Friday, August 24, 2018

Ubud, Bali

Ubud is known as Bali's spiritual capital and it is easy to see why. When initially planning our trip, a few people warned us that Ubud was just too touristy. While it can certainly feel this way in the centre, there are many quieter and serene places to enjoy. We loved exploring Ubud and all it had to offer!

Fast Five Favourites:

  • Rice Terraces- We found a beautiful and quiet walking trail just off the main street in Ubud. Just follow a little walkway next to the Big museum. There were not many people around apart from the locals tending to their crops. Of course, Tegalalang is still totally worth a visit! 
  • Bali Swing-Originally we were thinking that this place would be our biggest tourist trap we had ever set foot in. We went at 8am and were the first ones to arrive. Mama could swing as many times as she wanted for much longer than if you visit later in the day (an hour plus wait for a quick photo). There are also lots of quiet places to hang out and relax while enjoying a beautiful view.
  • Campuhan Ridge Walk- this scenic walk through the mountain valley is stunning. It rained a little on our trail and it added to the beauty. There are a few cafes towards the end that are nice to relax in.
  • Monkey Forest-It was so fun to see Lilah carefully observing the monkeys. She has seen many monkeys now but they never get old and she always starts singing Five Little Monkeys. We were surprised how beautiful and green it was here, plus there's many temples to see. 
  • Waterfalls- Our favorite was Kanto Lampo. We arrived early in the morning and there were only a few others. The water was wonderful for swimming. You can give a donation to one of the guys who will take your camera into the water for some amazing captures. We also enjoyed visiting Tegenungan waterfall but found it to be very touristy. It wasn't as good to swim here with Lilah. 


  • Of course there are many temples to visit in and around Ubud. Saraswati is a gem right in the city. Tirta Empul was another temple that we visited and the holy water ceremony held here is very interesting to see. There are so many more, you could spend days just temple hopping. A couple was enough for us. 
  • Ubud is quite busy with tourists, certainly when we were there in June as it is the dry season. The advantages are the amount of cafes and markets/shops that have popped up. We found an Airbnb just out of the main centre amongst rice paddies which was very quiet and peaceful. Exploring popular places early (usually before 10am) or just finding things to do off the beaten track meant that we were able to get away from the crowds. 
  • We were in Ubud for 8 nights and it enabled us to have a nice mix of relaxing by the pool and getting out and about. There's so much to do in the area we could have easily spent another week. We decided not to venture out on some of the longer day trips with 2 hours plus each way, as we prefer shorter days out and about with Lilah in the heat. 
  • Airbnb has some amazing private villas with a private pool for only 65 USD per night. We have not seen this value in many other places. 
  • Eating! So many delicious places to eat. We could easily be vegan in Ubud! Everything is delicious, with so many raw treats. Our favorites were: La Pacha Mama, Alchemy, and the bagel shop on the main street was good for a quick dinner (Lilah loved the banana bread from here). Ibu Oka is a famous place to try the traditional Babi Guling. 
  • Do not get a taxi from the main Coco supermarket. They charge double the price as the drivers on the street. One taxi we took told us that there are 'local' drivers and have monopoly over certain locations and charge higher prices than the driver from out of town. 50000 Rupiah is generally the rate for trips around Ubud and there are drivers everywhere. A full day private driver ranged from 400000 to 600000 Rupiah. We would usually negotiate for a half day or 4-6 hour trip which was between 300000-450000 Rupiah. 
  • We were headed to the Gili Islands from Ubud and we did not want to carry all of our gear. We decided to have a driver take it to our next accommodation in Canggu for us. It was the best decision because there is no motorised transport on the Gilis. It was so much more relaxing not having to carry all of our luggage as their were a few transitions and a small local boat that we used once. 
  • Massage- we had one of the best massages we have ever had here in Ubud. It was at the private spa that was attached to The Sungu Resort. We also had the worst foot massage we have ever had at a random place on the main street of Ubud. We do not remember the name of the place or if it even had a name. We cut it short by 30 minutes because it was just strange! We did however enjoy a different foot massage for about 7USD, it can be a little hit and miss. 
  • Other areas that we wanted to visit but were a bit long of a drive to get to were Pura Lempuyang, Pura Ulun Danu, Handara Gate, Tukad Cepung waterfall, Wanagiri Hill and Jatiluwih Rice Terraces. So much to do in the area! Maybe next time we will stay up in the north for a few days to see some of these places. 
  • As there was so much to see in the area using an offline GPS map was great. It helped us by pinning restaurants that we found on Trip Advisor (we were careful about where we ate with the 'bali belly' in mind), and we also pinned places we wanted to visit. Doing this made it simple to plan a day out by visiting 2 or 3 places in the same area. 
  • Vive Salon and Spa had a beautiful facial that Sonita really enjoyed. She also had a hair cut by Rikke, she was great and we would totally recommend! 
  • Coco supermarket had everything we needed. 
  • We really enjoyed the shopping and smaller boutique shops.

Baby on Board:

  • It was quite tricky to navigate the streets with a stroller in Ubud. We found it much easier to carry Lilah in her carrier. Note: take an extra shirt for Daddy and his sweaty back after having Lilah on him for a few hours in the rice terraces!
  • There is an indoor playground on top of the Bintang supermarket. Lilah really enjoyed this and it was nice to take her here in the afternoon heat.
  • We were very careful with eating after hearing about the notorious 'bali belly.' We washed our hands often, sanitised and were selective where we ate. Thankfully we were fine. 

Five things the photos do not show:

  • Lilah was scared being so close to the waterfall. The water was actually perfect to swim in with her but the loud sound was just too foreign to her. She was happier to observe and enjoy from further away!
  • Lilah was most disappointed that only Mama got to go on the swing. She kept asking when we were going to find Lilah's swing.
  • Our driver drove straight into a parked motorcycle when he was dropping us off one day. We felt terrible for him and he was borrowing his brother's SUV.
  • We lost wifi for a night and half a day in our accommodation. You really do feel lost without it these days, especially because we couldn't message our driver and we wanted to get picked up early in the morning.
  • Every morning we would wake up to the 'bird man' as Lilah called him. There was a local farmer working near our Air Bnb who would shake a wire fence and make funny noises to scare away the birds. 

1 comment

  1. Loved your tips. thanks for that!
    Did you stay in other places within Bali? would love to know more about your experience :)


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