A tug-of-war between tourism and tradition

Treasure throve of all things mystical – that is Ubud. I was initially skeptical about visiting Ubud as I’m not a fan of competing with throngs of tourists, especially when I’m on a holiday. But Ubud proved me wrong, despite the busy traffic at certain times of the day and the never ending shops along the Main Street, Monkey Forest road, Hanoman Street, and Dewi Sita Street are the hidden back lanes that lead to vast green paddy fields that make a ready escape.

This little town holds dear to its traditions and so I observed. One afternoon we biked around and found ourselves stuck in traffic of people along Monkey Forest road. A good long line of nearly 1km of cars, bikes and people were sardine on the streets in gridlock. We waited patiently for it to pass and found out that a funeral procession was taking place. Family and friends of the deceased were walking the final march into Monkey Forest for the burial. Evidently, despite Ubud being a tourist hotspot, locals still went about their necessary traditions – even if it means causing a mad traffic jam.

Laid back as it is, I found old and young men sitting together with their fighter chickens chatting the afternoon away. While their wives watch over the children, men gather in the way they know best, chats and cock fights.

Religion also defines their culture, steep in religious beliefs, offerings are presented to their gods daily and scents of burning incense lingers in the air. Good luck charms are places at shops entrances, walkways and byways.

And in the midst of all this authenticity are hotels, cozy cafes, massage spas, cooking schools, clothing shops and art galleries polka dotted along uneven pathways. It is a mix of pleasant chaos where every Balinese supports one another to get an extra buck or two from the foreigner. Yours truly.

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A tug-of-war between tourism and tradition | Journey With Deb

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