Getting to Know Ubud

I loved Ubud so much that I decided to come back after my trip to Australia. I felt there was unfinished business for me here. I love the pace, the food is cheap and utterly delicious, the locals are sweet and the foreigners are unconventional. It has been interesting to see how I have perceived Ubud this second time round. First time so much time was spent just walking around and exploring, discovering new yoga studios, cafes, restaurants and massage salons. Second time I was able to notice the details.

Walking around Ubud it is impossible not to notice that many tourist shops have souvenirs like key rings and bottle openers in the shape of a wooden penis. I laughed a little about this and imagined an ancient story filled with magic. I believe that one has been created for the tourist’s benefit, however reality is more prosaic, some eagle eyed vendor thought this would sell, made one and everyone else followed suit. No mystical story attached to this.

The Balinese that are in the service industry are not very good at maths. It is comical to pay for lunch that comes to 95 with a 100 note and watch them dutifully deduct the change with a calculator. And yes it is kind of funny too that lunch is just a fiver. Service and taxes in restaurants is a bit of a mystery and you arbitrarily get charged 10%, 15% or 20%.

Ubud Palace

Door Detail at Ubud Palace

A few times in my travels I have met people that shared my enthusiasm about Bali and would mention that they even owned a place in Ubud. They would become super friendly when they found out I was planning to stay in Bali for an extended period. It was great to feel that almost like a lost friend we would be united by a common interest, emails, texts or meetings for dinner would ensue. At some point they would ask would I be interested in renting their place. Each time, once I explained that I was already set up for accommodation they would disappear never to be seen or heard of again. People, really, it is kind of obvious…



There is a fair number of expats living in Ubud. It is the kind of place that hooks you. A lot of people have the same story, came here for a holiday, loved it and stayed. Everyone is very relaxed and it is refreshing to be able to open up and express anything, nobody will bat an eyelid. It is all part of getting to know yourself and this is the place to be if you want to achieve personal growth. All types of courses and therapies. I myself have tried a few, all I can say is that it can’t do any harm to try something different. Only one of the expats I have met here charges what one might consider local prices. What most charge, while not quite on the par to Europe, is expensive nevertheless. A handful charge what in London would considered exorbitant. It makes me laugh. They talk the talk, gratitude, tolerance, accepting the positive and renouncing the negative, being kind to others…it seems that achieving inner peace and enlightenment is all well and good, but as Liza Minelli sang, even in Ubud, money makes the world go around




1 thought on “Getting to Know Ubud

  1. I was thinking of your first visit to Ubud, Bali when I was looking through a travel magazine featuring Ubud as one of the best holiday spots….nice that you had the chance to return and revisit your favorite spots and indulgences…

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