Ubud News


Thanks a squillion to Laughing Buddha, on Ubud’s Jalan Monkey Forest, for eleven great years of live music. That’s eleven years of brilliant slide guitar from Bali owner Pak Agung Wiryawan with his various blues bands, eleven years of great overseas music acts who “dropped in” for a gig while on holiday, or were lured over from Singapore or Jakarta where they were earning the big bucks, and eleven years of opportunity to listen to Bali’s own up and coming jazz, blues, R & B, soul, pop acoustic, and salsa bands.

Great food, decent cocktails and a top class band for listening to – or dancing with, for mine – every night of the week, including a special Saturday night attraction that’s different every month. My personal weekly favourites; Buena Tierra’s Latin and salsa on Wednesday nights, and the totally unbeatable blues of The Cooltones on Sundays. Full program at laughingbuddhabali.com

Here’s hoping to another eleven great years.



Dr Ian Weinberg, world-renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist, visits Ubud next month to bridge the gap between the “study of consciousness” and science, in an innovative retreat that begins with the functions of the brain and its connections to the body, then moves on to “mind states”, their origins and their influences.

These two sets of knowledge help participants understand various tools for intervention, and so optimise their mind states and enhance body vitality.

Finally, and unique to this course, Dr Weinberg introduces neurophysics –the study of the influences of consciousness on the environment outside the body.

Only a few places left on this Shades of Yoga program, which begins on July 10 at Taksu Spa in Jalan Gautama South. www.shadesofyoga.com/expanding-consciousness.



I’m always intrigued about the range of interests of long term Ubud ex-pats. When I talk about this column with friends from other countries, they are always surprised at the range of topics that we cover.

However, this is definitely the first time I’ve come across a group of people who want to chat about their common fascination with astrophysics, entropy and quantum mechanics. Yes, this week a mix of internationals and Indonesians who’ve found each other via FB’s Ubud Community page are getting together over coffee, to chat about gravity bending light and where time fits in, or doesn’t. My mind is spinning already.

To join, simply find that page, search for the “astrophysics” discussion, and pop along!



Reading this on a Thursday? More luck you, because Thursday is Open Mic (or is it Mike?) night at Bali Bohemia, by the back gate of the Monkey Forest in Nyuh Kuning. This is always a great way to find the pulse of a town or city, anywhere in the world. Everywhere I go I find one, and every one is different.

Some are full of professional musicians and singers, almost too intimidating for us amateurs to join in, others have kids reciting their own poetry or teens offering a savage anti-adult-negligence diatribe on the environment. Bali Bohemia has the advantage of a funky Ubud vibe to get us going, with locals, ex-pats and tourists passing through, and an extraordinary range of offerings.

You’ll hear great songs from skilled performers, sure, but the atmosphere is safe and welcoming, so there are also new poets, experimental dancers and you and I just having a go – with or without a stranger on backing guitar – singing an oldie, or trying out our own words. MCs change and add their flavour. Get there 7pm for 7.30pm. No pressure – every singer needs a good audience.

Other open mics come and go around Ubud; there’s a Monday lunchtime gig at Paradiso on Jalan Gautama south just of Jalan Hanoman, and occasionally one at Akasha resort in Keliki (just north of Ubud). And check out Bali Open Sessions on Facebook – a series of Open Mic sessions that has become a kind of roadshow around Bali. As I said, they come and go, because they usually depend on the passion of a few volunteer organisers, and they might move on. Start with Bali Bohemia, every Thursday night.



To find Bali Bohemia, either go through the main village of Nyuh Kuning from the south, until you reach the back gate of Monkey Forest, or walk or scooter along the path that winds along the edge of the forest from near the official tourist entrance at the bottom of Jalan Monkey Forest.

Either way, be cautious with your possessions – don’t have your bag hanging on your shoulder with all your worldly goods, for example – and don’t walk along the park at night alone. ☺

It’s REALLY impolite to call someone “stupid”, but no flashlight, no companion, earphones playing loudly in your ears, and a bag stuffed full of your passport, wallet, credit cards, airline ticket, iphone and ipad. Oh, and no travel insurance. …. Difficult to think of a more suitable adjective.



Feeling a tad sad after seeing the For Sale sign as I travelled past Bayu’s Kitchen on Jalan Raya Penestanan. Of course many great cafes and restaurants around Ubud change hands, but that’s where I first went to get feedback from other writers, at a weekly meeting of the Ubud Writers Group, as we planned our short story collection, Life’s Journeys, together some years ago.

Over the years, the great team at Bayu’s Kitchen has played host to many ex-pat groups and fundraisers and sing-alongs. And who’s to say the new owners won’t do something similar – or even better? I guess I’m just having a nostalgic moment. ☺

BTW, for anyone who is interested in learning how to run a writers group successfully, email stevecastley124@gmail.com or contact Steve on 0813 3754 1445. He is currently collecting names to start up a second group and also has copies of Life’s Journeys for sale – a lovely read from seven notorious Ubud ex-pats, including your own Wayan Jen – plus info on Bayu’s Kitchen.



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Copyright © 2019 Wayan Jen

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