Our favourite place in Bali without a doubt is Ubud. It is the cultural centre of the island and where we believe retains the most of the traditional Balinese values. The place is home to traditional Balinese shows which are full of fire and dancing, massage parlours, hand crafts, markets, rice fields and traditional cookery courses. You name it and Ubud has it. Plus a few modern extras like yoga.
It is a little more hectic than Gili T and Canggu, but it’s got a cultural vibe that you go travelling to find. So… if you miss anywhere… don’t miss Ubud.
Where we stayed: Alam Ubud Culture Villa and Resort
The setting of Alam Ubud Culture Villa and Resort was absolutely perfect. The hotel is in the middle of the forest, rooms looking into the dense trees and the pool overlooking the top of the forest. The sounds of different animals wake you up in the morning and is extremely close to Tegallalang Rice Fields – somewhere we’ve wanted to go for years.
The location and setting was tick, tick, tick however there were some parts of the hotel which were disappointing. As soon as we arrived we were greeted and given a welcome drink which were lovely, but then we had to sit though a long speech about all the extras they offer, which of course cost extra. The sell was a little too hard for our liking and even when we were walking to the room there was a lot of ‘pointing out the extras’.
The second thing which wasn’t up to standard was the food. We had eaten so well until we got to this hotel but the food wasn’t fresh, the portions were small and frankly some of it was just a little strange.
I would recommend this hotel due to its setting, but plan to eat out and zone out the pushy sales chat.
How many days: 3 (but we wish we could have stayed longer)
We only had three days in Ubud and we wish we could have stayed much longer. Ubud being the cultural capital of Bali means there’s so much to do and see, even in the surrounding areas. Therefore, we would want at least five days here to really take advantage of what it has to offer. Maybe more if you have a hotel with a pool where you can still spend some chill out days.
What to do:
Ubud Palace: A small but sweet temple. The doors are beautiful and it is full of hand carved monuments. It only takes about ten minutes to walk around and only scrapes the surface of the ornate architecture which you’ll see in Ubud, but 100% worth a quick peek.
Ubud Market: This is where the fun is. We could spend hours, days, weeks wandering around this market, looking all the different stalls, all the different products and probably spend a fortune. Yes, you do have the odd stall which sells those elephant travellers pants which you can find in every single market in South East Asia, but if you look hard enough you can also find some absolute gems. Also, who doesn’t love a barter?
Monkey Forest: Just as a forewarning; don’t take in any food (obviously), plastic bottles of water or any type of paper… not sure why but they just love ripping it apart.
We love this place but only when we’re able to find a quiet spot, sit and watch the monkeys play. It can get super busy which can spoil the magic, but if you’re able to find a quiet spot you’re golden.
The Yoga Barn: We’re not really into yoga but we heard that when your in Ubud, you do yoga and who are we to argue? So, we had a look though the list of what Yoga Barn does and we found the perfect class; Restorative Yoga. Basically, it’s an early evening class (wear all the bug spray) and you arrive select two blankets and two pillows (more if you would like) and you nap in four different positions. It’s FANTASTIC!
Even if you’re not a huge yoga fanatic there is still a class for you – a class where you get to sleep… wonderful hey!?
Tegallalang Rice Fields: Tegallalang Rice Fields was the part of Ubud that we were most looking forward too. We had seen a few rice fields before but we’d heard that this is the mother of them all. We decided to arrive when it opened because we’d heard it can be pretty unpleasant when you are there in the middle of the day. So, we arrived at 7:30am and the dream about being there this early is that you’re able to catch sunrise. The sun shone through the palms and then bounced back off the water – it is truly magical.
You’ll need a good hour at the minimum to wander round, we would say at least two if you want to see all the different parts and if you hadn’t done enough bamboo nest posing at Hidden Hill then they’ve got some Insta-worthy things here too.
Where to eat:
When we arrived in Ubud we were a tad unwell and stuck in our sick beds, so for the first two days we ate in the hotel – you already know how that went down – but by our last and leaving day we were able to sneak in one little gem.
Hippie Fish: This is a funky little restaurant in Ubud Market, just to the north of the main street. It has awesome decor and even more awesome food. We had some fishy starters which were absolutely dreamy. However, due to our recent predicament we went for a chicken main which we still regret to this day. Please go back for us, try all the delicious fishy mains and let us know what they are like!