Moving inland from the coastal town of Sanur to Ubud we experience a different side of Bali life. In the last few years Ubud has become ever more popular following the book and subsequent film release Eat, Pray, Love. The film, based a true story, follows the life of a recently single 30 something chick who travels to Italy, India and Bali to ‘find herself’ and to follow the teachings of Ketut, Ubud’s medicine man.

The residents of Ubud are certainly cashing in on its new-found fame and in addition to ‘Eat Pray Love’ memorabilia found in the tourist shops offer numerous tours to visit Ketut the medicine man (who now charges $25 per visit – the average weekly Balinese wage), and locations where the filming took place.

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia - Ubud

the green paddy fields at the back of our bungalow

Having read the book and watched the film (which was a disappointment) the similarities are follows:

  • Beautiful lush rice paddy fields surrounding Ubud – superb walks.
  • Very warm happy people
  • Laid back hippy vibe with chilled out coffee shops and bars

What they omitted from the film:

  • That you can’t walk more than 20 feet without being hassled for a taxi – ‘taxi yes, maybe tomorrow, yes, yes?’
  • The pavements are amongst the worst that we’ve experienced so far in Asia (this is something you wouldn’t notice if you’re not trying to push a buggy up, over, around, down them).
  • The hundreds of identical tourist shops selling useless clatch*

* Jez’ word for collectable junk

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia - Ubud

'The boy' practices some walking fully clothed!

Although our homestay was fairly central it was tucked away up a little path away from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets. Our little bungalow backed directly onto the paddy fields with really pretty views.  It was a great find and the family that ran it were real characters.

It was here in our homestay that ‘the boy’ developed his newly found walking skills. To begin with he would only walk naked. We decided he would need to progress from this stage to be able to have a chance of integrating into society, so day by day another item of clothing was added to his body.  Unlike the UK where he would have practised his wobbly walk on carpet, softening the fall, he had to learn the hard way on either concrete slabs or a tiled floor. Needless to say he has a few wounds to show for it.

And now the fun begins. Unlike the film where Julia Roberts spends days relaxing in the paddy fields writing or reading a good book, I’m running around the paddy fields chasing after a baby who’s getting too fast too quickly. Now I’m finally beginning to understand the true meaning of ‘running around after the kids’

I wonder if Ketut could give me some worldly advice on how to slow him down?

backpacking with a baby in SE Asia - Ubud

Lotus flower

Top tip of the day:
Now’s the time to add Savlon or a similar brand of antiseptic cream to your day-pack emergency kit as bumps and grazes are inevitable. Hygiene levels aren’t always high when traveling so the quicker you can pop some antiseptic on the better.