Ubud is by far my favourite place in Bali, not that I don’t like other areas on this island. I do. I like Ubud’s geographic setting amongst the rice fields and the sheer lushness of the surroundings. I also like the Balinese architecture and the easy going pace of life. This is a village of artisans and it shows in every aspect from food to art, and I really like the bohemian and serene atmosphere of Ubud.
You might like to read an updated post since we have been in Bali more recently.
This is not about the best things to see and do, but more about my impressions of Ubud, from visiting 3 times.
It is a town just to wander around and look at things. I like watching the kids play soccer on the fields, see them go off to school always immaculately dressed, roam around the markets, and just to watch the day to day life of the Balinese.
Ubud has some really interesting things to see and to do, but much can be achieved by doing very little. It fits me better personally than say the beach scene.
First Impressions of Ubud
My first impressions were of a serene town in a jungle setting with stunning architecture. Ubud is user-friendly in everything. From getting around and just talking to people, it is laid back.
Our first villa was just so, well Balinese. The bathroom was indoor/outdoor with a garden, and fish were in a little pond next to the shower. I always worried about the suds getting in there and killing them. The gardens were so lush and well just tropical, just over the top. On our second trip, we picked a different place, purely because we couldn’t get into the first. This one was all glass sided looking out onto a pool and the gardens. It also had the indoor/outdoor bathroom, and we could watch the farmer next door with his scarecrows and his rifles scaring away the birds trying to attack his crops while showering or lying in the bath.
This was a great villa despite being a little exposed. One morning we were woken by the gardener mowing the lawn and waving to us in bed. These were not expensive villas but seemed to be.
Breakfast in Ubud was always tropical fruits and pretty much anything you wanted. Always fresh.
Walking Around Ubud
Wandering around Ubud, you get to see the Ubud Palace & Puri Saren Agung right in the middle of the town. The local royal family still live there, but you are still able to walk around most of the large compound. It is very architecturally interesting.
There are so many art galleries, many working one’s, which are just great to walk into. The people are exceptionally friendly and I have not seen any really hard sell as I did in Kuta. It is just laid back.
Sacred Monkey Forest
A visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest is totally warranted. This is an awesome jungle with some simply dreadful monkeys called Balinese macaques. They will knock off anything they can – sunglasses, wallets, hats – everything. But then, it is their place, so just keep everything as safe as possible. Inside this jungle, which is known correctly as the Mandala Wisata Wanara Wana, are three temples. It is actually a scared Hindu Balinese site. There are rituals that take place also, that can be observed from outside of the sacred areas. Bali is very spiritual and this is great representation of this.
Open Daily : 08.30 AM – 06.00 PM
Ticketing Service: 08.30 AM – 05.30 PM
Address: Jalan Monkey Forest – Padangtegal – Ubud – Gianyar- Bali (80571)
Phone: +62 361 971304>
Another thing that we have enjoyed in Ubud is going for walks in the rice fields and getting so lost that once we ended up at a cock fighting village, and needless to say were not welcome – particularly me, being a female.
Eating in Bali
The food is simply stunning in Ubud. Some of my favourites are Casa Lotus, a real ex pat and artists hangout with a phenomenal cooking school, which is worth attending. There are many other cooking schools in Ubud and it is great fun.
Ibu Oka Warung is another excellent café and serves Babi guling, a Balinese roast suckling pig. This place is hugely popular with everyone, so get there early.
Bebek Bengil means the Dirty Duck Diner, and that’s what everyone calls it. This is just such a Balinese restaurant and the smoked duck is heavenly. Not a great name, but really very good food.
Cooking Balinese food is something to certainly try and one of the innumerable cooking schools.
I like the Deli Cat cafe. I like sitting and watching people as they wander around. It just has a really low key atmosphere. And it is near a bookshop.
Spa and Wellness facilities
Ubud is a haven for spa and wellness facilities; from very basic (but really really good) to 5 star full on treatments, which are decadently awesome. Be artful what you ask for as these little Balinese women are super strong that can leave you in pain for days, particularly if you ask for a deep tissue massage. Some of the less reputable looking ones are actually the best.
So, I am totally recommending Ubud in Bali. Though in saying that, you can hardly go wrong anywhere in Bali. I have no doubt that you will not be disappointed. I know there are lots of day trippers from Kuta but you really need a lot more time in Ubud than just 1 day.