We spent four nights here. Our days were decided on a whim or over dinner the night before. They were leisurely paced and everything we saw and experienced had me feeling so happy and lighthearted. A really calm and ethereal presence seemed to take over from the moment we arrived. Sure, there are a mass of local vendors trying to sell you sarongs and other goods outside every temple you visit, it comes with the territory. Selling to you is inherent to their lifestyle, bartering with them is all part of the experience.
Downtown Ubud is full of high energy, crowded and chaotic streets with lots of motorbikes and tiny sloping sidewalks. Stepping off the street into a cozy warung, the Ubud Palace, the Campuan Ridge walk and it's easy to regain that sense of balance. The scent of incense among the daily Hindu offerings wafting through the air is calming and ever-present. You consistently feel surrounded by prayer and thankfulness, a presence so much greater enveloping you at every turn.
The rice paddies are what inspired me to come to Ubud. I had literally been seeing them in my dreams, felt them calling to me, and they did not disappoint. In fact, experiencing their life sustaining beauty and aura was even better than I could have imagined. We walked deep into the terraces and met a local family where we purchased some delicious sticky rice donuts. We also met an older caretaker - the happiest human - he was thrilled to have me play his xylophone with him and sell us some cold Bintang.
The amount of resorts and villas in Ubud is astounding. From high end luxury resorts, to affordable hotels, to enticing and even more affordable airbnbs, this was probably the most research I've ever done when deciding where to stay.
Being able to walk into town took priority for our accommodations here. We found Gora Bali on Airbnb, a lovely 2 bedroom 2 bathroom villa that provided an open air living space + one open air bathroom, separate indoor (closed off) rooms - one upstairs, one downstairs, and a lush yard with fountains abutting a quaint patio area with a private plunge pool.
Gora Bali was located down a pretty footpath path called The Sunset Line just off Jalan Bisma. Since the villa is not directly accessible by car our little neighborhood was so secluded and tranquil.
I absolutely loved it here. And I loved our second floor balcony view of the rice terrace!
We obviously did not need two bedrooms, but we found most airbnbs naturally catered to 4 or more people. There did not seem to be a lot of one bedrooms out there and a two bedroom villa was often less expensive than a hotel room.
The staff offered top notch hospitality. They were waiting at the end of the path to greet us upon our arrival from the airport, they cooked us delicious breakfast every morning and cleaned up + watered the garden every afternoon.
We walked to get coffee every morning from Kopi on Bisma directly across the street from our footpath entrance. If it's good coffee you're seeking, Kopi is a gem. (Despite our villa serving a delicious breakfast, the coffee they served was large instant grinds.)
The omelettes for breakfast were good, but the banana pancakes - actually more like a pancake-crepe hybrid with caramelized bananas were out of this world.
Next up: A look at our day to day and everywhere we ate in Ubud!