During my recent trip to Bali, I decided to make a side trip to Ubud. It is about 1 hour drive away from the bikini scene at Kuta. Ubud is where you can find all the artists’ workshops and galleries. If you are looking for wood cravings, paintings, stone cravings, etc, this is the place. Especially if you are looking for non mass produced paintings.
I stayed at Sanur and chartered a taxi for about 5 hours for my trip to Ubud. It cost me Rp 350,000. This was a recommendation by the hotel staff. The driver tried to ask me to go to many places but the good thing was he wasn’t too pushy about it. He wanted me to go see some batik factory and some gold shop… all of which I said no to. He also recommended I go to the Monkey Forest (where you pay a fee and walk a little path to see a lot of monkeys) but hey, I’m from Asia too yo. I don’t find monkeys new or fascinating. So I gave that a miss as well.
What I really wanted to do in my limited time was to see what Ubud’s like. After <<Eat Pray Love>>, it gave me a general good feeling, kinda make Ubud THE PLACE to go if one wanted to go on a pilgrimage. :)
Going to Ubud Market…
My first stop in Ubud was the Ubud Traditional Art Market and I had a great time there. I loved how rundown it was. Kinda gave it a very authentic nice feel.
You can really find anything here. From clothes to wood cravings, paintings to earrings… they had everything here.
I wandered through the two-story market cautiously, observing other shoppers as they bargained.
There was a definite Bali-unique feel to everything. Their culture was evident in their buildings, and in the wares the people sold.
TIP: Bargain like crazy. Counter offer a price that is 50% or more from it’s original price. There was a guy who quoted me SGD50 for a very light-weight wood craving of a giraffe. I told him it’s WAY too expensive and I didn’t even want to counter offer. He was persistent and asked me for my best price. To get him off my back, I did just that, and offered SGD10 (SERIOUSLY THINK it’s worth only SGD5) and he looked at me and said OK. Shit. I had to buy it. LOL.
That guy, he’s a true master of bargaining. Haha!
I didn’t buy any paintings from the shops around Ubud market. There were a lot of painting galleries on the road from Sanur to Ubud and I think if you really want paintings by local artists, that’s the place to go.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
There was a Monkey Forest which I mentioned earlier. I love exploring a new place by foot because I get to see a lot and at my own pace. To get here, I walked through the heart of Ubud from the Market to the Monkey Forest. It was a long walk but one that had many interesting sights.
When I reached the entrance of Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, it appears there was no need to go in (admission fees apply) as those monkeys were really aggressive and came right out to “meet and greet” the tourists.
This little fella grabbed a tourist’s water bottle and opened it the “human” way to drink. Another monkey grabbed a girl’s long skirt and kept pulling on it till she gave him the banana she was holding. See, I knew I didn’t like monkeys.
Babi Guling Lunch
Next to the Ubud Market, I found the place I wanted to eat at.
Babi Guling is a very popular dish for Balinese as well as tourists, and you can find it at most traditional markets and at roadside eateries but there is only one place to eat a good Babi Guling.
Where: Ibu Oka Warung Babi Guling, Jl Suweta (map) (diagonally opp the Ubud Market) 11AM-6PM daily.
This is what I call a Bali culinary experience. According to my friends, the babi guling (roasted pig) here is world-famous (mentioned in all those travel books that Ang Mohs always carry) and a definite must-try. The roast pork is served with rice and spiced veggies, order the special (Rp 30,000) to get a bit of everything.
The roast pork was definitely very succulent and very yummy. I wasn’t too much a fan of their menu since they really only had Babi Guling to offer. One special set was enough to fill me up. Thank god I didn’t try the sausage that was included because it was only later on that I found out it’s an offal and blood sausage.
Lastly, if you ask me, staying 1 night at Ubud or even a day trip is quite enough. The town isn’t really big. I saw a lot of couples just chilling out at the cafes and restaurants. Not so many big groups of friends and families (which you see a lot of at Kuta Beach). I didn’t have much time to do much of a spa here but I heard that it’s pretty good. Do check it out if you do and let me know how it is! :)
I’m glad I made a trip to Ubud. :) Another tick off my travel bucket list.