I went to Ubud to rest. I’d already visited a few places in Bali, including trashy Kuta and boring Sanur beach. I didn’t like either place and had disregarded Bali as somewhere that was too touristy and not that great – I’d seen better beaches in Gili Trangawan and parts of Thailand.
There was one place in Bali I really wanted to visit, but I was really on the fence about it. I’d heard of people falling in love with the food, the earthy vibe, the beautiful rice paddy fields and spend days at a time doing yoga.
After I was stabbed in Indonesia, I was pretty jaded. I spent a few days being cautious any time two men on a motorbike came too close to me – I felt like it was all going to happen again. I needed to go somewhere calm, somewhere peaceful and somewhere that was western enough that I didn’t feel too far out of my comfort zone – Ubud was the perfect place for that.
I spent a lot of time, too much time, Skyping friends and family back home. I couldn’t do too much as my hand was bandaged up and I was emotionally drained. I made friends with kitchen hands that worked at a restaurant I shamelessly stole WIFI from. I spent too long eating organic raw meals and eating fresh cocoa beans. I wandered around rice paddie fields and hung out with monkeys in the forest. I browsed boutique shops and spent an afternoon chatting with a local artist who had exhibitions throughout South East Asia. I admired the delicate way in which the local women make offerings to their God, like clockwork. In the end, I fell hopelessly in love with Ubud and it stands as one of my favourite places in the world.
It’s the place where I fell in love with travel again.
Being mugged was one of the most intense, stressful and terrifying experiences in my life. I could have easily returned home, given up on my love of travel and written off Indonesia. Instead I went to Ubud, healed and finally found my groove again. I fell in love with the simple things: the contrast of the local decorations against the bright blue sky, how green and layered the rice paddy fields are and the generosity and curiosity of the locals who welcomed me into their homes and showed me a snippet of their world.
Of all places I’ve ever been, Ubud is one I want to revisit most. Fortunately it’s one of the cheapest places in Asia to fly to from New Zealand or Australia, making it a perfect option for a sneaky getaway this year. You can easily find a range of cheap flights to Bali on a number of flight comparison sites such as cheapflights.com.au. Once you’re there, costs are relatively low making it the perfect holiday destination.
Ubud was definitely my favourite place in Bali – have you visited Bali? Where was your favourite place?