To us Filipinos, Ubud will look like Tagaytay, sans the beautiful Taal Volcano. It has the same atmosphere, cool and pleasant weather, and lush vegetation that stems from the mountainous backdrop.
Ubud has attracted a lot of designers from local to international ones, thus, making it a great place to visit some fabulous design hotels and restaurants. We only had 3 hours to spend here though, as we intended to just have lunch in a hillside Indonesian restaurant.
Ubud has more Western visitors than Asian visitors and I could see why. Ubud is a mountain village, painted with green rice fields, cascading waterfalls and gushing rivers and creeks. It can be any of the millions of rice plantations we have in the Philippines. What makes Ubud so special is the charm that I immediately felt while driving into town.
Our choice for lunch was Indus, as recommended by a foreigner who we asked for directions along the way. The restaurant had a pleasant view. We sat at an open air porch, facing the peaceful valley below.
Our lunch composed of local specialties. I always forget the names of Indonesian dishes (which I am not a dihard fan of by the way). I remember having this tasty chocolate porridge (champorado) and coconut sherbet with mango sidings for dessert.
Ubud also has a wide range of accommodations, especially along the center of town. There are upscale villas that dot the mountainside. One can really relax and be at peace with nature in Ubud, without sacrificing luxury. I was amazed to see a lot of pool villas scattered on the edges of hills.
We then went on to the Monkey Forest, one of Ubud's primary attractions. Here, one can explore a park forest with pavements. Better be ready to be surrounded by monkeys that are found everywhere. Sometimes, they can be annoying already, so make sure you don't bring any food or have some loose and hanging objects from your body. Some monkeys steal cameras from tourists!
The temple was under renovation at the time we went, so we only got to see its perimeter. We saw someone carving the walls out. I thought those carvings were ancient. Well, seeing this made me wonder if all the other carvings in all of the temples I've visited in Asia were already altered like this.
We moved further deep into the forest and saw a small creek. There were replicas of the Komodo Dragons, overlooking the creek.
The Monkey Forest was interesting, but there's really nothing much to see. I really don't like monkeys so I wasn't raving about the place. But one can feel in a different world once you're there. It's like being in a lost ancient city in the middle of a jungle.
Ubud has plenty of flea markets as well, where one can buy a lot of souvenirs. This is the center of arts in the island, so there were a lot of art galleries, furniture stores and other similar shops.