Review of "Ubud (Bali)"
Hello Spring! Looking forward to the summertime, more travelling ...more reviews! :)
Bali in Indonesia is an exciting place to visit and Ubud which is a town on the island of Bali, is located in the centre of the island. This guide is part of my review on Bali, but since Ubud is such a stunning area of Bali which would be sad to miss out the opportunity to visit when out there, I have created a separate guide to this area only to pick out the best bits according to our experiences and highlights of things to see and do.
Our visit to UbudWe visited Ubud during our 7 night stay in Bali and since Ubud is in the middle of the island, it makes it easier to reach there. It is an exciting place to visit for tourists because the town is full of culture and tradition and it is a relatively popular place to stay as you will find beautiful hotels and accommodation here, on the other hand it is not as touristy or popular as a place to book your accommodation as Seminyak or Denpasar as it is far from beaches and instead surrounded by lush green valleys, rice terraces and vegetation.
We didnt actually stay in Ubud, we stayed at Jimbaran Bay, but when choosing accommodation it was a choice between the Luxury Villas in Jimbaran or an accommodation set high up on a valley in Ubud overlooking the fields possibly with an infinity pool overlooking this view – we chose Jimbaran in the end, but that didn’t stop us from making a separate trip to Ubud as there is lots of time to be spent here too and lots to take in.
Getting to UbudIf you, like us, have chosen your hotel somewhere other than Ubud, some of easiest and quickest ways to get to Ubud is by taxi or private car which costs around £10 for an hour’s drive so depending on where you are, you would be able to calculate the cost of the private car. We used a private car with a driver on our full day tour, but we did also use Uber more often than taxis for shorter trips by requesting it over our accommodation WiFi where it can arrive within minutes, and can be used to get from one site to another within Ubud as long as you have mobile data on your phone and these short distances of around 20 minutes can cost around £2.00-£3.00 (whereas a taxi ride would cost around £5.00). On the other hand if you used a private car rather than taxi to get here, your private car should be able to take you where you like, i.e., any of the places listed below.
Our top 5 recommendations
So here are the top 5 things you would be able to see and do in Ubud, amongst lots of other things, hence these are just SOME – hopefully this gives us an idea of the amount of things that actually can be seen in Ubud!(Just a note, the Indonesian currency is used in Ubud, Bali, so you will be exchanging to the Indonesian Rupiah to pay for these things to do)
1. Visit the monkeys at Ubud Monkey Forest (Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary): This takes first place on our list as it has to be must–visit! We booked a private car with a driver within a day tour to the sanctuary. You will need around 2 hours here. The monkey forest is a large nature reserve forest area which contains temples and it is where monkeys roam around freely. Tourists walk through this forest and can interact with the monkeys to some level. As you walk in you can buy bananas to feed the monkeys. We bought some but we hardly made it to the end of the pathway as one cheeky monkey snatched the entire bunch right off us, so we bought another bunch and this time distributed to more than one monkey with more caution! As you go further in, there is a little area where a worker has a monkey on his shoulder ready, so that tourists can sit down with the monkey and interact – the worker will hand you a few nuts and the monkey will jump up to you and will sit on your head or shoulder for the snacks in your hand! The idea of the Ubud Monkey forest is to just walk around and watch the monkeys whilst they wander about.Price per person (booking through tour desk): 40,000 Indonesia Rupiah / £2.00-£2.50
2. Admire the Tengalang Rice fields: Second on our list of must-see things is the well-known rice fields of Ubud - any travel brochure will have these rice terraces as one of the snapshots of Bali. We visited the Ubud rice fields on our way to Ubud Monkey Forest. This is purely for sightseeing, admiring and taking lots of photos, so you will need as long as you require at this site. When you visit this place, get a snippet of the way of life of the Balinese farmers working hard with unique skill, whilst absorbing in the breathtaking panoramic views of the paddy fields on elevation, the valleys, the coconut trees and the shocking green colour. You can get to these rice fields by either taking a private tour car like we did, or booking a tour with the hotel that will give you an in-depth paddy field experience.Price per person: Doesn’t cost anything to see the rice terraces.
3. Learn about the local culture at Saraswati Temple (Pura Taman Saraswati): This is a beautiful temple, named after Indian Goddess of knowledge Sarawati and therefore it is a temple for worshipping Saraswati – so if you are going to Ubud we found this a definite must-visit as it represented to us the culture of the Balinese people which is so important to their lives, which you will clearly see when you walk around in Bali and walk past so many temples and offerings to the Gods outside homes and shops. This temple is a good place to visit as you will also be able to see the traditional Kecak Dance here if you have purchased a ticket – the Kecak Dance is worth seeing, not necessarily in Ubud, but if you have come to visit this temple then you may like to see it here. The dance takes place near the lotus pond and this is one of the main features and attractions of this temple, along with the beautifully carved temple. We didn’t see the Kecak Dance here, but we found the Temple a beautiful tranquil place to absorb in the culture and the local atmosphere and you will see the locals come to visit the temple here too.Price per person: There is no entry fee to view the temple and it is a closed temple so cannot enter / Kecak Dance costs around £100,000 IDR (£6-7 for a ticket)
4. Watch the Tegenungan waterfall or have a swim: Waterfalls are so relaxing, and they never get boring as I find them so addictive to watch, and whilst you’re in Ubud, it is worth visiting this one as it really is a stunning one. There is an entrance fee to see this fall however – it’s just a way to get a few pennies from tourists which is fair enough and is usually is the case at any attraction, natural or not, but it is still worth paying the fee which we also did as we not only came away with some stunning photographs, but also spent some quality time enjoying the views of the waterfall amongst the beautiful rainforest backdrop. There will be quite a lot of tourists here depending on what time you are there, but there are few spots you can perch to take good shots. Some people were jumping into the pool at the bottom of the falls but depending on the amount of time you have and what you enjoy you can organise your trip to the falls based on that - bringing swimwear, towels and lots of mosquito repellent! Don’t forget, it’s in the midst of the rainforest. Another thing though is that the water didn't look very clean, not sure for what reason, the rain, the mud or just dirt...Price per person: Entrance for to get into the area is around 10,000 IDR (around 0.60- 0.70p).
5. Discover amazing carvings at Goa Gajah: This is last on our little guide of top 5 things to do because this is one that will either be enjoyed by some as being quite amazing and peaceful whereas others may find it one of those ‘filler’ kind of sites, which although can be found in most guidebooks, but when you get there you may find it was a long way to come for just that You also won’t need much time here, nor is there too much else to see here. Goa Gajah also called Elephant Cave is basically a cave with carved rock faces and there are lots of different carving and structures and even rivers, streams and lots of stairs and bridges which will need to be pointed out whilst you're there, so it’s worth talking to local guides like we did and which was very helpful, otherwise it may not mean much and you may end up missing things. Overall though, if you are nearby or passing by on route to something else, then it is worth seeing otherwise you may like to give it a miss. We, on the other hand, thought we may as well go see it as it is supposed to be stunning cave carvings and actually once you are there, we found ourselves admiring the beautiful scenery and landscape amongst it all too. They will also provide sarongs to wrap yourself with, as a sign of respect, if you were wearing shorts as you will be visiting a place of worship.Price per person: Entrance fee of 15,000 IDR which is around 0.90p-£1.00.
Food and drink
We enjoyed a few lunches and meal at Ubud but when you drive around you will be able to see the wide range of restaurants that offer different types of food. We enjoyed a seafood meal and although this doesn’t sound like the obvious choice because of its location, the meal was really great. We also noticed that Ubud is really big on the healthy and organic snacks and you will see lots of those kind of shops, along with lots of places you can stop to pick up fresh fruit or veg.Coffee is also very popular and important for the Ubud lifestyle as there are lots of cafes selling amazingly tasting coffees as they do enjoy a good coffee here. We went to a café called ‘Monkey Cave Expresso’ which is located near the Monkey Sanctuary. They sell beers to smoothies along with café styled food. The coffees and teas cost around 45,000 IDR (around £2.80-£3.00) and the beer around 30,000 IDR (£1.80-£2.00) so really inexpensive for really nice drinks! Worth going there after the Monkey Sanctuary as you will find locals here amongst tourists too.
Why visit Ubud?
Overall if in Bali, Ubud must be visited, but worth noting that the prices in Ubud are a lot more higher than the more popular places to visit in Bali. Therefore the accommodation depending on where you choose and the facilities you require within your accommodation, may be similar prices or more pricey, and on the other hand you are likely to get more for your money in the beachy areas of Bali rather than Ubud.Despite that Ubud holds a completely different landscape amongst the visual traditional images you see and it makes you realise that it is actually Ubud that is the pictorial image of Bali as a whole, whenever you glance through Bali as a travel destination – the rice fields, the valleys and the green environment – and this is the livelihood of the Balinese people and more authentic to their way of life than anything else.
So if you want to experience this then it is definitely worth taking some time away from the beaches and visiting as you will be stunned by its beauty and simplicity! We will most definitely return back to visit!
Product Information : Ubud (Bali)
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Listed on Ciao since: 24/08/2000