In my opinion, the best travel writing touches on a traveler's setbacks and difficulties; no one wants to read about blissful days spent frolicking by a pool in picturesque settings.
If you share my view, you will surely be disappointed with this post. :)
Ubud has been almost non-stop amazing. During our first night, I swam naked in our Airbnb's pool as fireworks exploded over the surrounding rice paddies to celebrate the end of Ramadan. A couple miles away, former President Obama and his family were vacationing at the $2,500 per night Four Seasons. But I would wager I was having the better time!
To recap, after leaving Vietnam and spending our first week in Bali in the Nusa Dua resort area, we headed inland to Ubud, which is known for its terraced rice paddies, yoga, and for being the setting of the Eat, Pray, Love book and movie.
Nearly a week in, we never want to leave. First, our Airbnb, shown above, has turned out to be one of the best places I've ever stayed. Nestled in the countryside outside of Ubud, it has an open-air design featuring mostly floor to ceiling windows that, when opened accordion-style, leave the home almost completely exposed to the surrounding nature. A small stream flows almost directly underneath the entrance-side while out back there is a small lap pool and spectacular, wide-angle views of the countryside. Each day, we see and hear local families farming the rice paddies and cropland that surround the property while bird-shaped kites fly overhead to scare the real birds away (this seems to have limited effectiveness). At $150 per night, the Airbnb was a splurge for us on this trip but, in short, it's almost beyond picturesque and well worth the price in our minds.
The rest of Ubud has been similarly fantastic. On our second day in Ubud, we hopped on our rental scooter in the dark around 6:15 a.m., rode ten minutes to the Yoga Barn, and joined 30 or 40 others for a fun but challenging Morning Flow class.
After yoga, we drove to Starbucks. As a sidenote, I unabashedly love Starbucks and will visit their stores wherever and whenever I can, even if that means bypassing great-looking local places (There is a reason Taylor Swift sings about "Starbucks lovers" and not "random local coffee shop lovers" -- and if what T-Swift sings about is wrong, then I don't want to be right :) ) [AUGUST 2017 UPDATE: A reader informed me that T-Swift is singing about "star-crossed lovers," not "Starbucks lovers." Nonetheless, my views on Starbucks remain unchanged. :) ]
At this particular Starbucks, we drank our coffees on a back balcony overlooking a beautiful Hindu temple (see pic below). Then we headed back to our Airbnb for a breakfast of tropical fruit, scrambled eggs, and toast. The breakfast is prepared for us daily by the housekeeper/property manager whose services are included with the Airbnb price. Each morning, in addition to cooking and cleaning, she lights incense and sets small fruit and flower offerings out throughout the home. After breakfast, we spent the rest of the day swimming (with swimming suits), taking a walk through the bordering farmland, reading our Kindles, enjoying a few Bintang beers, and otherwise enjoying a perfect day. And that was just Day 2!
Since then, it's been more of the excellent same. We've attended other yoga classes, shopped for groceries at the local stores and prepared some of our own meals, ordered takeout a few times which was excellent and delivered to our door, and spent lots of time sunning ourselves by the pool.
I've tried to come up with something negative to write about Ubud, but there is not much to say (Maybe just that we eventually have to leave!). I will say that, similar to when Nicole and I visited the Hawaiian island of Kauai, the traffic on the narrow two lane roads can get backed up and delayed. But, admittedly, the ability to follow the locals and occasionally drive our scooter on sidewalks to get around congestion makes even the traffic jams sort of fun! So that's about all the negative I've got, there's not much wrong with Ubud so far.
Like this post? Want to read more about Travis and Nicole's travel adventures? Check out Getting Over Ordering Takeout While In Ubud, Bali.
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