When I first arrived in Ubud Bali I had a bit of a rant because the town center changed so much. My thoughts on this place have evolved as I have settled. I have moved to a new and stunning resort with only 6 villas overlooking terraced rice fields.
An Italian gentleman married a Balinese woman a few years back and they built the “Samara Villa” from the foundations up. They have created something quite chic and exclusive. There are no obstructions to the view from your room. It is superb to wake in the morning with the sight of wildlife and farmers in the distance working the land.
From a small road it is foot access only for about 300 meters into the resort. About 15 minutes walk in total and you are in Ubud town. Now that I have started to explore this place more fully I am simply astounded at its hidden magic and wonder. There are restaurants tucked away that are right out of a fairy tale. As I write this I am at Café Lotus where the venue is backed onto an old temple and lotus pond. It takes dining to a completely different level. There is also a Michelin star restaurant in town. I think I may give that a miss as it is $200 US a plate minimum. There are stories of people walking out of that restaurant with a $1000 bill per head.
The quality and extensive variety of restaurants in Ubud has surprised me. There were never this many choices all those years ago in 1998 when I was last here.
Perhaps there is a good side to the development of the town. It still has wondrous charm … just in a very different way than from decades ago. I still think the Starbucks does not work. Any form of westernized food or drink chain restaurant kills the mood slightly. I hope that the Starbucks is where the international branding will stop.
I may have been harsh when first arriving here because of the nostalgia I felt for this place and the memories I have cherished from 14 years ago. That is something that the 21st century traveller must deal with all the time. Areas develop so quickly in only a few short years as airlines route flights to a remote part of the world. My experience in Burma will be very special because it will be so untouched. Many have already told me that Burma is big on the list. You never know … Thailand and Vietnam may come second in 10 years to Burma.