The town of Ubud, in the uplands of Bali, Indonesia, is known as a center for traditional crafts and dance. The surrounding Ubud District’s rainforest and terraced rice paddies, dotted with Hindu temples and shrines, are among Bali’s most famous landscapes. Ancient holy sites include the intricately carved Goa Gajah (“Elephant Cave”) and Gunung Kawi, with its rock-cut shrines.
Ubud doesn’t make the best first impression. We stayed in the centre of town for our first few days and wondered what on earth we were doing there. The centre is congested with traffic, tour groups, and souvenir shops.
There are gems to be found, but to make the most of your stay I highly recommend staying outside the centre, ideally somewhere with a rice field view. We moved 3 km out of town and ended up staying for nearly five months and returned for another five months the following year. Relaxing by our pool with a rice field or jungle view is an Ubud highlight for us.
There’s a huge range of accommodation in Ubud from budget homestays to luxury resorts. We use Booking.com to find hotels—choose “view” as one of the room facilities and you’ll find lots of suggestions out of town such as Bambu Indah, a gorgeous, boutique eco-resort.
Another pleasant walk is on a path through the rice fields towards Sari Organik farm and restaurant. There are lots of cafes along the way where you can enjoy a drink or meal with a view. You can also start at the far end of Jalan Kajeng and loop around to Sari Organik. The downside is that motorbikes drive on these narrow paths.
The centre of Ubud is busy, but you can find beautiful, tranquil spots. Our favourites are the lotus pond at Saraswati temple (behind Starbucks) and Taksu Spa, where the river gorge is an oasis from the chaos. Take the time to wander around and you might be surprised by what you find.
The shady, green Ubud Monkey Forest is the most popular stop for tourists in the town of Ubud itself. Hundreds of playful and interactive Macaque monkeys call the sacred forest home and roam freely around the tree canopy and temple complex.
Walking around the winding, moss-covered brick paths of the Monkey Forest is a great way to escape the heat of the afternoon but mind your belongings. The steady stream of tourists has made the monkeys bold enough to even reach into pockets in search of something interesting
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