If you’re lucky enough to be heading to Ubud soon, you already won to lottery. There is something unique about this place that combines peace and serenity with activity and adventure. From walking through the lush rice fields, getting a massage, shopping, admiring beautiful landscapes, taking a cooking lesson or going on a rafting trip, there are plenty of things to do and see!
Where to stay?
If you’re coming for a short time visit, it’s probably better to stay at Central Ubud area, since most of the main attractions can be covered on foot. However, you will still need some form of transport to explore the surroundings.
If you have a couple of days just stay outside the town to feel the real Balinese vibes and having a relaxed getaway.
Unlike the most part of the island, Ubud doesn’t have regular metered taxis. Expect to find drivers standing on the side of the street holding signs or just inviting people to enter in their unmarked vans. Even if it sounds weird it’s a safe way to travel around, just don’t forget to negotiate the price before you get in! Renting a motorbike it’s also a great idea and a very cheap option (you can find prices as low as 4$/day). It’s not that hard to drive in Ubud compared to other big cities in Bali. Due to the one-way system, you will drive most of the time straightforward, having at one corner The Royal Palace and in the other one The Monkey Forest.
Exploring Central Ubud
You can start your day early in the morning exploring the chaotic Ubud market. If you’re with guys and they want to skip the shopping time, you can always argue that shopping counts as cardio (it worked with Miguel at least…).
Start to walk around so you get an idea of what they sell and what kind of prices to expect (here is the perfect place to put in practice your bargaining skills and have a fun interaction with locals!). You’ll find everything here, real and fake, cheap and expensive. Since some parts of the market can be pretty smelly, be ready to practice your mouth breathing before you go.
You will find The Ubud Royal Palace just on the other side of the street. It still has well-preserved Balinese architecture and charming little gardens. Definitely a short and worthwhile visit!
You can continue your trip heading to The Monkey Forest (daily from 8h30-18h, around 3$ adults and 1$ children). You’ll find a mystical forest filled with photogenic monkeys. They may seem cute but they’re just little thieves who secretly want to steal your food and personal items. If this happens run, run for your life! Just kidding, don’t make any sudden movements and just take care of your belongings. It’s not an easy task since there are way too many monkeys to keep track of. It’s a little controversial whether will you love or hate this place, but it’s definitely an experience!
You’ve probably already read that some witnessed people being bitten or scratched. Well… perhaps they were talking about us! That’s the price for trying to take a picture with them. If you really want to send your family a picture saying: ‘Mom, I’m making new friends!, pick up the small monkeys (it hurts less when they bite!).
Later in the afternoon, you can enjoy the views from Campuhan Ridge Walk. The light will be better to
take awesome photos and you will not get dehydrated from the heat! It’s an easy trail that leads you through some amazing winding pathways with rice fields.
The cherish on top of the cake it will be ending your day with a massage. Or maybe two or as many as you want! Ubud is packed with spas and beauty salons so there are plenty of options available for you.
An easy 20-minute drive from Ubud town, heading to north will take you to Tegalalang rice terrace.
Since it’s one of the most famous rice terraces in Bali it’s also one of the most visited. You can either enjoy the view from the top or hike down and cross to the other side. Go for the second option because you’ll find it a lot quieter and less crowded (the laziest ones don’t dare to walk up that much!). To avoid the busy hours, go early in the morning or late in the afternoon. There are also several cafes near the ledge where you can have a drink and admire the splendid views.
Rice terrace owners will ask you for a donation, so prepared to be stop every now and then…
For those looking for a one in a lifetime experience, we recommend you climb the Mount Batur volcano. This active volcano is 1717 meters above sea level and you can reach the summit after 2 hours hiking. Expect a spectacular scenery and an unforgettable sunrise from the top.
For the waterfalls lovers we advise you to head to Tibumana Waterfall. This journey will take you around 45 minutes but it’s a great spot for those who want to enjoy the forest atmosphere. After you park, you still have a 15 minute-walk, but the pathway is refreshingly beautiful. There are vines creeping down the cliffs and colourful butterflies flying around. The waterfall is a single column in the dry season, while in the monsoon season you may find twin columns of water cascading down from the hill. The water is no more than 1,5 meter deep, so diving is not an option. Don’t let that discourage you, you can still stand right underneath the waterfall and let the hydro pressure do wonders for your stress relief.