Located near the center of the island of Bali in Indonesia, Ubud is a truly unique and interesting place to visit. Although Bali was not our favorite place by any means, Ubud was our favorite town on the island. What made it so special for us was mainly the feeling of Ubud. It's a small town, with a very postive, laid-back vibe, which was a breath of fresh air after the constant hustle of the beach towns.
When many people think of the Bali, they conjure up images of the tropical and exotic place Elizabeth Gilbert visited in Eat, Pray, Love. For the most part, that tropical and exotic vision of Bali is not the reality of the majority of Bali, but Ubud is closest to fitting that description.
Ubud is kind of like a mecca for health conscious spiritual yogi types, and since I pretend to be one, I really loved the place. There were great all-natural bakeries and restaurants, tons of yoga, and those beautiful iconic rice patties that we came to Bali in search of.
A few of our days in Ubud were spent on a scooter roaming around the Balinesian countryside. The terraced rice patties are stunning, and the drive to one of the island's volcanos is a must. We visited Gunung Batur, although it started raining on us in the scooter so we missed most of the view.
Each day, the Balinese women would prepare offering baskets to the Gods, which were then placed all around the home. Most Balinese homes are large compounds with multiple buildings and a family temple in the center, and most of the "hotels" on the island are extra little huts rented out within people's compounds. We stayed in one owned by a jolly Balinese man named Rhaki, and every morning we would wake up to offering baskets and incense burning on our front step.
And of course, there was a Starbucks in Bali. No matter how exotic or far flung we thought we were, Starbucks was always close by, reminding us that the world is too small.
It is easy to get sucked into Ubud and it is no surprise that it is favored among many expats.
If you go, head down the small alley ways and find a room in a local compound, eat at Bali Buddha, and roam around the many rice patties that frame the little town.