I’ve never been one to be overly excited about a holiday destination inland. When I think of travelling, I think of beaches, ocean sunsets and snorkelling. I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed Ubud! Here, I’ve put together a beginner’s guide to Ubud, what to do, where to stay and even where to eat!
Where to Stay
I trawled Tripadvisor, Booking.com, Agoda and any blog I could find for the best hotel in Ubud at a reasonable price. I came across the Agung Raka Villas and booked one night here. I wish I had booked for longer as this hotel was flipping amazing!! For just $47 a night for two people, this place oozed Balinese culture but still tended to our “Western” needs.
The staff were amazing, the location perfect (15 minute walk from monkey forest) and the grounds were, let’s just say, Instagram worthy! With views of rice fields, a beautiful pool and Indonesian architecture everywhere, this has been my favourite hotel in Bali so far.
Where to Eat
My absolute favourite in Ubud was the Tropical View Cafe. Only metres up the road from the Monkey Forest, where you’re sure to spot a few scampering around while dining here. We were enjoying our meal when a cheeky monkey barrelled into the restaurant, raided the fruit bowl and dashed away, it was priceless!
This place has a beautiful traditional Balinese setting with a rice field terrace viewing, seats on the floor to dine more traditionally and menu to die for. It’s nice and cheap too for what you get. Make sure to try their Nasi Goreng, it’s the best I’ve had in Bali so far!!
Walking distance from pretty much every hotel in Ubud, the monkey temple is easy to access. At $4 in, it’s an amazingly cheap price to pay for the hours of entertainment you will get! Though full of tourists, this place still keeps a very natural feel and the deeper into the forest you go the more gorgeous it gets.
Tegalalang Rice Fields
A short distance outside Ubud lies the Terrace Rice Fields. Organise a driver from the street or your hotel and negotiated a price. Roughly $8-10 per person (lower if you’re a good at bargaining!) will get your there and back and have your driver wait for you while you explore. If you’re feeling adventurous and want to brave the winding Ubud roads, rent a motorbike and make your own way up.
To enter the rice fields is only $1 but make sure you bring A LOT of small notes with you. The rice fields are vast and winding and easy to loose your way. To use short-cuts and get to the best viewpoints, locals ask for “donations”.
One old lady even offered to pose for a photograph, only for me to realise afterward she wanted money for my quick snap! I handed her the equivalent of 20c (the very last of my change!). The sweet old lady quickly turned sour and demanded more money for her posing skills, to say I was taken aback is an understatement!
This place is a nature lover’s dream! Now don’t get me wrong, the place is overrun with tourists. Also to get to the waterfall, you must pass through a forest filled with stalls and venders forcing goods on you. You can even rent “sunbeds” near it to lounge on. Though it has fallen victim to tourism (like all of Bali), you still can’t deny the beauty of waterfall and the surrounding area! If you’re looking for something less crowded take a trip to Tibumana Waterfall, also close to Ubud.
For about $60 each, we booked a climb up Mount Batur. We had our own guide who brought us up the volcano together. If you’re fit and would rather not go the pace of the slowest in the group, I would suggest getting a private guide. Just google tour guides and get the best price, they’re all just local chaps who live near the mountain. Don’t expect anything fancy, but they get you up the mountain in time for sunrise. An amazing experience!
If you rent a driver, get him to make a day out of it. Get him to bring you to the waterfall, the rice fields, the monkey forest if you’re not close to it, and the coffee plantation. Or you could stop at the coffee plantation after Mount Batur.
This is where the most expensive coffee in the world is made, Luwak Coffee. Made from the poop of the Luwak, it goes for roughly $70 a bag! You can sample a cup for $5, and test all their other teas and coffees for free. Nice little trip full of culture and easy to do!