U is for…

I’ve taken on the challenge of an A-Z during April – one post each day on a chosen theme. My theme? Books and writing, of course…

U is for Ubud

Ubud is less a place than a state of mind.

Not that you’d know that if you’ve just come in on a day trip, landed at the market, had a look around the palace and wandered down Monkey Forest Road. The main street of Ubud feels just like any main street in Bali – chaotic.

Of course, if you’re after transport or an armful of cruisey beach dresses, sarongs and Bintang t-shirts…or perhaps even the ubiquitous wooden penis bottle opener, in the centre of town is where you want to be.

Walk a little away from the Palace, though, and things feel different- quieter. Venture up a side street and it’s different again.

It’s in these side streets that you find local designers and jewellers, galleries, homewares, jam makers, soap makers, organic food, spas, get your chakras cleaned…the list goes on.

Take a wander, peer up that alley, through that gate. When it all gets too hot and melty, there’ll be somewhere to sit and have a coconut, a healthy juice or a beer. When you get hungry, you’re spoilt for choice. There are so many little places that you enter from an alley or a tiny door that open up into a working rice paddy.

We took a stroll through the back streets one morning and ended up in the rice fields where the only noise was trickling water, ducks, and the occasional gamelan. Paradise found.

It can all be a little Eat Pray Love…but I like that – so much that so far I’ve partially set two books there. In Baby, It’s You, Em escapes to Ubud and…well, that would be telling.

These days if we go to Bali we split our time between Ubud and the coast – but it’s Ubud that we miss when we leave. It’s where we exhale.

If you want to see more about Ubud – where to go, what to eat, check out these posts on my old and anyways site