You’ve been in Bali for a few days already. You’ve partied near Seminyak or Kuta and probably Canggu, in the process drinking enough Bintang to fill a reasonably sized jacuzzi. What’s the most effective way to cleanse your no doubt sin ridden soul? A trip to the island’s Yoga & relaxation epicentre – Ubud.
In between wiling away your days with zen inducing massages, Yoga sessions and smoothies; here’s a whistle-stop guide of the top things to do across 3-days in Bali’s cultural beating heart.
Essential info: the majority of these places aren’t accessible unless you have transport of some kind. The best bet is to hire a scooter for around 30-50k INR which gives you the run of the local area.
Sacred Monkey Forest
It’s touristy, a bit feral, and could do with a bit of a tidy up – but did I mention Monkeys? No visit to Ubud is complete without a trip to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Only a short walk from the town centre, once inside be careful of your belongings as they will try to grab anything that isn’t tied down. They’ve somehow even mastered how to unzip bags.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Possibly one of the most iconic, instagrammed parts of Bali, the traditional Tegallalang Rice Fields are a scenic break from the hustle & bustle of the islands hectic streets. The vibrant terraces boast impressive vistas, not to mention an abundance of swings for that photo, if you’re so inclined. It’s possible to walk most of the trail in around 45 minutes if you’re in a rush, finishing up back at one of the many cafes or restaurants dotted around the entrance for lunch with a view.
Wanna Jungle Pool Bar
If you’ve been travelling on a budget for a while, look no further for a chance to splash (pun intended) some cash at this unique, luxury resort way up in the Jungle. Part of the highly exclusive Kayon Hotel, expect to pay around 300,000 INR to enter the lavish restaurant & pool area, which includes a top notch cocktail and delicious tapas menu of your choice. Not too bad for about £16.
Tirta Emple Holy Temple
The ultimate place to have your sins washed away – literally – in holy water and springs. Tirta Emple is an oasis of calm, where you must don the traditional local sari to enter, and can not only explore the temples but also enter the religious waters yourself; taking part in the ceremony which accompanies it. Best get help from a local if you want to avoid not doing it properly. For a small fee, of course.
Mt Batur Hike
Not all early starts are worth it, like getting up for a 6.00am flight only to find out that it’s been delayed by a few hours. Nope nope nope. Arising at around 2.00am however, to leave for a 3.00am departure to climb a volcano is all kinds of worth it. Hear me out. The approximately 2 hour hike up was a little tiring, maybe a little bit precarious in the darkness (despite the torch you’re given) but watching the sun rise from the 1,717 metre peak is astonishing.
I’ve done my fair share of hiking over the years, but the views from atop Bali’s most popular peak are something to behold. A vista which – if clear enough – allows you to see as far as it’s towering cousin Mt Rinjani on neighbouring Lombok, as well as endless valleys beneath you. Batur is still very much active, last erupting as recently as 2000 – but don’t let that put you off!
Dinner at Dewa Warung
Local restaurants don’t get much more authentic or traditional than this one. Located just up the quiet main tourist drag in the (sort of) pedestrianised street, tucked away alongside an abundance of other flashier looking joints, lies Dewa Warung. Long, low tables, mouth watering Indonesian dishes, and all for around 20-35k INR each. Try the home made rice wine if you fancy a night off the Bintang. It’s non alcoholic, but don’t let that put you off.
This might sound a bit obvious, but there are tonnes and tonnes of opportunities to have some down time in Ubud, which you should seize with hands. The Yoga Barn is a local institution, teeming with classes, workshops, or multi day detoxes – this is a one stop shop for finding some mindful minutes in Bali. Other notable places of varying budgets include Taksu Healing Haven, Ubud Yoga house (for great rice field views) and the rainforest Spa at Maya. You can even get one of those weird fish pedicures – which apparently is still a thing here.
This article might be titled ‘a few days in Ubud’ but in truth, if your pace has slowed right down (as it should have!) this could be spread over much longer to suit your plan. After all, why rush?
Anything I’ve missed? Or any tips? Please pop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org