Ubud was horrid and nice at the same time. The “Eat, Pray, Love” book and the subsequent movie, one of the episodes of which takes place in Ubud, did the town no good. Apparently in just under two years Ubud has transformed drastically. Nowadays a typical visitor is a 30-something yoga woman with a broken heart in search of either spiritual enlightenment or a true love. The centre of Ubud is one touristic trap with myriads of shops, restaurants and spas. Add constant nagging by taxi drivers, restaurant staff and spa girls and it becomes unbearable at times.
It is very beautiful though. Everywhere you look you find the polished eye candy. Rivendell like bridges, moss clad statues, numerous picturesque temples, evergreen rice fields and a deep canyon that cuts through Ubud. In particular Monkey Forest is impressive – a piece of jungle, full of stunning architecture and cheeky monkeys ready to steal your belongings, right in the middle of the town. Once you get out of the horrid centre for a second and venture into rice fields, it gets really tranquil with almost Zen like qualities. Even hawkers out there are laid-back and fun to chat with. A coconut seller was so eager to show me to a swimming place in the river and what most amazing did not expect any money for that. A rare quality in such a place.
Ubud has left me with mixed emotions. On one hand I like to forget Ubud as a commercial nightmare, but on the other hand I would not mind to spend more time in the suburbs enjoying the slow life and beautiful scenery.