Bali isn’t just all smoothie bowls, surfers and beach bars – even though thats what you see on Instagram! Head inland to Ubud and you’ll feel like you’re in the ‘real’ Bali. An absolute bohemian paradise!
You can easily spend between 2 days to a week here there is so much to see and do. I stayed for 5 nights and could have stayed longer. I was recovering from a serious stint of ‘Bali Belly’ and wanted to go somewhere peaceful and pretty. Somewhere I wouldn’t feel like I was missing out on the party. Ubud was the perfect destination.
Everywhere you look there are rice fields planted in neat rows and the most gorgeous shades of green. It does rain here a lot, but suck it up because without the rain you don’t get the beautiful green colours!
Now what is there to do in Ubud you ask?!
What isn’t there to do in Ubud!!
Fly Above Tegalalang Rice Fields on Swing
This was my absolute favourite thing in Ubud! From looking on Instagram I think there are fair few different options for that ‘swinging over the rice fields’ photo, but we went to Terrace River Pool Swing. It was epic! There were three choices, a couples swing, a middle size swing and the ‘Super Extreme Swing’. We opted for the Super Extreme, because if you’re doing something then do it properly right!?
It was amazing! You are harnessed in for your own safety – so don’t worry you won’t fall off! And a team of 4 guys strap you in and absolutely launch you into the sky! The first swing was absolutely terrifying and I genuinely thought my heart would stop but then you get into it and it’s just brilliant!
I can’t recommend it enough. Once you’re done there you can enjoy the view over the rice terraces while enjoying a weasel poo coffee if that’s your thing.
Visit the Monkey Forest
Careful though, they’re feisty little things! Known to open backpack zippers, steal your sunglasses and locate any food you have on your person.
They’re not as cute as they look! You have been warned!
Take a Yoga Class at Yoga Barn
I am 100% the worst person ever to have tried yoga. However I’m not ready to quit now! Yoga Barn has classes running all day, 7 days a week. They cater for all levels and the timetable is online, it is marked with handy little numbers to let you know the difficulty of the class.
So you don’t accidentally end up in an overwhelmingly hard one. Like I did … in the ‘Intro to Yoga’ class. Told you … I am the WORST yogi!
Take a Dip in the Hot Springs
I was expecting the hot springs to be more of a low key experience. Maybe a natural rock pool or something. It was more of a pool complex, with luxury accommodation available, a number of restaurants and bars and multiple pools. HOWEVER the view was beautiful and one of the hot spring pools was an infinity pool looking out onto Mount Batur. Very relaxing after a long day exploring.
If you have a sunny day to spare I’d recommend going and just lazing around for the day!
Climb Mount Batur for Sunrise
So I confess, I didn’t do this on this trip. I did it the last time I visited Bali which was a bloody long time ago. But it’s the same volcano, same view, and still counts!
The hike isn’t the easiest, so go prepared. Wear proper trainers or walking boots, carry a torch or headlamp if possible and take lots of water. When we went we were possibly the most underprepared hikers of all time! You set off in the dark, and its cold. So take a jumper.
We had no idea what we were letting ourselves in for and arrived in flip flops, shorts and had no torch. We were given a headlamp between 4 of us and off we went with our guide. Thankfully we all made it in one piece but we got some funny looks at the top … mainly of surprise I think from all those who had been a bit more sensible about the whole thing!
Despite all that the sunrise is incredible and it’s well worth the whole thing!
Learn to Cook!
I’ve been wanting to do a cooking class during my travels but missed out in Laos and not found one I fancied in other places. Here in Ubud though Casa Luna offer a class called ‘Food as Medicine: Vegan hands-on cooking class’.
Now I’m not a vegan, however since being diagnosed with my autoimmune conditions I have been researching as much as possible into the effects of diet on your body. The more I read the more I am learning people eating a vegan or plant based diet seem to really suffer from less symptoms of auto immune. It’s something I am really interested in and becoming very passionate about and so this class seemed the perfect choice!
We made a FEAST! Starting with pumpkin curry – which is perfect as I am obsessed with all things pumpkin (squash to those of you in the UK). Tempe(h) with fresh lemon basil … they don’t use the ‘h’ over here! Roasted coconut banana flower salad, organic bamboo shoots, seasonal greens and red rice. Set in the grounds of the beautiful Honeymoon Guest House.
Visit the Vegan Cinema!
Never heard of a vegan cinema? Me either! But there is one in Ubud if you fancy checking it out. Paradiso is right in the thick of the action. It only costs 50,000 rupees (£2.60) for a ticket and you get to redeem that against food or drink. Which is a huge bargain! It was a rainy Saturday night and I watched the Tom Cruise film, American Made.
The cinema is like a big hall with comfy seating facing the screen, there is a bar to one side and an extensive menu. In addition to the cinema Paradiso offer a programme of film screenings, work shops, yoga classes and even choirs!
Embrace your inner hippy and get involved!
Take a Day Trip North!
Around an hours drive north of Ubud you’ll find the holy grail of gates. Made famous on Instagram these beautiful gates with a big volcanic background are a huge hit with travellers!
What you may not know is they’re actually the gates to a golf resort, so put Handara Golf Resort into your google maps and you’ll find them. Probably with a queue of other people waiting to take their turn for the photo oppertunity!
Just before you get to Handara those more cultured among you may want to visit the ‘face’ of the Bali Lonely Planet Guidebook. Pure Ulun Dalu is found on Lake Bratan. It’s a beautiful hindu temple complex with some parts in the lake and some on the ground that you can wander around.
Unfortunately it was pretty over cast when I visited these two attractions but they were still beautiful. I imagine on a sunny day they would be even more impressive!
Check out a traditional Balinese Dance Show
The costumes are beautiful and the stories a bit nuts, but the traditional Balinese dance shows are all over the place in Ubud. Set in beautiful outdoor theatres they’re quite a production!
Now if I’m honest I fell asleep during this. BUT I was still a bit poorly and recovering so I blame that.
Take a flower bath
This one has been on my Bali bucket list for a long time! You see them on Instagram all the time. I had a full body massage, body scrub and a flower bath. In total it took around 2 hours. It was pouring with rain outside so it was the perfect way to spend an evening.
So there you have it! 10 things you absolutely shouldn’t miss in Ubud!
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