When people think of Bali they dream of beaches, rice fields, monkey forests and waterfalls. As a destination Bali has everything you could ask for. For our Balinese adventure we decided to base ourselves in the town of Ubud. Just a 60 minute drive (depending on traffic) north of Denpasar airport this Balinese town has a lot to offer.
Ubud is much more laid back than the party beach resorts of Kuta and Seminyak. We were looking for a quiet affordable hotel where we could experience Balinese culture and relax, which is exactly what we got.
Ubud is famous for its Sacred Monkey Forest, rice fields and yoga studios. It really is a picturesque as it sounds. A town where traditional Balinese culture is prominent on every street and around every corner, where colourful offerings embellish the streets and where the soothing ensemble of gamelan (traditional Balinese music) is the soundtrack to everyday life.
In terms of accommodation, Ubud has everything from hostel dorms to 5 star hotel and everything in-between. We stayed a five minutes drive out of the town centre at Bakung Resort. This hotel had a peaceful setting, surrounded by rice fields and away from the hustle and bustle of the tourist attractions. The hotel also provided a free shuttle bus to and from town.
When it comes to culture Ubud has it by the bucket loads with so many sights to see in a such a small radius. The number one must see sight in the town of Ubud is the Sacred Monkey Forrest. Situated in a nature reserve and Hindu temple the Sacred Monkey Forest is home to around 700 monkeys. Be careful, the monkeys are known thieves and can get aggressive. There are several guidelines when visiting the monkey forest, all of which are there for your own safety such as: do not run, do not look the monkeys in the eye, do not bring food, do not touch the monkeys and do not feed the monkeys. Follow theses guidelines and you shouldn’t have any issues, we didn’t.
For something a little calmer, take some time soak up history and culture at the Water Palace and be sure to check out Ubud Palace, which hosts traditional music and dance performances each night.
If you are looking to keep yourself occupied during your time in Ubud we can assure you that wont run out of things to do. Take some time to explore the never ending central market on Japan Raya where you will find everything from clothing, home furnishings to souvenirs, just be prepared to bargain with he vendors.
If you are looking to unwind why not check out one of the many yoga classes Ubud has to offer. One thing Ubud is famous for is its yoga studios, it is a must do while in town. We took a yoga class at Yoga Sarawati Ubud. The class was excellent and we really recommend it.
Located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the Gianyar regency Ubud is every nature lovers dream. The Campuhan ridge walk is a beautiful trail located near the town centre. It is the ideal escape from traffic. There are a few hills along the trail, but it is an easy walk with breathtaking views over the rice fields.
If you are looking to tick the famous Tegalalang rice fields off your bucket list then hop on a scooter or jump in a taxi. Just a 20 minute drive from Ubud and you will arrive at the at the lush green rice terrace. Hike your way up and down the terrace and through the winding paths. Take in the sights, the views are magnificent.
To cool down after exploring the rice fields why not stop off at Tangkup waterfall. This waterfall is short of a hidden gem. When we arrived we were the only tourist there. The owner is super friendly and her son will guide you through the rocky stream and over the handmade bamboo bridges to reach the waterfall. Entrance is free but donations are appreciated.
If your looking to unwind and relax there are many great and affordable spas in Ubud. Getting a massage is a popular Ubud activity. We may have sightly over indulged during our time in Ubud but it was worth it. We recommend Boreh Pijat and get the Balinese massage while you are there.
Ubud has many beautiful restaurants situated in the middle of the rice fields. For a peaceful dinner setting we recommend you check out Orange Warung which is in walking distance from Ubud and Labak Sari Warung which will require a scooter or taxi to get there, but trust us it is worth it!
For another interesting restaurant setting, check out Sun Sun Warung. Located in the centre of Ubud. This restaurant is in a traditional Balinese style home. For a true Bali eating experience, kick off your shoes and get comfortable on the floor cushions.
For a detailed guide into Balinese food check out a previous blog post “10 Foods to Try in Bali“.
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