Sometimes I make good decisions. So I decided that it would be sufficient to spend only one night in Ubud in Bali, Indonesia. I came here to see the famous Legong dance and it really was sensational! But the rest is kind of negligible here, unless you take a yoga class or urgently need to get a souvenir.
During the Legong dance show in the inner courtyard of the Ancak Saji Ubud palace I did not take any pictures on purpose in order to enjoy the performance. In low light it is difficult anyway. Here is a video of the dance show in the above-mentioned palace – not my own – so that you can get a better idea. The most fascinating thing for me was that the movement of the eyes is also part of the choreography of the dance.
The dance takes place every day at 19:30, the entrance fee costs about 8 USD and tickets can be bought just opposite at the tourist information. To get a good spot you have to get there an hour in advance. The tourist information centre also carries a list with other locations where Legong dances are performed.
If you interested in yoga, Ubud is a good place to be. Ubud is also a paradise for nutrition conscious people. Rarely ever before have I seen menus where one can choose between organic, vegetarian, vegan and a few other options. Thus I used this opportunity to eat something vegan, so that I can now tick the box for this experience as well.
There are countless good and cheap restaurants, where one can eat local or western food to one’s heart’s delight, in Ubud. In countless galleries and boutiques one can buy those typical Asian souvenirs to take home.
But that’s about all there is.
Amazing café right next to the rice paddy
At the Ancak Saji Ubud palace, the former palace of Ubud’s royal family, I tried to play a game, which I lost pitifully, unfortunately. The game was called “taking a picture of something at the palace without having a Chinese tourist standing in the picture”.
When you stand one metre in front of an object it works every now and then.
After travelling Java for three and a half weeks I had arrived again in the world of mass tourism and suffered some kind of culture shock. I can only recall one other occasion where I felt similarly. That was when, after travelling China for four and a half months, I arrived in Luang Prabang in Laos. 🙂
And then, typical for a place with a lot of tourism in Asia, there is a travel agency in every fifth to tenth house, all of them selling the same tours at the same price as the ones before and after them.
Main tourist street in the direction of the monkey park
The tours focus on the viewing of palaces in the surrounding area, rice terraces, botanical gardens, lakes, batik factories, silver and goldsmiths and are certainly a good option, if you don’t want to explore Bali as an independent traveller on a rented motorcycle or in a car.
You should not miss out on the following historical attractions near Ubud: Goa Gajah (elephant cave), Pura Kehen (temple), Gunung Kawi (poet mountain) and Tirta Empul (temple)
On Jalan Wenara Wana, in the very south, is the monkey park (Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary) where you’ll see a whole lot of animals that are not afraid of getting close to humans and like to grab things as well. So be careful with your camera!
But god forbid one of the monkeys dares to leave the park’s zone or crosses the road. By beating it with sticks the locals are going to drive it back into the park zone immediately. Business must not be interrupted, after all.
There are a lot of beautiful attractions near Ubud. If you appreciate the peace and quiet and don’t want to feel like you are spending the night in a mass tourist processing centre, then book your stay far away from Ubud’s centre.
If you are prepared to spend 600 USD or more for a night or are on your honeymoon, you can, for example, check into the gorgeous Ubud Hanging Gardens Hotel.
For your travel planning
The most comfortable way to get to Ubud is by shared minivan or car. Every hotel in Bali can make those arrangements for you. The more adventurous among you can also take the Bemo, the minibus for the locals. But that can take quite a bit more time. The best time to do this is when you are arriving in Denpasar by bus. You can change to the Bemo there.
When is the best travel time?
The dry season in Bali, Indonesia lasts from May until September.
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