Ubud. It really is a Mood

Posted: June 16, 2011 in Bali Road Trip 2011
Tags: , , ,

More than just a fancy book title, the island’s swankiest highland village has morphed into a must visit for every visitor. New hands will go ga ga over the town’s market square and shopping. Having just an hour or so to do that, they buy up handicraft and trinkets by the bus load, before returning to their buses and day tours of the exotic Balinese countryside.

Old hands watch and ponder, from a discreet restaurant, hey we were like that once maybe 20 years ago. Me? I try to avoid the place like the plague, but then again like the book says, the place is a ‘mood’ Catch it in your right ‘mood’ and soon you’ll be an old hand, never wanting to leave, save for the odd bicycle ride into the countryside. Useful things those state of the art bicycles.

Sublime sunrises

Dinner mood just after sunset (spot our wheels)

Ubud’s market is a real market before the daily transformation. Locals hustle and bustle for their daily needs from as early a 5 am. Messy, grimy and with suspicious odours. I’ve yet to enter  their deep dark and dank below road level areas. You hear the odd gripes about rising prices and shrinking portions. Locals buying in bulk seem to do so for their businesses mostly restaurants. They’ll pass the costs on to their customers.

On one very hot morning, wife is thirsty and insists on a cooling coconut drink. I am quoted Rp 30 k for one. No point haggling, it’s almost US$4.00. We walk away and the price drops to 20 K. I cross the street to a local warung and get a cut up coconut. Rp 10 K. I’m sure the locals pay less, but the thing to note here  is she’s thirsty and water wont do.

Come sunlight and say after 9 am, the produce market changes into the tourist market. This is a good time to be there. Mess cleaned up quickly and in it’s place, neatly laid out souvenir stalls waiting for the huge white tourists buses from the south to disgorge their contents.

My mood insists that I make a last visit on the very last day of each trip. People watching at it’s best. Plus photo ops galore. Intelligent mood dictates that we find our lodgings as far away from the town center as possible, which we cleverly do. And of course having a folding bike handy really beats walking 2000 metres just to get lunch or dinner or a new bikini.

A bikini shop in the heart of Bali's artistic and cultural universe

Seen at Periplus Books, not the Ubud library, there's none

Human beings being made monkeys of, at the Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. On a bicycle get there before 0800 hrs and you save Rp 20,000 as the ticket guy isn't there yet

He's in a hungry mood

BBQed honey coated and roasted ribs @ Naughty Nuri's Warung. We couldn't get a table at 3.15 pm. Unlike the poor kid in the bus, we got to smell it !

Ibu Oka's babi guling in Ubud. 8 whole pigs are sold in a day at this one tiny stall. There are others ??

Go pig out

Or better still, go cycling

Behind this bucolic scene at the Ubud Palace's lotus pond, there are 2 dozen tourists wanting a photo of pink flowers

A more private moment in someone's garden

Happy moods are the best 😉

yes, whatever works for you.....

I once did a tally of the days and nights I’ve spent in Ubud. It added up to 62. That was in 2000, so that figure is severely outdated. There’re lots more, hidden somewhere in my trip diaries, waiting to be counted.  For simplicity’s sake, I’ll just double that figure. East Bali and Amed is looking good these days. It’s peaceful, quiet and with a spider web of roads and trails waiting to be to be explored on a mountain bike. It could just be the next place to stay a while.

From a previous post on food, it’s also possible to dine in a different restaurant everyday for a month in Ubud, but we now know the good from the less good  (thankfully we were spared the bad ones)

We will leave the island soon, and with the impending departure, the mood is sombre as we have to deal with traffic, immigration and crowds at the air port.


  1. Angkana says:

    Yes, it’s true when wife is thirsty,,,, you better try hard and water won’t help 🙂 I love the photo of the 2 chicken…


  2. Alvin Lee says:

    What happens when husband is hungry?


  3. Brian Ong says:

    Nice … 🙂 Been to Bali (always head straight out to Ubud) several times but never on bikes … Hope to do it soon ..


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