Watching the movie Eat, Pray, Love, Julia Roberts has made millions across the globe wish for a vacation similar to the one she experiences. In a search for balance and harmony, it showcases the main character and the author of the book, Elizabeth Gilbert, spending a year travelling to Italy, India and finally Bali for self-fulfilment.
The book and the movie have made Ubud where a majority of it was picturised one of the major tourist destinations in Bali. With tons of “Eat, Pray, Love” tours taking you around to the different locations in the movie, the entire experience can turn out to be quite touristy. However, if you want to skip the overcrowded tours and experience your own Eat, Pray, Love moment, here is a guide on exploring the best of Bali’s cultural capital.
People in Eat, Pray, Love
The two main characters shown in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love are hugely popular in Bali and sought after by a large number of fans. Ketut Liyer, the inspirational friend of Gilbert passed away in 2016. However, after the book came out, there was a huge demand from Westerners to meet him. For a fee of US$25 or more, they were given predictions in a public session. You can, however, visit the Liyer compound, just south of Ubud, which was used in the movie. The other star, Wayan Nuriasah still operates an extremely successful palm-reading business as shown in the movie on the northern edge of the town centre. Various travellers over the years have given varying assessments of her services however.
Locations in Eat, Pray, Love
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
When it comes to the searching for the most iconic location used in the movie, few places can beat the charm of the Tegalalang Rice Terraces. Located near Bali’s east coast, it provides stunning views of the rice terraces especially during the early morning before the crowds arrive. You can also find locals there allowing you to pose or take pictures for a small fee.
Ubud Traditional Art Market
Another popular attraction is the Ubud Market which is located right in the town centre. A lot more crowded than shown in the movie, it is still worth a visit to witness the local artisans in action. This traditional art market is also the perfect place to shop for authentic and traditional Balinese art to take back home for friends and family.
Padang Padang Beach
One Eat, Pray, Love location that is not in Ubud is Padang Padang Beach. Located near the famous Uluwatu Monkey Temple near the southern tip of Bali. The beach, in reality, is much more attractive than the sort of bland version shown in the film. Its proximity to Kuta and Seminyak make this beach a popular choice among tourists for a visit here to witness the stunning sunset Bali is known for.
You can even stay at one of the Eat, Pray, Love locations used in the movie a just Rs. 3000 a night. Rooms at Villa Ibu Rama Ubud are shockingly inexpensive considering just how many people have wanted to stay here since the movie released about a decade ago. While, this is an option, there are plenty of other villas to stay in as less as Rs. 5,000 in Ubud with your own private pool and butler services.
Experiencing your own Eat, Pray, Love moments
The movie and the book may have focused on just the Love part for Bali, but there’s plenty here for the other elements as well.
Eat: Head over to the popular cafes here for a taste of local nasi goreng or a sip of the legendary cocktails that Bali is famous for. From themed restaurants to vegan options, there is plenty for you to explore
Pray: Being the cultural capital of Bali, there are plenty of enriching activities for you to explore in Ubud. Visit one of the oldest temples complexes in Bali at Gunung Kawi with its stunning rock-cut shrines or take a short meditation and yoga course at one of the retreats Ubud is known for.
Love: There is plenty of scope for romance in Bali. Fall in the love with the sunset view at Pura Luhur Ulu Watu Temple perched atop a sheer cliff top and get mesmerised by hundreds of dancers performing the traditional Kecak dance here at sunset. You can also head out for a day trip to the tiny Gili Meno island nearby where the author ends her book and spend a relaxing day, diving and snorkelling on this sandy paradise.
Even though Ubud has become touristy and overcrowded in the last few years, as the movie says, it is the place to come to heal and take good care of yourself!
‘Curated by Neha Bhise’