Field Notes from Ubud, Bali
Ubud! Cultural capital of Bali and our families favorite place (before we discovered Canggu, now we are in dilemma). So many things to do or see here that it feels like we never spend enough days in Ubud. To be honest we love simply wandering the streets, popping into art galleries and workshops, exploring Ubud's rich craft culture or indulging in its spiritual vibe. Besides these, we rounded up our picks of must does/sees from our families perspective (all tips are easily reachable while located in Ubud):
TO DO & SEE:
- Tirta Empul Water Temple - Such a spiritual temple complex and our first temple experience. It was amazing and unique feeling to watch locals and tourists going through "bathing spiritual purification". We spent around 2h exploring the temple and enjoying by simply observing spiritual ceremonies. Note: If you are not dressed properly, as we were not, on the entrance of the temple we acquired traditional ‘kamen’ and wrapped it around the lower body so we could explore temple.
- Tegalalang Rice Terrace - Traveling threw Bali we saw rice paddies everywhere and anywhere, yet this is one of those places that simply pampered us in body and soul. A walk we had through this very lush paddy fields created lasting impressions and was simply breathtaking. It feels like we could spend hours hiking threw its trail. Note: For ultimate experience and to beat the crowed, we were there early morning!
- Monkey forest - Though it was a bit scary for our 4 years old kid, this reserve hosting hundreds of monkeys made unique family experience. It is also a home to three Hindu temples but we spent our time (around 2h) mostly watching and feeding the monkeys and walking around exploring the stone pathways and bridges. Note: We left plastic bags and water bottles on the entrance and had to watch closely our belongings as monkeys easily snag them - they’re so crafty! We had prior "monkey snagging" experience in Langkawi (Malaysia) that's where we learned to be extremely precocious.
- For coffee lovers 'tour in coffee plantation' - We randomly arranged this activity as we booked a driver for a whole day and simply asked him to take us to coffee plantation. For this reason I can't recall name of exact place we had visited. In my humble opinion, coffee plantation visit became somewhat touristic. Yet, because my husband is huge coffee lover (not to say addict) it was one of must visits on our very first trip to Bali. Despite this fact, he was quite disappointed with Kopi Luwak (expected to much I guess)! Nonetheless, it was nice walk threw the plantation engaging, chatting with locals and learning about coffee traditions in Indonesia.
- Pura Tanah Lot - another fascinating temple that was on our must see list. We have visited it on our way from Ubud to Canggu and we stayed for around 3h, walking and enjoying its unique offshore setting. Even tough it was not season pick, it was pretty exposed up there so we did not stay for a sunset. Yet baring a bit of crowed I am sure one can have quite a sunset experience.
Bridges (Ubud) - Our favorite place for dinner in Ubud. We discovered this place after friend recommended it for our very first trip to Ubud. Since then, we cant miss to book dinner here each time we visit Bali. Unique scenery and fantastic feeling by sitting literally under the bridge only adds on to delicious meals, great wines and friendly service. Time we had here is one of our most memorable dinner experiences. It was always packed so we usually asked our hotel to make reservation in advance. And we also like to mention that we prefer nice table with a view.
Hujan (Ubud) - Our second time in Ubud, we thought we shall try out something new for dinner (other than Bridges) and that's why we went for Hujan, Traditional Indonesian cuisine restaurant. Even tough we enjoyed the food and interior, in all aspects we prefer Bridges.
Locavore (Ubud) - Interestingly we always come to Locavore To Go (more like cafe, and it is just opposite of Locavore restaurant). Usually we pass nearby while occasionally wandering Ubud and stop to grab a coffee or quick lunch. Hopefully, next time we also succeed to make it to famed Locavore restaurant.
Finding perfect stay in Ubud may rather be time-consuming job as there are thousands of wonderful boutique hotels or Airbnb villas. We always spend a lot of time and effort to go through each and every property that fits to our budget. On our very first visit to Bali we had only two nights in Ubud so we discovered Maya Resort and Spa and decided to treat ourselves (a bit higher than our budget usually). Maya was our Love at first site so for every next visits to Ubud we have never stayed somewhere else. Emerald green rice paddies, smell of a fresh air and frangipani, river valley, beautiful decoration from the very entrance - it felt like staff of the hotel welcomed us to Paradise! Being secluded from the Ubud center Maya gives an impression of tropical hideaway and offers peaceful atmosphere. Which is quite opposite from the urban and busy Ubud center. Some of the most enjoyable things in Maya are delicious breakfast in the beautiful surrounding, morning yoga, both pools, spa with the most amazing view or afternoon complementary tea! Not to mention stylish and specious rooms with great view (we preferred rooms with rice paddy view). Well, it feels like Maya Ubud reserves a separate blog too!
HOW TO REACH:
Well, as for the most places in Bali you would travel to Bali airport in Denpasar - Ngurah Rai International Airport. From here you take a taxi to Ubud (1h-1.15min min by car). If traveling from EU (Turkey) to Bali we can highly recommend traveling via Singapore. Two main reasons, Singapore has the best airport in the World in the terms of comfort and efficiency, and second high chances to find cheap flights from Singapore to Bali (check AirAsia or Scoot).
Latest information we heard, mid of next year (2019) there is going to be a direct regular flight from Istanbul to Bali, yay!