Ubud was by far my favourite location within Bali and no Bali trip will ever be complete without spending a few days here.
Ubud is in central Bali and what our driver described as the “Bali from the 90s”. Less developed and commercial than Seminyak, it gave me real back to nature vibes. Surrounded by rainforests and rice paddies it was the perfect location to break up two fairly beach stops, being Seminyak and the Gili Islands.
We stayed at the beautiful Puri Sunia Resort on the outskirts of Ubud. First impressions blew us away and we were offered a free upgrade to their Suite which offered amazing views of the whole resort.
There are many hotel options within Central Ubud but by staying so locally you miss out on space, views and the opportunity to really feel immersed in the rainforest. Our hotel offered a free shuttle into Ubud town centre which we regularly used and took roughly 15 minutes.
Things to do
We planned for Ubud to be the part of the trip where we fully immersed ourselves in Bali culture. We booked a private tour on Tripadvisor as I’d read this is the best way to take in the sites. Our tour guide Gusti, picked us up from our hotel at 7:30am and our first stop was the Tirta Empul Temple. I’d recommend making this your first stop fairly early in the morning as the temple was emptyyyyy. It’s well known for getting packed.
Next stop was the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. Now this was an experience because the monkeys have no behaviour. Imagine one grabbed my braids and all I could do was scream. They roam freely and you’re essentially in their home but I would definitely visit and recommend it to anyone who doesn’t have a fear of animals. Following this we were given some time to explore Ubud’s art market where I bought a massive painting for a house I haven’t bought yet. LOL. Talk about manifesting your future.
We then visited on of Ubud’s most photographed sites, the Tegalalang Rice Terrace which is really a site to be seen. Stretching for miles you have rice paddies stacked on top of each other. Now I’ll admit that before visiting Ubud I didn’t actually know the process for producing rice but Gusti was incredibly knowledgeable and explained the water filtration process and let us explore the paddies at our leisure.
Our final stop was the Tegenungan Waterfall, one of Ubud’s most well known waterfalls. Probably the most underwhelming stop, I was expecting Dunns River part 2 but nonetheless it it’s worth seeing while you’re there.
Now is a Bali trip really complete without a Bali swing for Insta? I took every bloggers advice and avoided Bali Swing at all costs. It’s well known for lengthy queues and there are many rice paddies offering just the same for half the price.
Okay so you’ve taken in all the sites and now you’re missing the beach? I’ve got you covered.
Wanna Jungle Pool Bar is a musttttt see! If you thought the rice terrace views were something this pool bar is literally insideeeee the jungle.
We purchased the Gold ticket online for 2,500k IDR/145 GBP which gave us access to a day bed 1,300k IDR to spend on food and drink, a locker, towels and access to all the pools. Rightly so the hotel restricts the number of tickets issued to allow priority to hotel guests so definitely book online in advance to avoid disappointment.
I’ll start by saying Ubud is not the place for popping nightlife. Save that for Seminyak, Kuta and Legian. Saying that, we found two spots where you could unwind for a few hours after dinner.
Laughing Buddha Bar had a live band every night playing salsa and merengue which I loved. It also has a few snooker tables and sells shisha.
The second spot we often chilled at was XL Shisha Lounge. It gave me real Morrocian Bedouin vibes with its plump cushions and was full of Australians who looked like they may have smoked more than shisha. This was a really nice chilled spot and often had Australians and Indonesians playing live music.
We spent 5 nights in Ubud which was just right and quite possibly the highlight of the trip.
Next stop.. Gili Island.