Ubud is sometimes referred to as the heart of Bali’s culture. That’s debatable but one thing is for sure, it does have enough stuff for an interesting ‘culture oriented’ day trip. One of the little packages that is user friendly and perfect for people on a short time line is Pura Saraswati and Cafe Lotus.
Located behind Cafe Lotus is Pura Saraswati, dedicated to the goddess of water and learning. Pura Saraswati was built by stone carver and architect Gusti Nyoman Lempad (also an artist), who was hired by the Sukawati royal family. Visiting the temple is easy, just walk through the restaurant and down the center of the lotus pond. Be sure to wear a sarong and sash in observance of the religious significance. Inside the temple are the usual structures with some variations. There is also some of Lempad’s artwork including a carved shrine decoration in the NE corner of the inner courtyard, and the padmasana (Lotus throne dedicated to the Supreme deity, Sanghyang Widi Wasa) is covered in rock carvings.
If you want to check out Pura Saraswati, its located on Jl. Raya Ubud, at the top of Monkey Forest Rd to the right. Twice a week (Tuesdays and Saturdays) you can dine while watching performances of traditional Balinese dances and gamelan orchestras.
Here’s what the menu looks like at Cafe Lotus:
•Lunch Recommendation – including Smoked Marlin (with Balinese style seaweed salad, made with garlic, shallots, shredded coconut, chilies, sesame oil), with creamed radish crostini, for 30,000rp
•Salads & Appetizers – including Crab & Prawn Rolls (made with crab meat, prawns, bean sprouts, coriander, lime juice, fish sauce and mint dip) for 27,000rp
•Soups – including Cream of Mushroom, for 20,000rp
•Balinese & Indonesian Favourites – including Ayam Sisit (shredded breast of chicken, seasoned with Balinese spices, served with ‘sayur lodeh‘, which are vegetables cooked in coconut milk. Its spicy. For 40,000rp
•Pasta & Risotto – including Seafood Ravioli (fresh seafood, served in a light curry sauce, with prawns and leek) for 41,000rp.
•Fish & Seafood – including Grilled Gindara (Butterfish) Fillets (on pisang (banana) dansabo with Indonesia-style shrimp sauce and snow peas) for 47,000rp.
•Fowl & Meats – including Babi Bagus (grilled basil and garlic marinated pork cutlet, served with sauteed fresh champignons and mashed potatoes) for 40,000rp
I didn’t see a dessert menu. Maybe you have to ask for it separately. Cafe Lotus seems a good place for a drink or lunch and is a popular place for people to take late afternoon tea.
The heat of Bali may get to some people at first, so having the temple next to a place where you can find shade, food and drink is very convenient. Energetic visitors may like spend a late afternoon at this location ( the most pleasant time), after visiting one of Ubud’s many fine galleries, such as the Neka or ARMA.