The Lonely Planet describes Ubud as the kind of place that you come "for a day or two and end up staying longer, drawn in by the rich culture and many activities."
They hit the nail on the head right there. We took note of this so planned a generous stay of four nights, though still ended ended up extending our stay by an extra night! If we did not have a gajillion other places on our list we want to visit in Indonesia before our 30 day visa expires, I could have easily stayed in Ubud a lot longer!
We travelled from Kuta to Ubud and simply booked a tourist shuttle the day before. It cost us IDR 60,000 (approx $6) each and picked us up from our accommodation in Kuta and dropped us off centrally in Ubud a couple of hours later. This is by far the easiest option and fairly budget-friendly.
Our friend who is currently living in Ubud organised a guesthouse for us, and it was the most incredible setting, nestled amongst the rice paddies. What a view to wake up to!
We even had an incredible outdoor shower, and outdoor kitchen in which we attempted poached eggs and toast for breakfast one day. Fancy!
The place we stayed is very new and has only been open for two months, so is still yet to be named. It was on Jl Bisma - right down the end towards Monkey Forest.
Ubud is an easy place to stay. It is very chilled out, especially for us having come direct from crazy Kuta! There are a lot of expats living in Ubud, so it has become quite westernised in terms of the food offering - we had great and authentic mexican food, delicious italian pizza, serious health food (think probiotic, vegan, raw...) and some good Indonesian food while we were there. Word on the street is there is some pretty tasty sushi around too.
There is some magic in Ubud and I don’t know, it just got me. I definitely considered throwing in the towel on this whole travelling thing and staying in Ubud forever….but there are plenty more places to see first!
What we did in Ubud, Bali
HIRED A SCOOTER
The minute we got to our guesthouse we hired a scooter straight away, and this made Ubud so easy for us. It would have been such a hassle having to walk everywhere as Ubud is quite spread out, so with the scooter we were able to jump on and go! It is far less hectic for scooters than in Kuta, even though at times I felt like my life was in Alan’s hands! Depending on how long you are hiring for (days, weeks, months) you will get a different price, we hired for five days at IDR 60,000 a day, though later found out this was at the higher end of the spectrum (expect to pay approx IDR 50,000/day).
SACRED MONKEY FOREST SANCTUARY
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is very centrally located in Ubud, and is a series of 3 temples nestled in a lush, green forest - with about 600 hungry monkeys calling it home! At some points on your stroll through there are women selling (overpriced) bananas that you can hold up above your head, for monkeys to climb up you to grab it. We didn't buy any bananas but it was good fun watching everyone else do it. Even though we didn't have any bananas a monkey still tried to befriend Alan by climbing on his head.
Tip: stick to the paths and don't taunt the monkeys, just let them do their thing - they are known to bite and we saw more than one child in tears there!
Dating back to the 11th century, Goa Gajah is a religious complex containing both a Hindu and a Buddhist temple. It is most known for the Elephant Cave and the bathing pool. We wandered around and took in the serene atmosphere for half an hour or so before discovering a dirt track that we thought looked interesting. We ambled down the track, further and further - until I was convinced we were the only ones in the forest! About 10-15 minutes down the path we came across a flowing river, it was so tranquil. We dangled our feet in the water for a while - one of those truly content moments 🙂
Tip: Don't be forced into buying a sarong from one of the many hawkers in the parking area at Goa Gajah, you can loan one for free on entering. We drove ourselves on our scooter from Ubud, it is about 6km away.
We spent a fair bit of our time in Ubud at a dog shelter, where they rescue street dogs, bring them back to health, shower them will love and cuddles, and work to rehome them. Although we only spent a couple of days there I still found it so difficult and heartbreaking to leave! I have plenty of memories and some photos from this place so look out for more on this in another post.
My obsession with the dog shelter and the time it took for us to plan out our next steps (combined with maybe a little too much relaxation...and laziness) meant we didn't get around to doing yoga like I had hoped. If you are planning on some yoga in Ubud, Yoga Barn is probably the most well known and has a variety of classes every hour or so with all types of yoga and meditation, classes are about $11usd.
We had a GREAT time in Ubud, and every day since then I think about our time there and how easily I could simply live there. Life is lush in Ubud. I'll let you know how I get on with convincing Alan of that one...!
Have you been to Ubud, Bali? What were your highlights?