by Mila Shwaiko
Welcome to a totally biased hour-by-hour ramble through Ubud’s streets. This edition is focusing on Jalan Hanoman. Upper Hanoman to be exact, north of Kafe. Hanoman is home to many of the spiritual paraphernalia-, raw food-, yoga clothing-selling denizens of Ubud, but I’ll try to give you a balanced mix.
North to south we go! At the very top of Hanoman (where it joins Jalan Raya Ubud), is Adi Bookstore. Unlike its more serious cousin, Ganesha, Adi stocks mainly genre fiction, airport thrillers and books that don’t strain the brain. They also have a pretty big selection of foreign language books (German, French, Dutch).
As you walk down, on the left side is Pera Perak. A beautiful open shop with a huge array of colorful beaded bracelets and silver jewelry.
Keep walking on the left hand side until you find Kapal Kotak, covered in pastel mini birdcages and mirrors outside. Seamstresses and DIYers go inside and rejoice! This is full of lace pieces, patches, buttons, ribbons by the meter, and retro bits and pieces. A mad mix of things to rummage through.
Studio Perak (www.studioperak.com/) is worth a visit for simple and elegant silver jewelry. And instead of all this consuming, you can try creating in the silver-smithing classes that happen in the back of the store.
Coffee time? F.R.E.A.K coffee (http://freakcoffee.com/) is pure Bali Arabica and a must for anyone serious about their coffee. If you don’t love coffee, go for the Sacred Scoops vegan (but don’t hold that against them) ice-cream.
This street is actually pleasant to walk down with its intact footpaths and shady trees, so enjoy the stroll. Stick your head into the following places: Sama Suka (elegant white cotton bedspreads, bathrobes and cushions), Toko Bead (delicate silver and gold plate charms and pieces on fine cord), Warung Wayan (mini Bali baskets, cool leather shoes, wooden spoons and whitewashed wood statues), and Neru (mini gallery/store of artifacts and art from across Indonesia. The mini Balinese paintings are beautiful).
If you are thirsty, grab a fresh juice at the Atman Hydrate Bar. This street also has some beautiful temples. Don’t go in unless you are dressed appropriately, but there are lovely views from over the walls.
Lunch time (or lazy time) in either Kebun Bistro (http://kebunbistro.com/ ) or Kafe. Sister restaurants sitting side by side, you can either try the French café lunch (glass of wine, pasta, farmers board) or the classic yogi lunch (virtuous salads and raw, healthy plates).
Time to head back up Hanoman, on the other side this time. So many beautiful shops here. Lem Viet (http://www.lemviet-bali.com/ ) is always good, especially for more masculine leather products and great cotton t-shirts. Amplop is also interesting with graphic t-shirts (camels, motorcycles, cars, other assorted boy things) and canvas totes and satchels. It’s right next to a retro looking barbershop called Edward’s. Actually, come to think of it, Hanoman is a pretty good street for guys to explore and shop on.
Right around here are two of Ubud’s oldest salons, Nur (since the 1970s) and Bodyworks. Probably the most wallet-friendly and established places in Ubud to experience a traditional cream bath (divine head massage with deep conditioning for your hair).
At this stage, you probably don’t want to ruin the cream bath happiness, but if you want to, keep going up the left hand side of Hanoman until you find Clear, Ubud’s famous raw foodie haven, which also has a shop selling packaged healthy/nutty/fruity/raw snacks if you are feeling hungry. Otherwise, order a juice, open that book you bought earlier at Adi’s, and enjoy the end of the day.