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Searching for tranquility in Ubud and east Bali

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Ubud and Manggis, Bali  /  Sat, July 6, 2019  /  04:01 pm
Searching for tranquility in Ubud and east Bali

Souvenirs in a market in Ubud, Gianyar regency, Bali. (Shutterstock.com/Anastasia Pelikh/File)

The quaint little town of Ubud in Gianyar regency, Bali, is still the answer for travelers looking for tranquility, although it may have become too crowded for some, thanks to the success of the Eat Pray Love book and movie.

Based on an experience during a press junket with Aman, The Jakarta Post recommends that you — especially those expecting some blissful solitude — travel further to the east of Bali, where the island’s tallest volcano, Mount Agung, stands.

Eastern Bali is also the home of the famed Besakih Temple and Padangbai port which connects Bali with West Nusa Tenggara and Nusa Penida islands.

Popular diving spots Tulamben and Amed beach are situated within the region, too.

'Jukung' (traditional wooden boats) at Padangbai port.'Jukung' (traditional wooden boats) at Padangbai port. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Speaking of Ubud, it is said there are three types of people who travel to the town. First is the type who come for spiritual experiences, followed by those who come for the city’s culture and finally those who are in between and up for any new experiences.

People who fall into the first category may want to visit an Ubud healer for a session or two and immerse themselves in the sacred atmosphere of a temple.

Sonia Bañuls Rovira, Aman’s regional spa and wellness director, agrees that interaction with a healer and visits to temples will give "the first type of traveler" a wow experience.

“[…] Go to the best yoga and meditation teachers,” Rovira told The Jakarta Post.

Cultural attractions are abundant in customary villages, which travelers can visit to see the daily life of the people, as well as buy arts and crafts.

Read also: Bali: Five must-visit places in Karangasem

Rice fields in Tegalalang village.Rice fields in Tegalalang village. (Shutterstock/File)

No less interesting to notice in any of Ubud's villages is the importance of the banjar (traditional neighborhood unit) among the village residents. Karin van Zyl — general manager of India’s Amanbagh which supports Ubud’s own Amandari resort — likes to watch the local teenagers play traditional musical instruments.

“I love the fact that teenagers still play [traditional] music […], they get together at the balai banjar [community center] and practice,” van Zyl told the Post.

Alternatively, a good day in Ubud could be as simple as spending the early morning running or walking to the rice fields and going to the city center.

Van Zyl said she made sure to return to base by 11 a.m.

“[…] because that’s when a lot of people come for the day,” she went on to say, adding that she liked to return early evening at 6 p.m. to enjoy the sunset, people watching, sitting somewhere in a little street café with a drink, followed by dinner.

Traveling further to eastern Bali, those who like to travel off the beaten path can rejoice, as seemingly endless rice fields and traditional farms await.

A sea salt farm in Kusamba village, Klungkung regency, Bali. A sea salt farm in Kusamba village, Klungkung regency, Bali. (JP/Ni Nyoman Wira)

Ernst Ludick, general manager of Amankila, advises staying away from making plans.

“Take a map and give yourself half a day to drive and figure it out as you go along. See what comes up and stop as you want,” he said to the Post.

East Bali undoubtedly has more to offer than the picturesque view of Mount Agung and the rice fields, as it is also home to the black sand beaches. Kusamba beach, for instance, is among those with black sand, notable for its sea salt farm. (mut)