Arriving in Bali: Ubud

So this year I made the bold (even if I do say so myself), and what others might deem insane decision to quit my job and book some flights around South-East Asia. I had a job that many would dream of, managing volunteer projects in an under-developed corner of Cambodia (yes, I was already here), and loved it, to a point, but I was exhausted, five years of living and working overseas was wrapping up and I was ready to head back to the UK, just not before I had seen a few more places first.

So I booked flights to Bali and Vietnam. I must admit, Bali tends to conjure up romanticised imagery of beaches, meditation and complete contentment (thank you Eat, Pray, Love). Deep down I understood it wouldn’t all be as expected, but I like the unexpected most of the time anyways and I went ahead and took myself to paradise. I dove straight into it, making Ubud, the yoga-meditation-zen capital of the island, surrounded by stunning rice paddies and mountainous scenery and bustling with opportunity, my first stop, fresh from the airport.

Ubud was everything I had hoped it would be and more. A peaceful town, it is by no means quiet, bustling with locals and tourists and flooded with souvenir stores and restaurants offering almost any cuisine you like. The city maintains a traditional vibe however, and I was simply mesmerised by the offerings of flowers and incense beautifully laid-out on the roadside each morning (this is an amazing Bali-wide ritual).

My time here did not disappoint either, it’s popularity making it a perfect place to meet fellow-travellers and central location making it easy to see lots of near by attractions. From jungle-fringed waterfalls to watching the sunrise from the top of a volcano, it was an incredible way to start this adventure and set a high standard for my subsequent destinations.

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