A Guide To Ubud, Bali


Here’s the ultimate guide on how to spend five days in Ubud with contributors Sarah and James.


Ubud Guide

Bali is unique compared to the rest of Indonesia, one of the main differences being the prominent religion is Hindu (Indonesia is mostly Muslim). With its variety of Hindu temples, Balinese traditions, food and arts, Ubud is rightly known as Bali’s ‘Cultural Heart’ – combine this with the fact Ubud has become a magnet for travellers around the world, you will find a bizarre mix of Western amenities, alongside traditional Balinese culture.


Young men parading with flags


In parts, Ubud is hectic, crowded and ‘westernized’, but if you head off the main roads following the many small lanes, you’ll find yourself in the middle of a Balinese oasis with hardly anyone else in sight.


Disclosure: This article may contain affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and purchase something I’ve recommended I’ll earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay and I only use affiliate links for products/brands I have experienced and recommend. A Balinese statue

Balinese culture still stands strong


Things To Do In Ubud

Monkey Forest

Spend a morning at the sacred Monkey Forest exploring the series of 14th-century temples and watching the cheeky monkeys (long-tailed macaques). If you want a close encounter just stand by someone who has food, you’ll soon see how bold these cheeky monkeys really are.


A monkey relaxing in the forest

A lazy monkey taking a break


Tegalalang Rice Fields

A little further out of town, head to Tegalalang rice fields. Although it’s one of the top touristy things to do, it is a worthwhile walk. Try morning or towards sunset for fewer people.


James overlooking the rice paddies


Yoga & Meditation

A visit to Ubud is not complete without some form or relaxation, whether that’s yoga, meditation, a massage or any number of the unique experiences available – this is a great place to try something different.


James laying on a yoga mat

James ready for his Yoga class


The famous Yoga Barn has a huge variety of classes and is particularly good for unique classes, such as live sound healing. If you’d like to focus on more ‘standard’ classes and prefer smaller studios, we would recommend Ubud Yoga House. Offering intimate classes for all levels, the studio is tucked away amongst the rice fields. It’s a perfect setting to unwind and really find your zen. We went every day, even in the evening for a candlelit meditation session.


Ubud Yoga House overlooking beautiful rice fields

Ubud Yoga House overlooking beautiful rice fields


What To Eat In Ubud

We try to eat local cuisine as much as possible when visiting another country and Ubud has many great local food options to try. In addition, there are great western style restaurants emerging all the time, particularly catering to vegan and health foods.

Roast pork (Babi) with various spices is a local delicacy. The famous place is ‘Ibu Oka’ which is seriously tasty! If you’re looking for a good vegetarian option, try the national favourite, Gado Gado; a mixture of Tempe, vegetables and egg, topped with peanut sauce, you can see how this quickly became a favourite.


The Indonesian dish - Gado Gado

Gado Gado


Sweet Orange Warung, is a quiet gem surrounded by paddy fields, only a 10-minute walk from away from the hustle and bustle of central Ubud. The food is amazing and the avocado & beetroot smoothie is so tasty, we craved it the whole week, so went back again.


A restaurant in the paddy fields

A hidden gem, Sweet Orange Warung


Coffee lovers head to Kafe, where you’ll find delicious coffee and the usual Ubud ‘digital nomads’. For a healthy (and Instagram worthy) smoothie bowl, head to Yellow Flower Cafe, a quaint cafe tucked away on a hill surrounded by greenery. We have to say it – this was the best smoothie bowl we’ve ever had!


a delicious smoothie bowl

Smoothie bowl goodness


The Arts In Ubud

It’s hard not to feel inspired in Ubud. Artistic talent from all over the world is drawn here to learn from others and to share with anyone who will listen/watch.

Two of our favourite experiences in Ubud were the open mic nights at Paradiso and Bali Bohemia. Get up on stage with a song, poem, story, or any kind of performance as anything goes.


A band playing music


The Kecak Dance, famous to Bali sees a chorus of up to 100 men chanting into a climatic and dramatic fire dance, where they actually walk through the fire… Ouch!

You can see this dance in and around Ubud at one of many temples for a great evening of entertainment.


A traditional Balinese performance in costume

The famous ‘Kecak’ performance



Where To Stay In Ubud

The accommodation options in Ubud are so diverse, from tiny authentic homestays to lavish villas tucked away in the jungle – your choice really depends on your budget.

The Tetirah Boutique Hotel was the perfect location – away from the busy streets but only a 10-minute walk to the Ubud Palace and the main centre. We were welcomed with a traditional Balinese blessing. A sprinkle of holy water and rice placed to the head signifies that you have been welcomed and blessed.


Sarah receiving a welcome blessing at Tetirah Boutique hotel

Balinese welcome blessing at Tetirah Boutique hotel


We would recommend avoiding accommodation that joins the very busy one-way road system. During a certain time of the day, the main roads become very busy so walking or driving around from your accommodation isn’t particularly zen.


A stunning swimming pool lit up at night.

How can you resist this pool


It’s all about the pool at Tetirah Boutique Hotel, you couldn’t keep us away.

It was such a nice retreat to come back to after a day exploring Ubud, and out of the whole trip, Tetirah had the most amazing pillows!


A beautiful bedhead and pillows

The best pillows…ever


Breakfast was made to order, a huge spread of eggs, pancakes, croissants, fresh fruit, coffee and juices (we still managed lunch, thankfully).


Breakfast of fresh fruit, pancakes and poached eggs

Breakfast of champions


Where you stay in Ubud can be an experience in itself, so check out some other Ubud options here.


How To Get To Ubud

Fly direct to Bali from Sydney or with a stopover from London. From the airport take a taxi to Ubud.


Ubud really surprised us. It’s full of different experiences, whether that’s Sound Healing or staying at a local homestay amongst a family’s temple. Some people never leave Ubud and it’s easy to see why, it has such a great sense of community and openness, with inspiring and warm-hearted people.


Travelling to Bali? Check out our other guides and hotel reviews here.


Thank you to Tetirah Boutique Hotel for hosting at A lovely Planet.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and purchase something I’ve recommended, (Skyscanner) I’ll earn a small commission. This does not affect the price you pay and I only use affiliate links for products/brands I have experienced and recommend. 


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