After travelling around Canggu (you can read my guide to Canggu here), I headed north to visit Ubud. Ubud is known as the cultural heart of Bali and is home to one of Bali’s royal families. Usually, when people think Ubud, rice terraces come to their minds. Ubud has many stunning rice terraces that grows white rice (I learnt that brown and black rice are grown in other regions).
Ubud definitely felt different from Canggu. There isn’t a beach nearby, so it does feel a tad more humid as there is less wind. There are also more tourists and the vibe was less laid-back. Compared to Canggu, there are a lot more shopping opportunities here.
The biggest challenge here was getting around. Unlike other parts of Bali, Ubud strictly does not allow Grab or Gojek. There are signs everywhere prohibiting Grab or Gojek drivers and promoting local taxis. As I walked around, there were many people shouting “taxi” at me (which made me uncomfortable). To get around, my sister and I did get a private driver. We paid IDR 35,000 for half day (6 hours) and during that time, our driver will bring us to various places that we would like to visit.
Where to Stay
Thus, getting a hotel that is located at the main stretch would benefit you tremendously. I booked a room at Inata Bisma Resort & Spa and while the resort was extremely peaceful, it was quite a walk from the main stretch. The road that leads into the hotel was also under construction, so walking at night made me a little uneasy. That being said, if you’re trying to escape the crowd and just be still, you can consider staying here.
The breakfast buffet was decent and the rooms are very spacious. There are 2 pools, but the one with the jacuzzi did not look well maintained. However, the service here was fantastic. The front desk was extremely cheerful and helpful! Also, they do provide shuttle services to Ubud palace (at 10am, 12pm, 2pm and 4pm) and back.
If you would like to be more central, I would recommend staying near Ubud Palace or along Monkey Forest St/Jl. Hanoman for easy access to food and shopping.
A hotel that caught my eye was The Evitel Resort. If you’re a fan of modern hotels instead of traditional villas, this is it. The hotel was located really near to The Yoga Barn! I was exhausted that day and part of me really wished I booked this hotel instead lol.
What to Do
I love waterfalls! They remind me of how majestic Nature is. Sometimes, waterfalls can be quite hard to get to and special shoes are needed. Tegenungan waterfall is not one of them. This waterfall is really easy to reach, without any rough or steep terrains. That is probably why it is one of the most crowded waterfalls in Ubud. As it is extremely touristy, there are shops, photo props and opportunities, and stairs so it’s accessible without any inconvenience.
As you head down towards the main waterfall, don’t forget to look to your left! There is an entrance to a much smaller (but still amazing) waterfall by the side. It’s less crowded and you can easily climb to the top. Great for your instagram pictures, if you’re into that.
At the waterfall, you can waddle in (like I did) or climb up the stairs (at the right of the waterfall) to the top. It is an easy climb and you get magnificent views of the waterfall at certain parts. I highly recommend it. Do note, we had to pay a fee of IDR15,000 to a booth half way up. There is also a cafe with the popular swings at the top. We didn’t visit it but the people on the swing sure looked like they were having a whale of a time.
Tegalalang Rice Terrace
This is the famous rice terrace that you always see in pictures. It is stunning in real life! While it was pretty easy to walk around, I suggest wearing some comfortable shoes with a grip as the mud can get a little slippery.
There isn’t an entrance fee, but there will be some farmers asking for donations. I did this on a tour so my guide often helped us to put money into the donation boxes, so I’m not sure if how much should you give generally. I’ve read elsewhere that these are scams and you shouldn’t give your money. However, I do think that it’s always better to give. We are so lucky to be visiting Bali as a tourist and the amount for the donation doesn’t really burn a hole in your pocket, but it could help someone tremendously.
There are some cafes around if you would like to rest and take in the view. There is also the swing (and a dress rental booth which blew my mind) if you’re interested. This rice terrace is made popular through all the travel sites and social media, so do expect some crowd. While it may not be the largest or most beautiful in Bali, it is definitely an experience!
Kumulilir Coffee Plantation
Do you like coffee and tea? Great, me too. And this place is perfect! Bali is known for their famous Kopi Luwak, which is made from coffee beans obtained by the Luwak’s poop. While it sounds unappealing, it is definitely worth a try. Here at Kumulilir Coffee Plantation, we saw two Luwaks and we also saw the various coffee beans before they are processed. I tried smelling the coffee beans that were obtained from the Luwak (still unprocessed) and interestingly, there wasn’t any smell!
Once again, there is a swing here too. This time, we went for it (it was part of our tour package while I’ll share more about below). It was exhilarating and really fun! The view was so stunning and I felt…free. Don’t worry, you’ll be securely fastened to the seat with a harness. I mean, I even turned upside down and I’m still alive!
Next, we got to taste their range of coffees and teas. Since the coffee plantation is quite isolated, the view of nature is just breathtaking. I felt calm and at peace. After tasting the 12 varieties, I throughly enjoyed their Turmeric Tea and Ginseng Coffee and bought a large pack of each for back home (they were about IDR 150,000 each).
Holy Bathing at Pura Mengening Temple
If you’re interested in cleansing the negative elements in your body, you should definitely try out the holy bathing ritual. It is said to purify the mind, soul and body. It is something the local Balinese people do, about twice a month, according to my guide.
While many people will go to the Tirta Empul Water Temple, we were brought to Pura Mengening Temple instead. Here, there is definitely less people (so no queues!) and it is much closer to nature. I would recommend this temple over Tirta Empul! There are two pools, one for pool women and one for men. These springs are natural (water comes from the ground) and have existed since the 11th century. The water was very cool and clear!
Proper saris should be worn before entering the pool. Once we were in, we were told to meditate for a while at the side, before heading to the middle to give our offering. Then, we were to head to the very first water spout, drench ourselves while praying for a good holy bath and for our negative energies to be cleared. Thereafter, we were to use our hands to wipe our faces 3 times (still under the spout of water). This is said to help clear our perspective and view of the world. After, we collected some water from the spout, gargled with it and spat it out. Once we’re done, we move onto the next spout to the right (there are 4 in total).
It was definitely an experience and worth a try. I do believe in energies and vibes, so this ritual was highly significant for me personally.
If you like shopping, I recommend checking out Ubud Market. It is right opposite the palace and it has a wide variety of goods on sale. Here, you’d find those gorgeous rattan bags, clothing, handicrafts, souvenirs and so much more. I always struggle when it comes to bargaining but you definitely have to bargain here. I did get myself a lovely wrap dress (for IDR 100,000) and a singing bowl (IDR 400,000).
Campuhan Ridge Walk
While I ran out of time to do this, I know for sure that I’ll be doing this next time. It is important to head there way before the sun sets (roughly about 5.45-6pm) as you’ll have to loop back. From my research, people recommend heading here at dawn to see the sun rise or in the late afterrnoon for the sunset. During the day, it gets quite hot. The pictures I’ve seen are so gorgeous and I can’t wait to do this next time.
I highly recommend this for the adventurous folks. Our trip to hidden canyon was about 45 mins from Ubud. There, we got a package that included a local guide (it’s IDR200,000 for an individual and IDR300,000 for two people). I strongly suggest getting a guide! The rocks were a little hard to navigate around and my guide was really knowledgeable. He knew which parts of the canyon you can walk, swim, or cannonball into.
You will get drenched from head to toe, so do gear up accordingly! I went bare foot (they’ll ask for your slippers before beginning the trek) but a couple I saw had water shoes so I’d recommend them. The rocks were a little painful to walk on sometimes and they can be slippery.
I had to give Yoga Barn a go. They had many classes available (you can see their class schedule here), and a drop in costs IDR 130,000. Upon walking in, there was this tranquil and calming vibe that made me feel at peace. There are quite a few studios and a class is usually quite big. I went for the 90 mins Yin Yang Yoga and the class had about 50 over students at least.
Despite the large class size, I found the session thoroughly enjoyable. I highly recommend applying some mosquito repellant before class! As the studios are open and so close to nature (and it was evening), there were tons of mosquitoes and I had at least 5 bites on my right arm alone. Savasana was pretty much an equivalent to a mosquito buffet!
Radiantly Alive Yoga
Another well-known place for Yoga in Ubud is Radiantly Alive. Here, they conduct many yoga classes daily and yoga teacher trainings (which I’m personally considering). I did not have the time to visit, but I’ve heard good things. You can check out their class schedule here. One class goes for US$10.
Pyramid of Chi
I really really really wanted to visit this! Unfortunately, I could not due to time constraints. However, it’s top of my list when I head back. If you’re into sound healing, I’d highly recommend you checking this place out. They are known for their pyramids (they are also air-conditioned!) and their Ancient Sound Healing sessions. I personally love listening to the sounds of the gong and Tibetan singing bowls; they calm me down and slow down my mind. For more details about sound and how it can heal, you can check out their explanation here. One Ancient Sound Healing sessions costs IDR 300,000.
Day Trip to Nusa Penida
While a trip to Nusa Penida could be done from most places north of Bali, I decided to include it here as I went for my tour from Ubud. I booked my Nusa Penida tour from Klook and it included everything from hotel pick up to drop off. I really wanted to see the Manta rays so I chose the snorkelling option for the tour and paid additional for it. Sadly, we did not see any Manta rays that day and we were in the water at Manta Bay for what felt like 5 minutes. After, they brought us to Crystal Bay to snorkel for about 10-15 minutes.
Personally, I think the snorkelling add on wasn’t really worth it as we didn’t get much time in the water. Most of it was being on the boat and driving to the location. This also resulted in less time for the other sights, like Angel’s Billabong and Kelingking beach. If I were to suggest, I would probably skip the snorkel part and just spend more time exploring the sights instead!
The water here was so clear and blue! It reminded me of Australia. However, as it is a tourist location after all, the places of attraction were swarmed with tourists. It was the typical avoiding-the-selfie-sticks-and-people-as-you-walk-around kind of situation. Regardless, the sights were to absolutely stunning and if you’re willing to venture out a little more, you might find some places to get a picture without anyone else!
What to Eat
KAFE is an organic, vegan and vegetarian restaurant and I was spoilt for choice at their food options! As it is really close to Yoga Barn, hopping over to KAFE for lunch or dinner is perfect. I had their Tempe Cashew Nut Curry with Red Rice (it was absolutely delish!) and my sister had their California Burrito (also really amazing). The food is really good and I love the laid back vibes of the cafe. I wish I brought my book along to read! You can check out KAFE’s Menu here.
The interior of this cafe is so stunning! It all begins with the revolving door. So classy. While the menu is slightly more limited than KAFE, I still think that the choices are still great. I had the Goat Cheese, Spinach, Cheddar Cheese and Mushroom Quesadilla (IDR 60,000) and it was yummy. You can check out Clear Cafe’s Menu here.
Sundara Boga Warung
This is a little out of the way from the main stretch but if you’re staying along Jl. Bisma, you can definitely check this warung out. You can find it’s exact google map location here. It is so good! I had their Ayam Goreng and it was one of the best I’ve had throughout my trip. I would also recommend their banana pancakes for dessert! It was really good.
Ubud was amazing and I did thoroughly enjoy myself. I hope that this guide would be useful for you! If you would like to refer to it in the future, feel free to share this post or pin it:
Have you been to Ubud before? Do you have any other recommendations?