Bali has always been my favorite destination in Indonesia for vacation. But every time I went to Bali, for many reasons, I had almost always ended up spending time in the south, mostly Seminyak, Kuta, and Canggu. Meanwhile, I’ve been curious about how it feels to live in Ubud for a long. My introverted side was longing to live in a quiet place like Ubud. I’d imagined living in Ubud as would feel like living in Hanoi, Vietnam where I can walk around the town (no need to use a motorbike to get around), has a nice atmosphere and cool air, also has an abundant choice for restaurants, bars, and coffee shop. Basically, a good place to write and contemplate. Been waiting for a few months since my last trip to Bali, I allocated an entire holiday for staying in Ubud, Bali.
HOLIDAY IN UBUD, BALI : THE CULTURAL CAPITAL OF BALI
Ubud, a district in the central foothills of Gianyar Regency, Bali is widely known as the cultural capital of Bali. Having holiday in Ubud, Bali means you will find many colorful art galleries, engaging museums, and dainty temple surrounded by lush jungle, picturesque rice terraces, and other natural scenery. Located in the uplands of Central Bali, Ubud has a completely different atmosphere to the hustle bustle of Southern Bali such Kuta, Seminyak, and Canggu. Thus its never failed attracting those who are looking for peace and quiet. Ubud is also cooler and greener compared to Bali’s southern coastal areas, so it’s no wonder that it attracts spa-goers, yogis and wellbeing practitioners.
Aside known as the centre of arts and culture, Ubud has been developed into a kind cosmopolitan & trendy tourist destination in Bali. All the infrastructure that caters to tourism is already well established here: plenty accomodation options from villa, resorts, and hotel; lots choices of restaurants & bars including vegan & organic food restaurants, lots of activities to do & places to visit, and the locals also speak fluent English.
HOLIDAY IN UBUD, BALI : HOW TO GET THERE
Ubud is 36,8 km away from Bali airport and can be reached for around 1-hour driving. To get there you can take a taxi, a Grab/GoCar, or rent a car/ motorbike. It also can be reached by bus, but I’ve never tried it and it would take more time and less convenient. If you’d prefer to take a taxi/grab it would cost around IDR 300.000. I did a little bit of research and found a company called Perama Tours on Instagram. It turns out they provide shuttle buses to some destinations in Bali, including from a stop near Bali airport to Ubud. And the good thing is, it cost only IDR 100.000/ person.
The first shuttle is going at 9.30 AM, but since I arrived in Bali at 8 AM, I had to wait it at the nearest stop from the airport, which is Hilton Garden Inn. From the airport, I took a Grab towards Hilton Garden Inn and waited there. It turned out the shuttle bus came earlier than scheduled, so at 9 AM we were already set off towards Ubud. Using a shuttle bus means you would share it with other passengers, but I was lucky. I was the only passenger since there was only a little number of tourists in Bali due to the pandemic, and none of them was going to have holiday in Ubud, Bali that day. When I returned to southern Bali, I also took the Perama tours shuttle bus. They picked me up from my hotel in Ubud then drop me at another hotel in Kuta. Very convenient!
If you’d like to travel to Ubud, Bali, better to use the Perama tours shuttle bus. Just reach them out on Instagram or Whatsapp on +6281338023434/ +6287786865656.
HOLIDAY IN UBUD, BALI : WHERE TO STAY
During my holiday in Ubud, Bali, I stayed at Bliss Ubud Spa Resort for 4 days. I got a good deal from booking.com, but the Ubud hotel service was also excellent. They gave me a room with a bathtub, helped me to find a scooter to rent, and also helped me to walk when I fell somewhere in Ubud (more about this later on). The only downside happened on my last night when the hot water didn’t run so I had to wait for over an hour since they told me that they were fixing it. It was still didn’t work in the end, so I can’t take the hot bath that night.
Bliss Ubud Spa Resort is located a bit far from Ubud downtown, 4,1 km, so I had to walk to get there. But I don’t mind, since one of my purpose for having a holiday in Ubud, Bali is to enjoy walking around the town. My room was quite spacious, clean, had full amenities except for the water bottles, and had a terrace facing a gorgeous rice field. The wifi wasn’t very fast tho so I decided to move to a restaurant to have a conference call.
HOLIDAY IN UBUD, BALI : HOW TO GET AROUND
Like the rest of Bali, Ubud is best enjoyed on a motorbike. To get around downtown Ubud, you can ride a motorbike or just walking as I did. But if you want to go to a further place in Ubud, you could rent a car, also a motorbike, or use Grab/ GoCar. If the last one is your choice, be mindful that at certain points in Ubud ride-sharing services are not allowed. It is shown by specific signage all around Ubud.
I actually prefer walking, because I love walking and I didn’t walk a lot in Jakarta (the city isn’t the typical pedestrian-friendly city), but my first day of holiday in Ubud, Bali wasn’t my lucky day. I fell on the sidewalk, most likely because I hadn’t eaten anything since morning. I was too busy with my trip, wasn’t I?. It was a bit painful but I thought my foot was fine. But then it’s getting worse after I sat for a few hours in a restaurant. I can’t barely get up, let alone walking. In the end, I had to take a Grab to return to my hotel then decided to rent a motorbike the next day in a place near to my hotel. It cost me IDR 70.000/ day, not include with gas.
HOLIDAY IN UBUD, BALI : THINGS TO SEE & DO
Since I was having a holiday in Ubud, Bali amidst the Covid pandemic, the town was nearly empty. I don’t mind tho since peace and quiet is the things I after from Ubud. I had even turned down an invitation for a trip to Amed as I wanted to focus on enjoying my holiday in Ubud, Bali, by myself. Here are my recommendations of things you should do and visit in Ubud :
- Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
One of the most well-known attractions in Ubud. Ubud Monkey Forest has been reopened since the end of last year after it was being closed for some time due to the pandemic. The 12,5 hectares of forest is a sanctuary and natural habitat for 1049 Balinese long-tailed macaque, but also considered as a sacred place for the village residents around it. It’s nice to spend time walking around the forest, seeing monkeys, and visiting 3 temples inside (Dalem Agung Padangtegal Temple, Holy Spring Temple, and Prajapati Temple). Ubud Monkey Forest is a beautiful place and one of my favourite place in Ubud. Its surrounded by lush forest and pretty big. I can easily spend a few hours here.
Normally, I hate monkeys but the monkeys in Ubud Monkey Forest were more docile compared with monkeys in the Uluwatu temple. When I was there, they didn’t try hard to get food from me or stealing my stuff. I heard it because they were feed regularly by the guards. If you’re worried the monkey gonna be aggressive, just follow the warning board beside the ticket counter and you’ll be safe from monkeys.
Entrance ticket : IDR 80.000.
Opening hours : 9 AM – 6 PM
2. Campuhan Ridge Walk
The 2,2-mile trek at the ridge of Campuhan hill has beautiful vistas of forests and rivers along the trek. It’s easy to walk or run from one end to the other end as it’s well-paved and not crowded. It took me 40 minutes for a round trip walking on Campuhan Ridge Walk. Besides me, some locals were sitting there to enjoy sunsets, while the others were running. Since it has no shade at all, it’s better for you to come here in the early morning or late afternoon.
3. Tegallalang Rice Terraces
By driving for 30 minutes up north Ubud you’ll arrive at Tegallang, the scenic Ubud rice terraces. It’s famous for its beautiful scenery and its innovative irrigation system called Subak. Tourists are welcomed to take photos around the rice terraces by paying a small fee.
I’ve been here several times and I think the best time to visit is around 4/5 PM when the sun isn’t scorching hot. My favourite thing to do here is to sit in one of the cafes along the ledge to absorb the beauty of Tegallalang rice terraces. I’m really into the green sceneries. This one is similar to rice terraces I saw in Sapa, Vietnam. The only difference is the air in Sapa is way cooler than in Ubud, but still, both are pleasant sceneries for me.
Besides cafes, there are also numerous art shops nearby.
4. Tirta Empul Temple
Or Holy Water Temple is a sacred hot springs that are said to have been created by the God of Indra. The locals believe the water has magical power. Tirta Empul Temple is considered one of the five or six most holy temples in all of Bali and is considered one of the holiest water sources in Bali, thus locals and tourists are often found lining up to dip their heads under the water spouts in a purification ritual known as ‘melukat’.
Just as other temples around the island, you would need a sarong to enter the temple. You can bring yours or rent it at the temple’s entrance for a small donation. Tirta Empul Temple can be reached for 15 minutes from Tegallalang rice terraces by motorbike.
5. Goa Gajah
Literally means Elephant Cave in Bahasa Indonesia, the Goa Gajah temple is characterised by menacing faces that are carved into the stone. To enter Goa Gajah, you need to wear sarong.
There’s many more things to do while having a holiday in Ubud, Bali that I can’t include all here, or else this article would be too long. Some of it I haven’t visited myself since my style of holiday in Ubud, Bali is more like doing nothing for half-day then get up at noon to see a few places or just sitting in a restaurant to writing or reading. But next time I have a holiday in Ubud, Bali, I’d like to try Bali Swing, watching Kecak Dance or any traditional dance performance, practice yoga, taking an art or cooking class, visiting art galleries (I actually had arrived at Puri Lukisan Museum, but it has closed. Yeah, I was late), and visiting Saraswati Temple. So many wishes so little time I had…
On my last holiday in Ubud, Bali I didn’t get to see many places as I was more focused on resting dan enjoying the quiet atmosphere. Most of the time I sat in restaurants and/ coffee shops to taste their food, reading, and writing. This trip is more of a restaurant trip actually, and I will share all of the restaurants and coffee shops I’ve visited during my recent holiday in Ubud, Bali in the next post, soon…
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