After repacking our bags and somehow managing to make them even heavier than before, we waddled to our go-car (Asia’s Uber) and set off toward Ubud. Driving through the winding hills, away from the coast and into the jungles of Bali, suddenly the hype surrounding this place made sense.
When arriving in Ubud we were met with a crowd of mopeds along with thousands of market stalls and A LOT of monkeys. Ubud is much more cultural than Seminyak, firstly being discovered by accidentally entering a school which we mistook for a temple (oops!). We also found the food and drink a lot more affordable and traditional than Seminyak. So far our favourite meal has been Mie Goreng, a Balinese dish of noodles, chicken, veg and topped off with a fried egg. For anyone who’s visiting, we cannot recommend Gauri Warung enough. This is a little garden restaurant which is down a side street close to Ubud Central Market. We enjoyed homemade spring rolls, Mie Goreng and a beer each for 80K (£4).
Ubud Central Market is a maze of colourful clothing, wooden statues and jewellery – everything you don’t need but want. After successfully getting lost on the second floor and somehow getting out an hour later, we thought it best time for an explore. We came across a four levelled coffee shop which was like a miniature jungle, covered in leaves, a miniature waterfall and tropical animals visiting not to mention traditional Balinese coffee too.
The hostel we decided to stay in was Happy Mango Tree, a quirky little paradise on the road that which links Ubud Market to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Despite reviews, Happy Mango Tree has been great so far! Friendly staff, a chilled atmosphere and a lack of rats – result! Although we have befriended a very loud lizard that’s moved into our room with us. The hostel also looks out onto a rice field which is home to a family of fireflies who you can watch dance of an evening.
Friday morning we visited Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest, the original reason for starting our Asian backpacking adventure. Through torrential rain and monkey ambushes, including a German woman being held against the toilet walls, we were honoured to experience these animals living freely in their natural habitat. The Balinese architecture built into the forest coupled with the natural beauty of the waterfalls and jungle was incredible to experience first hand. No photographs can compare.
With 4 more days left to explore Ubud before heading to Nusa Penida and a long list of things yet to do, we can already recommend Ubud joins everybody’s bucket list.