Was there any beating Seminyak? We were excited to find out!
Seminyak to Ubud
We tried to optimise time in both places so we bit the beach in the morning before we left. Our things were loaded up when we got back and the next visitors had arrived… The villa suddenly felt like it belonged to someone else (a bit strange considering it does)! We had scheduled the drive around nap time (hahahahahahahahaha said my kids… AS IF!) so we tired to have an early lunch. Cue more laughing at mummy (why would we eat when you tell us to mummy?!!) and 2 hungry kids as soon as we got in the car.
Everyone said Ubud would have changed unrecognisably since last time and they weren’t wrong. We remembered a quiet little place with a two main streets full of little spas and cute restaurants. There has been quite the boom that has happened since then. The traffic is staggering for what is still a very small town. I was amazed to see so many people wandering around and spilling out of the shops, restaurants and cafes. Still Ubud has managed to retain its eclectic feel with its plethora of organic cafes, decadent spas and yoga retreats.
Getting to Ubud
We were excited about the villa from the stunning pictures and after the perfection of Seminyak. And herein lies the importance of Looking Properly At Photos and Asking People About Villa Layouts (neither of which we did for this booking apparently).
To be fair the villa was beautiful. The pool was lovely but considerably smaller than we had assumed (thanks wide angle lens photo). It also included an infinity style drop to another pool (also accessible via some steep stone steps). The living areas were open-air and the bedrooms were on different levels. One was up a flight of stairs with no handrails while the other opened out onto the pool. Both rooms needed their doors closed for AC… We found ourselves facing four nights sharing a room with our early rising, over excited, hyperactive Things. Luckily it all turned out fine.
We stayed close to home that night to attempt a decent bed time. We enjoyed some “chicken lollipops” (chicken satay) sitting seiza style on the floor. With 2 distractible and clumsy / overtired kids it wasn’t the most relaxing meal that we’ve ever had (no, honestly darling, I wanted to repeatedly ask you to sit down and then clean up the juice you spilled when you finally did). It was a relief for us all when bedtime finally rolled around!
Monkey Forest and A Wild Goose Chase
We were excited to take the kids to the monkey forest in Ubud so, after a delicious breakfast made by our hosts, we headed down the road to explore.
It was brilliant and this was where the light bulb started to go off for me. I began to realise that it is, indeed, possible to do things that we all want to do. Seeing temple ruins with jungly vegetation was awesome for us. Walking around spotting monkeys was thrilling for them (and funny for us to watch). You can buy bananas there and the monkeys will climb up you (literally) to grab them if you stand still enough! The Things were a bit nervous about this themselves (although both did it). Better still, they thought it was hilarious to see monkeys climbing up mummy and daddy.
Nap time ended up as Dancing And Swimming Naked In A Torrential Downpour for this day so not at all restful but the kids had a blast. Getting them out before they turned into prunes was our biggest challenge!
I’m going to give a big shout out to Warung Schnitzel here for our dinner that night as it was a huge success – a great combination of kid friendly food and utterly delicious Asian inspired dishes. We were all starving and even the kids (not always great restaurant eaters) demolished their meals.
Furniture shopping, Mt Batur (volcano) exploring, coffee plantation and paddy fields
Furniture shopping was about the least kid friendly thing we did all holiday but we figured it was all within the general balance of the trip. We were determined to find the dining table of our dreams so we headed off with a friendly driver claiming to be in the know. At first the kids were excited to get out and look around with us. After a while they got bored and bored kids in shops never usually ends well. Out came the iPads and we ended up with one of us running in and the other waiting in the car. YAY for Apple products!
Shopping done, the fun started as we headed into the heart of an active volcano for lunch. It’s not currently doing much so the Things were disappointed. I think they thought they would be having lunch surrounded by molten lava! To be fair, would have been much more exciting! All the lunch places are rather mediocre set price buffet style arrangements. We picked a restaurant with an incredible view and hoped for the best with the kids. Needless to say they ate next to nothing and spent the rest of the afternoon complaining they were hungry.
Whilst wandering around taking photos of the view we ended up having a row with someone there. He was taking photos of the Things who had attracted attention with their obvious Western origins. I’m not completely against having images of them online. I guess that is clear as I do it myself – I struggle with my philosophy on this a lot but that’s another story. However, Mr Wanderlust and I have agreed that there will be NO photos of the Things taken by strangers. Its just our thing. It got quite uncomfortable so we left.
Later we went to see some rice fields via a coffee plantation (kids still complaining). It’s a skill to quit when you’re ahead and we really probably should have done so long before we did. We managed to scrape by with (more) ice cream bribery and sacrificing the chocolate factory tour. You can just imagine how well THAT went down.
Dinner that evening was supposed to be in a really hip and trendy organic restaurant. On arrival we discovered it was a rather healthy establishment and, more importantly, it was dry. We ended up in Black Beach which served one of the best pizzas we have had in a while so all was well with the world.
Art market, divide and conquer, palace and water palace
I was desperate to check out Ubud’s Art Market since our other mission was to find a painting that we had walked away from on our first Bali trip (it probably cost about £10 but at the time we were in full cheapskate mode and refused to negotiate). The market yielded no such artwork but we did find a toy motorbike for Thing 1 and a ukulele for Thing 2 which kept them quiet for at least 10 minutes until Thing 1 decided he had changed his mind and wanted a ukulele after all…there are no emojis that show the look on my face.
From there we went looking for a cafe recommended by a friend as it sold gorgeous furniture but even with trusty Google Maps we couldn’t find it for love nor money. Hot and grumpy from a longer than anticipated walk, we found more ice creams (there’s a theme here) and some free wifi which helpfully revealed that the coffee shop had long since closed down. Oops…mummy fail!
After another long game of Jumping In And Out Of The Pool And Exploring The Garden, we stayed local for the afternoon, going to see Ubud Palace and the Water Palace. The Things enjoyed a takeaway dinner and an early night while S and I headed to the delicious Toro Sushi (sorry no website link) for an impromptu date night to finish off Part II of our trip.
Day 8 ***CHRISTMAS EVE!***
More shopping, travel to Nusa Dua, cocktail hour with Santa
We still had some space to fill in our table shipment so we left early to do some last minute shopping and then headed back down to the coast towards Nusa Dua. We had chosen to stay in a resort for this part of the holiday as it was going to be over Christmas and we wanted to achieve awesome Christmas spirit for minimal effort on our part! I was excited to see the Westin Resort as we had done extensive research on this part finding a great kid friendly hotel on the beach and…