Ubud is now famously known for Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love" that was turned into a motion picture staring Julia Roberts. Prior to that, Kirstin had spent some time here before starting law school and said it was a "must-do". I couldn't agree with her fast enough.
Ubud was not only a city I was looking forward to, but our villa rental was the #1 accommodation I was excited about. About 8 months ago I had booked us a five night stay in Villa Agung Khalia set amongst the rice patties a few minutes out of town. The villa rental came with a chef and a driver who would take us into town almost any time we wanted at no additional charge. The six of us arrived after the long boat ride and shuttle from the dock, and were welcomed warmly by the staff. I wasn't expecting there to be so many people who worked there, but they all did an amazing job. The villa had 3 bedrooms so Kirstin and I took the upstairs and Jesse and Lauren took the downstairs. The views from all the windows were amazing.
Our first night there Kirstin and I ate dinner at the villa and then headed out to town and saw some live music.
By the time we reached the restaurant/bar where live music was playing, my stomach really started to bother me. We called the driver and headed back to the villa. Thankfully, each room had their own bathroom. Normally I wouldn't mind sharing but the night we arrived my stomach ache was ten times worse then earlier and I was very very grateful to have my own bathroom at 3am. Still unsure if it was something I ate or something else. Unfortunately this caused me to be out of commission for two days while in Ubud. I attempted to go into town a few times but always needed to return to the villa early.
The chef had heard that I was sick and proactively brought me this chicken soup/porridge. He told me that his mom used to make it for him whenever he got sick so now he made it for me to feel better as well. In case I didn't absolutely love the staff at the villa before, I was now smitten.
Once I started to get better I ventured out with everyone and we went to an organic farm restaurant I had read a lot about. We had to walk about twenty minutes through the rice patties in order to get to it. We passed lots of locals on the way. Women carrying stuff on their heads never gets old.
After spending the afternoon shopping in town Kirstin and I wandered into the monkey forest for about ten minutes before we needed to meet the driver to head back to the villa. We had gone in through a side entrance and figured it wasn't a big deal. Turns out it was since we didn't pay the $2 entrance fee and had security escort us to the exit. At least Kirstin got these photos on our way out!
Kirstin and I also took a cooking class with the head chef at the villa. While it wasn't professional like our cooking class in Chiang Mai, it was still nice because the chef tailored it to whatever we wanted to cook and we did it all in our villa kitchen. We ended up making Nasi Goren a traditional fried rice dish, chicken sate with peanut sauce, crispy duck, and banana fritters and black rice pudding for dessert! Everything came out so delicious and fresh!
On our last full day us ladies went for a full spa day. I had read on trip advisor about this little day spa a little out of town that turned out to be great fun for all of us. Kirstin and I even indulged in a facial as part of our treatment where they covered our faces entirely with cucumbers! We look like scary mummies and had to get a photo.
Ubud was absolutely amazing! There were so many antique shops and hand carved wood places. Kirstin even took a half day trip out of town and bought an antique hand carved wooden door that she's having shipped to America and turned into a dining room table for a fraction of what a dining room table at pottery barn would cost! Once I have a house, Bali and especially Ubud is a spot to go to get amazing unique furniture. Doesn't hurt that the surroundings are beautiful as well :)
As we part ways with Jesse and Lauren, we are off to Singapore and are four out of six weeks into our adventure! Stay tuned.