After our week by the beach in Seminyak, Ubud was a completely different change of scenery. From sand and sea to jungle and rice fields! Ubud also feels a lot less touristy than Seminyak and Kuta, even though it’s just as busy. I think it’s due to the laid-back, quite spiritual atmosphere.
We weren’t sure how long we’d be spending in Ubud. Due to the ‘imminent’ eruption of Mount Agung, we’d prepared ourselves for the possibility we might be there for a few weeks. As it turns out (and luckily for our itinerary) we spent an activity-filled week there.
So what did we get up to?
Right in the middle of town is Ubud Palace. Our hotel shuttle bus dropped us off here every day as it’s probably the most central point in town. It’s currently under construction so it won’t blow you away but it’s free to wander around and you can see some extravagent Balinese architecture and gardens.
Pura Taman Saraswati
A short walk up the road from Ubud Palace is the Taman Saraswati water temple. Just like the palace it’s free to enter, and has beautiful lotus and koi ponds.
There are nightly performances of Balinese dancing hosted here every evening – you’ll be approached by ticket sellers if you walk anywhere near the vicinity! We didn’t go in, but the backdrop of the temple did look like it made for a good show.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
On the outskirts of Ubud Centre and tucked away behind the main road is the Campuhan Ridge Walk. The start of this walk is quite steep and due to the humid weather, I was really regretting starting it to be honest. Luckily it’s only really one ascent before you reach the ridge and benefit from the passing breeze.
It’s probably best to avoid this walk between 10am and 3pm as there’s virtually no shade. There are valleys to your left and right and you walk along the ridge in-between, hence the name. The views are gorgeous; there’s even a swing hanging from a tree about 3/4 of the way down for you to take full advantage of the panoramic greenery.
At the end of the 2km you’ll be relieved to find a cafe for a well-deserved pit stop.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
On one of our mornings we took a short scooter ride North to Tegallalang. I saw photos of the rice terraces online but the photos really didn’t do them justice, they’re stunning!
We arrived at 9am to avoid the peak of the heat and crowds of tourists. It was starting to get really hot and busy around 10:30am so I’d recommend you do the same if you visit. I didn’t expect to walk through the terraces for as long as we did but every angle is so beautiful we couldn’t tear ourselves away!
The terraces have various donation points that you need to donate around 5000Rp (30p) per person to pass through. A small price to pay for once-in-a-lifetime views! If you’d like to watch a video of our walk (it captures the beauty a bit better than the photos) you can do here:
Pura Tirta Empul
This Hindu water temple is a 20 minute drive from Tegallalang and is another popular tourist destination. The temple is famous for its holy water which you can be blessed in by bathing under every fountain. As with all Balinese temples, you need to dress respectfully – if you’re not appropriately covered you’re given a sarong to wear around the site at the entrance.
You can hire different ‘get-wet’ sarongs and lockers to be able to go into the water. It’s pretty cold but actually very refreshing in the middle of the day.
I did actually find out today that it has recently been advised ‘not to use the water facilities on-site’ due to E-coli. I’m not sure if that applies to the actual ritual pools but I reallllly hope not – it’s not like I bathed in it and drank it or anything…
There are a few waterfalls around Ubud, the most accessible for us was the Tegenungan. It’s pretty busy, so if you want those standard ‘standing in front of a waterfall in a bikini staring up at it’ shots you should probably go early. My bikini self-esteem is way too low for all that unfortunately! It’s 15,000Rp per person for entry.
That concludes our most memorable ticks on the must-do list for Ubud. It’s also worth mentioning that Ubud is great for healthy, vegan/veggie, and local Balinese food.
Ubud, and Bali in general, was really different to how I expected it to be. I did like Seminyak but I much prefer this part of the island as it feels more authentic and cultural. If you’ve been to Bali I’d love to know your thoughts.
As mentioned earlier, we were able to catch our flight due to Mount Agung behaving itself during our stay. I’m now in one of my favourite cities, Singapore, and will be posting about our days here shortly!
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