And so it happened. One minute we are stepping off the plane deathly pale, slowly melting in the heat and next minute there’s four days left before we fly home, slightly less pale but still, how did that happen?
The end of a trip loves creeping up on you doesn’t it? After our chilled week in Balian doing nothing and absolutely loving it, we made the decision to spend our final few days relaxing in Ubud, apparently after 7 weeks away we weren’t chilled enough.
Ubud was undoubtedly my favourite part of Bali when I visited last year so I was worried revisiting wouldn’t compare, not only that but Eat, Pray Love in my opinion ruined the place for me. What was a calm, spiritual and cultural mecca has become an assault to the senses with the amount of tourist attractions left right and centre, plus the constant obstacle course to avoid all the ‘travellers’ who are ‘finding themselves’ is as tiring as it is annoying. In fact the hardest thing to find was some peace.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not judging anyone, what I’m judging is doing something because it’s now a scene. Go to Ubud because you want to walk around aimlessly for hours down random alleyways discovering secret oasis’ and random places not because you think you’re the next Julia Roberts and you’re going to have a life changing epiphany in the middle of a rice paddy. Fair play if you do, all we got was sweaty.
Ubud in simple terms is a beautiful place, there is so much to do, tourist clichés or not. This is somewhere you could get lost for a week and still feel no closer to having explored enough. Firstly the culture, the place is dripping in it, once you’ve ignored the wooden penis’ on every corner. What’s worse? The fact that they are literally everywhere or that sadly someone somewhere has one in their home. Once you have avoided them it’s time to check out the real authentic side, get up early and check out the market place and local shops for the real sense of the place.
So we spent our final day walking around. Nothing says enjoying your final hours like a foot full of blisters. But without doubt the only way to explore Ubud, just meander around and see what and who you find. The artwork and detail that goes into the doorways alone are gorgeous, you’ll be walking down a seemingly pointless alley and then you’ll come across this secret little oasis. Some of the most gorgeous homestays are hidden away and you’d never even know they existed and these random flower shops dotted down streets were simply beautiful, have you ever seen a flower like these…?
Apparently chartering the whole area of Ubud on foot wasn’t enough for Jonny, o no, he had a hike through the countryside planned for the afternoon. I would complain and so maybe I did a tiny bit as I sweated my way up the hill until I saw these views. One minute you’re dodging mopeds and taxi drivers and the next second you’re on a path winding amongst the fields where you feel like the only people for miles, apart from the farmers working away. Rolling green hills, rice paddys, palm trees, everything Ubud is infamous for. So make sure to make time for this, the Campuhan Ridge walk. Trust us its worth it and escaping the intensity of Ubud for some peace makes a welcome break in the day.
There are certain clichés of Ubud that in fairness are clichés and popular for a reason beause they are worth doing, things like hiking Mt Batur for sunrise, going to watch a local dance, doing a yoga class, there is so much to be explored and enjoyed and by all means it all should be, unfortunately there’s a pushy overwhelming air that is unavoidable, it is almost stifling what Ubud is, what it used to be, slowly taking away from the tranquility.
I can only describe how it felt to us, I like Ubud, I like exploring the place, I like the beauty of the buildings, the culture, the art, but what I don’t like is the pretentious feel that now comes hand in hand. If you go to Ubud go because you want to and get out of it everything you can, don’t go because you think you should. Make sense?