Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Things To Do
Campuhan Ridge Walk 9.5/10
Pronounced "Chum-poo-hun". Depending on how well you tolerate the heat, you may want to plan this walk to avoid the blazing afternoon sun. Most of the walk is largely uncovered so don't forget to apply sunscreen before you go. Google describes this walk as "mellow hiking trails" which is pretty accurate, although I wouldn't even describe it as a hiking trail. The winding, paved path is surrounded lush greenery the entire way. It's a fairly short walk, maybe 30 mins one way as a leisurely stroll, until you reach some villas and other places you can stop to eat, or drink a fresh coconut, before you turn around and go back the way you come (the "end" of the trail is technically a cafe where you can eat in huts over water).
Tegallalang Rice Terraces 9/10
Entrance fee : $0 technically. You could follow the crowds and walk right in, but if you have a driver, you'll have to pay for his parking. There are certain points where you'll have to leave a tip to pass, venture higher or take a picture.
Tegallalang rice terraces are stunning. Every angle is picture perfect but be prepared to have people in the background of your photos. It was crowded, as expected, but not overwhelming. Go early to avoid the heat if you can.
Tegenungan Waterfall 5/10
Entrance fee : around $1-2 pp. An additional $1 pp if you want to walk to the top of the waterfall. Not a must do, but you can get a slightly better photo from a higher angle.
As one of the top attractions in Ubud, it's no surprise how overcrowded it was. Unless you're absolutely keen to visit - I wouldn't recommend going. It's a steep walk down and then once you're there, there's not really anywhere to stand or sit. I got pretty overwhelmed by the crowd and subsequently underwhelmed by the view.
I hope nobody takes this the wrong way but as sort of a "disclaimer" I'm reluctant to visit places that are completely overrun with people trying to get photos without taking a moment to appreciate. I just don't feel comfortable encouraging people to visit a place just for the photo opportunity—there should be a positive, genuine experience in it too.
Bali Swing 6/10
You might have seen some incredible photos on Instagram of the Bali Swing . My first thought was that I was probably going to fall off and die somehow, but seeing it in person, I realised it was nowhere near as dangerous as it looked. I love the concept of it, and the opportunity to get some amazing photos, but I rated it pretty low because it's expensive for what it is. It's hard to justify the price of $30AUD per person (not including the entrance fee). Sure it's fun, but it's not that fun, _ _ so you're _ _ basically just paying for the photo opportunity. There's nothing wrong with wanting that of course, but don't go with the expectation that it'll be amazing. On the plus side, you do get unlimited turns on all of the swings (there's 3 + some sort of strange love nest photo op) and unlimited soft drink and dessert.
(Oh and if you've guzzled a few drinks like I did, and now you need to pee... There's one toilet onsite, which needs to be manually flushed. You might want to hold your breath. And definitely bring hand sanitiser and tissues .)
Traditional Art Markets 7/10
Right in Ubud's city centre and always busy, Traditional Art Markets are a popular tourist destination. Don't be fooled by the name though—it's mostly just your regular markets with clothes, jewellery, homewares and knick-knacks. It's worth a stroll through here, but be wary of the prices. You'll notice quickly enough that each of the stores sell identical things, but some are more willing to bargain. You know those bohemian style printed pants? They'll say it's $14 AUD at first, but these shouldn't be any more than $5. It helps with the haggling if you want to buy more than one.
In my opinion, there's better shopping along the same road as Little Talks . There are quiet shops that are pretty large, that have a bigger variety. The first price that they tell you is significantly cheaper too! And so much less stressful.
Sang Spa 2 9/10
Sang Spa is a franchise with several locations around Ubud. Sang Spa 2 was the closest to us. You can book online or in person, which I recommend doing. Compared to the other spas in Ubud, this one is slightly more upscale but still with affordable prices. If you want to indulge, they have full body 3 hour packages that are around $100 AUD. Regular 1.5 hour massages are ~$25 (my memory is hazy). They also have free shuttle pick-up and drop-off if you're staying in the main Ubud area which is so useful! The tea and fruit they give you after all that pampering is the best.
Namaste Spa 8/10
I'm not sure if this one is worth mentioning, since it would be out of the way for most people. But we found Namaste Spa on our walk back to our villa. Namast e _Spa _ is very simple but clean, with great prices and polite service. It was around $13 for a 1 hour massage, so don't expect anything fancy from this place apart from a great way to unwind after a long day of walking. The owner (we think) of Namaste Spa also offered driver services too at competitive prices (~$5 to take us to Ubud City Centre).
A quick Google search will show that there are so many different spas in Ubud. The prices will vary but they're all pretty cheap. Except for the one at Alaya Resort . That one was expensive, and very luxurious. P.S. there was a gorgeous yoga place next door too.
Alchemy was close to where we were staying, so we came here for breakfast our first morning in Ubud. It's a fairly large venue with modern deco and fantastic table service. Their smoothie bowl bar is essentially like Subway but for smoothie bowls: you choose your smoothie flavour, fruit and toppings. I also ordered a matcha latte, made with coconut milk, which I instantly regretted. Yep, Alchemy offers only, or mostly, vegan, gluten-free options. I didn't mind the smoothie bowl, it was pretty good actually, but coconut milk just isn't for me.
Little Talks Cafe 9/10
The food here is very, very reasonably priced (classic Indonesian dishes < $4) with a good amount of options, but the humble open views and relaxed atmosphere of this cafe is what makes it worth visiting.
We had lunch here after doing the Campuhan Ridge Walk, but I think it would be even nicer as a breakfast spot (opens from 8am) or as a quiet place for coffee while you work (hello free WiFi), not to mention their decent collection of books.
Melting Wok Warung 10/10
Melting Wok has great reviews on Google, and it's not hard to see why this warung is always bustling. Book before you go, chances are that they'll be full at dinner time. We dropped in a few hours earlier do to make a reservation. It's a small place, with limited menu choices, but their curry dish and their special chicken dish was delicious. Drinks are surprisingly cheap too - local wine was around 50,000 IDR ($5 AUD). Melting Wok is located in Ubud's city centre, so you could do some exploring and shopping, or even squeeze in a massage, before heading to dinner.
Affordable fine dining. That sounds like a contradiction, right? But that's exactly what Bridges is. And it's amazing. Spanning across 3 floors, with a bar on the first level, Bridges oozes elegance and class without the pompousness. We had spent the morning at Tegallalang rice terraces and T_ waterfall so we wanted to freshen up and change into something nicer for dinner here but the traffic was so bad that we ended up heading straight to Bridges so that we wouldn't be late for our reservation. We showed up, sweaty and dirty, but they didn't blink an eye as they ushered us to our table. We ordered 4 mains to share, with a glass of wine each (they even have recommended pairings on the menu), which were ridiculously amazing. And if that isn't enough, they also offer complimentary bread as a starter, as well as a small treat after the meal. So overwhelming, in the best way possible.
Toro Sushi 10/10
I always feel a little guilty when I indulge in food that's not local, but places like Toro Sushi (and Sisterfields) remind me why it's worth visiting and why it can also be a unique experience. The sashimi here was so good! I don't know how wise it was to order sashimi but I can tell you that it was fresh and delicious (and I didn't get sick). If you don't want to take that gamble, they have so many interesting and unique options for sushi rolls. It can get pretty busy, so I recommend coming a little earlier or making a reservation.
Junos might be out of the way for most people, but we happened upon it because it was so close to our villa. Quiet and unassuming from the outside, I was surprised to find a cosy interior that was a cross between a hidden cafe in the mountains and a breezy cafe by the beach. We ended up eating here three times because their menu had great breakfast staples with cheap sides and we wanted to try their tapas for dinner (not as good as their breakfasts). Junos also has an impressive kombucha selection but we were set on our fruit shakes. Extra points for the unique bathroom too.
- There are no taxis in Ubud. We were surprised to learn about this, after seeing so many in Seminyak (something to do with the Prince not wanting taxis near Ubud Palace?). There are a few driver services (unmarked cars). Be prepared to haggle.
- Depending on your itinerary for the day, it might be easier to hire a driver for the whole day. This shouldn't cost more than ~$50 AUD. We were lucky to find our driver Putu from day one (he was the driver for our villa's shuttle service from the airport) who is extremely friendly and patient, so send me an email and I can pass on his WhatsApp number.
I didn't get an opportunity to do any yoga on this Bali trip, but that just means I'll have to return again...
I really hope you enjoyed this post! As always, I would love to hear your feedback on this type of post. I have no idea how interesting or relevant this is, but I enjoy sharing my honest experiences and thoughts which hopefully in turn is helpful to someone else. Thanks so much for reading!