Nestled on the slopes of Bali’s central mountains, Ubud is a world away from the party scene of Kuta.

Situated 200m above sea level, Ubud enjoys cooler temperatures than most of the island, contributing to the all-round feel-good spirit in the town.

It’s hotels, restaurants & cafes are decidedly upmarket but there are places to suit every budget. The infrastructure supports a trove of temple treasures, farming fortuity & architectural affluence.

Many attractions can be strict on admission, somewhat at whim – take a sarong in case it is required, although sometimes entry is only allowed to those in full Balinese attire:

Full Adat Attire Ubud Bali

Temple entrance sign, Ubud

And as the cultural hub of Bali, Ubud is the place to partake in all things arts, craft, dance, cooking, yoga, meditation, health & wellbeing. With all the activities & amenities on offer, many visitors end up staying longer than they plan for.

One of the many art galleries in Ubud

One of the many art galleries in Ubud

Accommodation in Ubud

Many budget lodgings can be found on Jalan Arjuna, off Jalan Raya. It’s a competitive area & rooms w/ breakfast can be found for less than 100,000 rupiah. For a spacious room, modern bathroom, rice field views & an actual hearty breakfast, we recommend Kabera Bungalows 2 for 130,000 rupiah.

Jalan Arjuna Budget Accommodation Ubud

Many budget hotels found on Jalan Arjuna

Food in Ubud

Also on Jalan Arjuna, we recommend eating at Arimas Warung for a good selection of tasty Indonesian & Western dishes at the cheapest prices in town – we ate here 5 times! This pesto penne was our favorite for 25,000 rupiah:

Pesto Penne Jalan Arjuna Ubud

Pesto penne, Arimas Warung

Massages in Ubud

Beauty salon services are a little higher here than in Kuta, expect to pay at least 70,000 rupiah for a 1hr Balinese massage.

Balinese Massage Ubud Bali

Massage room

Traditional Dance in Ubud

Every night, a traditional Balinese dance performance takes place within certain temple complexes such as the Royal Palace & Saraswati Temple. These shows invariably feature a combination of Barong, Legong & Kechak dances, sometimes with a fire-twirling act.

Masked characters, traditional costumes, elaborate headwear, repetitive music & slow, deliberate movements tell the story of a never-ending battle between good & evil. The show can be seen from the outside, without a ticket (which is 80,000 rupiah).

We stopped to check it out for a moment & found it quite boring, as we have also heard from many reviews. However, Bali is the centre of Balinese dance so if you’ve ever had the urge to enjoy a quasi-cultural touristic performance, this is the place to be.

Quirky Fact of Ubud

Everywhere in Ubud – and throughout Bali – you will see black & white chequered cloth draped over trees & statues. In Balinese, this fabric is called “saput poleng” or two-coloured cloth. The black & white symbolises good & evil, right & wrong, happiness & sorrow – the cloth being a constant reminder that one can easily be swayed between 2 opposites.

Saput Poleng Statue Ubud Bali

Saput poleng draped statue

Getting In, Out & Around Ubud

Don’t waste your time with local transport/bemos, as we did. To get in & out of Ubud, try to form a group of 4 to share a taxi, or travel with Perama buses.

The main attractions in the city center are all within walking distance, such as the Monkey Forest, Royal Palace, Sarawasti Palace & Campuhan Ridge walk – they can be covered in a single day, see our posts One Day Ubud Itinerary That’s Just Too Good! & Monkeying Around at Ubud Monkey Forest.

To visit the temples & rice terraces outside of Ubud, hire a motorbike for the day for 40,000 rupiah (+10,000 rupiah insurance with US$100 excess) – read more at Temples & Terraces: An Ubud Daytrip on Motorbike.

Motorbike Hire Ubud Bali

Rental motorbike

Otherwise, join one of the many group tours on offer.

Unlike in the rest of Indonesia, bemos in Ubud are infrequent & problematic. When a foreigner approaches for a ride, local transport suddenly turns into a charter, even if there are other passengers, or you’re willing to wait & even offer to pay double the local fare – drivers would rather leave you behind if it’s not near the tourist price they have set between themselves. From bemos to taxis & buses, this “driver mafia” state is sadly common in much of the country.

So take our tips, avoid hassles & “Namaste” – Welcome to Ubud!

*** The Final Word: Ubud is a breeze – live cheap or give yourself a treat *** 

What’s your favourite thing about Ubud?

Motorbike Bali Flower Offering Ubud

Balinese-Hindu flower offering on motorbike

 

5 Shovels-2

Super easy DIY travel around city centres

Visited in October 2015