Our first stop on our trip in Bali was the town of Ubud, nestled in the mountains amongst rice fields and jungle. It is the cultural centre of Bali and is a great place to start a trip to Bali!
In and around Ubud
The main crossroads where Monkey Forest Road meets Jl. Raya Ubud is considered the centre of Ubud and a good base to explore from. Ubud is filled with beautiful temples to explore with fantastic architecture. Head to the quieter ones to get the place to yourself! Ubud is also filled with shops so is a good place to buy souvenirs!
Where to stay
Ubud has accommodation for all budgets – from cheap home stays to luxury hotels. We chose a mid-range budget of about £25/night and found a great little place called Ketut’s Place. It is a home stay where the family live there too but it had all the facilities of a hotel but with a very personal feel, with family pets wandering around and a family temple in the centre. It is a series of little cottages set in lush, tropical gardens with porches where you can sit and enjoy a beer or a coffee, this was the view from ours. Oh how I miss sitting here and hearing the sounds of the jungle while I ate my fruit salad and sipped on Balinese coffee.
A must-have in my opinion is to get a hotel with a pool for relaxing by in the heat of the day. We loved ours and spent alot of time here reading our books.
One of my favourite things about our hotel was the statues draped in flowers eveyrwhere. One thing you will see alot in Ubud, both at your hotel and on the streets are these floral offerings. In particular Canang Sari, little boxes made of leaves filled with flowers and rice. These are thanks to the gods for the blessings that have been given. This everyday thankfulness served as a constant reminder to be grateful and I loved it. Our hosts at the hotel welcomed any questions we had on their culture or religion so I would encourage you to ask about things you want to know more about, as we did, to learn more about the amazing Balinese culture.
What to do
There is no shortage of things to do in Ubud. In fact the reason we went there first on our trip was because I wanted our first few days to be action packed with activities and then to a beach after to chill out! If you want busy days with enough time in the afternoon to relax by the pool, allow four days here to give you time to pack it all in!
- Sacred Monkey Forest – the main tourist attraction in Ubud town, this is a jungle temple where grey haired, greedy macaques parade around ready to steal banana from your pockets at the nearest opportunity. But it makes for a great morning out and some great photo opps. Head to a nearby cafe after to cool off with an iced latte.
- Rice field cycle tour – there are lots of different cycle tours on offer, some specialising in eco-tourism and they are a great way to explore the countryside, especially if you don’t want to rent a moped like us! Just go into any tourist shop and book your tour!
- Sunrise hike of Mount Batur – a climb through the night, arriving at the top of a volcano in time for a spectacular sunrise – what is there not to love!
There were a few things we didn’t end up doing but wish we had had the time/energy to do!
- Yoga – Ubud has always been famous for its yoga retreats. Yoga Barn came highly recommended to us for sunset yoga for about £5 a class.
- Cookery courses – the one thing I was very disappointed we didnt do as we were so exhausted from other activities. Cafe Wayan was where we had planned to go and while I can’t give a review of here, it came recommended to us so I’m sure it is great.
- Traditional dances – the days we were in Ubud, all the traditional dances were cancelled due to religious celebrations going on in the town. The Kecak and Barong dances are famous and tickets are cheap.
Where to eat and drink
Ubud is filled with delicious restaurants and bars to suit all budgets. Food to try is the Pepe Ikan, fish in Balinese spices cooked in a banana leave and chicken satay, which I ate for most meals as it was so delicious! The average meal price at a nice place is about £3 with a beer about £1. The cocktails were incredible though – a little more expensive but more than worth it! Places I recommend are Araya Sate Bar, Legend Cafe and Terazo.
I hope you enjoy my little guide to Ubud and if you have any questions, just ask!