by Mila Shwaiko
Welcome to a totally biased hour-by-hour ramble through Ubud’s streets. This edition is focusing on Jalan Dewi Sita. Linking Jalan Hanoman and Jalan Monkey Forest, it is often the street you get stuck in with your car as you try to navigate Ubud’s one way streets. Luckily, it is also one of the best window-shopping streets. But I digress; we are here to walk.
Start at the west end. You know you are in the right place if you can see the football field. Head into Tutmak (http://www.tutmak.com/)to start the morning with coffee while you check email with the free WIFI. Breakfasts are fabulous and best enjoyed from the seats facing the football field.
Keep to the south side of the street. Head past the cherry red classic car parked in front of Café Havana (http://cafehavanabali.com/). If it’s Friday, plan on coming back at night for their incredible mojitos and salsa lessons.
Keep wandering and check out the stores. Cross the river (one of many that Ubud is built on top of) and, if you feel lazy/indulgent/inclined, stop in at Reflexology Bali for a 30-minute foot treatment in the big white treatment chairs.
Head up the hill until you find Kado (http://www.saraswatipapers.com/), one of Ubud’s most unique stores. Their handmade paper (100% recycled) products are incredible. Cards, notebooks, leather bound books, photo albums, and tissue paper with Bali motifs, modern patterns, metallic finishes or dried flowers. They even have a line made from elephant poo, courtesy of the Safari Park.
Keep going to the top of the street, until you meet the beautiful piece of street art proclaiming she is tired of being exotic. Now cross over to the other (north side) and make your way into Atun Leather, the best leather shop in Ubud. Buy a bag or wallet here and you will have people asking you where you got it all the time. Well-made and gorgeous designs from a local craftsman and designer.
The next place to spend even more money is at Blue Stone Botanicals (http://www.bluestonenaturals.com/). This is the most delicious range of aromatherapy and body products you have ever smelled, all made with local Indonesian essential oils, and palm oil free. The muscle-soothing balm is miraculous, as are the aromatherapy sprays for combating the Ubud damp smells.
A little further down is Ali’s, a wonderful antique store with real and replica items. Look for metal hairpins, painted glass pictures, batik, and ceramics. Pak Ali will tell you where everything is from.
Keep going. From paper, to leather, and essential oils, we go to silver and gold at Yin (http://www.yinjewelryforthesoul.com/). I have never taken anyone into the shop who hasn’t bought something. They have gorgeous capsule collections for the minimalist, the yogini, the gem collector and everyone in between. Their gold-plated range is especially stunning. Check out the collection called Mule, a result of a special project working with prisoners at Kerobokan Jail.
This next strip of the road has two of my favorite shops: Indigo and Ilm. Indigo has natural indigo dye products and clothing (indigo isn’t just blue, by the way) and Ilm has some great baskets and light clothing in beautiful cottons.
Hungry yet? If so, there are two places to choose from. The brand new Locavore (95% local produce, European cuisine in a Scandinavian inspired setting) or the classic Batan Waru (http://www.batanwaru.com/ ) for a big range of Indonesian food. Es cendol and nasi campur! Don’t forget to take a look at the beautiful replica botanical prints on the walls.
Hope you still have money left in your wallet. Next stop is Malu. A sweet, tiny store with plain cotton shift dresses, fine beaded bracelets and baskets. Japanese influences are strong here. Next on the street is a store devoted completely to beaten aluminum boxes, trays and other homewares with Balinese patterns. Then go into Kou, a soap store that in high season has lines out the door. The mint and tuberose versions are fabulous.
If you still have strength/financial capacity, take a look at Tn. Parrot. A line of high quality (and expensive) T-shirts celebrating Ubud and Bali. “Ubud, Est 8th Century” is one of the best designs.
You should be back where you started now. The football field often has something happening on it. Even if the kids are just practising soccer, hang around and enjoy the green space. Here ends another totally biased guide. It’s by no means a catalogue of everything on this street, so take your time and explore.