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Spending A Couple of Days in Ubud with Kids
By Laetitia Knight
The Monkey Forest can be a good start of the day while it’s still cool in the morning. Kids love to observe the monkeys’ behavior. They find the baby monkeys cute and often laugh about the disputes between the young and the big strong males. However, be very careful because they can be a little aggressive at times and they will be interested to grab your bananas or pinch your belongings. It is best not to take bananas and to keep a distance from the monkeys. Monkeys are photogenic but watch out for your camera.
Walk up Monkey Forest Road and stop at some of the shops and boutiques along the way. You will reach a football field, in the center of Ubud and you can have lunch or a drink depending on the time at Tutmak, a trendy, tasty and comfortable café restaurant at the top right corner of the football field. Their staff are friendly with kids and they have a low table area that children love to sit at. There is also on the first floor a spacious area where kids can play and watch TV. Kids will love the healthy juices, the homemade pasta dish and the yummy deserts.
From there, you can walk along a small street to the Ubud market and kids can have a go at bargaining for the handicrafts. The variety of items ensures that all kids will find something of interest.
Opposite the market, next to Mandiri bank, is Le Rendez-Vous Doux, a convivial café and bookshop. The owner Thierry is a pillar of the French community in Ubud and he welcomes everyone in his shop warmly and gives great advice on just about anything. He sells second hand books and you can return these once you have read them to swap or to get back half of what you paid, this is a popular formula for visitors. He might also be interested to buy back some of your books. He has books in French, English and a few in other languages. There is a small kids’ book section and children like to browse through books and eat one of the best Nutella crêpes (pancakes) of Bali, delicious!
If by then, your kids and yourself still have the energy, you can drive or take a cab to Tegalalang where starting from just outside Ubud and heading North for around 5kms you will find an incredible number of small handicraft shops. More than you have probably ever seen in your life. For kids, there are many objects, bedroom decorations, local musical instruments, accessories and more. The painted animals coming in several shapes are a classic. Decorated boxes, fridge magnets, wooden geckos, mirrors, mobiles are just a few of the items that kids will love. Great presents at incredibly low prices. Here everything is a bargain and you will pay a fraction of the price in others shops or even the market. Many cater for wholesale and you should ask the sales person if the items are also for sale as individual pieces. D Zone is an excellent wholesale shop selling bright, cute and colorful decorations, desks, boxes, accessories, paintings and clothes for kids age 0 to 8 years old.
Depending on the time, a gorgeous stop is at Kampung Restaurant, on the right hand side as you go up the hill. The restaurant is overlooking a gorge and a river down below. Many low tables with cushions will be comfortable for tired children and parents. The food is varied with Balinese specialties and international classics but everything is fresh and tasty. It is a calm place to refresh your batteries.
You might want to shop longer or explore the gorgeous countryside and drive or take a car to the Gaya Fusion Art gallery in Sayan. They sometimes organize kids events and have drawing classes for kids. Best to phone to get the latest information. The highlight that no family will want to miss is the homemade Gelato shop. This ice cream is said to be the best by long time residents and it would even beat the famous ice creams from Rome!
Sayan is also the end point of rafting trips and many families find the experience exhilarating. See the Rafting section of the guidebook. If your kids like nature walks, Ubud and its surroundings offer a wide selections of walks where you can enjoy beautiful countryside, gorgeous rice paddies and watch insects, butterflies and birds. You will get information in any the tourist information spots.
In the evenings, around 7pm there are dance performances in several venues around Ubud such as the Pondok Library, the Arma Museum, Ubud Palace, Puri Dalem Puri and more. It is easy to get the up to date daily schedule at the tourist information spots in town and along Monkey Forest Road.
D’ Zone, Br. Sapat, Tegallalang, Gianyar. www.d-zone.baliklik.com
Gaya Fusion Art Space, Jl. Raya Sayan, Ubud. Tel. +62 361 979252 www.gayafusion.com
Le Rendez-Vous Doux, Jl Raya Ubud (opposite the market). Tel. +62 361 747 01 63
Our thanks to Laetitia Chanéac-Knight, Language teacher and author of Bali with Kids.
© Laetitia Knight, 2011