Ubud | The full 9 courses of Bali

With our time in Ubud ending but not quite yet in Bali, we’ve finally managed to sit down and wrap up our last three days for you (by sit down we mean sat on a bus heading to Sanur ferry port). 

Elephant Cave 

After hours of trying to find transport to the Elephant Cave (Goa Gadjha), we finally gave in a booked a taxi from the tour operators who line the streets of Ubud. Haggling seems to be a way of life in Bali and I think we may have pissed our guide off (We will explain later). After making it to the temple, we arranged to be picked up again after 2 hours there. We were initially greeted with sarongs for anyone to wear who’s legs were showing. Our first thoughts were that the temple itself was a bit underwhelming, yes the carvings were beautiful and Jess was promised fertility by the God Vishnu, but there wasn’t much there in comparison to other tourist destinations we’ve visited in Bali. After about half an hour of walking around very slowly, and questioning what we were going to do in the middle of nowhere for the next hour and a half, we headed back up to the exit. By pure chance on the journey back up the 10000000 steps, Jess noticed another staircase at the bottom of the hill… Reminder: DON’T RELY ON SIGNPOSTS!!!!! We’d missed out over half of the site! So back down we went… 

Admittedly this area of the site was a lot quieter so we can only assume others made the same mistake we did. This part of the site was down a steep hill covered in greenery and at the bottom presented a garden, rockery and waterfall. As far as we could tell the Hindu temple at the top of the hill shared it’s garden with a Buddhist temple at the bottom. Both had their own beauty in one form or another, where one was manufactured the other was surrounded by nature at its finest. Finally, after working our way back up the mountain of steps we were waiting for our taxi when a local driver offered us a lift for a fifth of the price we’d agreed with our driver from Ubud. However being British and wanting to honour our agreement with our driver, and not wanting to get into a rusty blue van, we declined and decided to wait. Our driver turned up as agreed and on the route home asked where we wanted to be dropped off. We requested our hostel, which was fairly close to the centre of town and didn’t seem like an unfair suggestion. However, our driver thought otherwise; pulling over in a petrol station, he informed us we were a 5 minute walk away. After getting out of the taxi we checked the trusty offline map and it showed us just how long our 5 minute walk would actually take… 45.

Ubud’s finest deserts 

After dealing with a very dramatic Jess on the walk home, she finally received her birthday surprise from Sam. This was a 9-course dessert tasting menu at Room 4 Dessert, a pudding only restaurant owned by Chef Goldfarb, best known from his featured episode on the Netflix show Chefs Table. R4D aims to showcase local produce and flavours using top of the range equipment and creative methods. R4D isn’t just a trip down your local Sprinkles, it’s a culinary experience 20 year in the making. Once we’d packed our first 9 courses away, we were treated to an invitation behind the restaurant to sample 5 new dishes from next years menu as well as a tour of their restaurant and garden remodel which will be opening March 2019. We’re not meant to say much but we can ensure you that Chef Goldfarbs vision for his restaurant will be a food experience like no other.

The Tourist Trail

After finally rising with still full stomachs from the night before, we thought it best to see what Ubud is traditionally famous for; Waterfalls, Coffee and Rice Terraces. Our first stop was a coffee plantation. Bali is known for Luwak coffee, coffee that first passes through the Luwak animal before being harvested then roasted. It is this process that gives it a lighter taste to the traditional dark roasted coffee of Bali. The plantation offered us a good insight into the coffee farming methods used in Bali and also offered us a chance to sample their coffee’s and herbal teas. The best of these had to be the Mangosteen tea with fresh Balinese honey. 

The next stop on our tour was the Tegenungan Waterfall, this is an iconic waterfall set near a temple and down a flight of steps that would give Goa Gadjha a run for its money. The weather meant the pool was unfortunately too bad to swim however the fall itself was a sight to see. This was swiftly followed by a lunch of fresh barbecued corn in it’s husk which was surprisingly one of the best things we’ve eaten since being here. 

The final stop of the day was the rice terraces. These are not only home to the “Bali Swing” but also a trail that runs through the fields and the homes of the workers. The weather decided to change on our walk through the terraces from incredible sun to a downpour that was very welcomed in the heat. We were grateful that we’d chosen to wear our hiking boots so the ground underfoot, although muddy wasn’t too slippy as we climbed makeshift staircases carved into the terrace side. We eventually made it out of the terraces and sat to appreciate the beauty of them before getting back to the hostel for a cold beer and dinner.

Bali Rains

With our last day in Ubud having arrived we spent it looking around the massive Ubud market and packing.  For our last meal, we walked to Warung Lokal, which wasn’t actually that local but had the best Cap Cay ever. This was swiftly followed by a chocolate fondant in an Italian restaurant around 5 minutes walk from the hostel. This walk quickly changed from a lovely warm evening out to needing to sacrifice our shoes and practically swim home. The roads and pavements flooded to knee-high waters in the space of half an hour. Arriving back looking like a wet dishcloth, we couldn’t help but laugh at how tragically English we were, not being able to equip ourselves or handle any weather at all.


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