Ubud Travel Guide

Sunday, May 26th 2019

Ubud Travel Guide

9 months ago travel

My last location was Ubud, where we would spend 2 weeks, discovering waterfalls, rice fields, secret paths and even joining a yoga retreat!

I think Ubud may be my favorite city, probably not as vegan cafes as in Canggu, but being surrounded by the jungle was priceless.

If you don't have enough time, 3-5 days should be enough to see everything. Moreover, if you are planning trips to the north and east of Bali, Ubud is the best place.

1. Tegalalang Rice Terraces

Probably the most famous rice terraces all over Bali, only 15 min drive from the center. They are not as big as it seems on all the drone photos around Instagram. Tourists can only enter a certain part of it, as the others are private rice terraces and usually destroyed when people get in. So, please, be careful and respectful when visiting them. You may be able to pay a small fee to take a photo inside the private fields.

We arrived at 6 am, ready for sunset. We left around 8 am and it was getting quite busy. If you want to get photos make sure to come around 7-8 am.

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2. Sangeh Monkey Forest vs Monkey Forest

Before visiting any of the Monkey Forest make sure to not bring shiny objects (Watches, jewelry, sunglasses), open bags, food from the outside. Don't look at them directly into their eyes or smile, as they see it as aggression. Remember to not touch the baby monkeys.

We visited both on our stay in Ubud. I personally didn't like Monkey forest that much compared to Sangeh. It was quite expensive and full of tourist which I'm sure it's quite stressful for the monkeys. It was hard to walk around as it was packed. Although it was a nice walk and it was my first time seeing them in the wild.

I would recommend going to Sangeh Forest, they are also wild monkeys and it was empty, we had it for ourselves. You can also help feeding them with some peanuts that they will give you.

3. Campuhan Ridge Walk

Personally one of my favorite places in Ubud. It is a beautiful green path along the rice fields. It is very easy to find, it is only 5 min walking from the center.

Although we thought we would be alone in the morning, we got there at 7 am and it was already packed. Schools and locals go there at sunrise to exercise before going to work. But it was totally worth it.

4. Holy Spring Water of Pura Tirta Empul

This temple is an important site for holy. Both locals and tourists can get into the two purification pools where you clean yourself at each station.

It was built 960 AD, they said a Balinese arrogant king named Maya Denawa did not believe in god, and objected the people to worship god. Later the punishment for the king came.

There was a warrior that came to attack him and put him away from the throne. But the king used poison on the water they were drinking to kill them. They found that the water from the temple brought them back. So this water source until now is believed to be the source of life and prosperity.

Everyone needs to wear a sarong, you can bring your own or pay a small fee for them. To go to the last part women or men with long hair need to tie their hair up.

5. Waterfalls

There are so many waterfalls in Bali that you may need a few week to see them all. But if you only have a few days in Ubud I would recommend you to visit some of the ones that are close to the city so you don't need to spend most of your day in the car. It may be worth it to combine them with some temples or even the rice terraces early in the morning like we did. They will cost between 10-30k cash only.

Best way would be to hire a private driver as he knows all the routes and even hidden places that are less touristic. Another option would be to hire a bike and go by yourself following google maps.

- Tibumana Waterfall

Probably one of the most famous locations for weddings and organized trips. Make sure to come earlier to avoid crowds.

We started our day at 6 am in the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. We were the first ones to enter and we finished by the time everyone started coming.

At 8 am we arrived to Tibumana, we even saw a wedding! Remember to bring your bikini as you can go swimming, although it will be full of photographers taking pictures all the time. If you just want to relax and enjoy the fall may be better to come later so it won't be just people taking photos. It is also one of the easiest falls to get to.

- Kanto Lampo Waterfall

We were a little disappointed about Kanto Lampo, as we went on the rainy season we didn't know you couldn't actually get into the waterfall, see it from the front or go swimming as we have seen in many photos.

Make sure to visit during dry season or you will find just a small slippery corner after paying the entrance fee.

- Tukad Cepung Waterfall

If you still have some time, make sure to visit Tukad Cepung, it is a waterfall inside a cave. It is very popular too but worth it as it is different from the others.

Tip: Check my Waterfall Route

6. Pura Ganung Kawai

You will find very ancient temples and houses built in rocks. The whole area is surrounded by beautiful rice paddies. A highly recommended thing to do in Ubud!

7. Coffee plantation

On one of our trips our driver took as to a local coffee and spices plantation. There are many you can find all over Ubud, just make sure they are local and they don't keep Luwats in cages for the coffee as it is horrible!

They explained how they grow different kind of coffees, how to plant all the spices like ginger, clave, turmeric. As well as the coffee process from the tree to your mug. After the tour you could try all of the coffees and teas. I loved that they were all served with soya cream as they try to be more sustainable and cruelty free. We were surprised to try avocado and coconut coffee! Tea was delicious too.

When we were walking around we found our new little friend Mr. Luwat, they are balinese cats that traditionally their poop is collected to make a stronger coffee. The problem now a days is they are being kept in cages all day to feed them and just collect the poop. The plantation we visited didn't keep them and as they were in the north there are still some wild ones like our new friend that just walks around and they pick the poop when they see it.

We wouldn't recommend buying or trying it as we don't believe in keeping them captive as they belong in the jungle.

8. Goa Gajah, Elephant Cave

Beautiful temple carved in the rock that looks like an elephants. Tickets are 15k and they will give you a free sarong to wear it. Remember to bring your own or a long skirt if you don't want to pay for it.

9. Ubud Water Palace, Saraswati Temple

Right in the center of Ubud town is a temple surrounded with water and beautiful lotus water flowers. It is next to Starbucks and free to enter.

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10. Visit a swing

We couldn't leave Bali and not visiting one Swing. We went to Bali Swing only 15 min by car from the center. There are more than 30 swing to choose from, nests, rocks, waterfalls. It was incredible! It gets very busy, make sure to come before 11 am if you want it for yourself!

Ticket includes lunch, which we were surprised to find vegan options! It was a buffet full of tempeh, rice, sprouts, veggies, tofu. Delicious!

They also have a photographer that can follow you to every swing and take the perfect shots.

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11. Shopping at Ubud Market

There are two markets, the traditional market where vegetables are sold starts from 3 AM until 8 AM. At 9 AM, the market changes to the Art Market. Where they sell everything from handbags, kitchenware, decorations, rings etc. You can find anything you want! From cute crop tops to coconut bowls. Make sure to bring enough cash

12. Get a flower bath

As you may know, Bali is famous for their flower baths. We couldn't resist ourselves and went to Udaya for a spa treatment and the flower bath.

It was the most beautiful bath and for a reasonable price.

You can also organize flower baths in your hotels like we did at Adiwana, they usually provide this service too, just ask!

Karsa Spa is one people's favorite as it only costs around 10$ a flower bath, make sure to book it weeks in advance as it is usually packed.

13. Where to Eat

It is a raw vegan restaurant located in the main street. They only use organic and vegan ingredients and everything is raw. Our favorites were the soul bowl and the sushi bowl along with the huge green smoothies.

As we always say, one city, one açaí bowl! I knew that if I was in Ubud I had to try this place at least once. You can eat your açaí in a pineapple bowl in their little swing.

It was my favorite in Bali, everything was delicious and very affordable. You can also go to watch movies at night. I had for lunch the protein bites that were really tasty and the burger. As I liked it so much I came back the next day for breakfast and had the porridge and the wrap pancakes with coconut ice cream and fruit, my favorite!

It is next to Adiwana Jembawan in the city center. We loved the laidback ambience of the open-air dining room, they had plenty of vegan options when we went. I had the vegan sushi bowl.

Located inside Desa Visesa Hotel, as we were staying there we decided to go for lunch, as they have a whole vegan menu. We were very surprised by their tasty flavors, especially the coconut soup that was served inside its coconut and the jackfruit curry. If you want to feel like a queen for a day and don't spend too much money this is your place. If you come here make sure to go for a walk around the hotel and its rice fields.

Other cafes on our list were KAFE, Ayo vegan, Sage, the Alchemy, PriMa warung vegetarian.

If you want to know more about Restaurants check my Bali Food Guide & a complete Vegan Eating Guide In Ubud from NorthAbroad

14. Where to Stay

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This was our first destination in Ubud and we were really impressed. It was our favorite in Ubud. it's located 15 min by car from the city.

Each room is a private villa with a dreamy net bed and huge bathroom perfect for a flower bath.

There's a main pool looking to the rice fields where you can have your floating breakfast or tea with pastries in the evening.

Breakfast is served looking to a little lake with a platform hall where you can learn balinese dance at 4pm.

They also had a full vegan menu and it was so good we came twice!

After two nights at Arya we came here. It is right in the middle of the city. The location was perfect, especially to go shopping at the market or go for a walk.

It is a modern building and each room looks to the infinity pool. Tip: Ask for your breakfast to be served by the pool and you will have it for yourself as everyone will be at the restaurant.

Jembawan has a restaurant called Herb Library Cafe, it is vegan-friendly inspired in the sea and boho style.

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The last Adiwana we stayed in was Arkara, very close to Arya. We were surprised for how big the rooms were! Each room is a private villa and some of them have a private pool. There's also an infinity pool looking to the jungle.

Arkara is perfect for families and when you are looking for a luxury stay for a reasonable price.

On our two last days we stay in a private pool villa at Desa Visesa.

The property is huge and has a private air balloon and rice fields. For more check my Desa Visesa Blog Post

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15. Where to have a floating breakfast

Resorts and hotels usually provide this service and if you are in Bali, it is a must, at least once. We had different floating breakfast in Ubud, our favorite was at Adiwana Arya (Price was around 115k/person)

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16. Join a Yoga Retreat

After exploring Ubud for a week Chris went back home and I stayed on a vegan yoga retreat (for 1 week) on my own for the first time

I loved everything from the food to the yoga classes and meeting lovely people from around the world.

We started our day at 7am with 1.30h of Yoga, each day a different class. After yoga we all went together for breakfast. Probably one of my favorite things! Every day I had rice porridge with fresh dragon fruit and papaya, delicious. Followed by banana leaf bread with peanut butter. (I would just come back for the food).

Every day there was a different activity scheduled. They took as to visit an eco school and meet the children, to temples, learn how to make coconut oil, balinese dancing, teach us the balinese culture and how to make the offering. We even had a cooking and juice class.

Lunch and dinner was also included, I loved the coconut tofu curry and all the buddha bowls. After having dinner together, played some guitar songs we all went to sleep. Such beautiful memories.

Check my Plant Based Yoga Retreat In Bali and read my experience at a yoga retreat.

17. How to get around Ubud

Ubud is 1 hour drive from Densapar airport, it may take longer depending on traffic. Best way to get to is by taxi, it should cost you between 250-300k.

Once in Ubud, you can either rent a bike or hire a private driver. We didn't feel confortable renting a bike as we saw some accidents and it is quite dangerous. We hired our car called Honest Driver (Not sponsored or paid) we loved them and organized our trips with them. We paid 45$ for 10 hours.