Bali — Ubud, Bali, Indonesia — a review, and Eat, Pray, Love

The curse of Eat, Pray, Love

September 2015

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, is famous for many things and the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert really thrust the town into the international spotlight. Confession — I have read the book as it was left at my place by a visitor who described it as one of the best books she has ever read.

Don’t let the book put you off visiting Ubud. The town does make a great base from which to explore Bali.

Yes, you will encounter a lot of soulful single (solo) travellers in Ubud wandering around, searching for whatever they've lost. Or searching for whatever they think they've lost, but in truth, they didn’t have to start with. But don’t let that put you off.

Photo by Author — a local store tapping into the Eat, Prey, Love thing
Photo by Author — a local store tapping into the Eat, Prey, Love thing

Ubud is conveniently located.

A taxi from the airport costs 290,000 local (£14 UK; $20 U.S.) and takes 75 minutes. The distance isn’t that great; it is just that the roads aren’t up to much. The roads are generally small and narrow and barely two cars wide. There are also a surprising number of corners. In many of the areas I travelled, the road followed field boundaries. Hence, a straight section followed by a right-angled corner once at the corner of the field.

You will also find plenty of tourists around Bali and in Ubud. I met and saw many Europeans and a surprising number of hippies. Ubud was also surprisingly commercialised.

If travelling to Bali, one thing I would recommend you do is to find a local SIM card. Finding a SIM proved difficult, but it appeared that any shop selling DVDs would also carry SIM cards. I purchased a Telkomsel (TSel) SIM for 170,000 local (£8.50 UK; $12 U.S.), which gave 2 GB data, and was valid for 30 days. The purchase required no ID. The SIM only offered a 3G connection; 4G wasn’t available. The SIM was activated in the shop on a phone before I could use it in my MiFi. I had no issues with the card; it connected almost anywhere.

Bottomline — Ubud is a lovely, friendly town conveniently located for exploring Bali and worth visiting.

FourSquare: Ubud, Bali, Indonesia