Planning a trip to Ubud
You will need to organise a taxi/ driver to drive you to Ubud. It is an hour and a half drive (possibly longer with traffic). The private driving services in Bali are very affordable. Just ask your accommodation to recommend someone. If you’re arriving from the airport, contact your accommodation to organise someone to pick you up.
Where to stay
We stayed at Bali Sila Bisma. A beautiful and spacious villa with a lovely terrace and inviting pool.
Top things to do in Ubud
Visit the Tegallalang Rice terraces
Do the Campahun Ridge walk at Sunset
Go chasing waterfalls- check out this blog post for the best ones to visit
Relax and enjoy a traditional Balinese massage
Watch a Balinese dancing show
Visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Do your shopping at the Ubud market
Walk around the Palace gardens
Do a yoga class
After a week of travelling on my own it was time for my mom, dad and Amy to join me in Bali. While I love the experience of travelling solo and being in my own company, I was super excited to begin sharing these experiences with my loved ones. We all made our way to Ubud from different places, meeting at our accommodation Bali Sila Bisma. We were all so pleased and happy to see each other. We were also so chuffed at our beautiful accommodation! A beautiful and spacious villa with a lovely terrace and inviting pool. All this for only R187 per person per night breakfast included (to anyone who thinks travelling has to be crazy expensive, think again!).
We gathered ourselves and then went out on our first little adventure: the Campahun Ridge walk.
This is a gentle walk through the jungle and then up onto a ridge with valleys on either side. We were treated to views of rice fields and hills of palm trees.
We were there around sunset and so enjoyed some beautiful orange hues on the horizon. I think it was a really great way to start our time in Ubud, an introduction to the jungle and beautiful green landscapes.
The next day we decided to go to the Tegallalang Rice terraces. I had been worried that this place would be super touristy but thankfully at 9AM we had the place to ourselves. This was an absolute highlight for me. Walking through fields of green rice terraces, we watched the morning sun’s rays streaming in through the palm trees. We saw all the stages of the rice farming, from young bright green shoots to older taller grasses with rice grains ready to harvest, all the way down to the freshly cut stumps of rice grasses that had just been harvested.
The rice fields were nestled in a valley creating beautiful steps and terraces of rice plantations. The sides were lined with palm trees and with various swings and beautiful nest seats and swings. With the early morning sun there were so many different shades of green, each brilliant and beautiful.
The terraces are a collection of farms owned by various farmers. They are fully functional farms producing rice. As you walk through the plantations they may ask for a donations as you go through. A small to contribution as a thank you for letting us revel in the beauty of your hard work. We had such a special and pleasant time in Tegallalang! I was particularly grateful for the beautiful clear weather as the last time I went to see rice terraces in Sapa, Vietnam I didn’t see any because the mist was so thick. This morning was an absolute dream come true and I’m very grateful!
Our next stop was Tegenungan Waterfall. It was a last minute decision to add this stop to our morning and our driver suggested this waterfall. I wish I had done a little more research and found a less busy and touristy one to visit. So unfortunately we ended up here with so many other people. I found the whole set up very saddening as a beautiful creation in nature was now surrounded by big signs, loud music and restaurants. I wouldn’t suggest going here and maybe find another quieter place to visit. Tibumana Waterfall is one that many blogs say is more secret and beautiful. So maybe give that a go, or do some more research first. Also we did this morning by having a private driver (its kinda how transport works here in Bali). We were out from 8:30-1pm and paid 400K IDR (R400) for all four of us.
For lunch we walked along a pathway through the rice fields near Ubud centre. We saw men shucking rice and big sheets of rice laid out to dry. We walked to a restaurant called Sari Organik which was located slap bang in the middle of the rice fields. The view was beautiful but the food wasn’t anything to write home about. After a long morning out we were very happy to spend some time relaxing at the pool at our villa. We then went for a traditional Balinese massage at the Budaya Spa. It was absolutely incredible! A wonderful mix of the stretching from the Thai massage and then deep tissue massage from the Swedish massage. A much needed relaxing experience!
The next day we did a cooking class with Ketut’s Balinese cooking class. We had the most incredible experience!! The day began with a a drive to the Ubud traditional Market. This begins at 4am and continues to 9am. After which the tourist market is setup in the same location. We got to experience the local vibe of fresh produce and spices. Our guide, Mudi, introduced us to all the different fruits, vegetables and spices we’d be using throughout our cooking later.
We saw jackfruit, dragonfruit, snake fruit (which is an odd litchi/apple like fruit), loooooong green beans, thai aubergines, Bak Choy, vibrant chillies, loads of saffron and metre long cinnamon sticks. The array of different colours was so beautiful!
We then drove out of the town for a bit to the cooking school located in the rice fields. We were welcomed by the smiling, jovial and hilarious Ketut. Sipping on our ice tea made from lemongrass, cinnamon, ginger and honey, we were taught how to make coconut oil. We then moved to our cooking stations and began the prep for our many traditional Balinese dishes. We chopped, sliced and diced so many yummy veggies, ginger, garlic and chillies.
We then moved on to preparing our various dishes. We crushed our own base gede (base sauce), sambals and peanut sauce. These was used in the preparation of our food. We made chicken soup, chicken satay, tuna grilled in banana leaf, mie goreng (fried noodles), chicken curry, and finally banana poached in palm sugar and cinnamon syrup.
It was such a fun experience and we laughed our way through the class as wafts of yummy spices and garlic filled the room. We were very impressed with our creations and so happy to sit down and enjoy our feast after a full morning in the kitchen. I was so impressed with the running of the class and would highly recommend it to anyone who is keen to learn a bit more about the Balinese culture and cuisine while in Ubud.
That evening we went to watch the Balinese dancing. It was done to the music of bamboo instruments: drums and flutes. The dancing was very focused on the expression of the eyes and hands. Really fascinating and interesting to watch.
The next day we spent the morning watching monkey business in the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. This is a forest filled with Macaques playing, swinging and running around. We saw so many cute babies clinging to their mamas. So very cute!
We then carried on to the Ubud market. A street filled with so many vibrant colours, woven bags, patterned materials, incense, jewellery and clothes. We shopped til we dropped and got our bartering game on. We got some really good deals and we’re all really happy with our purchases!
Finally we went to check out the Palace gardens before heading back for an afternoon of rest and relaxation at our poolside villa. We have eaten at many delicious local warungs having curries, nasi camphur, nasi goreng, mie goreng and so many more divine Indonesian dishes. On our final morning we joined a relaxing yoga class at the Honeymoon guesthouse before heading down to Bingin in the Bukit Peninsula (Southern Bali).