Ubud: the land of Oooo… Pronounced “Oo-Bood”.
Surrounded by rich, lush green hill-rolling rain forests and vast steppe staircases mountaineering the methodically terraced paddy fields, Ubud epitomizes the perfect tropical green escapade one could dream of. Tranquilly beautiful, this artistically coloured town has lots to offer, to both new Ubud explorers and even the seasoned Ubud goer.
You will never get bored in Ubud!
On my recent trip back to Ubud, I’ve visited and revisited some of the astounding bespoke places with Gideon Bali, a leading tour company that is highly reliable and affordable. With their vast experience in tour planning and high level of service excellence provided by their impeccable, honest and reliable staff, I am well taken care off and my tour sailed off smoothly.
Even their tour recommendations and timings to tour those places is good and carefully catered to the type of traveller you are; be it adventurous or the casual and slow paced romantics.
Now, let the tour begin…
Get Luxuriously Lost
Luxury resorts are a plenty and are very affordable in Bali. Whatever your budget may be, you can always find something to your liking. Pamper yourself with posh stay-cation and be spoilt by all the glam and unexpected surprises it has to offer, from in-room facilities to spa services and even to dining choices. Location is of prime importance if you already have a must-see-must-do itinerary.
I would recommend the Sapulidi Resort And Spa. This ‘Tarzan-like” resort is surrounded by its totally tranquil natural landscapes and is located just a few minutes drive away from the bustling Ubud Centre. It is a perfect sanctuary for honeymooning or for anyone who wants to escape the busy city lives and reconnect to nature and be ‘lost’ in its awe inspiring nature themes.
Experience Local Homestay
Villas are common and are dotted all across Bali. Experience its rich local culture in one of the many Balinese villas or homes; especially the open air baths with moonlight and starlight to shine upon you as you relax and soak. As most folks here are super friendly, you’ll get to make new friends.
In Ubud, I would recommend getting a place near Ubud Centre or the Monkey Forest. The strategic location allows you to save on transport and access most places of interests easily, even on foot.
Explore The Famous Rice Plantations
Breathtakingly verdant, Tegalallang rice plantations is known for its large picturesquely sprawling rice terraces. The plantations are so far and wide that it is almost impossible to capture every detail in any single panoramic shot. Get wander-fully close to nature, hiking down the beautifully landscaped terraces a pace at a time and be awed by its postcard scenes from various angles. You’ll be surprised by the feat of agricultural engineering that has been prevalent for generations.
Experience local farming tradition by toying with the farmers’ tools and taking a few lovely pictures with the farmers. Hop in to one of the cafes at the top of the calming terrace and let your day swing pass with the clouds above. Let your camera continue to snap at the panoramic view in front of you which changes shades each time the humid wind blows.
Get Adventurous At Monkey Forest
Living happily in the preserved jungle of the Sacred Monkey Forest, the monkeys are waiting to overload you with cuteness and mischief. Roaming around the jungle floor freely doing their daily monkey businesses, their cheeky characteristics and human like behaviour will definitely put a smile on your face. Feed them a banana and you’ll have a new friend for a few seconds. Take a picture with your new found friend and bring the memory home with you.
Beware of your belongings as these little friends are also out to collect souvenirs from foreigners…
Cafe Binge Hopping
From quaintly themed local cafes to new inspiring colourful vegan favourites, Ubud definitely has a reputation for its crazy cafe scenes. Dotted along the corners of main streets, most of these western-influenced-local-fusion cafes are nicely decorated with natural chic and style.
Spend a relaxing afternoon at Casa Luna, one of my favourite cafes. If you’re out on an explorative expedition, head over for a cool break from Ubud’s hot humid weather with a much-appreciated nice ice cold beer. Casa Luna is centrally located and is in close proximity to the Sacred Monkey Forest and Ubud Market.
Get A Coffee Fix
Get caffeinated with a coffee farm tour. Wander through Bali Pulina, Ubud’s latest attraction set amid the green unchartered terraces for your caffein fix. Check out the traditional process of harvesting and the making of one of the most expensive coffee in the world; Kopi Luwak, also known as Civet Cat Coffee. The farm also has other variety of interesting plants, spices and produce within its compound and a wooden suspension bridge that is totally Instagram worthy.
Be sure to try their coffee platter and Kopi Luwak at their beautiful veranda cafe and have your breath taken away by its stunning views.
Shop At Ubud Market
Take a walk at the Ubud Market to check out local Balinese products and trinkets. With a wide range of items displayed in, out and about the market, you will almost never leave empty handedly.
Prices here are slightly higher compared to other parts of Bali. So, always bargain. Many vendors often start the price for an item at IDR150,000 but I always ended up paying only IDR50,000. Go in a group, that way you guys will have more bargaining power.
Hug An Elephant
Meet and get close up with the smart majestic Elephants at the Elephant Safari. Go wild on wild life especially on an elephant ride as they take you around their Bali habitat like a professional tour guide. Stick around and catch them perform live at their very own elephant show.
Be amazed at how cute and friendly these huge animals are by hugging their huge trunks and pose impressive picture for your social media. They are completely photogenic and can easily fit your camera no matter what make and model. They will look straight into your camera lens without you telling them…as though they have their own social media accounts of their own.
Indulge In Local Cuisine
With tons of dining choices to tempt your tastebuds off in a thousand directions, the local cuisines are not to be missed.
One of my all time favourite lunch spot is Bebek Tepi Sawah, a rice plantation dining haven surrounded by peaceful green paddy fields. What is better than dining in nature’s goodness with free and happy birds singing with the chorus of coconut trees waving!
For dinner, I would recommend Bali Pesto Cafe. Snuggle your night away in its cozy ambience with a glass of their many innovative cocktails. In Bali, the night is always young so try to stay awake.
Visit Gunung Kawi Temple
Up for a challenge? Head off the beaten track to Gunung Kawi, a well preserved, history rich temple site from the 11th century where you will find 10 unusual stone hand-carved walls and a beautiful stream set amongst its natural treasures.
Be prepared to climb more than 270 steps of stone stairway to reach the destination. But trust me, it’s totally worth it. You’ll be rewarded with an unimaginable scenery with an indescribable soothing feel that unfolds right in front of you as your camera tries to capture all its wonder. Check with your local tour guide (if any) for the annual festival where thousands of worshipers will carry offerings on their heads down to this temple place.
Swim At Tegenungan Waterfall
Take an evening swim at the Tegenungan Waterfall; an exotic spot fill with immense energy and outstanding natural beauty set amidst its pristine green cliff faces that was shaped by the falls for generations.
With a breathtaking panorama that will bring you back into time, the base of the waterfall stretches over hundreds of steps from the entry gate way at the top. Feel your stress wash away instantaneously by its thunderous water and vapour that will really have you soak its every calming rhythm and energy.
Definitely place to recharge and reboot! But don’t forget the climb back up!..
This post is written in collaboration with Gideon Bali. As always, all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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