A collection of short stories, essays, blog-posts and photographs from Ubud, Bali.

The Ubud Handbook « The Other Side of the Coin

IBU KETUT'S LATE. She's normally at my house by 10 in the morning: I'm the second job of the day. After me, she'll spend another eight hours cooking in the kitchen of a five-star Ubud hotel to support her seven children.

It's a great life if you don't weaken.

She starts sweeping, and I notice she's limping. There's a spreading bruise and an angry graze running past her knee and onto her calf. She wants to carry on cleaning: I sit her down and ask her what happened.

She's shy; I press.

– "I got to the market at about 4am. It was still dark. I'd stopped at the side of the road and I was just about to get off my motorbike when two white girls on a scooter came speeding down the road. They were laughing and the motorcycle was going from left to right. Then they came straight towards me and crashed right into me. I fell off, and my 'bike fell over. It was strange, because there was nobody on the road except us.

"I was stunned. They got up, picked up their scooter and started to leave.

"I didn't want to stop them. I was already hurt. I didn't want more problems. But a friend of mine heard the crash and dashed out to stop the girls from leaving. He asked them to pay for the damage to my motorbike. At first, they didn't want to pay. But my friend insisted, and they gave me Rp.200,000 and drove away.

"I went to the bengkel – the motorcycle mechanic – down the road after I finished work and I paid them Rp.550,000 to get my 'bike fixed. Then I went to the puskesmas – the community health centre – and I paid another Rp.150,000 for my leg."

Her 'bike still makes a squeaking sound.

But it's a small price to pay for a good night out.

© 2020 John Storey.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

Other Tales of Getting Around from The Ubud Handbook

It's Silly Season Again

I'M WAITING FOR a friend on Jalan Suweta in Central Ubud. Three young Scandinavian women are at the side of the road clinching a deal on their new scooter rentals. They mount, and look non-plussed as they hunt for the ignition. The rental lady demonstrates how to switch their motorbikes on.

It really doesn't bode well...

[ ... » Read on... » ]


Surviving Bali on a 'Bike

CHRISTINA IS A SAVVY 60-year-old American who's come to Ubud to set up nest. She's never ridden a motorbike before and has already fallen off twice in two weeks.

– "I've just learned how to turn left," she says, "without feeling as if I'm going to tip over..."

[ ... » Read on... » ]


© 2020 John Storey.

The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

The Last Word

Portrait of the Day

Portraits from Bali by Ubud High

© 2020 Ubud High.


The Ubud Handbook by John Storey

© 2020 John Storey. All rights reserved.


The Ubud Handbook

The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell.

Chapters & Extracts

The Ubud Handbook will be published as a paperback, iBook and e-book on November 11, 2020.

Feel free to enjoy 12 of the 42 chapters. Have fun, and keep reading.


Culture Bites

Cinema Paradiso


Religion Matters

An American Calonarang

The Tale of Ganesha the Globetrotter (Excerpt)


Getting Around

It's Silly Season Again

The Other Side of the Coin

Surviving Bali on a 'Bike


Personal Stories

Diary of a Market Girl


Food Talk

The King of Stink


Tourism & Self-Enrichment

Eat, Pray, Self-Love

The Land of Self-Healing and Snake Oil

From Ubud With Love


Holidays from the Jungle

The Heads of Trunyan

A Line in the Sand (Excerpt)


The Ubud Handbook

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell.

THE UBUD HANDBOOK ~ Your guide to living in Ubud and Bali in a nutshell

And finally, the weather

Today's forecast for Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Check here for your 7-day weather forecast for Ubud and Bali.