Ubud is a city everybody tells you about when you are in Bali. It is one of the most touristic place of the island and famous thanks to the bestseller and movie Eat, Pray, Love. People generally come to Ubud to practice yoga and trek on the Mount Batur.
We drove from Canggu to Ubud with our motorbike, which took us around one hour. We had booked two nights in Friendly House Bali hostel. This hostel is 15 minutes drive from the city center. The private rooms are rather small, with no air-con but a fan. The bathroom is shared. Nothing fancy but sufficient for two quick nights.
Our feeling about Ubud
The city has a very different atmosphere compared to Medewi, Seminyak or Canggu. Actually, this is something recurring in Indonesia : many cities have similarities, but all cities conveys a very different energy and atmosphere. People used to telling us that the atmosphere of Ubud is relax, that you feel positive vibrations everywhere. According to us, the atmosphere was rather bleak, but it may be due to the fact that it rained a lot with a greyish sky during our trip there. Compared to other cities we visited where some sudden rain would pour down without changing so much the ambient temperature, Ubud could get pretty cold and windy. The weather is fresher in Ubud than in the South, and when there is wind and/or rain you should definitely wear some jacket (note that we travelled there in July). Indeed, Ubud is located in a mountain area. Ubud itself is not especially charming, but around the city you can see pretty landscapes, above all the Mount Batur and rice terrace fields. If you plan to visit Ubud, three days should be enough to enjoy the most of it.
What to do in Ubud
People say that one should practice yoga in Ubud. We are not into yoga so we did not give it a whirl. Anyway, we noticed that there are a lot of yoga centers everywhere. So, if interested, we guess that you should find one that would suit you for sure.
Tegalalang rice terrace
It took us 1 hour drive to get there from our hostel. You can have a short walk through the fields by yourself without the need of any guide. If you stop by the main entrance where all tourists are, you will have to pay the visit (we have no idea about the price, sorry). Just drive two minutes away from the main entrance and you’ll be able to see the rice fields for free. You will just need to follow the path. Those rice fields are the biggest and most beautiful we have seen so far during our travel in Indonesia.
Trek the Mount Batur
We drove haphazardly close to Batur mountain after visiting Tegalalang rice terrace. We decided that we should drive our way back to the center of Ubud on the road offering a view of the mountain. Unfortunately, some local guy stopped us on our way and asked them to pay some fee to be able to use that road. You should be aware that in Indonesia, some men often create gates like this on tourist spots. It is not necessarily offical – it is more like an offical mafia – but you know that you have to pay them anyway. The price he asked for was outrageous : 60 000 Rp ! We tried to negotiate – or to be more precise, to make him understand that we should have the right to drive here for free – but it was to no avail. Consequently, we just turned back. We tried to go back to the mountain the day after, taking another path, but it started to rain like hell and we got stuck on a very bad road which was too difficult for us to drive on with the motorbike. We were totally freezing at the moment, so once again we turned back. We totally failed our will to enjoy the mountain view, but at least we could see amazing roads and drive through little villages. We did not trek as we considered the trekking tours too expensive, but apparently this is very beautiful to see the sunrise from the heights of Mount Batur. If you want to devote part of your budget to it, give it a try !
Hidden Canyon is a two-hour walk through three canyons. The entrance fee is 10 000 Rp per person (70 cts €) and we recommend you to pay for a guide (50 000 Rp / 3,30 €). Our guide did not speak english, but was very kind and funny, so we spent a good time with him. To be honest, you would have no difficulties to do it without a guide, but if you want to see every possible route, you’d better get one. For example, at the end of the trip, our guide made us walk through rice fields and chili plantantions. We did not meet any tourists there, as the only ones able to walk there without thinking they got lost would be the ones following their guide. We really enjoyed Hidden Canyon. Although there were tourists, it was not crowded at all. Hidden Canyon is an easy walk, however we would not recommend it to people who are afraid to climb some rocks, or with a poor physical condition.
Lose yourself in the countryside
Do not hesitate to take your motorbike and drive around. That is the only way to see more of the local life around and to discover unexpected places and people.
Where to eat in Ubud
Seniman Coffee Studio
For breakfast time, we would recommend you to try Seniman. They are famous for their coffee roasted in a factory on the opposite sidewalk.
Putu’s Wild Ginger
We had a great dinner in this restaurant, located in a small quiet street. It is run by a very friendly family and the food is tasty.
Our travel budget in Ubud