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10 writer-friendly cafes in Ubud

Supposedly, being a writer is about being mentally prepared for rejection. Either by publishers, readers or waiters. Here's the case. You're on vacation in Ubud, but you still have deadlines that can't be missed. As you open your laptop in public, people around you start giving you that bitchy stare like those “it” girls at school. You probably act like you don't care, but what you need is “workcation” amenities. So, before rejection kills you, these writer-friendly cafes will help you relax to get down with your laptop and a cup of coffee to writing the first draft of a novel, sexy lyrics, a dirty diary or whatever you want to write. But before we walk down the streets, let me give you my definition of a “writer-friendly café”: varied prices ranging from cheapy to pricey in one location, relaxed waiters that still smile if you only order a single cup of coffee, comfortable seats and cozy from the couch to the gazebo and, of course, free WiFi -- hey, in the end we still need the Internet to send in our work, right? If your head kept nodding while you read the above list, join me as I explore Ubud from the west. Bambu Indah When I visited Bambu Indah for the first time, I was mesmerized by the setting of its restaurant and the breathtaking view. It's obviously more than just a boutique hotel. Best to go in the afternoon to enjoy sunset with a bowl of ice-cream or a glass of Chardonnay. Location: Sayan Delish dish: Balinese grilled tempeh satay. Sexy writing spot: A gazebo overlooking the Ayung River. Cafe Vespa You can hang out here with any of your friends, as they serve cuisine from Japanese to Lebanese and from sushi to hummus, either vegetarian or meatarian. Location: Penestanan Delish dish: Cheese platter & vegetable stack. Please also try their herbal teas: lemongrass and spices or Rooibos. Sexy writing spot: A long table in the corner of the room; you might get to sit next to a good-looking fellow customer. Kopi Desa Kopi Desa offers typical family comfort. The ambience gives you the sense of visiting an uncle's house in a quiet village. Make sure you slip your shoes off before entering the room. Their bookshelves will give your brain ammunition if you get lazy—oops, I mean writer's block. Location: Penestanan Delish dish: Mixed vegetable omelet & mocha coffee. Sexy writing spot: Couch on the terrace. Round Bar From Kopi Desa, follow the street signs to Ubud main road. Don’t forget your best shoes or your motorbike handling skills, because you will have to climb a steep uphill road. It was a little scary for me when I first rode my motorbike here, but now I find this road a pleasurable way to get a rollercoaster ride. Hey, watch out for the Round Bar, they're on the right side of Jl. Penestanan. I love their recycled chairs & traditional pizzas. And their reggae playlist makes me feel like I’m in a beach bar. Location: Penestanan Delish dish: Pizza and the bodhi salad. Accompanied by a watermelon mojito (30% off cocktails in the afternoon). Sexy writing spot: At the round table that surrounds the bar. Dapurku You might know this street as Ubud’s main road. When you see the colorful paper lanterns and pennants between Guardian and Jl. Tirta Tawar, time to slow down, that’s Dapurku’s decoration. Go on in and get your laptop out. Dapurku offers delightful self-service Sundanese cuisine such as grilled or deep-fried freshwater fish with a Jakarta twist: rice cooked in coconut milk dish (nasi uduk). And on top of that: free rice crackers with your meal. Location: Raya Ubud Delish dish: Rib soup after 3 p.m. Sexy writing spot: A chairless table where you can sit on a floor mat (lesehan) overlooking the street. But if you're superhungry, choose a table near the buffet. Abe Do Organic From Dapurku, go east and turn left onto Jl. Tirta Tawar. This is my favorite cycle route, as the road is very smooth and quite. You also get a heavenly view of rice fields. Abe Do is a small cafe, so visit them at off-peak hours and get ready for a taste of Balinese fusion cuisine. Location: Tirta Tawar Delish dish: Sweet sticky spicy tofu and grilled chicken. Sexy writing spot: The table facing the front door. Kebun Bistro From Tirta Tawar, let's go back west through Raya Ubud, then turn left onto Jl. Hanoman. I feel like a Parisian when I hang out at Kebun Bistro. The place has a French vibe, from their chandeliers, chairs and window frames to, of course, the cuisine, J'aime beaucoup l’endroit. Location: Hanoman Delish dish: French onion soup and Moroccan lamb shanks. Sexy writing spot: Outdoor table. Close your laptop though, let's write with a real pen in a real notebook. Kafe I know the name is tricky; that's why I secretly call this place “Kafe Hanoman”. Kafe is located only 2 meters from Kebun Bistro. They have a varied choice of cold and hot dishes served in a comfortable atmosphere. Location: Hanoman Delish dish: Pesto and herb feta. With extra olive oil, please. Sexy writing spot: Second-floor balcony. Pizza Bagus From Hanoman, let's head directly south, and stay alert for Pizza Bagus on the right side of the street. And I must agree with all my heart, their pizza tastes bagus (good), and is affordable. They also have a gourmet deli where you can find imported delights along with local powdered herbs. Location: Raya Pengosekan Delish dish: Any kind of pizza with extra extra mozzarella. Sexy writing spot: At the urban table near the entrance door. Warung Sopa From Raya Pengosekan, go straight to the south and turn right onto Nyuh Kuning Street. Slow down, as Warung Sopa is very near the intersection, on the right side of Jl. Nyuh Kuning. Warung Sopa is the type of warung that would make me willing to be forever vegetarian. They also host an organic market every Wednesday morning. And here’s an extra indulgence for you: you can get a Balinese massage and foot reflexology right next to the warung. Location: Nyuh Kuning Delish dish: Fried spring roll (lumpia) with raw Balinese sambal (sambal matah). Sexy writing spot: On a lesehan in the corner of the room. So that's my final pick of Ubud’s 10 most writer-friendly cafes. Please beware though, with all those delicious distractions, your deadlines could come second. Happy wr(eat)ing, folks!
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Wow, great ideas. Thanks @onesmile
I love that these each include a "sexy writing spot!" @hikaymm Plan your next trip using something like this :) You'll definitely be able to get some writing done then!!
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Magnificent Madakaripura
If you don’t take a picture it never happened, or so it seems nowadays with the popularity of selfies and all and sundry owning a selfie stick. But with the popularity of most tourist sites it’s hard to get a composition that doesn’t include someone in the background. However, Madakaripura falls provides an all-natural backdrop without another soul for miles. Dubbed as the final meditation place of Gajah Mada, the elephant general of the Majapahit Empire, a visit to the misty, streaming falls is the ideal post-Mount Bromo excursion: It offers a much less strenuous experience than climbing up the 250 steps to the sulfur caldera. The falls are located roughly 35 kilometers from Bromo near a village called Sapih and can be reached via Jl. Raya Bromo to Lumbang on the way to Probolinggo. It is a pleasant ride — ideally on motorcycle — on which you will find yourself unconsciously pressing the brakes as the villages you pass on the snaking mountainous roads are enshrouded in lush and equally mesmerizing greenery. Five kilometers away from the waterfall’s parking lot a man will appear from what seems to be a bus stop and will charge the entrance fee of Rp 3,000 (3 US cent). A narrow dirt road flanked by banana and durian trees along with casuarina and some colorful apiaries will lead you to another “check point” which is unchecked and abandoned with a permanently raised barrier. From there, it is another kilometer to the stall-laden parking lot with a statue of the great Gajah Mada in the lotus position and an empty fountain sitting dryly right in the middle of it. Be assertive and be on your guard. No sooner than alighting and touts will hound you. The trail however is quite visible making the falls easily accessible. A guide is in fact not necessary but if you choose one — or passively allow one to latch on to you — the cost will range anywhere from Rp 100,000. There have been instances of groups being charged over Rp 400,000, an outrageous price especially for a local doing nothing more than hold your hand when crossing the river. Negotiating is as advisable as bringing common sense since the area is still wild and mildly challenging to get through. You may have to cross the river about five times in total so proper footwear is essential as some rocks are deceivingly slippery. En route you will also encounter a number of stalls selling fried bananas, kopi panas (hot coffee) and tempeh (fermented soya bean cake) as well as hawkers selling ponchos for the stretch of trail which is rained on by bigger streams of cold and refreshing water. Do bring your own raincoat, unless you don’t mind getting drenched and riding home using the wind as your natural blow dryer. After a kilometer trek you will find yourself wading anywhere from shin-deep ripples to a mid-chest pool before getting to the lagoon, the hidden reward for your hard work. This last step requires clambering over a crest of rocks. There, the 200 meter-high waterfalls reveals itself in full showing how the canyon is really like a special chamber of sorts of all things natural. Apart from the several waterfall cascades, when light pours in at the appropriate time of day it illuminates the basin making the cliff’s fauna even brighter and more vibrant in color. The rushing water makes it difficult to hear and the large boulders lining the river are reminiscent of dinosaur eggs. It isn’t recommended to visit during the wet season as the water gets pretty muddy and the risk of flooding and landslides are much greater. Though we didn’t see any macaque monkeys, I heard that in fact it’s a good thing—they sometimes toss rocks off the cliff’s edge. But don’t worry, helmets are not required and if they were, I’m sure there would be several hawkers renting them out for a nominal fee. Finding yourself away from the frenzy of shutter-pressing tourists will make you really appreciate the pristine waterfalls and the feeling of being like Indiana Jones trekking right into the heart of the jungle. Crossing barefoot a river and pushing through branches sticking out into the pathway, your only obstacle to good times and people-free selfies!