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Ubud is an idyllic town located in central Bali. Oozing serenity, it is a calm and cultured haven surrounded by paddy fields and steep rice terraces. Ubud is riddled with spas, chilled cafes and boutique hotels, and scattered with holy temples. It is easy to lose all sense of time in such a peaceful paradise! Ubud is one of my favourite places in the world, and I really think it will be one of yours too! To help you plan your trip to this tranquil town, here are 7 unmissable things you must do when you visit! What’s more, you can reach all of these things to do (apart from #6) by walking, which is great because you don’t know what other sights you might stumble across!
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1. Campuhan Ridge Walk
My number 1 favourite thing to do whenever I visit Ubud is to trek the Campuhan Ridge Walk. The word ‘trek’ makes it sound like you are going to need the best walking boots on the market and a 60 litre backpack stuffed with enough gear for a week, but I can assure you, you won’t. It’s a palm-tree lined walkway, which offers panoramic vistas across the valleys and rice fields, and leads to some tiered rice terraces at the end.
To begin the ridge walk from Ubud, head towards Warwick IBAH Luxury Villas and Spa. Then, take the turning off the road as if you are going into Warwrick IBAH. Instead of continuing into Warwrick IBAH, follow the road to the left down the hill until you come to a bridge. Here, you should take the steps to the right before crossing the bridge, which takes you across a footbridge. From there, follow the path which will gently take you up and across the Campuhan Ridge Walk, all the way to a small settlement. If you continue through the settlement, you will reach Karsa Café on the left. Karsa Café is the perfect setting for some cool refreshments whilst enjoying the tranquil sound of running water and the views across the peaceful paddy fields.
Tip: Consider doing the Campuhan Ridge Walk early in the morning or late in the afternoon. This way, you should be able to enjoy fewer people and cooler temperatures.
2. Ubud Market
Ubud has a bustling market which sells all types of unique Balinese items such as arts and crafts, along with things like clothes, souvenirs, scarves and bags. The market is located in the centre of Ubud and is the perfect place to head for an afternoon of retail therapy after a relaxing morning by the pool. Be sure to haggle for the prices!
Tip: Bali is the perfect place to incorporate into a 3 week itinerary for Southeast Asia and you can often find affordable flights to and from the island. Why not extend your trip to beyond Bali whilst you’re in the region? After all, Southeast Asia is super affordable!
3. Ubud Monkey Forest
Ubud Monkey Forest is a spiritual centre boasting a somewhat mystical aura. It is abundant with intimidatingly sized trees, dotted with moss covered sculptures, home to Hindu temples, and alive with monkeys (of course). It is the perfect place to spend a morning wandering amongst the cheeky population of Balinese long-tailed macaques that live there. Don’t forget to be careful with your belongings. If you leave them lying around, the monkeys may decide to borrow them (and not give them back)!
Tip: You might want to take or pre-spray yourself with mosquito repellant when you visit Ubud Monkey Forest. In my experience, this is one place that the Balinese mosquitos like to hang out! I’d recommend packing a jungle strength mosquito repellent whenever you travel to Southeast Asia, as mosquito born diseases can be prevalent in the region. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?
4. Ubud Water Palace
Ubud Water Palace (traditionally known as Saraswati Temple) is a serene and sacred Hindu temple which was once home to the royal family of Ubud. The ponds are abundant with lotus flowers, making the complex as pretty as a postcard. With a beautifully calm aura, it is the perfect place sit for a while and rest your legs after a busy morning sightseeing, away from the hustle and bustle of the mopeds that zoom by outside its entrance. If you like, you can book tickets to return in the evening and watch a traditional Balinese Dance!
Tip: Combine Ubud Water Palace with visiting Ubud Traditional Market as they are very close together.
5. Go on a day trip (or two)
Ubud is the ideal town to base yourself if you want to explore what the surrounding area has to offer by taking a day trip (or two). It is pretty central for exploring Bali, and you have a lot of options available to you regarding the types of trips you can take (some of which should definitely be on your bucket list for Southeast Asia). You could head for a swim underneath a nearby waterfall, wander around a sacred temple, seek out some adventure by doing an adrenaline fueled activity, tour a coffee plantation, or visit a place of beauty! It is common to rent mopeds in Bali to get around, so this could be a transportation option for you when taking your day trips (if you are brave enough to ride along Balinese roads).
Tip: If mopeds aren’t your cup of tea, you can rent a private driver to take you on your own custom tour! Personally, I have always used Bali Safest Driver for custom tours (and for private transfers to and from the airport, and in between towns) – the service has always been faultless!
6. Head to a spa
Ubud is abundant with spas so why not take advantage and indulge in a Balinese spa treatment after a busy day sightseeing? You won’t have to venture far to find a spa and you may not even need to go outside of your hotel. Spa treatments can be very affordable in Bali (unless you want to go to a high-end spa) and there are some beautiful establishments where you can enjoy some well deserved you-time!
7. Balinese cuisine
If you are a foodie like me, then I promise that you are going to love being in Ubud. What’s more, I’ve got the perfect recommendation for where you can head to sample some of the tasty cuisine on offer and contribute to a worthy cause. The Fair Warung Bale offers the most delicious Indonesian dishes and supports public healthcare programmes so people in need can access medical support, meaning you can have a real feel good feast! Plus, the prices are ridiculously reasonable and the food is top quality! What’s not to love!? Be sure to try the Mie Goreng, Opor Ayam, and a crepe with Nutella and banana (ok, not exactly Balinese cuisine, but I’m not sorry because it tastes so good)!