Travel tales

The other side of Ubud

Ubud rice paddies

Amongst the green fields of central Bali, Ubud has become one of the island’s most popular places to visit. You’ll find the Eat, Pray, Love-ers, drinking smoothies and practicing their yoga poses, and the culturalists, touring temples and perfecting their Nasi Goreng on a cookery class. Then there’s the general lazers like us, getting massages, drinking mojitos in lamp-lit bars and feeling a world away from the stresses at home. It’s an easy place to while away time, but it’s popularity does come with some downsides. But when the crowds, traffic and chatter of the street vendors gets too much, in a few minutes you can escape into what feels like a different world – and century – amongst the rice paddies.

Rice paddies in Ubud

Workers taking a break in the rice fields outside Ubud

Just off the main street, Jalan Kajeng leads you away from the chaos along a path with messages and names of visitors from all over the world carved into the concrete. At the end of the street you emerge into a world of greenery, with rice paddies stretching away in every direction. Even though it’s so close to central Ubud, there were hardly any other walkers in sight as we followed the ridged paths along the edge of the fields. We waved at a few labourers resting under a palm tree and passed a flooded field full of quacking ducks, but otherwise all you could hear were the cicadas. You can see how the importance of religion in Balinese life extends out here in the rice fields, with shrines dedicated to the goddess of rice, Dewi Sri. They ranged from simple plaited leaves to stone shrines, all with fresh flowers and offerings.

Ducks in the rice paddies

Flooded rice fields – and some very happy ducks

It’s not totally deserted out here though. Along one of the paths we came across the Sari Organik farm. It opened almost 10 years ago and employs local families who grow their organic produce out among the rice fields. You can take a look around the farm and try some of their produce straight out of the ground at their restaurant – from smoothies and cocktails made with fruit wine, to stir fries and fresh herb salads that you can pick yourself. The restaurant is on the second floor of the building with cool breezes and views right across the paddies. From a peaceful spot out there it’s hard to believe that about 15 minutes’ walk away the streets of Ubud are still packed full of noise and people.

In the rice paddies outside Ubud

In the rice paddies outside Ubud

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The other side of Ubud, Bali – On the Luce travel blog

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  • Reply
    Anita Mac
    March 12, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    Wouldn’t mind spending a little quality time over there! Looks good.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm

      Yes I think a few days of £5 massages and tropical fruit mojitos would do me good now too!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 6:19 pm

    Nice one Lucy, when did you go there?

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 12, 2012 at 6:21 pm

      I did about three weeks travelling around Bali last May – absolutely loved it, such a beautiful country.

  • Reply
    March 12, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    Massages, mohitos and lamp-lit bars sounds amazing to me and it’s nice that you can reach a more peaceful location in a short walk to get the best of both worlds. I would love to visit Bali someday, sounds lovely.

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 12, 2012 at 8:43 pm

      I was lovely – flights aren’t cheap but once you’re out there it’s really reasonable to live (and get massages and cocktails!) so worth going out for a while. Hope you manage to get out there sometime!

  • Reply
    2 Rivers Photos
    March 12, 2012 at 10:41 pm

    This reminds of the Bali that I visited some ~25 years ago

    • Reply
      Lucy Dodsworth
      March 12, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Nice to hear that the countryside has stayed the same, but you’d probably get a bit of a shock seeing how the the beachside near Kuta has changed!

  • Reply
    April 11, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Beautiful shots, capturing the real beauty of Bali

    • Reply
      April 12, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks so much, I loved the rural scenery of the rice paddies.

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