Ubud, Bali

A trip to Ubud was at the very top of our Bali checklist.

When I asked Instagram for hints and tips of where we should go, almost everyone suggested it!

Ubud is a town in central Bali that sits surrounded by smaller villages and rice paddies. It became well known in the 1960s as a haven for artists from around the world and is now hailed by many as the cultural centre of Indonesia.

We started the day with a hearty breakfast at home in Hu’u villas.



This was another special deal organised through Luxe Nomad, although it was our least favourite of anywhere we visited in Bali.

The staff were exceptionally rude, which seemed to be out of sync with the majority of the island. The area around the villas was undergoing extensive building work, so the dirt and noise wafted into the bedrooms constantly. The stench of open sewer between the beach and the villas was more than any of us could cope with in the heat of the day…

BUT if you’re in Bali to party then it’s in one hell of a position. Attached to its own nightclub and sandwiched between the rest of Seminyak, I can see that it would be some travellers’ dream spot!

Personally, I think that LuxeNomad have some much, much nicer villas in Bali (and I can’t wait to show you around our final home. I don’t think I’ve ever slept anywhere more beautiful!)

And to be perfectly honest, they made a mean fryup… so things could have been worse!



Full and ready to get out of there, we wound our way through the busy streets to Ubud.

We’d hired a driver for the duration of the trip (it costs about $20 a day and is well worth doing), so he promised to take us to the best places along the way.

Starting with an enormous warehouse stuffed with paintings, clothes, I heart Bali tshirts and flip flops.

While Bella and Tania raced through the aisles, Valentina and I roamed the gardens.

A beautifully ornate, manicured jungle, hidden away out back.



Away from the thick, heavy heat we relished the dappled shade and tumbling fountains.



Melissa Odebash cotton dress // Liberty tote

Dune loafers // Jimmy sunnies









With the sweet smell of frangipani blossom hanging in the air, we chatted to the local women as they made their offerings.



Before catching up with the girls inside and trying to shepherd them towards the checkout!

Which of course made no difference whatsoever.



Eventually we shooed everyone out and set off along the road… but we didn’t get terribly far before stopping again.

The route into Ubud is littered with stalls and workshops selling their wares.

We stopped at a particularly colourful shack where a gent was selling his hand painted kites.



Butterflies, pirate ships, eagles, dragons and even flying frogs adorned the walls.



All dreamt up in Kutut’s studio.












I bought a few to take home as gifts and Bella stocked up on owls.

Bella LOVES owls.

She’s a hoot!



Later we paid a visit to Batuan temple in Batuan Village.








The entrance to the temple is known at a “split gate” and is designed to look as though it was one tower, that was pulled apart to become a door.



A theatrical theme that continues throughout the red and black temple. Flags, parasols and decorations flutter in the warm breeze. Music fills the space and chimes resonate down into your toes.



Parts of the intricately carved, stone temple date back to the 11th century.











We visited towards the end of a 10 day ceremony.

At the start of the celebrations this flamboyant headdress was made as an offering.



As you get closer you realise it’s actually a pigs head.

Carefully surrounded by slices of cut pork, eggs and other goodies.





As you can imagine, after a week in the sun, it smelled pretty exceptional!

Other offerings dotted around the temple included pies, mangos, apples, bananas, bread, rice and muffins.

All of God’s favourite snacks.



Every single inch of the temple is decorated, carved, gilded or bedazzled.





The local women dress in stunning white lace, with bright silk ties and coloured sarongs.

Only holy men are permitted to wear all white.



If you plan on visiting temples in Bali, you’ll need to take a sarong to wrap around your hips. Or the temple guards will give you a spare.



They insist there’s no need to cover your head or arms, which is a small mercy in the intense mid-day heat!

We took our sweet time in the temple and lapped up the calming atmosphere.







Outside there are tiny shops cared for by some of the friendliest women you’ll ever meet!



Stop in for some fresh mango and cold coconuts. Even the satay’s pretty good!





And there’s always someone who’s happy to share.



Further along the road we visited carpenters in their workshops.

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Chiseling away at stunning pieces of religious art…



…and a few that weren’t quite so high brow.

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We stopped in for lunch at Bebek Tepi Sawah.

Popular with locals and tourists alike, there’s really only one thing you should order here.

The duck!

They’re famous for it.

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We all tucked in hungrily as Balinese dancers twirled and jingled around us.



Finally, we made a beeline for The Sacred Monkey Forrest.

A stunning and holy sanctuary for wild monkeys, and those wishing to visit the temple to worship.

I have never seen anywhere quite like it.

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I could happily have kidnapped this little chap, but mum had her eye on me!




“C’mon kid, we’re off!”



I could have spent days at this temple.

The sheer number of sculptures, carvings and tiny details is flabergasting. There’s no way you could possibly take it all in during just one afternoon.



I would love to go back with a guide who could teach us about the religious experience.

^ That sculpture on the right? Who is that? What does it represent?

There’s so much to see and so little information to be found, so we just gave in and monkeyed around!

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^ This guy was particularly enjoying a tube of coconut lipgloss.

Boys at school used to eat my lipgloss. The resemblance is uncanny.



The cages you see in the background aren’t for the monkeys. They’re for food.

Which (much like me) they just can’t get enough of!

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Swedish girls, however?



Significantly less interesting.

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If you’re feeling adventurous you can crawl further into the forrest and deeper into the valley.



But watch out for dragons.

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As the sun started to dip lower in the sky, we begrudgingly left the temple.

The rest of our time was spent bargaining in Ubud’s markets for things we absolutely did not need.



You know; sarongs, fans, hats, art, silks, jewellery, and the rest!

Please tell me you’re as much of a sucker when it comes to markets on holiday?

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