de-DEen-US

Bali

Ubud

Ubud is the right destination for anyone who wants to experience spiritual Bali! It is considered the cultural and spiritual center of Bali. In addition to sacred springs and temples, you will find countless yoga retreats in Ubud. Ubud is also known for traditional crafts and dance. In general, everything there is even more traditional and religious than in Canggu or Uluwatu, although you will find just as many hip restaurants, cafés and boutiques in Ubud.

Ubud is also characterized by its beautiful nature. You will find impressive rice terraces, impressive waterfalls, beautiful hiking trails and even a monkey forest. But be aware: so much tradition, nature and culture does not mean that it is particularly quiet in Ubud... On the contrary: Ubud is bustling with tourists. There is mass tourism, especially in the center. There is a lot of traffic and you are constantly being approached by drivers and promoters who want to sell you their services. I found that a bit exhausting at times.

Nevertheless, I would recommend a visit to Ubud. It's worth it for the shopping alone, as there are countless beautiful boutiques. But also, when you see the nature around Ubud, you understand why so many tourists come here! Ultimately, Ubud is somehow a place of contrasts: Loud traffic and mass tourism vs. idyllic nature and yoga retreats. Tradition and culture vs. hip cafés and stores. That's what makes Ubud so interesting!

Overview:


What to See

  1. Tegallalang Rice Terraces
  2. Monkey Forest
  3. Leke Leke Waterfall
  4. Tibumana Waterfall
  5. Kanto Lampo Waterfall
  6. Campuhan Ridge Hiking Trail
  7. Ubud Artisan Market
  8. Ubud Market on Graffiti Street
  9. Tirta Empul
  10. Saraswati Temple
  11. Puri Saren (Ubud Palace)
  12. Goa Gajah


Where to Eat:

  1. Monsieur Spoon Ubud
  2. Gangga Coffee Ubud
  3. 9 Angels & 9 Bambu
  4. OIA
  5. Nagi Kitchen Ubud
  6. Alas Harum Bali
  7. D Tukad Coffee Club


Where to sleep

I stayed at the Ubud Tropical Hostel in Bali, which I chose mainly because of the beautiful grounds. The hostel has a well-equipped kitchen with a large common room, a green outdoor area and a beautiful pool. You can choose between beds in private rooms, in female dormitories and in mixed dormitories. I paid 8€ per night for a bed in the 6-bed women's dorm with my own locker. However, my highlight was the people I met here. I traveled with Helena for the next 1 1/2 weeks and met Joey again in Canggu!

A friend also recommended the Bali Bamboo Jungle Huts and Hostel to me. I hadn't been there myself, but the pictures looked very good!


What to see & discover:


Tegallalang Rice Terraces

If there's one thing Ubud is known for, it's its photogenic, lush green rice terraces! The most famous of these are the Tegallalang rice terraces. For me personally, they were also the most beautiful I saw on my trip. Although there are many other rice terraces in Bali, I liked Tegallalang the most from an agricultural point of view. This could be due to the fact that the rice terraces here rise up on steep slopes, whereas in Sidmen, for example, they tend to be found on wide, flatter areas.

So it's no wonder that the Tegallalang rice terraces are so popular with tourists. Unfortunately, this makes it very touristy in some places (with swings & co) and crowded during the day. However, to avoid the tourist crowds, I can recommend that you simply come here when it opens (at 8am). We were the only tourists at this time of day and it wasn't that warm yet. Perfect for a hike through the beautiful landscape!

Afterwards, you can head to one of the clubs on the rice terraces. We have affectionately named them “beach clubs without a beach”. Because the clubs are reminiscent of the beach clubs in Canggu - with a pool, good music and delicious food and drinks. Except that you're looking out over the rice terraces and not the beach! The best-known - and probably the most instagrammable - address for this experience is Alas Harum and its day club Cretya. However, if you like it a little quieter, I can recommend D Tukad Coffee Club.

The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are not the only rice terraces in Bali! The Jatiluwih rice terraces are also beautiful and less touristy. However, you will probably meet the fewest tourists on the rice terraces in Sidemen. A hike through the rice terraces here is also very worthwhile - it was just a little more difficult to find the “entrance”.


Monkey Forest Ubud

Before my trip to Bali, I was really looking forward to seeing the monkeys in the monkey forest in Ubud! I had heard that they can be very cheeky and even aggressive, but that didn't bother me. However, when I arrived in Bali, I quickly realized that the Monkey Forest wasn't all that special. I have seen monkeys living in the wild in Bali time and again, for example at Padang-Padang Beach in Uluwatu or at Kelingking Beach and Diamond Beach on Nusa Penida.

Nevertheless, I decided to visit the forest in Ubud with over 1000 macaques. Admission costs between 80-100K IDR for international adults, depending on the day of the week. Having already seen so many monkeys, I could certainly have saved myself the trouble. But I found the forest with its banyan trees, a babbling brook and small temples worth seeing even as it was. There was also one thing I just had to do: take one of the famous monkey selfies. Yes, I know, that's really very touristy. But it was worth it for the memory!

Insider tip: The Ubud Monkey Forest is not the only monkey forest in Bali! It's just very centrally located in the center of Ubud. However, if you like things a little less touristy and don't mind a little more travel time, then you can go to the Sangeh Monkey Forest instead. It is home to over 400 macaques. The entrance fee is only 30K IDR for international adults.

Note: When interacting with the monkeys in Bali, you should follow a few basic rules. The most important thing is not to look the monkeys in the eye. They could take this as an attack. In general, you should not get too close to the monkeys. Therefore, please only take selfies with the monkeys with trained staff. In addition, you should ideally not have any food with you near the monkeys and not feed them. Be sure to store all your belongings safely - this applies to valuables as well as other items such as plastic bottles. Because the monkeys like to steal them. To avoid being peed on, you should also avoid standing under a tree.


1001 Waterfalls

It is not without reason that Ubud attracts so many tourists. Because the nature there is incomparably beautiful! Among them you will find countless waterfalls!

If you tried to visit all the waterfalls, you would definitely have a lot to do. So just pick a few that you want to visit and you won't miss anything. Although all waterfalls are beautiful in their own way, there is not much difference between them.

A visit to the Leke Leke waterfall is worthwhile for a nice photo in front of the waterfall. The Tibumana waterfall is also very impressive and can be reached via a scenic path. And if a single waterfall is too boring for you, then the Kanto Lampo waterfall might be more up your street.

There are so many more waterfalls in Ubud. You can simply enter “Ubud waterfall” in Google Maps and see which one is near you and make your way there.

Tip: I personally found the waterfalls in the north of Bali even more impressive and you'll encounter far fewer tourists there! At the Golden Valley waterfall in Munduk, for example, Helena and I were all alone! Even at the Banyumala Twin Waterfall, we were able to take a photo in front of the impressive waterfall without having to retouch a single person.


Campuhan Ridge Hiking Trail

It was more by chance that I found out about the Campuhan Ridge Walk shortly before I arrived in Ubud. This is a hiking trail or rather a hiking area in Ubud that invites you to hike along lush green paths!

The highlight, however, is the Bukit Campuhan Ubud, a hill along the trail from which you have a beautiful view of the untouched nature. At the end of the small main trail, there are also a few places to stop for refreshments, so you can treat yourself to an ice-cold coconut or a homemade lemonade.



Ubud Markets

What you can do very well in Ubud is shopping! Not only the many small boutiques invite you to do so. There are also several markets scattered around the center of Ubud. I liked the Ubud Artisan Market the best. The Ubud Market on Graffiti Street, on the other hand, is better for cheap clothes. The only drawback is that the Indonesians, who are very eager to sell, are reluctant to let you go as soon as you've had even a brief look at their wares.


Holy places

Ubud is home to an incredible number of temples and sacred sites. The Tirta Empul temple complex with its famous sacred springs can also be found here. Many Hindus and more and more tourists come to this place of pilgrimage to take part in a purification ceremony.

I have already mentioned that Ubud is a place of contrasts. And the beautiful Pura Taman Saraswati temple next to a Starbucks in the center of Ubud is just as contradictory. But as soon as you enter the temple grounds, you are transported to another world.

The Saraswati Temple is often confused with the Ubud Palace - the Puri Saren Palace. The descendants of the last king of Bali still live in the palace today. Every evening (around 7:30 pm) you can marvel at traditional Balinese dance performances here.

The Goa Gajah Temple, also known as the Elephant Cave, is also a special sacred site. You enter the temple through a narrow passage that represents the mouth of a demon. Once inside, you will come across the statue of the god Ganesha, the god with the elephant's head.



I have put together a list of all the places on Google Maps.

You can find the list here.


Where you can eat & drink well

Like everywhere else in Bali, you can also eat well in Ubud. My highlight was my breakfast at Monsieur Spoon. This is a café with French-inspired dishes. I ordered a delicious smoothie bowl and a pain au chocolat that tasted just like in France, it was that good! Delicious pastries and good drinks are also available at Gangga Coffee Ubud. If you're looking for a place to work remotely, it's a good and quiet place to sit.

For lunch, I can recommend 9 Angels & 9 Bambu. They offer a lunch buffet with vegetarian and vegan dishes that taste like you're eating at your mother's or grandmother's house. In the evening, you can go to OIA for delicious Greek food. I really enjoyed the falafel bowl! I even had sushi in Ubud - at Nagi Kitchen. The restaurant is not located in the hotspot of the center of Ubud, which is why it was pleasantly quiet there.

If you fancy a drink and good music, then you should definitely go to Cretya by Alas Harum. This club in the middle of the rice terraces of Tegallalang offers delicious food and drinks, a good DJ and several pools with a magnificent view of the rice terraces. The D Tukad Coffee Club is slightly smaller and less touristy, but also good.