Pura Taman Saraswati

So anyways, after lunch (Bali Asli) while hubby was wandering, I got talking to this girl at the table beside us.

She was one of those long stemmed, blonde and tanned gazelle like creatures that Southern California seem to specialise in- if you can believe the movies. She mentioned that she had come up for the day from Candidasa, but had spent the previous 3 months in Ubud. She was returning briefly before flying back to the States in another couple of months.

On previous Bali trips we’d done day visits to Ubud, but this time had spent a few nights there before heading down to Legian. I loved it and had said a few times that I could stay indefinitely without a lot of trouble.

‘But what would you do?’ he’d asked.

‘Write, mostly, I imagine. Wander. I’d do a lot of wandering. I wouldn’t mind doing some yoga. I reckon I’d get into it if I did it up here.’

He was sceptical.

So now I asked the girl, ‘what do you do up there?’

She looked at me with some confusion in her face. ‘I don’t know what you mean.’

‘It’s just that the Eat Pray Love lady spent a few months up there, I see posts from fellow astrologers (also mostly American) who spend months at a time up there, but no one actually says what they do. So, what do you do?’

‘Oh.’ She had to think about it. ‘I’m not sure. I wander, I’m inspired, I do yoga. I’ve done some art classes, I’ve joined a group of amazing women who are all about empowering the feminine in a masculine world.’

At this point, my husband came back. She pretended he hadn’t- perhaps she didn’t notice him…although at 6”1’ that would be difficult. He later suggested that it was, perhaps, part of the empowerment process.

Then she told me about the Mayan Astrology she’d been doing and the breath work classes that were so amazing that she woke the next morning and, at the age of 28, knew for the first time that she was a woman.

‘You’d love it,’ she said. ‘It will free you from the bondage of masculine tyranny,’ she said, looking at my husband for the first time. ‘My boyfriend will be in for some changes when I get back to San Francisco,’ she said.

Later, in the car, hubby commented, ‘Man, is her boyfriend going to be in for a surprise when she gets home! Do you still want to drop out up there for a bit?’

Yes. I do.


It’s a place of healing, regeneration and transformation. I used it as such in the book I’m in the process of self publishing- my heroine is there for that purpose.

Last night, as we were cooking dinner, hubby mentioned it. ‘You know, I didn’t appreciate it as much when we were there, but those few days in Ubud weren’t long enough.’

So now, a few months down the track, here are a few of the reasons why:

Warung Ibu Oka


Apparently you can get better babi guling- roast suckling pig- but the popularity of this place has absolutely not damaged the product.


A plate of roast pork, with rice on the side, will have you closing your eyes at the first bite to inhale the taste of the island.

The Warung is tucked away in Jalan Suweta, down a few side streets opposite the palace- follow the signs, and your nose.


The Emporium at Casa Luna

Jalan Raya Ubud


An amazing range of Balinese style homewares. I want my whole house to feel like this.


Have a browse and then duck upstairs to Casa Luna for a blissfully good coffee…or lunch…or come back for dinner…or a cooking class.

Pura Taman Saraswati


Ubud Water Palace, Jalan Raya Ubud


The pics can do the talking. Oh, there’s a cafe here too- Cafe Lotus…of course.




Ubud Palace


Cnr Jalan Raya Ubud and Jalan Suweta

According to the Lonely Planet Guide, the local royal family still live here.


The day we visited was a few days before a major festival and people were busy putting together these long bamboo woven streamers whose name escapes me.


Anyway, the compound is interesting to wander around.


Ubud Markets


I’ve posted this before- here and here.

Needless to say- well worth a visit.

Monkey Forest

Ok, this is a dubious one to include.

The first time I visited Ubud, back in 2011, I got bitten by a monkey- this one, in fact. I wrote about it on my astro blog, here and here.


Although my friend and I made light of it at the time, rabies is a serious issue in Indonesia, so the mishap resulted in a visit to the International Hospital for vaccinations and a series if immunisations when I got home. The thing is, it was a mishap. Like or loathe them- and I’m still in the like camp- Money Forest is worth visiting for the Indiana Jones style structures.

The Ricefields

As long as I live, I won’t forget the image of the first firefly we watched zipping through the stalks on a calm evening at Wapa Di Ume. You don’t need to walk far to see it…


Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

5 thoughts

  1. I love Ubud and would love to spend time there. I did the AWC Writing the Senses course there a couple of years ago and the place is perfect for wandering, thinking, writing and just being. Casa Luna & Cafe Lotus are a must to visit. Note to self – must make time for a visit soon 🙂

  2. It all looks stunning. I’m not sure if I’d choose ‘there’ but like the idea of just ‘being’ somewhere and not having other commitments. Conversely I worry that too much navel-gazing time could be problematic given my level of introspection and self-analysis!!!!

    (I’d over-think my life to death!)

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