Ubud, a town in the uplands of central Bali teaming with luscious rice patties, friendly locals and more yogies than a Lululemon warehouse sale. I spent the last two months eating, praying and loving my way around this special place to bring you the best of Ubud guide.
Add Ubud to your must travel list for 2016
How to get there:
You can reach this magical spot a number of ways. The most direct (from Australia) would be to fly to Denpasar (Jet Star, Virgin, and if you’re up for it, Air Asia, all fly direct). Get out of the capital as quickly as you can by jumping in a Blue Bird Taxi (don’t believe anything you hear upon landing, Blue Bird’s the cheapest, just be sure to haggle) or call a driver. I highly recommend Widi Antarra (affectionately known as Tom) he’s reliable, trustworthy, very knowledgeable about Balineseculture and co-incidentally runs the BEST vegan ice cream shop in the world, located in Ubud. It’s a win win situation.
Where to stay in Ubud:
There are more accommodation options in Ubud than you could possibly ever need. There are home-stay or guesthouse lining most of the streets, which means you’ll pay a lot less and have a private room (which usually looks like a hotel room) in a complex that it also a family’s home. You can shop around with these by just walking in and asking to see the room and negotiating the price. There are also tonnes of villas with breathtaking plunge pools, which tend to be a little out of town. There’s an option to suit every budget. Airbnb is also a thing in Bali and there are some lovely villas to be found on the site.
Top Accommodation Recommendation for Ubud:
My pick for Ubud is it’s newest addition, The Shift Hotel. The Shift Hotel is situated behind Alchemy (where you WILL be spending a lot of eating time) and boasts UV- natural water system, which means you can literally drink ALL the water in the hotel - from the shower to the pool, if you’re game enough. They have a plant-based restaurant on their upper deck, a pool, ping-pong table and daily yoga and meditation classes. There’s a Saturday night dance party (not the kind you’re thinking of, read our article about conscious partying and you’ll know what to expect), arts and craft markets, coconut water on arrival as well as a sauna and massage room. The most surprising part is that their prices are really reasonable, leaving you with more cashola to spend on the important things in life, like massages and raw chocolate. The staff will greet you every day with “Namaste”. Enough said.
The best food in Ubud:
There is so much incredible food to be found in Ubud. You’ll find everything from raw to slow cooked. There’s local warungs serving traditional dishes at crazy cheap prices. You can find a few that don’t use MSG and nasty oils but be sure to check. As much as the traveller inside of me is all about the motto, ‘do as the locals do’, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to eat organic, mostly raw food every day. I loved the food so much that I wrote a guide on the Top 5 Places to Eat in Ubud – you’ll find my top tips there.
Things to do in Ubud:
Ubud is one of those places where you can do a lot, or nothing at all. As my main interests are yoga, wellbeing and eating I mostly did that. You can get on tripadvisor to find out about the touristy stuff like walking through the monkey forest or exploring the rice patties. I’ve written a ‘Top 5 Things You Simply Must do in Ubud’ guide too.
One of the best things you can do whilst in Ubud is reflect. Take time out for yourself. Everything moves at a slower pace (once you get off the awful main road) so try to adopt that attitude. Eat slowly. Take in your surroundings. Have a massage. Practice lots of yoga and come away feeling refreshed and inspired.
Where to shop:
I had the impression that I would be going home with a bag full of yoga clothes, mats and all sorts of other yogic propaganda. The truth? The prices are not too dissimilar to back in Australia (for the good quality stuff, market prices are obviously much lower). But there is still some great shopping to be done. My tip is to head down Hanoman street. You’ll find everything from yoga pants to summer dresses. Once you’ve explored both sides of the street head over to Jalan Gootama for a few more beautiful boutique with handmade goods. For all of your standard touristy wares (no, you will never use the wooden penis bottle opener) head to Monkey Forest Road. Stop off at Watercress café for a Kombucha to keep you sane and make your way to the main road Jalan Raya where you’ll find a few more boutiques sprouting local wares, and a LOT of traffic. No shopping trip in Ubud would be complete without a visit to Angelo’s Store. Their walls are lined with homemade health and beauty products, essential oils and healing elixirs for very reasonable prices. You won’t leave empty handed.
Ubud has certainly stolen my heart and I am already planning my next trip!
Have you been to Ubud before? What are your top tips?