Ubud, in the centre of Bali, is known as the spiritual home of the Indonesian island. Arts, culture and tropical jungle combine to create a sanctuary of Balinese traditions and authenticity.
We spent a week in Ubud and I can safely say we explored as much as the town as we could; from visiting famous landmarks to submerging ourselves in the clean eating, yoga culture.
Ubud holds great memories for myself and my boyfriend, it was our favourite place in Bali as the Balinese culture seems truly unaltered. Yes, it is touristy and you will be asked if you need a taxi when you obviously don’t, but the atmosphere here is spiritual and the authenticity remains more so than other spots in Bali.
There is a lot to do in Ubud, so here is a list of our favourite activities which I believe are a must if you’re heading to this pretty town.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Located on Monkey Forest Road (funnily enough…) visiting the monkey forest is a great way to pass a few hours in the centre of Ubud. Costing under £6 for two, it’s an extremely cheap activity that anyone of any age will genuinely enjoy.
The forest is a nature reserve and a Hindu temple complex, the mission is to preserve the area within the boundaries according to the Hindu principle of finding three ways to reach spiritual and physical well-being.
You’ll get very up close and personal with the monkeys, especially if you buy a few bananas at the gates – they’ll be climbing all over you! Be sure to keep all possessions hidden as they’re not called cheeky monkeys for nothing..they will literally take the sunglasses from your head.
Ubud is known as the centre of yoga culture in Bali and The Yoga Barn is famous amongst yogis with many coming from far and wide to take part in daily classes and cleanses. Known as an oasis in a sacred paradise that provides a lush and inspiring environment for the mind, body and soul.
Adam and I took part in a great two hour yoga session that set us back just over £8 each. We enrolled in acro yoga which is a little different than the traditional – it involves partner work combining elements of basic acrobatic flows and therapeutic flying. It was really fun! We rewarded ourselves with lunch at Clear Café (read more here).
This ridge walk is a free and easy nature trek to the north of Ubud. Being only 2K, the walk is nice and easy allowing you to enjoy the views of gorgeous hillside vistas in the region.
The starting point of the ridge is to the left of the Warwick Ibah Luxury Villas and Spa down a narrow concrete path. You’ll know when you’re on the path as you’ll be immersed in the stunning view of dense tropical jungle.
A little pricer that what you’d expect in Bali but for what you get, it’s amazing. The day cost us only £30 for towel hire, lunch and a few beers, but the best bit is the infinity pool that looks out over the jungle. A sublime spot that exudes luxury.
Probably the most Instagrammed spot in the whole of Indonesia, and it all becomes clear once you set your eyes on those gorgeous, luscious green rice paddies.
Exploring the rice paddies is free, but certain land owners expect a small donation of around 10,000R (55p). They’re located 20minutes outside the centre of Ubud, a taxi will set you back 250,000R(£13) or you can rent a moped for 60,000R(£3.30) for the day.
After exploring the terraces and getting those priceless shots (I’d recommend heading up there for sunrise for those really spectacular photos), take a seat at one of the many cafes dotted above the terraces and enjoy the view whilst sipping an ice cold beer.
This was one of my favourite activities and it was completely free! Here we learnt all about how the famous (and expensive) Kopi Luwak coffee is produced.
The coffee beans are fed to luwaks, whose stomachs digest the outside of the bean to then erm… excrete the whole bean which is cleaned, dried, roasted then grinded into a smooth, delicious cup of coffee!
After meeting the animals and learning about the production of this unique coffee, we were treated to over 20 cups of flavoured tea and coffees to try – all for free! We payed a little extra to try the Luwak coffee but it only cost £2.50 and how can you not try it when in Bali; especially when sitting in the place the coffee is produced.
This is a must do in Bali and a really great day out. The rice terraces are next door so I’d recommend spending a few hours there then taking part in the coffee tour. The infamous Bali swing is located just below the coffee plantation for those hoping to get that instafamous shot! We gave this a miss as we thought it a bit gimmicky and fancied heading back to the hotel for a dip.
The centre of Bali is full of waterfalls and many are located around 30 minutes to one hour outside of Ubud. With this in mind, we rented a moped and hit the road to chase those waterfalls. You may be thinking, how did you know where to go!? Well, I’d recommend the maps.me app that gives you directions without using the Internet – we popped my phone in the selfie stick and held it in front of my boyfriend (the driver). Worked a treat!
I’d recommend Tegenungan Waterfall and Kanto Lampo Waterfall – both charge a small entrance fee but it’s worth it. Hit Tegnungan Waterfall a little early, we went at midday and it was overrun with tourists and families doing extensive photo shoots in the water.
After exploring everything Ubud has to offer, you deserve a beer…am I right!? If you fancy great drinks, live music and an even better vibe then hit up Laughing Buddha just off Monkey Forest Road – it’s fantastic! We had such a good night here. If you’re a Motown fan then I’d recommend Friday night. Soul sessions that should not to be missed.