THE BEST OF UBUD, BALI: A COMPLETE TRAVEL GUIDE

Ubud is located in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency, on the island of Bali, Indonesia. Ubud was made into one of Bali’s most famous destinations when it appeared in the movie “Eat, Pray, Love’ with Julia Roberts. 

It still encompasses what I envision authentic Indonesia should look like. Lush green rice fields, waving palm trees, friendly locals and cheap but delicious food. It was definitely one of my favorite stops during my May 2018 exploration of the tropical island.

Ubud is known as the spiritual home of the island, but your local experience wouldn’t be complete without a wander around the rice fields, lunch at one of the many local coffee shops, an afternoon with some monkeys, or a visit to one of the many beautiful temples.

It, therefore, makes for a perfect relaxing getaway and offers you a unique insight into Balinese living. 

Ubud rice fields

pahala-basuki-37918-unsplash.jpgUbud

WHAT TO DO

IMG_8187Rice fields walk – Get your dose of terraced and vibrant green rice field at Tegelalang Rice Fields One of the most stunning locations around Ubud, this definitely has to go on your to-do list. Probably one of the best Instagram-able moments of my holiday. 

Location: Jalan Raya Tegelalang
Recommended: Go early in the morning as it gets scorching hot at noon. And wear proper shoes if you plan to venture into the paddy fields.
Price: Rp. 10,000 entrance (Which is less than $1,- AUD) They do ask for ‘Donations’ on the ricefields themselves. They are not really voluntary so the price will increase a bit, depending on what you give. I saw 3 donation points but only gave money to one of them hehe 😉

Another great walk that you can do is the Campuhan ridge walk. Part of this walk is on top of a hill, which offers you breathtaking views on both sides. This is also known to have amazing sunrises and sunsets. 

jared-rice-388266-unsplash.jpgUbud Monkey Forest –  Home to the Grey Macaques. The forest is one of Ubud’s most popular attractions; a natural forest sanctuary that is home to a horde of grey long-tailed macaques.

Grey Macaques –  you either love or hate em. I can tell you ‘cheeky monkey‘ is a saying for a reason. Monkeys can be nasty animals but, when you treat them with respect, they will leave you alone. This is what I found when I visited the Ubud monkey forest. These are wild monkeys that live in the forest and are free to roam wherever they want as they wish. You can take pictures with the monkeys if you like, it really all depends on your own personal comfort levels. 

Whilst I was there, a girl got to close to one of the monkeys and it stole her mobile phone (EVERYONE’S WORST NIGHTMARE! HAHA) It grabbed the phone and took off into the trees. One of the rangers (I’m not sure what they are called) thankfully retrieved it, but just a warning – be careful with your belongings.

Location: Kabupaten Gianyar
Recommended:  Don’t bring hats, sunglasses or wear any jewelry, it might get ‘stolen’ by the monkeys 
Price: Rp. 50,000 entrance (which is almost $5 AUD)

IMG_7892 kopieTegenungan Waterfall – One of the best waterfalls near Ubud. When the weather is good you can see an amazing sunrise here (Around 7am, so be there early)  You can actually swim underneath the fall, so make sure to bring your bathing suit for an incredible experience. 

Location: Jl. Ir. Sutami, Kemenuh, Sukawati, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80581
Price: Rp. 10,000 entrance (Which is less than $1,- AUD)

tbel-abuseridze-588753-unsplash.jpgUbud Traditional Art Market – For cheap clothes, souvenirs, and local food head to the central market on Jalan Raya, but be prepared to bargain. I was told by my tour guide that you should pay around 50% of the initial price. 

Location: Jalan Raya Ubud No.35, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Recommendations: Hackel, do not pay full price. 

artem-bali-476983-unsplash.jpgWater Temples –  Water plays a central part in Balinese spiritual life and people from all over the island travel to this temple at least once a year to cleanse themselves. The centerpiece of the temple complex is a series of fountains where you can be cleansed.

Don’t worry if you don’t know what to do this, there are guides on hand to run you through the ritual. Although the temple is popular with tourists, the number of Balinese people far outweigh the foreigners. 

The temple is located about 45 minutes from Ubud.

Location: Jl. Kajeng No.24, Ubud, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80571
Price: Rp. 15,000 entrance (Which almost $1,50AUD)

jared-rice-388260-unsplash.jpgYoga – Ubud is a yoga capital, attracting yoga enthusiasts from all around the world. The biggest and most popular center is the Yoga Barn, which offers a full schedule of different styles from morning until night. 

WHERE AND WHAT TO EAT

The food in Bali is amazing. They use the freshest products straight from the land or the sea. So it is super fresh and that makes it extra delicious. 

They have the most gorgeous selections of tropical fruits, raw produce, superfood specialties and remedies. What’s even better is the prices. A full meal can cost you no more than $15-$20. An absolute bargain! 

Some of the best local restaurants that were recommended to me by my guide were:

Some dishes that you should try are:

  • Babi guling (suckling pig)
  • Lawar
  • Bebek betutu (slow-cooked duck)
  • Sate lembat
  • Ikan bakar (grilled fish)

I do advice you to be careful where and what you eat. The food is prepared differently than in western countries, so a lot of tourists get hit with the famous ‘Bali belly’ which I’m sure needs no explanation. Also, make sure to only drink bottled water. 

GETTING AROUND

Getting around in Bali is quite easy and cheap. 

If you fancy getting local or you are staying just outside of town, then hiring a motorbike or scooter is a great idea. It’s not too hard to drive in Ubud compared to the main roads in Bali, so it’s a great and very cheap option that will prove to be super convenient and efficient for exploring Ubud and the surrounding areas.

You can hire a scooter {that fits 2 people on} for around 60,000IDR a day. This is about $5,- AUD. 

You need an international driving license which you have to apply for in your home country. They are usually only valid together with your “real” driving license, so you need to bring both along. You can get a temporary Balinese driving license (tourist driver’s license) from the police station in Denpasar within a day.

Alternatively, you can hire a car with a private driver for $450,000 who will take you to all the local hot spots. 

WHERE TO STAY

IMG_7653

Accommodation in Ubud is plentifully available. Whether you are after your own private villa or a bed in a backpackers hostel, Ubud has it all. 

If you like a more centralized location and if you are not a daredevil that wants to rent your own scooter, then I suggest renting a place in Ubud central. You are then close to everything and with loads of taxis driving past every minute you are good to go.

If quiet and scenic is more your thing then you can look at accommodation at any of the nearby villages: Penastanan or Nyuh Kuning. They will be more quiet and secluded, away from the hustle and bustle of Ubud.

Looking for a backpackers hostel?

You can grab a hostel for as little as $3,- a night WHOAH! though most of them lie between £5-8 per person/per night. You can look on booking sites like Hostel Bookers and Hostel World for availability and rates. 

Some recommended hostels with decent ratings :

  • Puji Hostel
  • Green View Backpackers Inn 
  • New Ubud Hostel
  • RW Downtown hostel 
  • Pondok Permata (Homestay) 

Looking for a hotel or private villa?

Here are some helpful sites:

BASIC INFORMATION 

Schermafbeelding 2018-05-13 om 18.54.08map

 

Time Zone: GMT+8
Electricity: The standard in Bali is a two-pin plug for a socket. Voltage: 230 V, Frequency: 50 Hz and Power sockets type C / F
Currency: Rupiah (Rp).
1 Indonesia Rupiah is 0.000095 Australian Dollar (May 2018)
Tipping: Tipping in Bali is considered to be a foreign concept. Although it isn’t mandatory to tip for every service you avail, the tips are nevertheless appreciated.
Weather: May is the hottest month in Bali with an average temperature of 28°C (82°F) and the coldest is January at 26°C(79°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 9 in April. The wettest month is January with an average of 90mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in January, when the average sea temperature is 29°C (84°F).

WORDS YOU SHOULD KNOW

Because Bali is quite a touristy island, most people speak basic – to good English.  However, it is always polite to speak a few basic words of the local language. Underneath are some words that could be helpful and polite: 

  • Hello: Hai 
  • Thank you: Terima Kashi 
  • Good Bye: Sampai Jumpa 
  • Sorry: Maaf 
  • Good morning: Selamat Pagi
  • Yes: Ya 
  • No: Tidak

Looking for more information on Bali? Then check out my guide on everything you need to know before traveling to this country. 

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