Everything you need to know before you visit Ubud in Bali, Indonesia! This was easily our favourite location in all of Bali! The culture and people are incredible! Add this to your bucket list, or itinerary when visiting Bali!
THE VIBE OF UBUD
Ubud was our third and final stop on our Bali honeymoon adventure! It was one of the most unique places we’ve ever visited. It is a bit more remote being more northern, so the culture SHINES through! Have you even been to Bali if you don’t visit Ubud? Seriously!! This is where the classic rice fields, swings, volcanoes, temples, and monkey forests are! YOU CAN’T SKIP UBUD!
GETTING TO UBUD
We had a driver take us from Seminyak to Ubud, making some stops along the way! There is really no other form of transit to get around. We ended up loving our driver, and using him for our entire stay in Ubud! We negotiated a good price with him, and he took us around to all of the hot spots each day! There truly is no better way to explore a new place then by having a local show you around their home!
WHERE TO STAY & FOR HOW LONG
We actually stayed in two different areas in Ubud – both were from Airbnb. We stayed a total of 4 nights – 2 nights in each Airbnb. One of the places was much more remote and actually in a rice field! This was by far the nicest place we’ve ever stayed in AND the coolest!! We couldn’t get anywhere without our driver as it would have been a far walk to the main streets, but WOW was it a relaxing getaway. It is called Bennu House Ubud. It was only $130 CDN to stay in this dream home. It is SUCH a unique and stunning place, check it out! Honestly stay here if you can. It will 100% be worth every penny. Click here to see the place. The property even has its own Instagram account if you want to check it out @Bennu House Ubud
The second place we stayed in was walking distance to almost everything in Ubud. It was actually more of a resort style Airbnb called The Shala Bali. There were multiple yoga retreats happening when we stayed, and a super cute cafe/restaurant in the centre of the rooms that served UNREAL food! You could also partake in the yoga, which we did! Click here to check out the place. It’s a bit pricier than the last one, but the location and privacy was great, as it was close enough to the main streets, but so quiet! This second place is definitely the area you want to stay in if you want to be close to the main streets! Stay near Jl. Raya Ubud street (near Lazy Cats Cafe!).
Check out some properties in Ubud below using booking.com
WHAT TO DO & SEE IN UBUD
1. BALI SWING
On our drive from Seminyak to Ubud, our driver stopped here for us to get out and take pictures. It’s actually considered a “Theme Park” lol! We spent about 2 hours here waiting in lines to take the classic “Bali Swing” photos. This is the most popular location for the swing photos, but we learned afterwards that you can definitely find other swings throughout Ubud that are less crowded. It was about 20 USD each to enter the park, and an extra 10 USD if you want the workers to take your photos for you (they actually airdrop them to your phone when you leave for you when you leave – so high tech haha!). The actual grounds of the place are gorgeous, you could spend half a day here if you wanted to as there are some cool areas to walk around / a restaurant. It was a cool experience, but if you don’t like waiting in line just to take a photo, we would actually suggest skipping this!
2. MAGICAL SUNRISE TREKKING TO MT. BATUR
Our Airbnb host actually booked this for us when we arrived. You can book this anywhere though – there were ENDLESS vans bringing people to the base of the mountain as it is one of the most popular things to do in Ubud! A driver picked us up at our Airbnb at 2 AM. You read that correctly – 2 in the morning. It took about an hour to drive there, and is a 2 hour hike up to the top of the mountain to make it for sunrise. Honestly, most people say this hike isn’t that bad, but we must have been out of shape because we found it quite challenging. It is all uphill and you have to remember you are summiting a volcano which is 5600 feet about sea level. We got to the top just in time for sunrise and WOW the views were EPIC. You have the view of another volcano when you reach the top. Totally worth the early wake-up call and strenuous hike. It was also almost a 2 hour hike back down; which walking downhill isn’t easy either. So approx. 5 hours in total. If you are able to, this is a MUST DO. Who else can say they hiked up an active volcano?
3. BALINESE COOKING CLASS
We also arranged this with our Airbnb! They had a woman come to the Airbnb and teach us / cook for us a traditional Balinese meal. We got to know her so well and actually added each other on Instagram and still talk to this day! This was one of our favourite memories in Bali – the food was amazing, and the conversations with the locals were even better. Getting to know and appreciate how others live, and dive into their culture is the best experience of them all.
4. UBUD ART MARKET
This was a cool area to walk around in! Endless streets with locals selling their handmade products. You can find everything here! 100% negotiate/barter with them. They know instantly that you are tourists and will take advantage of that and charge much more than the product is worth. We found some neat souvenirs here to take home!
5. TEGALALANG RICE TERRACE
I’m sure you’ve seen a picture of this place somewhere online before! This is one of the largest and most famous rice farms in Bali! It truly is amazing to see how rice is really grown on the hills. It was SO beautiful! Highly recommend checking this place out as it is nothing like anything you’ve seen before!
6. SACRED MONKEY FOREST SANCTUARY
Even though monkeys are pretty much everywhere in Bali, we LOVED this place. We love animals so much, and to see them treated well here made us happy. Monkeys are pretty aggressive though. You shouldn’t be going up too close to them as they are known for stealing anything on your body! They stole Shawn’s sunglasses and jumped on his backpack and took our water bottle right out of the pocket and ran away with it, AND started drinking from it LOL! However, they are the cutest things, and it was awesome to see how they interact and live with one another – and yes, I’m telling you not to touch them because they are known to bite, but in the picture below I am touching a baby monkey and was the happiest person in the world LOL.
7. TEGENUNGAN WATERFALL
This was a really nice spot to check out! There are many stairs to get down to the waterfall but once you’re down there you can go for a swim! It is a very large and pretty waterfall! We spent about 3 hours here!
TIRTA EMPUL TEMPLE TAMPAKSIRING – BALI HOLY SPRING WATER TEMPLE
This is a Hindu Balinese water temple, famous for its holy spring waters. This is where people go for ritual purification. People line up to bathe themselves under each water spout. The water in the pools is believed to have magical healing powers and the Balinese go here to purify themselves. You must put your head under each of the 30 spouts. You are given the garments to wear with a donation. To say this was a unique experience is an understatement. We just love learning about other cultures so much, it was amazing to experience this!
BONUS: VISIT A SCHOOL!
Our driver Putu (who we became friends with over the 4 days of him driving us around) was best friends with a teacher. Since I (Steph) am a teacher, I asked if we could go visit his school. Putu took us about an hour away from the main town of Ubud and we actually got to teach English to a Grade 4, 5, and 6 class. Like, my DREAM come true. Teachers make less than 100 USD a month in Bali and many children do not even get to attend school as you have to pay each month for school. So the children we saw were actually considered to be ‘wealthy.’ Heartbreaking, but this is the case for most developing/third world countries. Overall, this will be one of our favourite memories that we will cherish forever!
Like we said above, the easiest way to get around and see all of these places is to book a driver for the day. We hit up as many spots as we could within the 5 days we were there and it was MAX 20USD per day. Even lower. If you are looking for a driver, PLEASE reach out to Putu! He was the kindest human, speaks English so well, and really could use the support as he just had a baby when we visited! He’s so deserving! You can contact him through his Instagram account @pjbaliexperience
WHERE TO EAT IN UBUD
DUMBO – Such a chic place! Went for delicious cocktails & apps
TRY KOPI LUWAK COFFEE – Anywhere! Most “expensive” coffee in the world! Yes, it is actually made from the animals poop! We brought some to take home, it was tasty!
LAZY CATS CAFE – Our favourite restaurant, we ate here twice! LOVED it!
THE SEEDS OF LIFE VEGAN RESTAURANT – Adorable space and such good food! You eat traditionally on a pillow on the floor.
THE ELEPHANT – Cutest vegetarian restaurant with great food!
BRIDGES BALI – Indonesian restaurant with a pretty outdoor seating area out back
WATERCRESS CAFE – Balinese restaurant
You can’t go wrong wherever you choose! The food all over Ubud was so delicious!
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