All-natural experience provides food for your body and mind
SMALL galleries dot many of Ubud’s main streets. Massage and spa treatments abound. The smell of incense from Hindu temples, large and small, seems to follow you everywhere. Everything here is about art and ambience. Clear Cafe, on Jalan Hanoman, is the embodiment of Ubud’s unique atmosphere. I’m told to leave my thongs outside and enter through the circular front door, which is made from intricately carved wood and looks like something from a Tolkien novel. Inside there are koi ponds, walls of flowing plants and a timber spiral staircase built from gnarled wood that needs to be seen to be believed. The food itself is equally impressive. “Clean food for clean minds” is its motto and the all-natural ingredients are sourced only from local Balinese farmers. I drink a Diamond Detox (mint and ginger) and eat the Trinity Hummus Plate (black bean, roasted red pepper and zucchini tahini dips with pita bread and flaxseed crackers), then the Sunshine Tuna (seared tuna with a tamarind sauce, wasabi mash and greens) and finish with the Mudslide Raw Pie (cashew chocolate cream, vanilla bean and cacao in a choc-coconut crust). All as delicious as it is healthy. The Ubud area is also renowned for its scenic spoils. The famed Monkey Forest is worth a visit, as much for its beauty as the resident macaques. Just hope you can find a secluded corner away from the crowds. The Campuhan Ridge walk is another worthy escape, taking you past the Pura Gunung Lebah Hindu temple, along the Wos River and into sweeping rice fields.—
MONKEY BUSINESS: Monkeys in Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest.