08 Jun 13 Reasons Why You Should Stay in Ubud
Welcome to Bali – the island everyone has always dreamed of visiting. And part of that dream is Ubud – centre of the island where nature meets culture, where peace and content find you (maybe).
Ubud is about 1-1.5 hours away from Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar. Ubud Centre is only 37 kilometres away, but with traffic considered, it can be quite a drive.
The town is home to quaint cafes, scenic resorts, cheap private villas, and good restaurants; all nestled in a highly cultural, less westernised tourist area. It is also a good jumping point for a lot of Bali’s temples and nature attractions, so a few nights’ stay is perfect here.
I stayed for six days in this part of the island; primarily as a jumping point to places I wanted to see, which were mostly in central and north Bali.
If you think that’s ridiculous, here are 13 reasons why you should stay in Ubud:
Ubud Centre is home to many restaurants – local, western, and fusion. Most are affordable, with some falling a little on the expensive side. Lazy Cats is a small quaint cafe along the highway, just a few minutes off Ubud Centre, before Campuhan Ridge Walk. Find it and have either a coffee or a smoothie; and some quesadillas if you fancy it. Perfect for an afternoon break!
Also, don’t leave Bali without having a stop at Naughty Nuri’s for ribs! I had some takeaway and had them by the pool. One of my greatest ideas.
2. Have coffee, tea, and an afternoon snack at Bali Pulina (+ a photo op!)
Coffee and tea tasting is complimentary. Order a snack if you feel guilty about getting a free taste. (Don’t get me started with how good their banana fritters are; get sugar syrup with it.)
They (and the rest of Bali and Indonesia) are proud of their luwak coffee – coffee that involves beans being pooped out by civet cats. A cup of this is on extra, at IDR50,000 each. It’s good, but surely not my cuppa.
3. Engage in monkey business at Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Keep anything colourful away from sight. By all means do not keep your hands in your pockets. The monkeys will jump on you. They can also potentially steal from you, lol.
There is an entrance fee of IDR20,000. They sell bananas in “half” and “full” quantities; IDR30K and 50K.
4. See the famous Tegalalang Rice Fields
Go in the morning. Early in the morning. And come with small notes if you have plans of walking through the terraces – some farmers ask for “donation” when you pass by them.
5. Go on a beginner-friendly rafting adventure
The Ayung River is famous, and the best way to see it is on a rafting adventure for two hours. Yes, 120 minutes. It gets even better when you’re beginning to topple over, lol.
Lunch is served at the end of the activity. It’s not that great, but the rafting fee (IDR400,000) comes with it. Not bad. Photos are available for buying at IDR350,000 – comes with 1 print of your choice and a USB stick with all photos.
6. Immerse yourself in Balinese culture at the Ubud Palace
And watch the cultural show for IDR100,000. Although I did not finish it, ha.
Tip: visit the palace late afternoon (there’s not much to see), walk to the markets (if you fancy it), go for dinner, and then see the show.
7. Chase waterfalls
Tegenungan Waterfall is the most famous; best seen in a particular time of the year / season. It’s also quite a walk to the waterfall, but not a lot were bathing in the water when I visited, so I skipped the long walk.
Kanto Lampo is highly recommended – not a lot of tourists and is incredibly photogenic.
Cepung was meh – I lost my photo of it even, lol.
8. Go on a temple run
If convenient. And if you’re *really* into temples. Otherwise, just spend the day at the beach. Lol, honest advice!
Only Tirta Empul Temple (holy spring water) was the most interesting for me. Besakih Temple, dubbed as the “mother” temple, although visually underwhelming was nice to see considering its history and cultural relevance. Ulun Danu is famous – it’s probably the first temple that shows up when you Google Bali temples. Other temples I visited in Central / North Bali: Saraswati Temple, Gunung Lebah, Gunung Kawi, Taman Ayun.
It’s good to see the temples if you have time to spare. Otherwise, they’re skippable; except maybe Tirta Empul, Saraswati (it’s just in Ubud Centre), and Ulun Danu (cos why not; it’s “Bali”).
9. Wake up in a private pool villa facing rice paddies
Get yourself a private pool villa in Ubud – it’s cheap, and most of them are facing rice paddies. Best decision ever, especially if you don’t enjoy the tourist crowds. Perfect bed view, a cozy breakfast spot, your own pool – I don’t think there’s anything better than that.
Some villas are good for as much as 15 people too, so there’s really one for all sorts of travellers.
10. Walk through rice fields
Campuhan Ridge Walk is one of the famous Instagram spots in Ubud – it ends at a cafe. I only went until this point cos it was too humid (and I’m really only after this photo lol). There are other ridge walks, but this one seems to be the most famous.
Tip: Go in the morning. Bring water and come in trainers.
11. Dine in a cocoon overlooking Ayung River
Yes, the same river where you go rafting.
Kubu Restaurant at Mandapa, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, serves the best steak in the island. The moment I heard about the steak, I immediately shot them an email. And they were very welcoming (amazing customer service)! Forget about how expensive this place is; food is good, ambiance is perfect. It’s one of the places you can confidently say you get what you pay for. My bill was .. IDR2.5mil, oops.
Tip: Just get a main and a side. They provide complimentary breads, appetisers, and petit fours. But for a more exquisite experience, you can always try their degustation menus.
12. Spoil yourself with a swim-and-dine deal at Padma Ubud
For IDR275,000 each, you can enjoy Padma Ubud’s heated infinity pool with IDR250K dining credit. I spent half a day here, of which I can easily change up the schedule and stay one full day at the pool deck.
Towels are provided, and you can wash up and change in the gym showers.
Tip: IDR250K can get you a customised pizza and two mocktails. BEST BRUNCH EVER.
13. Find yourself at Zen Hideaway
Swing over a cliff. Chill over the edge of the mountain. Wake up in the jungle. I will let the photos explain why you should find your way here. Stay a night or two. Thank me later.
Tip: Bring food for cooking / reheating and actually just stay here. Appreciate what you have before you, while you still can. Trust me. Also – insect spray will be your best friend.
That’s Ubud. And a day trip is not enough, no?
Find the good in getting lost,