Made famous by Elizabeth Gilbert by featuring it in her best seller Eat Pray Love (you can even do an Eat Pray Love tour); Ubud lives up to the expectations – with so many incredible things to do in Ubud.
It is easy to plan a month long stay in Ubud, to soak up the history & culture, savor Balinese cuisine and get lost in the lush green country side! First thing one needs to do is to learn is the Art of doing things at slow pace; whether you spend a week or a month in Ubud.
Here are some of the things to do in Ubud!
1) Visit Ubud Palace
Not so palatial, Puri Saren Ubud stands in the touristy centre on Jl Raya Ubud. It hardly takes 20 minutes to tour around the palace grounds. The centre is buzzing with touristic activities. It is worth to take a walk on Jl Raya Ubud to check out various museums, restaurants and souvenir shops.
2) Watch a Legong Dance with Gamelan Orchestra
Legong is a traditional Balinese dance characterized by colorful costumes, vivid facial expressions and artistic finger movements accompanied by traditional music tunes by Gamelan Orchestra. Tickets are available around the palace on Jl Raya Ubud and Jl Suweta. Get there early to reserve front seats and unwind over Balinese tunes with Bintang beer!
3) Eat Balinese Food in Warungs
One of the things you MUST do in Ubud, I can do this for the rest of my life! With fragrant rice and meats, spicy sambal and colorful condiments; food in Bali is simply irresistible! Warungs are road side local food joints, which offer traditional Indonesian fare, primarily for locals.
The home cooked, non greasy and freshly made food is a ‘no fuss’ affair and very cheap. At Warung Igalenca, for $3 one can have a complete meal of Ayam Betutu (Chicken stew with red rice and other accompaniments) or sambal terong bakar (Brinjals with sambal).
4) Learn to Cook Balinese Cuisine
If you like food, this would feature on your priority list. There are many places which conduct Balinese cooking classes for tourists, but it is also possible to learn from a next door warung. Learning how to prepare Basa Gede (spicy paste used in many Balinese dishes) will go a long way in flaunting culinary skills back home.
5) Hike Up Campuhan Ridge
Get away from the hustle bustle of the touristy centre to take a hike into the nature, right inside Ubud. This 9 kilometers trail passes through rice paddies, overlooking the river and is dotted with temples, spas and restaurants along the way. You can enjoy the sun setting down over rice fields, over fresh Mango juice at Karsa café on the way. There are also a few other Bali volcano hikes.
6) Indulge in a Balinese Massage
There is nothing more rejuvenating than having a traditional Balinese massage. There are many massage parlors around Ubud but the ones with charming tranquil surroundings like Karsa Spa on the Campuhan Ridge will elevate the experience. Indulging in wellness is one of the most relaxing things to do in Ubud.
7) Bicycle Around the Country Side
Lush green plains and rice fields provide a perfect back drop for bicycle tours inside and around Ubud. This gives an opportunity to observe locals going about their life, eating at hidden warungs and explore myriads of Hindu shrines and temples located in smaller villages.
8) Watch the Sunrise from Mount Batur
Lake Batur is located at the base of Mount Batur, which is an active volcano site. If you have extra days in hand, trekking up Mount Batur to watch the sunrise is highly recommended. It is difficult but efforts are rewarded with spectacular sun rays illuminating the lake and the mountains.
9) Walking Around Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Rice terraces at Tegalalang form stunning landscapes and early afternoon is the best time to visit. Walking around the sprawling green terraces, and listening to the wind chimes is soothing for the soul. Wind up over a pint of Bintang beer at one of the secluded cafes and listen to the nature speak!
10) Visit Lake Bratan
Temple of Ulun Danu Beratan, popularly known as Bali Temple, is a symbol of Bali. This Hindu shrine is dedicated to Lake Goddess and is situated on Lake Bratan. The temple appears to be floating in the water when the lake water rises up. The winding drive to the lake is dotted with rice paddies, temples are strawberry plantations. This is one of the touristic things to do in Ubud!
11) Try the World’s Most Expensive Coffee
Kopi Luwak, famously known as ‘Poo Coffee’, is called so for its uncommon method of production. The coffee beans used for Kopi Luwak are eaten, digested and excreted by a cat like animal in the region, known as Luwak. These beans then go through the usual method of roasting, aging and brewing. Besides being distinctive in its taste, Kopi Luwak is labeled generally as a bad coffee!
12) Spend Time Shopping the By Lanes of Ubud
The by lanes of Ubud are a shoppers’ paradise. Besides the usual sarongs, baskets, Buddha & Ganesha souvenirs, you find exclusive decorative pieces, artworks, stone statues, paintings and masks. Bali is also famous for its Silver jewelry designs. Kapal-Laut shop on the main street in Ubud is worth a visit for unique silver pieces at reasonable rates.
13) Visit Museums in Ubud
Ubud is a cultural capital of Bali and there are many art galleries and museums around the town. Agung Rai Museum of Art, Blanco Renaissance Museum, Neka Art Museum and Puri Lukisan Museum are some of the fine museums which feature large Balinese paintings with local village scenes, dances and culture. Sculptures and artworks created by local artisans are quite remarkable, giving insight into Balinese history and traditions.
14) Turn into a Vegan
Ubud is a paradise for Vegans. With abundance of wellness centers, organic farms and availability of fresh vegetables & spices, healthy living comes naturally in Ubud. There are quite a few vegan and vegetarian restaurants around and one worth mentioning is Sari Organik, located very close to Ubud Yoga House. They offer regular Indonesian fare in vegetarian cuisine.
15) Plan a Yoga stay
If you are planning to stay for few weeks, daily ritual can include yoga and meditations in tranquil of natural settings, in hidden retreats around Ubud. Some of the yoga houses offer spa and healing sessions to spiritual seekers. Book a yoga class at Ubud Yoga Centre.
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