

All we had to was keep walking down the street and we were right at Ubud Palace and the art market, the latter we would explore after lunch because my friend booked a morning pedicure.

Of course, I had to join.

Pedicure

It has been difficult finding a nail place in Kunshan similar to the ones at home. You can get your nails painted, but nobody is going to soak, scrape, or massage your feet. Now that I live in a walkable city, my feet always want some attention. And they got them at Sri Ratih.

Before the pedicure we were given were given a turmeric drink and a foot bath. The drink consisted of turmeric salt and plum sugar. It is definitely a strong flavor and will catch you off guard if you aren’t ready. But, after a couple small sips I was all in and had it every time I stopped by the hotel.

The only downside about the pedicure is that they had a limited amount of nail polish options all ranging in the reds. If you are not a red or sparkly person BYONP or try a new one look. I chose the only blue they had, which was a powder-ish blue and I ended up liking it a lot.

The women who did out pedicures were so sweet and we chatted with them for a while enjoying the view of the rice fields and the sounds of more roosters and cicadas. It was so relaxing.

After our pedicure, they gave us ginger tea as well as a coconut wrap. I could have stayed in that chair all day.

Noon

After the pedicure, we headed pack out wandering. This time in the opposite direction. We wandered for about an hour and finally reached a dead end. As usual, there is always someone sitting nearby ready to offer you a taxi wherever you would like to go. I really do make it a habit to acknowledge people with a polite no or a smile and a firm head shake. I can’t simply just walk by people and ignore them or act like they don’t exist. More than a few taxi drivers and vendors commented about my attitude during my trip.

Some taxi drivers were downright hilarious.  For example, one man we passed in a group along the road offered us a taxi and I said with a smile, "Good morning! No thanks, we are walking today." He then proceeded, as normal, to ask if we were sure he could drive us.  To which I repeated the same answer, "No, today we are walking."  He followed us a few steps and said, "How about tomorrow?"  And still walking I said with a smile, "Tomorrow I'm walking too!"  By this point, we had already passed them.  But I could hear from the distance, "HOW ABOUT YESTERDAY??"  To which I yelled, "YES PLEASE! SOUNDS GREAT!"  I could hear them laughing down the street as we passed curious tourists.

The taxi driver at our dead-end ended up being really helpful. After kindly telling him we wanted to walk for the day, he said “If you turn here and follow the path, you will run into a cafe. At the cafe turn right and you are back on the main street.” After ensuring that the path wouldn’t lead to our death, which gave him a good laugh, we set off in a new direction. One thing I loved about Ubud is that there are so many hidden places down narrow streets. I ended up with a list of stores and restaurants to look for again when I go back. This path ended up being a great shortcut that dropped us off exactly where we were for breakfast that morning!

Warung Nia

We walked into Warung Nia for lunch looking for an Indonesian spread and got exactly what we were looking for. I honestly have no idea what we ate and forgot to take a picture of what we ordered on the menu. All I know is the pork and chicken skewers were delicious, the bean sprout mixes in Bali are amazing, and we had to order two of the chicken bowls because we loved them.

Artist Market

We made our way to the notable artist market where you can find a plethora of rattan bags to match all your boho outfits. I will get one next time. Honestly, we didn’t spend much time here. Living in China has made it really easy to get inexpensive things and I’m still cruisin’ off all the stuff I lugged home from the Indian markets. There are many similar things here. What I did make sure I bought were a couple of sarongs, which I paid 75, 000 each. I really enjoy markets just for the atmosphere. I could walk around them for hours enjoying the bustle and the interactions. Watching tourists get jipped and periodically picking up something just to haggle for fun. Haggling is my favorite past time.

Afternoon

The Spell Creperie

I found another food place on one of the random streets leaving the artist markets. Surprise surprise. I needed a snack what can I say. I really stopped at this place because they had homemade caramel. And it was DELICIOUS.

It was a pretty long walk as we decided to stop my bungalow before dinner. I really wanted to eat at Cafe Pomegranate which is right next door to where I was staying. This is the perfect place to watch the sunset over the rice fields, so we stayed at my place for a while. In true Bri fashion, I used the time to take some pictures as we headed up the mountain.

I caught a couple guys rounding up his ducks for the evening and made sure to get some pictures of myself once we got to the room. It has been my resolution to doing better about this.

Evening

Cafe Pomegranate

This was definitely one of the highlights of the day and a perfect way to end the first one in Ubud. The meal was good, but the view was amazing.

See the rest of this Ubud adventure:

Published by brianalennet

Visual anthropologist and digital storyteller

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