Days 2 to 6: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

A lot of time was spent enjoying the pool at our villa in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Paul and I first went to Bali together in 1997 when we went to Indonesia and Australia for our honeymoon. The last time we visited Bali as a family, Elina was only 5 years old. Read about that trip here. Six years later, we wanted to revisit some of those places. We spent 5 days in Ubud, Bali and it was as hot, humid and enchanting as we remembered.

Our Ubud villa

The view from our villa at Cahaya Ubud Villa. Down the path are two more villas.

We stayed at Cahaya Ubud Villa on Jalan Sok Wayah – located just off the main road of Jalan Raya Ubud beside Pura Dalem, the temple where they perform kecak and legong dances – because we wanted some tranquility among the rice paddy fields after the craziness and stress of packing up our lives into boxes and renting out our house.

The thing about wanting to stay in the middle of peaceful rice paddies is that the road to our villa is accessible only by foot or scooter as the path is narrow and consists of stone, concrete pavers or dirt. The other catch? Our villa was a one kilometre walk along this path. We quickly realised our biggest mistake so far was overpacking…

Luckily Mr Wayan, the villa’s owner, and two of his staff came to our rescue on a very wet and rainy afternoon and picked us up on motorbikes. When he greeted us, he handed us three plastic rain ponchos, and put some on our bags as well!

In true SE Asian style, Wayan sat Elina in front of him and me behind him. I had my small backpack on and he was carrying Elina’s backpack on his left arm. As the roads became slick with rain, I said a little prayer to all the Hindu gods that we wouldn’t have an accident. When we reached our destination, Elina gleefully told me that the motorcycle ride up and down the narrow and winding path was the best thing she’d ever done! Crazy kid.

The dirt track bit of Jalan Sok Wayah.
Our lovely little villa.
The view to the right of our villa.
The small shrine near our villa.
The included breakfast was incredible! Here is our breakfast the first morning. Banana pancakes and a fruit plate washed down with hot tea.
Breakfast on the 2nd day: omelette, scrambled eggs, toast and fruit juice. The filling breakfasts saved us heaps. Something like this would probably cost us $20 each morning in Ubud’s restaurants and cafes. 
On the computer while watching Elina swim.

Walking around Ubud

The humidity is so high here that it was slow going as far as walking around and exploring. The right word for it is ‘oppressive’ heat. And yet of course, the locals were chilled, moved at a slower pace, and didn’t sweat one bit.

We thought we had left our hipster Inner West suburb, but behold – the moustache and beard icons on the doors of this barbershop tell us hipsters have arrived in Ubud.

Ubud coffee: it’s serious business

Seniman Coffee Studio had only just opened when we were here 6 years ago. Now it’s like an empire, with a shop opened up across the street to sell their coffee and coffee paraphernalia.
We sat at the coffee bar. As you can see by these glass contraptions, they’re serious about slowly dripped coffee.
I already had a coffee that morning so I ordered a cold chai. It came on a paddle with a yummy biscuit and cold filtered water and a glass straw.
The different beans they sell reflect where they came from. Love the packaging.

Ubud walk through rice paddies

We went for a walk on Jalan Sok Wayah, the path where our villa was. The rice paddies located here are bordered on either side by rivers. A fellow villa visitor from Perth said he and his wife walked down here and ended up at this place with pyramids and they dined there twice. He said it was a 20-minute walk. It wasn’t. It took 45 minutes. Here are the pics.

The dirt path is part of Jalan Sok Wayah.
A thatched hut with a tin roof: a place where rice farmers can take breaks and shelter from the sun.

At the end of the path, on a main road, is the Pyramids of Chi – a place that offers a resort-type atmosphere, good service and expensive food and coffee. It also offers ‘sound healing’ within the bigger of the two pyramids, twice a day. We had something to drink here to rehydrate after our walk but we didn’t eat lunch here.

“Welcome. Ancient sound healing sessions daily. 11am and 3pm.”
We ate at this local warung instead. We had nasi campur, chicken curry and gado gado.

Elina was exhausted from our sweaty hour-long hike on the path. So Paul and Elina went back into town by motorbike taxi to pick up our laundry and head back to the villa. I decided to walk back as it was cooler now that grey clouds and light rain were offering me respite from the sun.

There is quite a steep drop on the left side of the path.
Some fallow rice fields.
A little panoramic video.
One of the many pond herons that frequented the fallow fields in search of food.
Artist Wayan Kotir in front of his gallery on Sok Wayah.
Some shrines along the way.
The sun had come out again and I implored the clouds to move over my head.
This woman with glasses was sorting the harvested rice.
An original Dutch rice joglo made of teak. It’s 150 years old and they moved it from Java to Bali piece by piece. Read about it here.
Ducks – or ‘bebek’ in Bahasa – are everywhere on the rice paddies. They provide eggs for the farmers and eat bugs in the water.

Goodbye, Ubud

Every evening we’d venture out for dinner. It was such a beautiful, serene walk down the path and we could see fireflies flickering in the fields and the ducks in a row resting and gamelan music gently eminating from the restaurants along the path. Ubud we’ll miss you.