Ubud is one of the most popular places to visit in Bali, being in the centre of the island it is full of culture and gives a real sense of Balinese life. It was one of my favourite places that I visited while traveling around Bali, so I decided it deserved its own post. Here is my ultimate guide to Ubud – things to do, places to eat, drink and stay (budget, mid-range and luxury) while exploring Ubud.
(Scroll to the bottom for my Youtube Video of my 6days in Ubud and 5days in Seminyak!)
Try to visit during Galungan, a religious Hindu celebration where the streets are decorated beautifully with hand made decorations and pretty offerings to the gods. Everyone is so happy and friendly, especially during this time, we didn’t plan on visiting during this holiday but we are so pleased that we did!
Top Things to do While in Ubud
MONKEY FOREST – I’m sure you would’ve heard of Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, this is quite a popular attraction within Ubud so you may want to be savvy with when you visit. Try to avoid the middle of the day when it is likely to be more busy – I would suggest early in the morning.
At only 50,000rupiah (£3 entry) it is the best £3 I have ever spent. I half expected the monkeys to be few and far between but this was not the case, there were monkeys everywhere and so many cute babies. You can buy bunches of bananas within the forest to feed them, but be careful because they don’t like waiting or being teased, they will just jump up and grab them (no one likes being teased with food ;))!
MOUNTAIN BIKE RIDE TOUR – Bali Eco Cycling – My favourite activity during my 5 weeks in Bali. The cost is around £45 with hotel pickup and drop-off, breakfast overlooking Mt. Batur and a buffet lunch looking over rice paddies both included, coffee tasting at a beautiful coffee plantation and a 2 hour bike ride down the mountain through timeless small villages, ancient banyan trees and rice paddy panoramas. A tour designed to take the visitor away from the touristy areas and through ‘the real bali’ while learning about Balinese culture from your guide (they even came prepared with a rain mac as we were unlucky and had a torrential downpour mid bike ride!). This was such an amazing experience and I would recommend it to anyone!
VISIT RICE TERRACES – There is no shortage of rice terraces in and around Ubud, the best one to go to is Tegalalang Rice Fields – with its endless terraces its so picturesque and beautiful!
GO SHOPPING IN UBUD MARKET – You won’t be able to resist with so many amazing balinese goodies! Probably my favourite market in the world yet. They will expect you to haggle so don’t be shy, you will get some absolute bargains – I suggest you do all your souvenir shopping and present buying here!
SUNRISE TREK MOUNT BATUR – One of the most memorable experiences of my trip and possibly life! There are many different companies you can book this trip through, we did some research while walking around Ubud and prices ranged from 300,000rupiah to 1,000,000rupiah and they all seemed to be offering the same thing. We decided to go with the cheapest (around £18) and we were not disappointed at all.
Our trip included-
- 2am pickup from hotel and drop off
- 3am breakfast (banana pancake & tea/coffee)
- Guided 2 hour trek up Mount Batur (we had the most amazing and helpful guides we could’ve hoped for) bottle of water and torch provided.
- Option to stop at first view point for sunrise or carry on to summit.
- Second breakfast at the summit (egg, banana, cake)
- Stop at coffee plantation on way home for coffee tasting
The early 2am pickup from the hotel was worth it for the most incredible sunrise 17,000 metres above ground at the top of an active volcano and amazing panoramic views of Bali. Make sure you wear comfortable trainers because the trek does get very rocky and difficult at times and take a jumper because it can get chilly at the summit!
The Best Bars in Ubud
LOL – A reggae bar that we stumbled across on a Friday night, drawn in by the amazing atmosphere and reggae band! We had the best night here, who doesn’t love some old school reggae classics, make sure you have a go at playing the African drums along with the band.
OOPS – Great if you love a bit of people watching, sit at the front of the bar and watch the world go by while being sprayed with mist to cool you down. It is opposite the Ubud Market so very easy to find.
LAUGHING BUDDHA – with live music every night it has a great vibe filled with young travellers.
CP LOUNGE – Pretty much the only place we could find that is open past midnight, great atmosphere, music and people, definitely the place to go if you’re looking for a late night in Ubud.
My Best Restaurants in Ubud
UMAH PIZZA – For the best wood fired pizza in Ubud and super cheap prices (between 20,000 and 40,000 rupiah per pizza, under £3). I recommend the coconut curry pizza, SO GOOD!
CAFE WAYAN – Amazing traditional Balinese food and great service, if there is lots of you I recommend getting the sharing platter for a taste of lots of different Balinese foods.
IBU RAI – In my top 3 favourite restaurants of the whole 5 weeks in Bali! A mixture of traditional Balinese dishes and famous dishes from other cultures. We all received a complimentary amuse-bouche of potato and leak soup, I then went for the Thai Curry and chocolate lava cake for dessert (both delicious!)
THREE MONKEYS – a chain of restaurants in Bali, we also came across one in Sanur. They have tables overlooking a rice field in the centre of Ubud, I had the tastiest thin pizza here!
ARANG SATE BAR – A restaurant based around the famous Balinese sate dish – they offer literally every sate flavour under the sun! I recommend choosing one of their tasting platters (choice of vegetarian, seafood, poultry and meat) for a taster of some delicious sate variations. You are given a hot plate to heat your own sate – a great dining experience.
Places to Stay in Ubud, Bali (Budget, Mid-range and Luxury)
For budget stays we found that the AGODA App gave us the cheapest prices.
BUDGET – FRANGIPANI BUNGALOWS – Perfect for travellers on a budget looking for a chilled and quiet stay only a 2 minute walk from the main street in Ubud. Booked through Agoda app and cost £12 per night (£6 each) with breakfast included. Lovely small swimming pool round the side of the building and the perfect location! Make sure you book a room with air-conditioning because not all have it!
MID-RANGE – PEACOCK INN – £16 per person per night for a double room, the hotel is spotless with good size rooms all with air-conditioning, great bathrooms and a lovely swimming pool only a 2 minute walk from central Ubud. Breakfast wasn’t included which was a shame but it was one of my favourite places to stay and I couldn’t fault it.
LUXURY – VILLA SHINTA DEWI – In a beautiful and tranquil setting about a 5 minute drive from central Ubud. The villa includes a driver (one trip into Ubud and back daily), 24 hour security, butler service, a brilliant Balinese chef if you wish to eat traditional cuisine in the comfort of your own space, a gym and a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the jungle! The staff are wonderful and so attentive, will give recommendations for restaurants and activities and will also book these for you. Walking into Ubud from here would take 20/25 minutes, taxis only around £3 each way.
Thank you for reading, I hope you found this useful. Please feel free to ask any questions, i’d be happy to answer. Remember to like/comment/share/follow 🙂