Anyone who revels in the chaos of endless mopeds, the smells of fragrant food drifting from street vendors, temples laden with intricate architecture and sticky heat settling on your skin, you’ll adore Indonesia. Bali, in particular. Home to the tranquil town of Ubud, where rice paddies and luscious forests engulf a serene haven, set far from the madness of infamous Kuta.
As with any destination, the struggle to find the ideal place to stay is sinking in – how do you choose the perfect Balinese villa that boasts a private pool overlooking jungle-scapes when Ubud is full of them? Let me introduce you to a place called Pondok Naya.
What was essentially a ‘book it because it’s cheap,’ soon became a fortunate twist of fate as we unravelled a hidden beauty nestled in the jungle of Ubud. Upon arrival, don’t let the worrisome welcome scare you off. Whilst the makeshift reception could closely be described as a desolate market stall, you’ll soon realise that the staff are kind and warm and they actually have a good reason for piling your luggage onto a suspicious looking moped (albeit without much explanation). As you anxiously trudge along the dirt path they lead you down, the road opens up into glistening rice paddies and suddenly your worries melt away with the setting sun. Tones of honey and rich ambers coat the sky – a view you can get used to watching from your balcony…but we’ll get to that shortly.
One more floor up and we reached another huge bedroom; this penthouse style room had windows across each window, giving a view across Ubud. We stepped out onto the balcony into the warm sunset and took in the stunning panoramic views. The landscape stretched across rice paddies and Balinese rooftops until it reached Mt. Kintimani. If you manage to peel yourself out of bed in the mornings, make yourself a coffee and head up to the rooftop for sunrise. You’ll quickly forget it’s 5am once the sun starts lifting over the terraces and magically transforms the peaceful darkness into a vibrant jungle-scape.
Not only were the staff extremely helpful, assisting with booking day trips and even providing us a phone with a local SIM, this was simply the nicest place I’d stayed at for just £35 per night per suite! Experience luxury at a bargain price. If you find yourself in Ubud for a few days, I hugely recommend. You’ll feel like you’ve been transported into another world while still remaining close to the main center of town and the Monkey Forest!