Bali's breath of zesty air - Tourism Indonesia


Monday, October 29, 2007

Bali's breath of zesty air

AT a cool elevation just 45 minutes by road north of Denpasar and the holiday coast of Bali, Ubud conforms to the classic hill-station template of clean and crisp air, gentle pace and deep green views.
Ubud has been a haven for foreign artists and creative castaways since the 1930s, when it must have seemed like Shangri-la.

Ubud has also been a travellers' getaway since (at least) the 1970s but the hippie flower-power atmosphere has been replaced with a smarter vibe and cafes are as likely to serve excellent espresso and wines by the glass as they are mango juice and herbal teas.

Today, the main streets are a jumble of shops that may not be all that different to their coastal counterparts in Kuta or Seminyak but the methodical fossicker will be rewarded with good antiques and hand-made finds, especially wood carvings.

Best annual event: The Ubud Writers & Readers Festival
Best reading-up: Copies of the Hello Bali glossy monthly magazine are available in most resort guestrooms.
Best music and books store: Ubud Music Centre on Jalan Raya Ubud
Best restaurants: Casa Luna, run by the ubiquitous De Neefe
Best nuclear duck: Crispy duck is the signature dish at Tepi Sawah on Jalan Raya Goa Gajah
Best splurge dining: The restaurants at Amandari and Four Seasons Sayan resorts
Best cooking school: Cafe Wayan and Bakery on Monkey Forest Road
Best martini: Nuri's Warung
Best spa: All the resorts in Ubud have brilliant spas
Best homewares shops: The Shop at Sayan
Best bargaining performances: Ubud Market, on the corner of Jalan Raya Ubud and Monkey Forest Road
Best instant cultural connection: Cafe Lotus
Best thrills: Rafting on Ubud's swift Ayung River
Best art connections: Neka Museum has the island's best collection of Balinese art

By Susan Kurosawa
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