Where do we even start? Ubud won us over with the first monkey we saw dancing across the telephone wires above our hotel lobby. As we walked around we stumble upon tiny offerings carefully placed in front of each house, constantly reminded that you’re within the unique culture of Bali. The city of Ubud is definitely different than Seminyak, and boy where we excited to be there!
Here is our must do list in Ubud, Bali. There are countless ways to spend the warm afternoons, but these things you will not want to miss.
1. Monkey Forest
This is a park that will delight you at every corner. Upon your entrance you will be greeted by handfuls of adorable primates. Stop and observe while fellow travelers offer these little guys bananas (sold at a stand inside).
Feel free to partake in the fun and allow monkeys to jump on you while you try to offer only one banana at a time. I personally preferred the much calmer technique of sitting and letting them come to you. They may want to just sit on your lap and hangout for a bit.
The monkeys are amazing, but don’t forget to walk around the forest too! David and I found a moss covered bridge and stairway that looked like they belonged in the next Indiana Jones movie. Explore and give yourself plenty of time to sit and watch the monkeys and tourist, both equally entertaining.
- take off all jewelry as it can be confused as food and the monkeys may get upset if you don’t give it to them
- do not come in with plastic bags – they will think you are hiding bananas
- on that notes…never hide bananas, they will get aggressive with each other and you
When in Bali – do yoga! If you are a novice or reading this inverted in a headstand, everyone is welcome. David and I enjoyed our practice at Intuitive Flow, less then 2 miles from downtown. You can rent a scooter for a few dollars a day and enjoy the beautiful tree lined streets on your upwards journey to the studio.
The area you will practice is just above the tree line, offering a great view while you inhale and exhale into an amazing warrior. We took a morning class and our instructor had us in a great flow after a relaxing meditation.
3. Tegenungon Waterfall
After enjoying a bit of rejuvenating yoga, take your scooter 8 miles south to the Tegenungon waterfall. Get there early to avoid the crowds and enjoy the view with a picnic (there are several places in town that would happily pack you a to-go sandwich).
If you would like to cool off be sure to come wearing your suit. The falls are gorgeous and powerful. Looking for an additional view? You can pay a few extra dollars and take a short climb to the top of the falls, you won’t be able to miss it. Girls will be at the top snapping photos of each other in search of their next perfect Tinder photo.
4. Trek a Rice Terrace
While you have the scooter, enjoy one last stop at The Tegallalang Rice Terrace. The rice fields are a multilevel maze of bridges that are begging to have every nook and cranny explored. Give yourself enough time to get lost, you will not be disappointed.
Then enjoy the breath taking view from the top with dinner at one of the several cafes that have field side seating. The food leaves more to be desired but trust me you will not want to miss it.
5. Local Markets
Wake up early and explore the Ubud Morning Market downtown. The streets fill with the sweet smell of fruit and several other not so palatable smells (for me). In the morning the locals come here to get food for their families and restaurants. The energy is amazing and the rush of the shoppers is fun to observe.
After taking in the locals market walk up the street a few blocks and enjoy a great cup of coffee. Bali is known to have some of the best coffee in the world and Seniman Coffee nails it! Take a seat in the air conditioning and sip away as you enjoy your complimentary paired cookie.
Now return to the market. In just an hour the whole place has changed from a locals grocery store to a tourist Mecca of knick-knacks perfect for taking home. You can almost still smell the market from the morning.
6. Mount Batur
Take the opportunity to hike an active volcano and enjoy the breath taking view from the top. This hike is typically done at sunrise and leaves between 2-4am depending on the company you go with.
David and I were not ready to wake up at the wee-hours of the morning to start a hike, so we had a guide take us up for a sunset tour. It sounded like a great idea! However they don’t typically leave at this time and had not predicted for how quickly the sun does down in the winter. I was happy we had our phones for a flashlight on the way down.
If you are interested in a small group climb, just ask around and you are sure to find a local guide (or friend of one). Otherwise join up with the sunrise crew (a wise option) and enjoy the view with fellow travelers. The hike up is strenuous and an amazing way to push yourself. Wear your hiking shoes and dig into the ash, you will not soon forget this experience.
Tip: Do this hike with a guide. We heard there’s a group of men at the base on the mountain who will hassle you if you don’t have a local guide with you. It is not illegal to hike without a guide but avoiding situations that visitors don’t fully understand is wise.
In Southeast Asia you can afford an extravagant stay for the price of a Super 8 in the middle of Indiana. If you want to save money you can stay in a hostel for under $10 USD/night. We try to waiver in the middle. While in Ubud we stayed at Sri Bungalows Ubud.
This hotel is located right down the street from the Monkey Forest and has great restaurants and bars right next door. The reasons we choose Sir Bungalows is because it was built around a rice field. This allowed us to wake up to the adorable sounds of ducks quaking. David and I would stand on our porch balcony and watch as they followed each other in a perfect line bobbing their heads in and out of the swampy water in search of their breakfast. A couple hours later a few famers would come to turn the mud for weeding (know to be the toughest job in Bali) – impressive to watch!
With so much diversity in such a small area you are sure to fall in love with Ubud. Take time to enjoy what is around you and explore the alleys and forests less traveled.