Monday, May 4, 2009


I just got back from Bali – sometimes known as “Island of the Gods” and the “Last Paradise on Earth” and “Island of a Thousand Temples” – very apt descriptors of this beautiful island with its natural beauty, colourful Hindu festivals and warm and friendly people. My parents were keen to visit there after I’d shown them photos of my last trip there in June 2008. We had a great flight (6 hours from Sydney) as the plane was half empty. I had a whole row of 4 seats to myself! We arrived at about 9:00pm local time and had a driver waiting for us to take us to Ubud, about an hour’s drive away. Ubud is by far my favourite town in Bali.

Ubud is located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills in the Gianyar region. One of Bali's major arts and culture centres, it has developed a large tourism industry. Tourism has a focus on culture, the arts, yoga and nature. In contrast to the main tourist area in southern Bali, the Ubud area has forests, rivers, cooler temperatures and less congestion (although traffic is on the increase!) A number of smaller "boutique"-style hotels are located in and around Ubud, which commonly offer spa treatments by the foothills or treks up Ubud's mountains.

Ubud has a population of about 8,000 people, but it is becoming difficult to distinguish the town itself from the villages that once surrounded it. The main street is Jalan Raya Ubud (JL Raya means main road), which runs east-west through the centre of town. Two long roads, JL Monkey Forest and JL Hanoman, extend south from JL Raya Ubud. Puri Saren Agung is a large palace located at the intersection of Monkey Forest and Raya Ubud roads.

JL Raya Ubud . . . .main street of Ubud

The main crossroads in front of the Puri Saren palace is the navel of Ubud - its cultural and historical focal point. The main street is lined with restaurants, hotels, shops and galleries, stretching all the way from the T-junction at the eastern end of Ubud to the Tjampuhan Bridge in the west. Small lanes lined with home stays, warungs and Balinese compounds extend north and south from the main road. We stayed at Hotel Tjampuhan and Spa for 6 nights. It is located just across the Tjampuhan Bridge in a magnificent location overlooking a steep ravine and canyon below, here two sacred rivers meet. This classic hotel has been legendary since 1928. As the first hotel in the artist colony of Ubud, this royal guest house graciously hosted celebrities and foreign painters such as Walter Spies.



We also stayed a Honeymoon Guesthouse for 5 nights. It is located in JL Bisma which runs off JL Raya Ubud and parallel to JL Monkey Forest. It’s set amongst the rice paddies and only a short stroll to the town centre.

Highlights include:

# great walks

There are many interesting walks around Ubud and one easy self-guided walk starts at the suspension bridge on Jl Raya Ubud, opposite Murni’s Warung, at the Gunung Lebah Temple. It is easy to find the trail, which starts, at the back of the temple. Simply follow it uphill. You will end up at Klub Kokos, which is owned by local Ubud artist, Krishna and his Australian wife, Cathy. A great spot for lunch overlooking the rice fields and Mount Agung. Continue on to the village of Bangkiangsidem and through to Payogan Village where you can catch a ride on a bemo back to town. A 2 hour walk at easy pace.

# food and restaurants
Ibu Rai Restaurant

Indus Restaurant

With its mouthwatering menu, eclectic gallery and breathtaking views of the Tjampuhan River, it's easy to see why Indus has been an Ubud favourite for nearly 10 years. Indus Restaurant, a five minute drive from the centre of Ubud, overlooks the Tjampuhan River and enjoys breathtaking views of the surrounding hills. On a clear day, you can see mighty Gunung Agung, in the east, and on a full-moon, there is a spectacular view from the terrace. There is a free shuttle service between Indus, Casa Luna and the Honeymoon Guesthouses.

# shopping and markets

# rice terraces

# swimming pools

# massages
This photo was taken at Tjampuhan Spa - a great setting for a spa but a bit pricey (for Ubud). We went to Jelatik Spa for wonderful massages and the unmissable hair cream baths! Very cheap and absolutely blissful!!!

# jewellery
Balinese jewellery is unique, and Celuk is the home of much of it. Nearly every family in Celuk is involved in some aspects of the delicate silver work, which has become very famous over the years. This is a ring I bought in Celuk village.

Earrings bought in Ubud

# tropical flowers

# village life

# breakfasts

# temples and offerings

# architecture

# beautiful friendly smiling faces

# silversmithing course
jewellery making at Studio Perak. I made these earrings!

# art - paintings, silver jewellery, wood and stone carvings
# Monkey Forest
Monkey Forest is a sacred nature reserve located near the southern end of Jl. Monkey Forest. It houses a temple and over 200 long-tailed macaque (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys.


  1. Hello Sue...

    What a wonderful blog... it is certainly one of the best I've read and I read many due to the google alerts for Janet & Ketut's businesses.

    I also love Cocker Spaniels & Springer Spaniels! I love Chanel No. 5 - the body cream but - sob sob - I am just out!

    Not sure about renovating though... Casa Luna hopefully will be re opened in 2 more weeks... Ketut suggested it would be a 3 week job... that was the 27th February!

    & btw... fyi... the 3 little kittens are now safe and will be adopted out by staff & friends of Honeymoon Guesthouse when they are older.

    We look forward to seeing you & your family in Ubud again soon.

  2. sorry... that went too soon... this was from
    elizabeth - Janet's PA.

  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    Thank you so much for your comments! I just love Ubud. I've been to Bali 4 times now and for the last 2 visits have stayed there. I think it's going to be my yearly holiday destination each year. In fact, a work colleague and friend, of mine is going (on my recommendation) in July and staying at Honeymoon Guesthouse. She can hardly wait. She hasn't been to Bali before so I'm sure she'll love it!

    I was disappointed that Casa Luna was closed as I ate there several times when I was in Ubud last June. Luckily, Indus is still alive and kicking!

    Glad to hear that the kittens are well. They're certainly well fed!!!! Lucky to have you! My cocker spaniel is gorgeous too. His name is Dudley and he's very cute (even though he's a bit on the dumb side!! Did I say that?)

    Enjoy Ubud!


  4. Great post about Ubud Sue! Loved the photos. I am keen to check out the places you mentioned - Indus in particular looked stunning!!!! So where was the photo of the string bikini??!!

  5. Beautiful photos Susie, you all looked so relaxed. Did you get some of those great Balinese spunky monkey!

  6. Thnaks for sharing this awesome photos. I am surely going to visit as soon as it is one of the beautiful place in earth. I like very much painting, architecture, temple, smiley face and all this photos. Bali is very beautiful place, Don't miss the jungle safaris, forest lands, waterfalls, innate springs, beaches. For more details refer Bali Indonesia