After four days in Seminyak, we headed to Ubud. We arranged transportation through our hotel. The ride was not as cheap as advertised in some travel blogs. The extra cost may have been due to a family of four with quite a bit of luggage, but it still only cost about $25 for the 90 minute ride.
Before arriving, we researched a ton of villas in Ubud. We wanted to be closer to town. Like most places, the further from the city center, the cheaper the accommodation. However, most places further away offered regular transport to the city center. We would have preferred the flexibility to come and go when we pleased. In the end, we booked a villa within a resort near town, which is a bit unusual for Ubud.
We knew we had luxurious accommodations the second we arrived. The resort had a secured entrance. Once our luggage was unloaded, we were greeted with drinks and a blessing ceremony.
It was only a short wait for our villa. We were directed to a restaurant and were again treated to drinks and a rice pudding-like treat. The grounds were lovely and we were able to check out more of the property while cruising on a golf cart ride to our villa.
Our villa was gorgeous. It was a different set up than most we had seen. The kids had their own room in a separate building. They didn’t like it too much as the beds were too close together. The large, private pool was between both rooms. The refrigerator and table were outside. Our shower was also outside, just off our bathroom. This was our paradise for the next six days.
Breakfast was included. It was a lovely buffet, but often crowded. On one occasion we saw the geese heading out for a walk.
We took the free shuttle into town on our first full day. We didn’t have anything planned other than getting a ‘lay of the land’ and finding a cheap lunch, Downtown Ubud was crowded, but manageable. It was not as chaotic as Seminyak. There were sidewalks on each side of the streets.. We walked around, checked out the bridges and a few temples.
On the second day we arranged for everyone to have a spa day. Yes, even Liam was went along with it. We found a local woman named Murni (Tamarind Spa) with an excellent reputation. Over the years she has become more popular and has built up her property to include guest rooms and a pool. We all received body massages, salt scrubs, a bath with tea and fruit and a facial. It was heaven!
Our first proper excursion was to the Monkey Forest. We were able to walk there from town. This was an interesting spot as you can just walk around and observe the monkeys everywhere. We were warned not to tease, feed or stare at the monkeys. They would come up and take your water bottle if taunted. Some tourists couldn’t help themselves. They seemed to enjoy messing around with the water bottles and they let the monkeys crawl all over them. None of us were keen on this. There were also local staff members walking around. Some set up photoshoots for interested tourists.
There were many excursions available just outside of Ubud. The family wasn’t too interested in spending more time traveling around Bali in a car. In fact, the kids weren’t interested in doing much at all. I usually feel the need to go and explore, so I set out to find the Campuhan Ridge trail on my own. Plenty of folks have blogged about this hike so I had no trouble finding it. It was about 6 kilometers round trip. I really enjoyed taking my time and capturing all sorts of images along the way. I did get to see one brave girl enjoying the cliff swing experience.
On one of our lasts nights, there was an Indonesian holiday. During the day, we participated in a celebration that was not well-planned. We thought we would be entertained with music and dancing. We quickly discovered, we were the entertainment. That did not go over well, but we got through it.
Later that evening, Maeve and I went to downtown Ubud for dinner. We tried to get the shuttle back to the resort. We had poor timing as part of the holiday celebration included a parade….mostly local folks walking in the streets. What should have been a five minute return took over 30 minutes of winding roads in a van full of other guests in the same situation. Everyone was packed in and Maeve and I had to sit on the floor. Needless to say, by the time we got back Maeve was sick and I was at my wit’s end. I just wish someone had warned us and we would have avoided that whole situation.
Aside from that last experience, we had a very relaxing and enjoyable visit to Ubud. Our resort was lovely and it afforded us the freedom to walk around some rice paddies, eat some delicious Indonesian dishes and enjoy the privacy of our own villa and pool whenever we wanted. This was the perfect arrangement for a family on the move.