7 Highlights in Ubud, Bali
May 9, 2014
A one-time haven for hippies, the village of Ubud in Bali’s southern highlands now caters to more sophisticated travelers too. Story and photos by Ian Lloyd Neubauer.
Published on May 9, 2014
1. Four Seasons Sayan
Entrances don't get much more dramatic than this: from the driveway a footbridge suspended 25 meters above a velvet-green gorge connects to an elliptical lotus pond set on the rooftop of the resort and descends into the 180-degree-view lobby. The curved two-tiered pool along the river is fit for a rock star, while the new riverside villas designed by Japanese interior maestro Yasuhiro Koichi scream colonial cool. Jln. Raya Sayan; +62 36 197 7577; fourseasons.com/sayan; villas from Rp7,586,000.
One of the most lauded restaurants in the Indonesian archipelago, Mozaic marries the seasonal organic ingredients of Bali with French and molecular culinary techniques to create a gastronomical journey writ large. Dinner is served in a tropical garden with four different degustation menus, each sommelier-matched with wines. Jln. Raya Sanggingan; +62 36 197 5768; mozaic-bali.com; six-course menu Rp700,000, including wine.
3. Murni's Lounge Bar
Set above a gentle bend in the Agung River, Murni's Warung holds the estimable title of being the village's first real restaurant. Like something out of a Rudyard Kipling novel, the Lounge Bar on the second floor is crammed with museum-quality antiques, including a 400-year-old plate of armor and a Sumatran sarcophagus. Soft jazz music, old-fashioned cocktails and the sounds of the jungle lurking outside make this Ubud's most haunting watering hole. Jln. Raya; +62 36 197 5233; murnis.com; spirits from Rp65,000.
4. Ubud Central Market
Featured in the Julia Roberts film Eat Pray Love, this ever-changing labyrinth of alleyways jammed with hawkers of souvenirs, trinkets, jewelry, leatherwear and arts and crafts is a feast for the senses. Check out the basement level, where old women sell fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices and meat strung on hooks. Jln. Raya, impossible to miss.
5. Water Lotus Temple
Rising like a phoenix over Ubud, Pura Taman Saraswati, as it's known to the locals, was built by Ubud's royal family in the 19th century. Fronted by two Zen-like pools of tire-size lily pads and pink and white lotus flowers, its main shrine is covered with carvings of Hindu deities and demons. Jln. Raya.
6. Warung Schnitzel
As the name implies, this café-style eatery run by a fiery Filipino specializes in crumbed meat: beef fillet, pork tenderloin and chicken breast fried to perfection and served with mash and a triumvirate of sauces: homemade gravy, rich coconut and mushroom, and sweet and sour chili. Jln. Sriwedari 2; +62 36 197 0744; mains Rp60,000.
7. Casa Luna
Cooking School The laboratory of Janet DeNeefe, the Australianborn voice of Bali: The Food of My Island Home, Casa Luna offers visiting gastronomes insight into Balinese culture and customs through learning about its food. Jln. Bisma; +62 36 197 3282; casalunabali.com; half-day classes with lunch and wine Rp350,000.