Our time in Indonesia was coming to an end, but before we left for our busy city lives we decided to stop at Bali for a few days. After having researched about the place, I knew that this isn’t the island for beaches. Besides we had already been to some amazing beaches in Lombok. My only motivation to visit Bali was to know – what is the hype all about?
Since we had a handful days, we decided to spend our time in Ubud. One of the first things we noticed as we entered Ubud was the architecture and the numerous small temples all along with intricate stone craftsmanship. The island had a different feel.
Where did we stay?
Ubud has an overwhelming number of options to stay, I spent hours looking through booking websites trying to zero in on the options. These are available in all price ranges, depending upon how far you are willing to stay from the central area. For our first stay we booked a villa close to central area but the owner/caretaker wouldn’t reply even though we paid in full online. Anyhow we booked another one, this time in the middle of rice fields in Gianyar. The accommodation was spacious and comfortable. Read my review here.
Our second accommodation was a spacious and beautiful homestay nestled in the jungle, Puri Astina villa, read my review here. Unfortunately we could only spend a day at this villa but would have loved to stay longer given the hospitality of Wayan and family.
We had rented a car so it was easy to move around. We wanted to check out the local popular market, hence we drove down to the central area- Jalan Raya Ubud and surroundings. It was a bustling area, unfortunately it felt like a city setup for tourists. Heavy traffic, crowded streets and hordes of tourists was such a common sight. But hey, let’s focus on the positives of Ubud for now.
Things which make Ubud worth visiting:
The lush green canopy of Ubud is stunning – Tall tropical trees and picturesque rice fields are a sight to sore eyes. Flowers – are everywhere!! Waterfalls present a stunning imagery. I hail from the mountains of Indian Himalayas, hence am used to rice terraces. However I was impressed to see how the Balinese people had commercialized their rice fields, plentiful crowds were drawn and the restaurant business was booming.
Bali is more developed than the other islands and hence it has way more options to choose from. I will do a complete post on what we ate in Indonesia because the food there deserves itself a full post.
Stunning resort life
If resort life is what you like then Bali offers some beautiful resorts with splendid views. We visited one such resort for lunch – Maya Ubud, the views were spectacular.
Sunset views over the rice fields
Basically we could stop the car alongside any field and the sunset views were gorgeous. Sigh..!!
I think for me this was the show stopper. Ubud has many villages renowned for their craftsmanship in silver, stonework, woodcarving, and painting. We found some interesting shops and spent quite some time marveling at the quality of their craft.
So what is the final word – paradise or not?
After coming from Lombok I found Ubud to be a little underwhelming. Traffic is a big problem, which makes getting around painful. Crowded places and a flurry of tourists puts me off. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed our time there. For everything I didn’t like, there was something that I did like.
It depends upon what you are looking for – if a relaxing holiday by the pool in a resort is for you then definitely Bali trumps over other islands. However if exploratory travel is your cup of tea then you might like other islands better. It depends upon your sensibilities and preferences.
To someone who didn’t visit the other Indonesian islands perhaps this is a treat. But I will always inevitably compare it to Lombok which had all the elements which Ubud offered us, perhaps more.