With a beautiful countryside full of vegetation and heights to reach which offer a perspective over the distant horizons, Bali is perfect for trekking. Trekking is a great way to explore surrounding areas of Ubud and the untouched parts of Bali. Fall in love with the island’s hidden natural features, whether it be rocks, trees or waterfalls.
The streets of Ubud are lined with reputable restaurants all offering a mix of delicious cuisine, whether this is traditional Indonesian or Western dishes. It’s not hard to discover a gem of a restaurant simply by strolling around. There are a couple of places of note though. Located on the Jalan Raya Road, offering a selection of top quality food all day whether you’re looking for a scrumptious and indulgent breakfast of poached eggs with salsa and guacamole, or a late night treat from their patisserie section, Casa Luña is filled with delights. Located a little out of Ubud’s center is Sari Organik. A picturesque walk up through the rice fields will lead to this wholly organic restaurant. Sip on one of their excellent smoothies whilst soaking up the view.
As home to the best Balinese art, it is no wonder there’s an abundance of tempting things to purchase in Ubud. The central marketplace is stacked with stalls offering every type of souvenir people could desire. With authentic and handcrafted knick-knacks there is something for everyone, from pottering around the meandering stands to pick up trinkets, to ferociously haggling over a piece of stunning art.
As Bali’s cultural beating heart, Ubud has a range of intriguing museums to pay a visit to. There are a number of museums exhibiting the history of Indonesian art with a range of traditional and contemporary content on show. The Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA), the Puri Lukisan Museum and the Blanco Renaissance Museum are all housed in Ubud. Each has its own original collections on display and beautiful grounds to walk around. There’s plenty to choose from but visiting at least one is essential for really appreciating Ubud’s soul.
With an inescapable tranquility, Bali is a haven for releasing tension and leaving anxious thoughts behind. Whatever your preferred method of relaxation, be it sunbathing by a pool or getting a massage, trying yoga whilst in Ubud is a must. With a number of drop-in classes, The Yoga Barn has a lot to offer. Classes led by experienced teachers, ayurvedic treatments, and holistic healing all help to find that bit of inner peace.
The Yoga Barn, Jalan Raya Pengosekan, Ubud, Kec. Gianyar, Bali, +62 361 971236
Hiring a scooter in Ubud is cheap and an excellent mode of transport to the town’s surrounding areas. Available at a number of tourist information points throughout the town, hiring a scooter facilitates putting together a tailored tour itinerary. There are plenty of destinations close by to drive to, including waterfalls, coffee plantations and more. If attempting to control a motorbike isn’t appealing, an Uber can always be ordered as an alternative. Yes, Bali has Uber.
Goa Gajah temple
Just five kilometers from Ubud’s center, the Goa Gajah Temple, literally translated as “Elephant Cave” is a fascinating landmark. With features dating back to the 11th century, there is plenty of historical interest, particularly the variation of Hindu and Buddhist influences similar to that of the famous Angkor temples in Cambodia. As with all temples in Bali, a traditional sarong must be worn to enter and a respectful atmosphere is retained around the site. With a river running through, a bathing quarter and a meditation area, this is a pleasant attraction to visit and takes no longer than an hour to look around.
Located centrally, the Royal Palace and Puri Saren Agung catch the eye from the road as travelers pass by. Constructed from red brick, contrasting starkly with darker gray stone all around, the entire estate has a truly regal feel. The royal family still resides in the palace and have their own private temple to boot. In the evenings, traditional Balinese dance performances are put on here which make for an unforgettable night’s entertainment set against the impressive building.
Ubud’s nightlife is a lot more low-key than some of Bali’s other tourist destinations, but it still has a few treasured watering holes in which to revitalise after a day of sightseeing. Bunute restaurant and bar provides live music for an atmospheric mealtime soundtrack, and after you’ve finished eating you can get up and take a twirl around the dance floor area. Other popular bars include XL Shisha lounge and Café Havana. Sample some of Café Havana’s cocktails and take a salsa dance class. Embrace the exotic feel and let the good times roll.
Displaying almost 7,000 masks and puppets, the Setia Darma House of Masks and Puppets is a unique gallery. Capturing the true essence of Bali’s bold and colorful character, the masks here boast exaggerated features that stand out as recognizable and slightly frightening. If you have a fear of marionettes and concealed faces this might not be the attraction for you, but the encapsulating eerie quality of some of the pieces makes the experience that little bit more exhilarating.
By Bethan Sweeting