Mike and I spent the night in Ubud midway through our stay in Bali. Ubud is where the “love” happened in Eat, Pray, Love and where the movie was filmed. It is only about 50 miles from Canggu – where our villa was located – but word on the street was that traffic getting there would be terrible. So we wanted to leave early; which wasn’t a problem since we were waking up around 7am every morning.
After a quick banana bread and smoothie bowl “brekky” (as many Australian tourists call it), we were en route. As it turned out, it was the full moon ceremony that day – which meant NO traffic – and we were to Ubud in exactly a hour. I’ve always loved a full moon…
The scooter ride there was fun! I had relaxed into being on the back of the bike and tried to enjoy the scenery more. It was also a nice relief from the heat because of the breeze. In Udud we stayed at the Organic Farm Villa at the Moksha. Check in wasn’t until 3pm or 4pm but we arrived around 11am. I thought we would just leave our stuff at the front desk and go explore the city but they surprised us and said our room would be ready in half hour.
While we were waiting by the pool, someone brought us out some sort of basil drink (we dubbed it the Basil Refresher) that I believe was just basil and ice blended together with maybe some honey and lime? Delicious! I’ll have to work on recreating it now that it is warmer in California.
Once we were unpacked, we hit the streets of Ubud. We quickly realized Ubud is where the shopping is at. There were so many stores with so many cute things! It was actually a little overwhelming… If you’re going to Bali and plan on shopping, I would do some research before or, if you’re anything like me, you’ll abandon ship pretty quickly. I didn’t do much shopping but, out of necessity, I bought a few shorts (and, full disclosure, a dress, a romper, a purse, and a shirt) because it was so damn hot there and I had regrettably packed a long, flow-y dress for the next day. I’m not kidding, this California summer dress is a winter Bali dress. You DO NOT need layers in Bali, people!
Our first stop was for lunch at an open and expansive restaurant. I was a bit dubious of how empty it was. The food was just okay and we probably should have explored a little more before picking one of the first places we saw.
After lunch we continued down Jl. Monkey Forest, the main street in Ubud. The sidewalk had some major wear and tear so you had to pay attention to where you were walking or you could fall into one of the
As we walked, we popped in for gelato. We stocked up on more bottled water and sunscreen at a connivence store. We browsed stored and bargained when we bought anything. Eventually, the allure of a cafe mister drew us in for mojitos and a side of French fries.
After a lot of walking, we opted to go chill by the pool instead of visiting the Tegalalang Rice Terrace, like we originally planned. Although while we were swimming, we started to regret the decision.
Don’t get me wrong, the pool was nice (especially in the heat!) but part of the reason we came to Ubud was to see these epic rice fields everyone kept talking about. We had a cooking class scheduled for the next morning at 9:30am but, not wanting to miss out, made a last minute plan to visit the rice fields before.
The following morning we woke up before the sun and took our scooter to the Tegalalang Rice Terrace. The ride there was cool and traffic free. We read online that the field opened at 7am and that it is a nice place to have a coffee.
We arrived at 7am sharp, planning to have a coffee, but none of the cafes were open. (Later I learned this is classic Bali style.) Oh, well, we thought as we trucked down the steps hidden within the cafe paths. You can see Tegalalang from the road but nothing prepares you for it’s beauty until you get down those cafe steps.
Our time spent walking through the rice field was was probably my single favorite hour in Bali. I can only describe it as a dream. It’s so gorgeous, it almost doesn’t seem real. I felt like I had fallen asleep and was magically transported to this lush, green oasis. I was practically euphoric. The delicate blades were about knee high and still had dew on them. Mike and I giddily walked down into the belly of the terrace and then up to the other side, in awe the whole time.
The scenery was breathtaking and a romantic place to be with your love. Especially because – aside from a man in a speedo, chopping away at some of the blades (assuming he lived or worked there) and a man jogging up and down the fields (talk about a scenic run!) – we were happily the only visitors there.
Putting off going to the rice terrance until the morning turned out to be the best decision because it wasn’t scorching hot yet. There isn’t really shade and you’ll want to walk around. I definitely recommend hitting this gem up in the early hours!
We made it back in time for a quick but indulgent breakfast on our patio.
Next on the agenda was our cooking class at Casa Luna. My former dance teacher, Sarah (founder of Bali Body Pilates), recommended taking a cooking class here and I jumped at the opportunity. We went on Wednesday so the menu included:
- Balinese chicken satay
- Beans in coconut milk
- Corn fritters
- Fragrant yellow rice
The class was great; it was interactive and informative. Our instructor was friendly, funny, and knowledgable (pretty much everything you want in a teacher!). The food was, of course, NOM. Although we used shrimp paste, which I wasn’t the biggest fan of but Mike didn’t mind. They also served a refreshing homemade hibiscus iced tea, made in house with nothing but hibiscus flowers and lime. #allaboutit
The cooking class lasted the majority of the day but we made a point to quickly stop by Monkey Forest (self explanatory!) before leaving. We were probably the worst visitors though, deciding that the monkeys were actually frightening.
You could buy bananas to give to the monkeys (which we did) but they get aggressive when they see you with one. Instead of letting them crawl up us, Mike and I developed a tactic of just chucking the banana away from us (mine usually paired with a squeal, let’s be real). Anything to keep the monkeys away! 🙈
We scooted home after and luckily, again, arrived back in about one hour. It was nice to get away for a mini adventure but I was happy to see Mike’s family again. We joined them for happy hour on the beach and, over Mai Tais and bottles of Bintang, told them about our Ubud adventures.
Check back for a final recap of our last days on paradise island, coming soon!