When I booked my trip to Ubud and started telling friends and family, many of them were shocked that I was to spend a full 11 day holiday just in Ubud. They thought that we would run out of things to do in 11 days and get bored. It seemed that they thought Ubud was one of those places you visit for a few days and move on.
I half thought that I might run out of things to do myself, although the holiday was more of a DIY Yoga Retreat (which I wrote about here) so I wasn't too worried if I did.
But boy was I wrong. There is so much to do in Ubud. We certainly were not left with nothing to do, unless of course we chose to just relax and do nothing.
Any Google search will bring back lists of all the main tourist attractions and activities. But there is more to Ubud than that. During our stay we did a few of the more popular touristy things but we also went outside of the box. So here in this post I'm going to share with you the top things to do in Ubud from my experience.
The Bali Eco Cycling Day Tour was hands down the highlight of the trip for me. We got to see what life is really like in Bali on this down hill cycling adventure that took us through the stunning Balinese countryside. Starting at Mt Batur, with stops at a real Balinese village, Balinese plantation, rice paddy and a sacred Banyan tree it was an authentic Balinese experience. We got to try out different exotic fruits, local teas and coffee and enjoyed a delicious Balinese buffet at the end.
Photos: Breakfast overlooking Mt Batur Volcano, Girls weaving in a Balinese village, Balinese village, countryside street we cycled down, me at the rice fields
I highly recommend doing this tour. Make sure you book with Bali Eco Cycling. They are the original company who have been operating for over 10 years. There are a few copy cat tours around that, although cheaper, are apparently not as good. We got our hotel reception to book it for us. Price per person is 420,000 IDR (as at August 2014) which is roughly AU$40.
Natural Beauty Workshop
Angelo Store, located on Jalan Sugriwa, is a natural beauty paradise. They have all kinds of beauty products, herbal teas and essential oils. All their beauty products are 100% natural and made from local plants, herbs and oils.
They also run workshops where, for 250,000IDR, you learn how to make 5 different traditional Balinese beauty products including massage oil, Balinese body scrub, face mask, hair tonic and internal healing drink. Learning this ancient knowledge of the healing properties of the different ingredients we were using was absolutely fascinating. Inquire in-store to book.
Photos: Angelo Store, Products, Natural Beauty Workshop
Rice Paddy Walk
One afternoon we set out on our own to explore the luscious rice paddies tucked behind the main street Jalan Raya Ubud. I couldn't believe that such a stunning, serene landscape was within walking distance of the hustle and bustle of Ubud town center.
There are a few different paths you can take but none are clearly marked.We turned off Jalan Raya Ubud at Jalan Kajeng and followed it for about 10 minutes until we suddenly popped out onto the rice paddy. This u-shaped path takes you around and meets back up with Jalan Raya Ubud at the Museum Puri Lukisan. However the track is not clearly marked and we weren't sure if we were following the right one so we just got to a point and turned and went back the way we came.
Photos: Rice Field, Man making coconut shell bowls, Me and Wyan - we bought fresh coconut water from her at her little farm nestled among the rice fields, the cat that tried to adopt us,man working in the rice field
There are plenty of spas and beauticians to choose from in Ubud. Generally the larger spas and hotel spas are more expensive so if you are on a budget look for the smaller spas and massage places where prices for a 1 hour massage start from 50,000 IDR. No matter where you are staying in Ubud you'll find a massage place nearby. If you are looking for one that uses natural products SKIN Spa and Organic Waxing Salon in Jalan Gootama is a good one although it's a bit more expensive.
Since Ubud is inland, we hired a driver for the day (500,000 IDR) to take us to the black sanded Keramas Beach where we relaxed by the sea, sipping fresh juice at Komune Beach Club. There we made use of their pool, sun beds, bar, restaurant and free wifi.
Photos: Komune Beach Club Bar/Restaurant, Komune Beach Club Pool, View of Keramas beach from my sun lounge
If you want to take back any cheap souvenirs the markets are your one-stop shop, or should I say markets. Here you'll find all the ornaments, wooden goods, clothes, shoes, bags etc. You won't find as much variety as you do down in Kuta but it still has a lot to offer. Oh and don't forget to get your haggle on. Check out this article for market prices in Bali.
Photos: Ubud Art Markets
And last last lucky last, The Sacred Monkey Forest. Although it's pretty touristy, no trip to Ubud is complete without a visit here. Aside from going to coo over the cute (read cheeky) monkeys, this patch of jungle, located at the end of Monkey Forest Rd, is worth seeing in it's own right. The forest, reminiscent of something out of Indiana Jones, is home to 3 temples and some beautiful jungle scenery. Entry costs 30,000 IDR and bananas can be bought once inside to feed the monkeys. However don't get too close to the monkeys. They will take any opportunity to nick any items within easy reach. So hold on tight to your hats, sunnies and water bottles . Best to put any lose items in your bag.
Photos: Me at the Monkey Forest, Monkey having a snack
I hope this has given you a bit of inspiration on what to do on your next trip to Ubud.