when we decided to stay in Ubud, I was picturing a sleepy village surrounded by rice paddies. something quiet and out of the way. definitely not crowded or touristy. [are you guys starting to sense that I was not very well-informed about Bali?] the area was definitely more developed than expected. I mean... you can sip your Starbucks while staring at a temple. but it was still beautiful.
everywhere you turn in Ubud, there is something to see. the Balinese architecture is ornate and full of gorgeous stone carvings, and the moss-covered grey is often punctuated by backdrops of bright orange. it's so unlike anything I've ever seen or visited. what surprised me most is that all of the buildings seemed to carry this distinct architectural theme. when you are in Bali, you know you are in Bali.
walking through central Ubud is loud and crowded. every five steps someone is hollering at you, asking if you'd like a taxi ride, would you like to take a tour? there are temples and shrines tucked in among all the hubub, mostly only distinguished from hotels and residences by being gated off from the public.
between the temples and cafes, there are plenty of shops. everything from DVD stores to the "Cha Cha Cat Collection." and then there are the markets. if you head up Karna Street it will lead you to the main market buildings. we found the enclosures to be a bit... overwhelming. there is a narrow aisle between stores to walk, jammed with people and various merchandise that reaches out to grab you. my claustrophobia was much relieved when we decided to stroll the open stalls instead.
there are certain things I think you'll find in every market in Southeast Asia [cheap sundresses and sarongs, fake RayBans, fabric tote bags, keychains and wooden carvings etc.] but Ubud seems to have at least two unique offerings. the first - paintings. gorgeous artwork depicting scenes of the island was available, from beaches to rice paddies to even this very market. the second is a more unusual souvenir. bottle openers with long wooden handles that have been carved to look like... well, you know.
the cup of coffee that fueled the writing of today’s post was sponsored by Jenn. she drinks her coffee with Truvia + almond milk and blogs about lifestyle + home improvement over at Near and Far Montana.