On the way to my guesthouse I pass a lot of stores and trendy coffee shops. Most of the houses are built in a traditional Balinese style with lots of beautiful ornaments. The streets are clean and have sideways so that it’s easy to walk and safe access to all the shops.This place looks very different than Kuta. It has a much more artistic feel to it.
The travelers are different here too. Lots of higher budget travelers who take yoga classes, and walk around with mats, so that they are easy to recognize. There are also many Chinese tourists who like ice-cream a lot and go to the Monkey Forest. And there are backpackers who are probably struggling to stay on their budget here as there is a lot of good stuff on offer, healthy food, happy hours, tours, shops and guesthouses with swimming pools.
I’m staying in a guesthouse that is very centrally located this time, in a side alley of one of the main roads in Ubud, with again, a beautiful courtyard and friendly staff with limited English. They try to sell me tours, yoga lessons and cooking classes and find it hard to believe that I’m traveling alone, staying for five days, and that I’m not interested in booking any of these activities.”Also no motorbike? Bored for you, miss Laura.” Thank you, maybe later.
Instead I go to the rice fields. I discovered a small path that goes right behind one of the busy streets and gets you there easily. It’s a different world out there. Quiet. Green. Beautiful. I walk for hours through some tiny villages and on my way back I stop for a drink in a small café where I can practice my Bahasa.
That evening I meet an Australian guy who lives in Ubud. He introduces me to raw food and reads my hand and my aura, and tells me it’s purple. Apparently, that’s a good thing. Many people walking around here have purple auras, he explains. I’m happy that it’s all good.
The next day I walk to the Monkey Forest. Moneys are sitting around near the entrance and while I’m watching them, I again come to the realization that I’m not too crazy about monkeys. I don’t like them jumping on me and that they can grab and hold on to things until they get them. A few years ago I was in a National Park in Thailand and my sister bought an ice- cream and just when she was about to enjoy her first bite, a small, sneaky monkey jumped on her, took it and jumped in a tree where he ate the ice cream right in front of us. I decide to skip the Monkey forest and walk back to my quiet rice fields, where I cross paths with a nice French traveler. We spend the afternoon chatting and exploring some local villages and share some beers.
We discover more small bars with full view of the rice terraces. It’s very peaceful and there are hardly any people.
I might have missed out on all the tours, yoga and most of the other excitement Ubud has to offer, but I am very glad to be here and to do it just my own way. Next destination: Nusa Lembongan.