The essential guide to visit Ubud
Ubud is the Zen capital of Bali and the most spiritual place on the island. Yoga, meditation and vegetarian and vegan food are everywhere, and despite all the success after becoming a star in Eat, Pray, Love, Ubud is still one of the most authentic places in Bali. In this guide, you will find the essentials to plan your trip to this memorable Indonesian destination.
Getting to Ubud
Bali International Airport is about an hour from Ubud, so you can take a taxi to your hotel upon arrival at the airport, or arrange in advance with your hotel a driver to pick you up.
Where to stay in Ubud
Ubud's attractions are a bit far apart, so you need to keep in mind that commuting to visit the main points will be needed. You can stay in the small center (near restaurants and with access to everything), or in the surrounding areas where the most exclusive hotels are.
In the center, I highly recommend Bisma Eight which was the hotel I stayed in on my last trip (see full post about Bisma Eight) and Calma Ubud. Further from the center are Hanging Gardens of Bali, Alila Ubud, Padma Ubud, Kamandalu Resort, Mandapa, The Udaya Resorts and Spa, Four Seasons at Sayan, Como Uma and Como Shambala - all with spectacular pools and placid landscapes.
What to do in Ubud
Sarawasti Temple: One of Ubud's many temples, the Pura Taman Saraswati is dedicated to Dewi Sarawasti, the Hindu goddess of wisdom, literature and arts. The temple garden is full of lotus flowers, leaving anyone amazed and adds even more allure to the place.
Tegallalang Rice Field: Indonesia is one of the largest rice producers and consumers in the world and you can find rice terraces across the country. In Bali, you can find many in Canggu and around the island, but it is in Ubud that the most famous ones are, the main ones being Tegallalang and Jatiluwih. Tegallalang is one of the most photographed places in Bali and its fame can be attributed to the movie Eat, Pray, Love.
Tirta Empul: This temple was created thousands of years ago and is located near Ubud. Tirta Empul means "temple of the holy spring," and it is known for the purification rituals that Hindus perform in its sacred waters. On site there are 13 fountains, each with a different meaning or purpose. This is one of the most spiritual places in Ubud, so follow the rules.
Balinese Cooking Class: Did you like the Balinese food? So, venture into a cooking class in Ubud, like the one I did with Paon Bali. I made a full post dedicated to the cooking class in Ubud.
Ubud Market: When it's time to go shopping, stop by the Ubud Market. There you will find everything you need to bring a gift back home – like bags, sarongs and Balinese dresses – but also the flowers used to make offerings and local cuisine products.
Yoga Class: The Yoga Barn is one of the best-known places to take yoga classes in Ubud for both beginners and experts. Other known and recommended places are Fivelements and Radiantly Alive. Some hotels also offer classes (which may be free or paid) for guests to take.
Spa: Don't miss the opportunity to relax in Ubud. The spas I recommend are Kaveri (at the Udaya hotel), Karsa Spa and Fivelements - all for a massage, balinese boreh and an invigorating flower bath.
Campuhan Ridge Walk: For a physical activity in Ubud, take a quiet photogenic walk on Campuhan Ridge Walk. Go early in the morning or at the end of the day, when the heat is milder.
Gaya Ceramic Pottery Class: For those who can't stand still and need to get involved in projects or learn something new while traveling, Gaya Ceramic offers pottery classes and has a studio for those who want to visit.
Waterfalls: If you want to go further and explore the heart of Ubud, take time to explore Nungnung, Tibumana and Tegenungan waterfalls.
Mount Batur: One of the famous tours in Ubud is the trekking at the active volcano Monte Batur. The main way to do the tour is early in the morning, because the magic is to see the sunrise from there.
Sacred Monkey Forest: Another popular program in Ubud is a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest to see closely and interact with these creatures in their natural habitat.
Where to eat in Ubud
Locavore: One of the top 50 restaurants in Asia, Locavore has a unique menu made from local seasonal ingredients. Be prepared for an exhilarating experience (advance booking advised).
Wanna Jungle Bar: A Beach Club with drinks, food, and an impressive pool.
Folk Pool & Gardens: A bar to spend the day, where you can have snacks and drinks around or in the pool.
Earth Café: A Vegan Restaurant with macrobiotic principles and organic foods.
Mudra: A cafe and restaurant with ayurveda-based menu.
Alchemy: 100% raw vegan coffee.
Habitat Cafe: Asian cuisine restaurant near the Sacred Monkey Forest, where you can see from there when one of the monkeys decides to take a walk through the streets of Ubud.
Copper Kitchen & Bar: Copper is one of Bisma Eight's restaurants.
Nusantara: Locavore's family restaurant, Nusantara serves authentic Indonesian cuisine with dishes from around the country to celebrate the unique flavors of the archipelago.
Getting around Ubud
Although other parts of Bali already accept applications that work as Uber, in Ubud this option is not yet being used due to conflicts with local drivers. There, to get around the solutions are: use the service of collective vans that are offered in tourism agencies; local drivers on the street offering their services (in this case, tell them where you want to go and negotiate prices in advance); and rented bikes that cost around 50,000 IDR per day. For those who do not want to worry, hotels usually have drivers and already give you the fixed price, but this option might be the most expensive option, with prices up to 3 times higher than negotiating directly with the driver on the street.
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