Ubud News


Some extraordinary discussions at Ubud Writers and Readers Festival last week.The “Stories of Seeking Asylum” session was soul-stirring.

Via livestream from the Australian Detention Centre on PNG’s Manus Island, Kurdish-Iranian journalist Behrouz Bouchani shared his experience of horrific persecution, while the reflections of his translator, Omid Tofighian, revealed the fascinating multi-layered translation process behind his work on Bouchani’s No Friend But the Mountains.

Regrets and angers were shared with other writers, griefs exposed and commonalities of horror and humanity discovered across cultures and situations. It was a good opportunity to listen, reflect and make some personal commitments.

Congrats again to UWRF. Dear Reader, the 16th edition was even better than last year so don’t miss the next one. Diary dates for 2020 are not yet set but watch this space.


How did November get here already? Thanksgiving – a very special occasion for many ex-pats – is almost here.

It used to be impossible to celebrate in Ubud but Taksu Restaurant, on Jalan Goutama Selatan, has roast turkey, pumpkin pie and all our old favourites in their cool and spacious Garden Terrace Café. There’s a healthy, delicious vegan menu too, including Cranberry Pineapple Nut mould and Wild Rice with Shitake Mushroom and Arugula.

Make a booking quickly though, as spaces are limited. Thursday, November 28, with two sittings (6pm & 8pm). Full fabulous buffet RP 495k ++, half price for Vegan’s menu and children under 12. WA +62 822 3613 0676 or (reservations@taksuspa.com.)


If you are relatively new to Ubud, you may be surprised that a decade ago there’d be huge delight at the news of a new bakery opening.

We love Indonesian and Balinese food, but warm, crusty fresh bread, a carefully nurtured sour dough recipe and the perfect chocolate croissant are still to be celebrated, wherever you find them. Now there are several respectable places across the town to buy my crusty loaf, and many restaurants also have their own baker.

Still, I want to say thanks to Yvonne Day and her skilled, friendly Balinese team for giving us Kue Bakery, with your delicious take home baked goods and clean, welcoming restaurant. Not to forget many delicious super-decadent chocolate cakes to sweeten birthday and anniversary celebrations!

Yvonne left Ubud a few years ago to pursue a new life for self and son, leaving Kue in the capable hands of her Balinese colleagues. They’ve recently decided to wind up the business – and I was away, so I couldn’t even beg them for my favourite mushroom soup recipe, or a sour dough starter.Nonetheless, I won’t forget them.


Just moments left to grab an Early Bird ticket for the  International Art Therapy Conference, to be held at Ananda Cottages on Campuhan next month.

Presented by the Australian Gestalt Art Therapy Centre, the Conference will  focus on the theme “Connecting, Compassion, Creativity and Celebration.” The organisers tell us you’ll be connecting with participants and presenters from Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Spain and Indonesia.

Compassion (for ourselves and others) and creativity are always important elements of therapy, especially Art Therapy, and December is the perfect time for celebrating, and taking a new step in your life,such as learning this valuable healing technique.

The program has been designed for art therapists, psychologists, gestalt therapists, social workers, artists, teachers but if it sounds interesting just on a personal level, you’ll be welcome on December 22-27. More information: gestaltarttherapy@gmail.com. Last day for Early Bird price, November 10.


Check out the striking and delicious new menu upstairs at Galeria by Taksu, on Jalan Hanoman.

As you enter the building, first take note of the Indonesian handicrafts collection carefully curated from across the archipelago. Then head upstairs.

Local chef Agung has a superb creative flair, often flowing from his expertise with Japanese cuisine – Sushi and Nigiri, for example and his colleague Dewa is a magician with Asian Fusion and fresh local ingredients.

Galería’s top floor has both a mezzanine inside and balcony outside, available for private functions, from celebratory gatherings to business dinners. Plus one of the only uninterrupted sunset views in Ubud.

Contact Gede on +62 812 4612 9795 to discuss your next event or just drop in to sample Galería’s new menu.


Hats off yet again to  Banjar Padangtegal! Once again this banjar is taking responsibility for its share – and more than its share – of sorting out Ubud’s continuing traffic chaos.

Construction is currently underway for off-street bike parking on two large properties, on Jalan Goutama and on Jalan Hanoman. Both these projects should considerably reduce traffic congestion in the centre of Ubud.

The banjar’s latest efforts follow the relatively recent creation of hectares of car parking at the Monkey Forest. Of course, Padangtegal’s own residents and its businesses benefit, but so do the rest of us. Let’s do everything we can to encourage other banjars to take similar action. It’s going to take everyone working together, to find the best solutions.


Are you getting serious about reducing plastic? I’ve been challenged – I’m going to take out all the tools, equipment and containers in my kitchen and see what percentage is plastic. I’m afraid I’m in for a shock.

After some months of working on their commitment to remove any superfluous plastic from their work space, the kitchen team at one of Ubud’s best eateries – KAFE in Jalan Hanoman – was proudly 80% plastic free last month.

Progress is carefully charted, as they work to find useful substitutes for plastic wrap (bee-wax wraps) and various types of storage and takeaway containers. Their goal, of course, is to ban plastic completely from KAFE and eventually all related BaliSpirit venues.


Vibrant and original Ubud band Unb’rocken – one of the most sought after bands on the island – are off to Australia this month. Only lead singer Gareng, has left Indonesia before. They’ll be playing their largely original collection of high energy blues, rock and funk at Perth’s Blues at Bridgetown Festival, November 9-11, then over to South Australia for several public and private gigs including Sunday, November 17 at Adelaide’s best-loved music venue, The Gov (Governor Hindmarsh Hotel). For more info on the tour, find Unb’rocken on Facebook.

E-mail : BAubudnews@gmail.com

Copyright © 2019  Wayan Jen

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