Definitely one of the most beautiful and unforgettable spots on the island, I would describe Ubud as being more ‘authentic’ Bali. The Western influence is still present but also holds more of a traditional than Canggu/Seminyak. Ubud is host to some of Bali’s most iconic landscapes and is known as the spiritual home of the island. We spent 3 nights exploring Ubud, but could have easily stayed longer.
WHERE TO STAY: Amazing exclusive airbnb’s overlooking the rice paddies, hostels in the hustle and bustle, quiet family homestay’s - Ubud has it all! For our first night we stayed at Lokasari Bungalows, which for £12 a night for 2 people was unreal. The room had a king size bed and en suite, and the included breakfast of banana pancakes and freshly brewed coffee was an added bonus.
After our stay here we wanted to move closer to the centre of Ubud, and so checked into Wayan’s family homestay which was so cute and a lot more central. We were well looked after by the family and would highly recommend to anyone looking for an homely place to stay in Ubud.
If you would rather not rent a scooter (Ubud is probably the busiest and scariest place to drive around) then make sure you book a place walking distance to the main street (Jalan. Suweta) or basically anywhere close to the Monkey Forest. Some of the hostels in Ubud are genuinely as cheap as £3 per night!
WHAT TO DO:
Mount Batur sunrise Trek - Although hesitant after our last volcano trek in Guatemala, we promised ourselves this one wouldn’t be as bad. We woke at 2am to start the drive north to the base of Mount Batur. The walk up takes around 2.5/3 hours, and is a climb of 1717m. We got up there at 5am, 1.5 hours before sunrise so it was pretty chilly and extremely dark! When the sun came up, it was absolutely breathtaking. The pictures say it all really. It was 100% worth the early wake up, and for anybody visiting Ubud it is a must do. We booked directly through Pineh Private Bali Tours, which was amazing as it was significantly cheaper (650.000/£35) and we were so well fed and looked after.
Visit the rice paddies - about 20 minutes scooter from the centre you arrive at the Tegalalang rice fields, the most famous ones in the area. You can have a wander round, grab a fresh coconut whilst taking in the amazing view, and even hop on the swing for that classic insta pic. Release your inner Julia Roberts in “Eat, Pray, Love”, where she speeds around the rice fields on a scooter and falls in love in Bali.
Go to Jungle Fish - I think this was up there top of the list of my favourite days in Bali. Jungle Fish is an infinity pool situated bang in the middle of the Ubud Jungle. You have to pay 200.000 entry (£10), however I have never seen a more idyllic location to spend the day. As we walked down the stairs, I had to stop for a second to close my jaw and take in the location… It has been created with beautiful taste, and the food/drinks are not crazy prices.
Shop at the markets - the markets in Ubud are, in my opinion, the best ones in Bali. If you are after clothes, bags, sarongs, or shoes this is your place. Be sure to walk to the end and go upstairs, where less of the tourists venture, and where more of the beautiful silky dresses are! You must get your bartering head on, because the local ladies definitely try to up sell. We were told to offer 1/3 of the price they originally say, and generally we managed to stick to this and only pay 1/3.
Scooter/drive to the waterfalls - There are many famous falls surrounding Ubud, Tegenungan and Kanto Lampo are the main two, but if you’re prepared to spend a whole day be sure to visit the north where you can find some amazing ones. Although we didn't get a chance to go, our friend Naz (@thelanative) spent a day exploring them, and they look amazing! But hey, it gives us a reason to go back.
Get a cheap massage - After your days exploring what could be more perfect than an hours full body Balinese massage? We went to Beji Ayu spa which was our favourite by far. Not only was the massage amazing, but they had hot showers, fluffy dressing gowns, and they offer fresh mint tea and pastries afterwards. All for 100.000 (£5!)
Visit the Monkey Forest - be sure to take off your sunglasses, do NOT bring bottles of water, and hold on tightly to your belongings. They can be pretty handsy and will take anything you have that’s loose. It costs the equivalent of £3 entry.
Do a cooking class - although we didn’t get the chance to do this, it looks amazing! Learn to cook like a local and have a fun afternoon whilst doing so.
WHERE TO EAT:
Warung Biah Biah - local Indonesian food, cheap as chips and absolutely delicious
Kismet - stylish café with great lunch deals, and fancy cocktails for the evening
Kebun Bistro - we stumbled upon this French restaurant as it was right beside our homestay. Incredible value for money, as it looks very smart and the dishes are high quality, but the prices are still crazy low.