After a 90 minute shuttle bus ride from Kuta we arrive in Ubud, a town only 35 kilometres away from Kuta but with an entirely different vibe. Ubud is a place to relax with nature, take a yoga or bead working class, and check out the many surrounding temples. Here you can witness true Balinese culture, with traditional dance performances on each evening, rice paddies just off the main streets, and temples on every street corner.
Ubud is the home of art and culture in Bali, so its no surprise that Ubud has a dozen or so museums and art galleries to house the works. Local merchants line the main street with paintings, handmade silver jewellery, wood carvings and glass works. The shops here are more upscale than Kuta with tasteful clothing designs and store owners who let you browse in peace. But if you are looking to bargain hard on typical tourist merchandise, look no further than the giant two story market place just one block off the main street. With hundreds of stalls selling everything from sarongs, dresses, to key chains and spices, it’s hard to leave here empty handed.
The restaurant scene here is a definite step up from Kuta with each going out of their way to create a distinct ambiance and setting. Many will have you sitting cross legged in your own private booth, as you sip on fresh juice overlooking the rice paddies.
The biggest tourist attraction just a few minutes’ walk south of the center of town is the Monkey Forest Temple. It feels like stepping into the movie “Congo” as you enter the moss covered temple surrounded by thick jungle and hear the monkey calls overhead. Most of the monkey action occurs in the center of the temple where the monkeys are only too happy to be fed, steal your glasses, and climb all over you. When they’re not doing that they are quite amusing to watch as they chase each other around, swing on the vines, and try to hump one another.
You can buy bananas to feed the monkeys from the temple, just keep in mind that they are wild animals and will defend themselves if they feel threatened. If you are travelling with children it would be best to keep them at arm’s length to prevent a friendly pet from turning into a nasty bite.