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How big are Ubud & Denpasar? Major "attractions" within walking distances from each other?

How big are Ubud & Denpasar? Major "attractions" within walking distances from each other?

Jun 15th, 2005, 06:02 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 211
How big are Ubud & Denpasar? Major "attractions" within walking distances from each other?

We'll hire a driver for a day to do the more remote sites like the volcano, waterfall and rice paddies.

However we're planning to take the hotel shuttle from Four Seasons Sayan to Ubud and was wondering if the Ubud Palace, local shops, galleries and restaurants (e.g. the Mozaic) would be close enough to each other for us to just walk. I'm 5 months pregnant but wouldn't mind walking stretches at a time, preferrably separated by stops at A/C galleries or cafes. (By the way, I suppose the Mas Village is not within walking distance though?)

As for Denpasar, we're trying to perhaps take in an evening show at the Arts Festival. Wondering if there are other interesting things we should do / see within walking distance from the Bali Art Centre? And how about a nice restaurant for dinner?

Thanks a lot!
katkat is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I haven't heard of much in Denpasar itself, but while you are in the south you might want to go out to Uluwatu.

Ubud is small, but the distance from Mozaic to Ubud Palace is quite a walk. I'd do it now, but quite honestly, when I was pregnant I felt so hot all the time that I don't think it would be pleasant at all. It is easy enough to get transportation from anywhere to anywhere. You'll have people asking you every few seconds as you walk down the street...just say yes if you want a ride.

In Ubud, be sure to go to Threads of Life. You'll find their brochure and a map in the tourist info center diagonally across from the Palace. They do classes as well as sell beautiful things. http://www.threadsoflife.com

Mas is certainly not within walking distance, but again, transportation will be a cinch should you want to go there.

From your posts, I think I have a picture of what you are expecting. FS will be all you imagine it to be, as will Mozaic. I'm just not sure if you are expecting Bali as it really is. I know I was a bit shocked on my first visit 10 years ago, expecting Ubud to be kind of like an Asian Nantucket village....boy was I wrong! :9 Ubud isn't a pristine village of air conditioned high class galleries and restaurants. Though there are plenty of high class galleries and excellent restaurants, there are also kind of "junk" shops, cheap restaurants, and low end touristy stuff. Think Stanley...but dirtier, more tourists, more hassle, more adventure. The sidewalks are often broken. Dogs sleep in the street. Offerings are scattered about. Cars and motorcyles drive every which way. It's great...I love it...but it's a far different place than I imagined before my first visit.

The places a driver might take you for silver or wood or batik generally are "factory" kind of places that are fine for looking around in and getting a feel for what might be on offer. Be aware, though, that nearby are some very small shops/studios/galleries that have unique goods and negotiable prices. Don't be afraid to go into the smaller places at all...that's where we've found real treasures. In the village of Keliki there is a lovely painter who sold us some paintings out of his home...if we stuck to the big galleries we would have missed out on fantastic paintings and making a friend.
KimJapan is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 11:15 PM
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I'd say Kim's description of Ubud is spot-on. It's charming, but in a third world sort of way. Noisy, crowded, hot, messy, disorganized -- but fun if you have the stamina for it.

It's not easy to walk around Ubud, even if you're not pregnant. The sidewalks are uneven, potholes and debris everywhere, traffic is unpredictable. Watch out for motorcycles! They are a menace. Plus it's very hot (did I say that before? Don't underestimate it.)

So my advice is to take it easy walking around Ubud. There are a zillion shops; some are lovely, some are not worth the time. After a while you see the same merchandise over and over so don't worry if you miss a few.

I'm also not a great fan of most of the restaurants in Ubud proper. A lot of the "old standbys" like Luna and Lotus have really slipped in hygeine, something that you want to be particularly careful of being pregnant. I like Mosiac and Lemak. Also the two story cafe across the side street from Ubud Palace that I can't remember the name of.

Ubud Palace, is not really a palace but a performing arts venue. It's a good starting point as the shops and galleries fan out in all directions.

From the center of Ubud to Mosaic is a good hike -- mostly uphill and in the road. Not recommended.

Denpasar is definitely not a destination in itself. Personally, and this is one of my areas of expertise, I think the dance that you see in villages around Ubud and at the Ubud Palace far surpasses anything that you will see in Denpasar so I'd give the arts festival a miss. It's a long drive from Sayan and the performers are mostly from the Sayan area anyway. If you'd like I could give you the names of a few favorites.

As Kim notes, your driver will offer to take you to many, many arts and crafts shops. Some are nice, some are not. There's really no way to predict in advance; however, if you don't want to stop say so. Sometimes the drivers can be quite persistent.

marmot is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 01:41 AM
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Across from the palace is Ary's Warung...I think...the two story place I know for sure, but the name...maybe Ary's. You can't miss it anyway...it's just after tourist info and before you get to a fairly nice bookshop. We had lovely juices there one afternoon, but didn't try any of the food. Fabulous bathrooms.
KimJapan is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 06:03 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Thanks a lot for the detailed advice. Thinking Stanley definitely helps, Kim!

Marmot, it'll be wonderful to hear about your favorite dancers/artists. Thanks a bunch!

So is there anything like a taxi in Ubud that we could take? Would it be safe to just hop on any rides offered...? I've heard about something called the "tourist shuttle"? Would they go from Ubud Center to, say, the Mas Village or the Batubulan Village?

Thanks again,
katkat is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 06:25 AM
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Hopefully you will have more than one day to do the waterfall and the volcano as they are really not very close to one another. Rice fields are everywhere - you'll probably be able to see them from your hotel room.

There is no shortage of drivers offering "transport" in Ubud - especially near the palace. Just be sure to negotiate a rate before you get in. I would not be afraid to go with anyone that offers - do check out the vehicle first. You should be able to get a pretty decent rate to any of the shopping villages as the driver will most likely get a commission for taking you to various places. Don't be afraid to tell them exactly where you want to go if you have a preference. There's no "tourist shuttle" that I know of.

We saw a daytime performance in Denpasar. Our driver took us there - we were the only westerners in the place. There are dance performances at the palace on some evenings. If you can do that, skip Denpasar - it is really not worth going there. I agree with the above posters' description of Ubud. Because of the traffic and the noise it is very much a third world city. We thought the shopping there was ok but not great - better shopping at the crafts villages on the outskirts.

We did the 6-course tasting menu for dinner at Ary's Warung and enjoyed it a lot. The bathrooms there are pretty cool.
Craig is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 04:34 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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The restaurant I was trying to think of that's near the Palace is The Terazo. It's very pleasant either before or after a dance performance.

I've never actually been to Ary's. Maybe next time.

I'm going to start a separate Bali dance thread. This is an area of great interest to me and I love to get input as the scene changes constantly.
marmot is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 05:06 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Thank you for your colorful description of Ubud. I was in Bali almost 18 years ago with my family. I am now planning to go back next year for my 30th birthday. Reading about the FS Sayan, Aman resorts and fancy restaurants like Mozaic, I was beginning to wonder if Ubud had not become too global trendy in a sanitized sort of way. Glad to hear from your description that Ubud is still charmingly chaotic and colorful!
cruisinred is offline  

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