Time has arrived for me to write about Ubud. After being to this sacred heaven 3 times, now its my time to pay back by writing what a life changing experience visiting Ubud is. Ubud is a town in Bali, Indonesia.
In Balinese Ubud means: Medicine. Ubud is definitely a natural medicine
Historically, the roots of Balinese village of Ubud go as far back as the 8th century. It is documented on ancient palm leaf scripts that a revered holy man from India by the name of Rsi Markaneya embarked on a spiritual journey across Java and eventually came to the island of Bali to spread the teachings of Hinduism. Since being discovered backing the 8th century, the area of Campuhan has always been highly regarded by the Balinese for its immense spiritual powers.
Since the first time I visited Ubud, I could never be the same person again. The Balinese lifestyle is a blessing and being a part of it for a while is just a beautiful journey you will always crave for. If you want to take care of yourself for a while, there are plenty of options for you. You can do all kinds of yoga, indulge yourself by eating lots of clean food, fresh fruits or drinking freshly made juices. I will write about my favourite food and yoga spots, healers and other must try activities in Ubud.
After arriving at Denpasar airport of Bali, you drive around one hour to reach Ubud. The moment you enter the town borders, fifty shades of green salute you. Then you start to see the rice fields, which serve as a feast for your eyes. If you want to see more of the rice fields, you should reserve a half-day for a paddy walk in the Sayan rice fields. The next thing that will welcome you in Ubud is the smiling Balinese people of course! Life is slow here. There is no hurry, there is no chaos and there is no greed. Residents of Ubud live the same lifestyle for centuries and carrying the culture and tradition. The winds of serenity will surrender you and you will also slow down eventually.
Once you enter the town center, it is highly probable that you will come across a Hindu ritual or ceremony. Talking about Hindu ceremonies here is a definitely to do thing: Don’t leave Ubud without watching the Wayang Kulit, a theatrical performance with puppets where you can explore a different side of Hinduism. And the other must do thing is to watch Ramayana, which is an amazing dance and acting performance.
“The Ramayana” is one of the largest ancient epics in world literature. It reflects the duties of relationships, portraying ideal characters like the ideal father, the ideal servant, the ideal brother, the ideal wife and the ideal king. The Ramayana has been an important influence on Hindu life and culture. Ubud Palace presents cultural performances every night. It was the first time I watched such a performance and I’m completely amazed. It is also a nice introduction to Hindu culture.
This photo was taken in the Ubud Blanco Museum.The Blanco museum is a place where you can play with this cutie, saver the Balinese life in motion, with a visit to the family temple or stroll through the gardens.
EAT, SLEEP, PRAY in Ubud
I stayed at a few different places in Ubud, and best two of them are Pugig Homestay and Naya Ubud. Two different budget options as well as different styles.
Pugig Homestay is just 6-7 minutes ride from Ubud center, yet you feel far from the crowd when you enter the lush atmosphere of Pugig Homestay. Zet is taking care of the accommodations. He lives at the premises and is always on hand with help and advice for the guests. You can choose between few options for your room. I stayed at a traditional Balinese style room with no windows. In my opinion this is a must try experience if you are in Ubud, you feel a part of the nature and it is a unique experience. Of course I would not recommend if you have fear of bugs! But the net on the bed is a very well protection for mosquitos and other insects. Waking up to all kinds of sounds and smells of nature is priceless!
Naya Ubud is just few kilometres away from Ubud center but you feel far enough from the crowds and traffic to enjoy the magic and essence of rural Bali.It has lush tropical gardens and surrounded by lovely rice fields. I stayed at Naya Ubud as a part of my Raw Food Chef training with Seeds of Life, and there are many other retreat options you can join. Naya offers private 3, 5 and 7 day retreats consisting of Yoga, Bali Culture and Adventure. It has a beautiful pool, yoga shala and lush tropical gardens all around. I was here during the rainy season and I also want to thank them for the beautiful clean rooms and staffs that made my sleeps comfortable and let me have beautiful tropical dreams in the rainforests.
Seeds of Life
If you are into raw food, this must be your first stop! The raw dessert babies in the front counter will invite you to a culinary journey. Their menu consists of lots of healthy juice and smoothie combinations, creative raw food options, magical herbal tea and tonic bar. Seeds of Life is also a gathering place for yogis with lots of health and environmental information available. Seeds of Life also has a yoga studio upstairs where you can join daily Ashtanga and Qi Gong sessions.
Alchemy is the house of health guru’s and expats in Bali, located in the Penestenan area. It has an amazing raw food menu, bar and epic raw desserts. If you like raw food, you will crave for Alchemy! They also grow their own vegetables and herbs organically. It is an innovative and creative team running the place. Besides food, they offer many healing therapies and sessions as well as a nice working space behind.
Soma is a great place for gatherings and vegetarian-vegan food. It is a cosy, beautiful multi-level garden cafe with organic shop and live music in the evenings. If you are a new expat in Ubud, this is the place you need to stop by and meet beautiful souls! Soma is a among locals, as much for the food as its support of local farmers and not-for-profit projects.
If you go to Pugig Homestay, ask Zet about Tjokorda Rai, a traditional Balinese healer. He is located in a rural area outside of the main centre of Ubud There are no signs so better visit him with a local. In my experience, he found all the spots that I have problems with in my body. The cost is by donation.
Ida Resi Alit is the only Balinese priestess and a walking, praying, chanting happy soul! We went to one of her healing ceremonies at her ashram about 45 minutes north of Ubud, Bali in the village she grew up in. We singed and danced for half an hour with mantras, meditate for 15 minutes and Ida found all the spots that block our spiritual being with her toothpicks! If you don’t mind the travel, visit her.
The Yoga Barn is a place for yoga, relaxing, raw and Ayurvedic food and friendly environment. There are many different yoga classes offered, as well as workshops and community events. My favourite two are Ecstatic Dance and Gong Meditation! If you drop by Yoga Barn, make sure you try those two. Let yourself into the rhythm of the DJ without any talking for two others and a big circle meditation afterwards. Gong meditation is the ultimate relaxation and self awareness through the healing sound of tibetan bowl gongs.