What to do in Ubud

February 24, 2012 in Indonesia,Places

What Ubud lacks in stunning beaches and deep-water delights–the breezy, sunny Bali vacation common in Kuta or Seminyak–it makes up in lush green surroundings and no shortage of things to do.

Yoga hurts, meditation is boring street art in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

The town has a decidedly hippie vibe, cluttered with vegetarian cafes and healing centers. There’s plenty to explore in the heart of the city–don’t miss the daily market–and also adventures just a short motorbike ride away. I absolutely loved Bali, and Ubud was what really got me: the town has such an awesome, positive energy that I never wanted to leave.

Canyon trekking through green Ubud, Bali on a cloudy day

Trek along the canyon: If only every hike could end with a mango smoothie under a thatched roof with a view of the rice paddies! Trek along the canyon ridge out to Karso Cafe or Sari Organik for a drink with a view.

Stretching out at Yoga Barn, Ubud, Bali

Stretch out at Yoga Barn: Even if you’re not a certified yogi, The Yoga Barn is worth checking out. Turn upside down at a flying yoga class, or simply relax through a restoration yoga class. Pop into Little K for a smoothie, and meet up with all the flexible expats in a zen state of mind.

Rawwvioli raw dinner at Clear Cafe, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Hug a vegetarian: Ubud has no shortage of hippie-friendly cafés: organic options that range from vegetarian to vegan to raw. Strike up a conversation with a yogi who smells of patchouli at Soma, Clear Cafe or Bali Buddha. The food is creative and delicious, and the open spaces are conducive to chatting.

Mount Batur volcano through the clouds, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Enjoy the Mount Batur view: You can join a trek to climb Mount Batur or Mount Agung at sunrise, but be warned: it’s a 2:30 a.m. wake-up call! I had no desire to hike in the dark AND the pouring rain, so I opted to see Bali’s second-largest active volcano by motorbike. Still quite an impressive sight!

Balinese offerings at Pura Tirta Empul holy springs, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Soak up some holiness: For more than 1000 years, people have come to bathe in the holy waters of Pura Tirta Empul. Legend has it that the god Indra created the sacred spring, and since 926 AD the Balinese have come to be healed physically and spiritually in its waters. Even if you don’t get wet, the grounds are beautiful to wander.

Goa Gajah Elephant Cave in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Walk through the mouth of an elephant: Goa Gajah was believed to be carved from a hillside as a monastery in the 11th century; however, it was hidden until it was rediscovered and excavated in the 1920s. The Balinese worship the god Shiva and his elephant-headed son Ganesha at this holy site, with many offerings and fertility symbols found inside.

Monkey mother and baby at Ubud Monkey Forest, Bali, Indonesia

Monkey around at the Monkey Forest: Warning: the monkeys can be a bit cheeky, especially if you’ve got food in your purse or if you’re toting a shiny camera or pretty sunglasses. Be careful–they are wild animals! That being said, the paths are lovely and shady and there’s a beautiful banyan tree in the back of the grounds.

Museum Puri Lukisan courtyard and flowers, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Get your cultural fix at Museum Puri Lukisan: The oldest art museum in Ubud boasts excellent pre-war and post-war art, as well as stunningly serene grounds. The Balinese paintings and wood carvings are incredibly intricate and beautiful–I walked out with a new appreciation for Asian art. There’s also a brilliant museum on modern marketing located near the entrance–it’s free and has a number of interesting case studies of successful companies around the world.

  • Fantastic!! I never knew how culturally ‘hip’ Bali was, with the yoga and raw food! It’s my next destination planned, so this post just made me chuck a little bit more into my savings account!!

  • I want to go to the yoga barn!!!! I love it. Just out of curiosity how much is a drop in class over there?

  • Great list (and photos)! I wish I had read this before visiting Ubud!!

  • camorose

    Ubud is definitely really hip–Seminyak is another spot that is super trendy. The best part is that it’s not too expensive–I was usually spend about $10-$15 for dinner with a fun non-alcoholic drink, a main and a dessert!

  • camorose

    About $10-$13 for a 1.5 hour class, although they do get cheaper if you buy a multi-class card. Super reasonable for the level of instruction and gorgeous surroundings!

  • camorose

    Ahhh you’ll just have to go back :)

  • Pingback: Postcard from Seminyak l Photos of Bali, Indonesia | C'est Christine()

  • I’d love to spend some time in Ubud. Pretty much my only knowledge of Bali is Kuta and I didn’t really dig it all that much. Your photos and write-up make this part of the island sound immense though!

  • camorose

    Yes! I didn’t even bother with Kuta–never heard a good thing about it!–but absolutely loved Ubud, can’t recommend it enough.

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