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If you’re planning a trip to Bali then a stop in Ubud is a must. Read through my guide to Ubud to find out everything you need to know about where to stay, what to do, and where to eat.
Guide to Ubud
Ubud is located in central Bali, approximately 1 hour north of Ngurah Rai International Airport. As one of the biggest arts and culture centers in Bali, Ubud sees a considerable amount of tourists year round.
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah ($1 USD = 14,371 IDR as of June 2019)
Best Time to Visit: Visit between May and September for Bali’s dry season, however to avoid the crowds aim for September or October
Guide to Ubud: What to Do
There are so many amazing things to do in Ubud, however I’ve highlighted just a few of my favorites things to do. Something you love in Ubud that I didn’t include? Make sure to comment any suggestions below!
Hike to Mt Batur at Sunrise
Okay so I know that waking up at 1:30am on vacation isn’t everyones definition of a good time, but I would be putting this guide to Ubud to shame if I didn’t mention one of my absolute favorite activities. Hiking to Mt Batur at sunrise is an Ubud experience that should not be missed.
I booked my tour with Sunshine Tours and they were the best! We coordinated everything over WhatsApp (+62 878-8904-6155) and paid on arrival. What I love about this particular tour operator is that they don’t push you to visit tourist traps, such as the luwak coffee plantations or the overcrowded hot springs after the hike. At $26 USD/person the tour includes an early morning pick up, a packed breakfast, water, flashlights, and a guide. It is not possible to climb without a guide, so be sure to book one ahead of time. And let him know that Taylor sent you!
Explore the Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Any guide to Ubud that you read will be sure to include this iconic destination, and for a good reason! These rice terraces are a sight to see, and I recommend visiting in the early morning for the perfect light rays. I was only required to purchase a ticket 10,000K (~$0.75), however I have heard from others that the price is much higher depending on where you enter. You may also be stopped by locals along the way asking for “donations”.
Sharpen your Skills at a Cooking Class
A cooking class is always a good idea when visiting a new country, but it’s even better when the food is this delicious. There are a ton of great options, but you can’t go wrong with Periuk Bali Cooking Class. You start the class off with a lesson in the rice fields, followed by a coconut oil making tutorial. Next it’s time cook, and you’ll be cooking quite the feast. There is both a vegetarian and non-vegetarian menu available. The four and half hour course costs $25 USD per person and you’ll have to roll yourself out after all of the food. The fried tempe was the highlight for me, and I am still trying to recreate it to perfection back home in NYC.
Take a Stroll Through the Monkey Forest
Touristy? Sure.. but I couldn’t not include it in my guide to Ubud. Strolling the Monkey Forest is definitely an experience. Although I’ll be the first to admit that monkeys terrifying me (flashback to getting attacked by a monkey in India in 2013), the babies really are adorable. Make sure to lock up your valuables, because yes they really can open your bag, and yes they really will steal all of your stuff. Photos by @boyanoo
Get your Zen on with a Yoga Class
There are a number of excellent studios that I could mention in this guide to Ubud, but if I had to choose one it would be The Yoga Barn. With 15 different daily class times, you’re sure to find something that works with your travel schedule.
Walk the Campuhan Ridge
Located just north of Ubud center, this walk is the perfect way to end (or start) the day. Wander the path through the Bali greens and dotted palm trees. Be sure to stop by Sari Organik for a bite to eat when you’re finished.
Forget About TLC and Go Chase Waterfalls
Bali has so many epic waterfalls, and lucky for you there are a handful that are easily accessible from Ubud. If you’re feeling adventurous you can hire a motorbike, otherwise a private car with a driver for the day costs around $35 USD.
There a bunch of options to choose from, but my favorites in the area are Tukad Cepung and Kanto Lampo. I would recommend arriving at Tukad Cepung before 11am to catch the iconic light rays, however the earlier the better because the tourists definitely flock to this spot.
Heading up North? Check out my Guide to the Best Waterfalls in North Bali
Haggle at the Ubud Market
What better place to practice your haggling skills than at the local market? Swing by for endless stalls of the same cliche, but utterly adorable, Bali bags and bright colored sarongs. Never pay more than half (but really a quarter) of the starting offer price.
Guide to Ubud: Where to Eat
Milk & Madu
Sister-restaurant of the Canggu brunch joint the same name, Milk & Madu is a crowd pleaser. With 2 for 1 pizzas after 5pm on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Seniman Coffee Studio
A must for coffee lovers and afficionados. Try the two hour cupping lesson to get a better understanding of the famous brews from Java.
Located just across from the Monkey Forest, Habitat Cafe offers a number of local and Western dishes, with plenty of options for vegetarians. A great spot to fuel up before getting cozy with some monkeys (kidding, please don’t touch the monkeys).
While the service and food isn’t anything to write home about, the rice field views will more than make up for anything it lacks. A bit outside of town, but well worth the walk for a scenic breakfast or afternoon coffee.
Warung Biah Biah
No guide to Ubud is complete without some recommendations for great local food. Warung Biah Biah is an awesome, centrally located hang for tourists and locals alike. With plenty of seating you’ll have no problem enjoying your full plates of the best local grub.
PriMa Warung Vegetarian
There might be only one dish served here, the Indo signature Nasi Campur, but they sure do it well. This is perfect for anyone looking to get a taste of the local cuisines, plus it is vegetarian.
Guide to Ubud: Where to Stay
Luxury: White Stone Villa – might just be one of the coolest places that I’ve ever stayed. Located in the middle of jungle, Google Maps can’t help you here. Waking up at the White Stone Villa is truly a dream, as the floor to ceiling windows open to your own private rice terraces. The staff is beyond incredible, ready to drive or cook for you when needed.
Luxury: Bisma Eight – because sometimes you just need to be pampered. A stay in the Canopy Suite is hard to top, with jungle views from your plush, very large bed. Did I mention the infinity pool?
Mid-Range: Lodtunduh Sari – Removed from the hustle and bustle of Ubud’s city center, this property offers one of the best backyard views. Decorated with local souvenirs and goods, and an outdoor bathroom to write home about. You won’t be disappointed eating out on your private balcony overlooking to rice fields.
Budget: Merthayasa Bungalows – located right on Monkey Forest Street, these bungalow rooms are perfect for couples or friends looking for a quiet escape. Basic rooms with a great little pool. Starting at $13 USD for a private room with breakfast.
Budget: Puji Hostel – A great option for solo travelers, featuring a swimming pool amidst the rice fields. Private bungalows also available. Walking distance to a number of attractions, restaurants, and a great massage parlor.
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