Ubud is about 90 minutes drive north of Kuta-Seminyak in the centre of Bali. We just got a taxi there from our hotel in Seminyak which only cost about £20. Ubud is considered to be the cultural centre of Bali and the town is full of art galleries and museums and craft shops. The centre of town is quiet touristy as it is a popular tourist spot and it's also popular for day trips from the south as its a beautiful part of the island at the foothills of the volcanos and with some stunning countryside, with sweeping hills, rivers and lots of rice fields. There's loads of great little cafes in the town and some really good restaurants. Everywhere we ate the food was amazing.
We stayed at a hotel just outside of the main town but they had a free shuttle bus to and from town which was really handy. It was only about a 10-15 minute walk into town which was OK during the day but you couldn't really walk at night as its a small side street with hardly any lighting. The Komaneka at Bisma is one of four Komaneka hotels in the area and the setting is stunning. It feels like you are staying in the middle of a tropical jungle, which you basically are. We could have sat on the balcony all day just watching all the birds and wildlife outside. There was some really weird sounds at night though and I'm just glad we couldn't see most of the creatures out there! We visited the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary which was pretty cool and is just a short walk from the centre of town. As the name suggests it's home to over 300 wild Macaque monkeys who are everywhere as soon as you enter the forest. We made sure we never had any food with us as they will be climbing all over you and trying to grab anything you have. One jumped up and grabbed a bottle of water I had and just sunk his teeth into the bottle and pierced a hole in it so I'd no option but to let him have take it, ha ha.
We did a cycle tour one morning for a couple of hours before breakfast which was a great way to see a bit more of the area outside of the town and see some of the smaller villages. Our guide also explained a bit about village life and culture in Bali and some of the family traditions which was quite interesting. There had been a massive rain storm the night before so there was a few trees down and some pretty bad flooding on some of the roads. We did a Yoga class one day at the hotel for a couple of hours. We thought it would be quite a relaxing thing to do but it was bloody tough. There was just the two of us in the class so I think he was pushing us a bit harder than normal. Some of the positions were pretty painful and we had a few aching muscles the next day, ha ha. We visited a couple of the museums in town including the Blanco Renaissance Museum which is the former home of the Spanish artist Antonio Blanco who lived and worked in Ubud from 1952 until he died in 1999. It's a pretty stunning house set on a hilltop overlooking the town and well worth a visit.
We were a bit sad when it was time to leave Bali as we had really enjoyed our time there. The people are genuinely nice and really friendly, the food is amazing and there's loads of places to visit on the island and on some of the smaller islands nearby. We've said this about most places we've been but it's definitely somewhere we would come back to. But, it's off to Malaysia now and the bright lights of the big city again in Kuala Lumpur for a few days and then up north to Penang Island before heading to Vietnam.