What to do in Ubud

Ubud offers many exciting activities, special events and unique cultural experiences.

So let’s look at what to do in Ubud, Bali during your holiday:

If you like adventure maybe go white water rafting or climb the volcano for sunrise – or perhaps you’d prefer a gentle walk through the rice fields followed by a chocolate massage!

Rafting adventure - me with Yaniq, Vince & Andy

Rafting adventure – me with Yaniq, Vince & Andy and our guide

There are spa’s galore and they offer so many different types of treatment: indulge in a chocolate, coffee or coconut massage, reflexology, Balinese Boreh, Javanese lulur, salt scrubs, facials, cream bath hair treatments, shiatsu massage, waxings, artistic manicures, the list goes on…. and on… and is topped by a fish massage!

Spa room - with it's own private garden

My favourite Spa room – with it’s own private garden

Admire spectacular scenery (these are the picture postcard rice terraces at Tegallalang and there are even more extensive terraces at Jati Luwih!):

Rice terrace viewEnjoy beautiful and unusual dance performances such as the Legong, Barong and Kris or, my favourite, the Kecak and Fire Trance Dance – where they use real fire!

Balinese Legong dancer

Balinese Legong dancer

Listen to the mesmerising sounds of a traditional Balinese gamelan orchestra.

Dine at unique open air restaurants – some are built with bamboo:

Open air restaurant

Open air restaurant

Many restaurants in Ubud are perfect for vegetarians, vegans or those who want raw food!

Maybe take a swim in a waterfall to build up your appetite first.

Bathing in a waterfall

Bathing in a waterfall

Visit some of Bali’s unique and stunningly beautiful temples

Balinese temple

Balinese temple – look closely at the sky!

many are surrounded by jungle

Gunung Kawi Temple (the other one!)

Gunung Kawi Temple (the other one!)

This is the Temple (Pura) at Mengwi, it’s called Taman Ayu:

Temple at Mengwi

Temple at Mengwi

If you get a chance, go and witness a temple ceremony…

On the way to a ceremony at Samuan Tiga

On the way to a ceremony at Samuan Tiga

But don’t forget your cultural footprint  i.e. dress accordingly: wear a sarong, a scarf around your waist and cover your shoulders and remember that women cannot go inside a temple if they are menstruating.)

How about art museums set in landscape gardens (even our garden, here at Rumah Jepun, has a wealth of tropical fruits and flowers – just ask for a tour… can you spot our dragon fruit plant, torch ginger, chilis and bananas etc?).

Stunning tropical flowers - in botanical gardens and my garden!Don’t forget a walk through the enchanting Monkey Forest (600+ hundred monkeys – just 10 mins walk away):

Cheeky Monkeys

Cheeky Monkeys

The Monkey Forest is also home to fabulous trees:

Downward growing limbs

Downward growing limbs of a Beringin

There are cycling tours, cooking classes, herb walks, bird walks and rice field walks… though I can’t always guarantee a rainbow!

Ricefield walk along Jalan Bisma, Ubud

Ricefield walk along Jalan Bisma, Ubud – chasing a rainbow!

If you like yoga and meditation there are so many studios to choose from… some are even in the rice fields.  Or go to the Pyramids of Chi for a gong experience like no other. What about a splash in a nearby pool:

Cool bars with hot live music – rock, reggae, blues, jazz…  If you’re a musician, poet or storyteller come along to one of the many open mic events around town. 

Or go to the cinema – they’ll serve food and drinks at your table while you watch the movie sitting on sofa’s with cushions!

Maybe you like shopping, well you’re in for a treat as the streets are full of characterful, unique, locally made, handicrafts, art and sculptures etc

Unique wood carvings

Unique wood carvings

The materials might be wood, bamboo, stone, coconuts, eggs, silver – you name it, the Balinese can make it into art…

Coconut monkeys!

Coconut monkeys!

A short drive away you can go to see many animals in either the Elephant safari, bird park, reptile park, Bali zoo or the wildlife safari and marine park – click for my tiger encounter.

Two friendly hornbills

Two friendly hornbills

Within about 20 mins there are beautiful 11th century temples:

Gunung Kawi has many steps going deep into the stunning valley.  They lead to fabulous, 11th century carvings in the cliffs and a temple that includes an area where you have to take off your shoes to enter – you can just imagine ascetics meditating here a thousand years ago in the peace and stillness that pervades the whole area.

Tirta Empul is the holy spring temple, where the Balinese ‘take the waters’ (it’s called Malukat).  They purify themselves, both outwardly and inwardly, in the holy water which ceaselessly pours from many spouts into the pools of this very special temple, that is sometimes referred to as Tampak Siring.  On the hillside, overlooking this serene temple, is the Presidential Palace.

Goa Gajah means elephant cave – but there are no elephants there.  It’s a small, yet culturally important cave which contains lingam and yoni (representing Siwa), a Ganesha statue and it has a very impressive carved entrance, see pic.  It is also set in beautiful grounds, with what must be one of my favourite trees ever – its roots are huge!

Me with young dancers at Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave Temple)

Me with young dancers at Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave Temple)

Oh and of course there’s our nearest volcano, Mount Batur, where you can stop off for lunch overlooking the magnificent views and go trekking, cycling or to the hot springs.

Lake and volcano view - from a dug out tree canoe

Lake and volcano view – from a dug out tree canoe (Mount Batur)

Or visit Mount Agung, the holy volcano – upon its slopes is the ‘mother temple’, Besaki.

Stop at a coffee plantation where you can sample many unusual flavours of coffee and tea.  You’ll be able to try ‘Kopi Luwak’ too – it’s the most expensive coffee in the world and they will explain why… in detail!:

View from a coffee plantation

View from a coffee plantation

The beach is a little further away… it’s about an hour to Sanur or maybe 1 hr 20mins to Padang Bai.. both are easily done for day trips – Padang Bai is best if you want to snorkel.

Mount Agung looming behind the beach

Mount Agung looming behind the beach

The above is just a taster of ideas that are either in Ubud or reasonably close… there are so many other places to visit and things to do and see – just book your holiday and let the experiences unfold.

Rumah Jepun can arrange one of our regular, local, English speaking drivers to take you on a day trip to a number of fabulous sights.

Contact us at rumahjepun@outlook.com for room availability and prices of our bed and breakfast accommodation.

We look forward to meeting you 🙂  on behalf of Ketut Astana

Meanwhile, if you are interested in more aspects of life here in Bali maybe check out:  www.julieinbali.wordpress.com

I hope you’ll feel as inspired as I do by this beautiful, unique island and its people.

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