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Indonesia, Inspiration: Ubud I

By Lotuff Leather

From the lush Ubud to the lively Sanur and everywhere in between, Bali has everything to offer--abundant foliage, stunning ocean views, and amazing food. Despite it being located halfway around the world for many of its visitors — it can take close to two days to travel there from North America or Europe, and stops in cities like Dubai or Seoul are common — people are drawn to the Balinese islands over and over, and for good reason. 

Our creative director Lindy recently embarked on a month-long journey through Bali herself, where she experienced not only the tranquility and beauty that are omnipresent in this Indonesian utopia but also the creativity and eco-friendliness that generate incredible cultural adventures. Follow along over the next two weeks for a glimpse into both the luxury and the diversity of this otherworldly place, starting with Ubud, which, according to Lindy, is “the most beautiful place in the world."

The word “Ubud” means “medicine” in Balinese, and true to its name, a day in this town is definitely a restorative experience. There’s so much to do and see that Lindy recommends renting a motorbike as she did--not only did this make it easier to get around, but there’s nothing quite like riding from one site to another in the open, balmy air. 

Speaking of sites — and sights — Ubud Art Market should be one of the first stops on anyone’s list. Open-air markets can be some of the most amazing places to find authentic, handmade, and unusual items while visiting another country, and this one is a perfect example of that notion; it’s widely recognized as one of the paramount shopping destinations in Bali. Lindy’s into original, well-made but unadorned pieces, and from batik cloth to artwork, oil lamps, and jewelry, there were near-countless stands here for her to leisurely browse through and appreciate. Haggling is more than welcome here, and she can do it with the best of them, meaning that she left the market carrying a lot more than she entered with.

For a less hectic shopping excursion, she recommends making the trip to Manik Bali Ikat, arguably the finest ikat store around. They practice the beautiful, complicated procedure used to create ikat that has been around in Indonesia for hundreds of years, so swing by Manik as Lindy did to see some of the coolest Balinese patterns, observe the process by which the fabric is made, and buy a few of their gorgeous pieces- they’ll even tailor items in-house. She was so smitten with everything here that she ended up purchasing entire outfits for herself, family, and friends back home- there’s no souvenir like a Bali souvenir.

Of course, she acknowledges, there’s so much more to Ubud than shopping. To enjoy one of the most interesting cultural opportunities Ubud has to offer, take a drive to Tirta Empul. A Hindu water temple built hundreds of years ago, it still stands today as a place where worshippers and visitors alike can go to be spiritually purified in its 13 spouts that empty into a large pool of water. Visitors don’t always participate, but Lindy happened to be visiting on the best bathing day of the year, and so she couldn’t help but take advantage of the circumstances. It’s a symbolic and unique experience that literally can’t be had anywhere else in the world, so anyone with an interest in earthy spirituality should stop by for sure, even just to watch.

Check back later this week to find out Lindy’s recommendations for where to stay, when to go exploring, and what to eat across Ubud.