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Nothing can prepare your senses for Bali – for your eyes the green of the rice terraces set into
jungle, your sense of smell assaulted with the aromas of incense in the offerings and the strong stink
of the durian fruit as you walk along the village streets. Bali rushes in to meet you from the moment
they open the doors of the plane at Ngurah Rai, Bali’s international airport, the humidity heavy and
close. And the food… A short 1 hour drive north of Bali is the cultural and artistic heart of Bali. The
rice paddies, the variegated pink and white flowers of the frangipani tree, the ever busy streets,
teeming with tourists and locals alike, with every one either heading to the temple, shops or
restaurant. With all this sensory overload, its hard to know what to do. So to make things easier, we
have handpicked the things just can’t afford to miss arrive Ubud.
Here is our guide to Ubud:
Yoga and meditation
If being fit in mind is your priority, then you have to sign up for a yoga class. Located on the eastern
part of Monkey Forest, Yoga Barn is the best place to learn yoga. But if meditation is your thing, then
White Lotus Yoga and Meditation center will be the best place to be on Monday, Tuesday and
Tegallanlang Rice Terrace
Undoubtedly being the most photographed landscape in Bali, the Tegallalang Rice Terrace is just a
20 minute drive away from Ubud Palace. Rice is not only an important crop in Indonesian cuisine;
most of Indonesian economy depends on it. If you prefer taking a walk across the terraced Cliffside,
ensure you have a pair of good sneakers on because there are lots of steep and uneven steps in the
Built in the 1800s during Ida Tjokorda Putu Kandel’s rule, the royal dynasty made this palace their
home. The palace also features lots of traditional Balinese performance such as Legong and Barong
dances each evening. Just some distance to the northwest is Pura Taman Saraswati temple home
to ponds with lots of lilies.
Much has been documented of “Elephant Cave”; an archaeological site. Most are of the opinion that
the large sculptured creature (having some looks of a mammal) located just at the entrance of the
cave, has been the reason for this fame. Built way back in the 11th century, religious processions are
still held in Goa Gajah even till this day. Ancient fountains, relic-filled courtyard and lots of bathing
pools (left unexcavated till 1954) will sure give you a feel of Bali’s history.
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Otherwise known as the Monkey Forest Ubud and probably the most sought after tourist spot, three
major Hindu temples sit here. As you make you way across the thick vegetation of the area to the
stone dragon bridge, you will be greeted by animals sprawling both on land and on trees. While
some wouldn’t miss some few photographs, others won’t. if you aren’t so comfortable with their
presence around you, making “che” sound will keep them off. Also, avoid bringing attractive stuffs
that will capture their attention to avoid chasing them to the trees when they nab you.
Ubud Art Market
If you are looking for a place to buy interesting souvenirs and art works, then Ubud art market is the
place. With lots of crafted goods, paintings and silk materials, nothing is missing here. But you have
to sharpen your bargaining skills before coming into the market.
Located on a hilltop opposite Campuhan River, Antonio Blanco built a fine home, now his home is
home to the Don Antonio Blanco Museum, in memory of his son, Mario who was a master painter. In
the museum, you will find Blanco’s studio exactly as it was before his death. If you appetite for art
still isn’t quenched, head over to Neka Art Museum with paintings that reflect the culture of Bali.
A common misconception is that Ubud boasts many silver shops, however most of Bali’s silver
comes form the nearby village of Celuk. There are however two famous silver workshops, each
close to the other; they are Studio Perak and Chez Monique. Here you may entertain your eyes
while you wait as the silversmiths hammer away preparing your new your silver necklace, ring,
If you are a lover of Indonesian movies, books and music, then Ganesha is theplace to be. But if you
have a book you are sure not to read anymore, you can donate it to the local book store.
Threads of Life
If the textile market did not stir up your interest, then Threads of Life could. Home to hybrid arts
produced by weavers and artisans who use natural dyes and other local materials for their arts.
Eating in Ubud
If you fancy the idea of dining close to the jungles of Ubud, then Bridges Bali is the place to be.
Located at the conjunction of two Rivers, Bridges is a must – and you are sure to enjoy the epic
menu including vegetarian, gluten-free and raw and high vobe meals here. Not to mention the over
330 wines they have on the menu – no chance of them running out of quality plonk to drink!
Sometimes referred to as “Modern European”, Locavore has quickly gained a reputation for being a
world class restaurant and here you will find delicacies and combinations that make the mind boggle.
But the consensus is wow! Other than being one of the best spots to dine in Ubud, Locavore makes
use local ingredients such as spiny lobsters sourced from Tabanan and lamb from Wonosobo for the
preparation of their dishes. The cocktails are ridiculous and for the level of quality, the finely
prepared meals are incredible value – you would easily pay two to three times for this calibre in
Other places that are not to be missed include Elephant, Soma, Hujan (the green papaya salads and
their pizzas are a-maze-ing), Kafe, Clear Cafe, Uma Cuccina, Seeds of life – and it seems no one
gets out of Ubud without eating ribs at Naughty Nuris or “Babi guling” (roasted suckling pig) Ibu Oka.
To be clear, pig is the most favourite delicacy in Bali. Naughty Nuris and Ibu Okas are the top of their
game in this field!
Next our guide to Ubud takes us a few miles north to Como Shambhala Estate located in the heart of
Gianyar. The luxury spa sits on 23 acres of land close to Ayung River. The massage they give you
there is simply mind blowing. If tension and stress has worn you down, then head straight to
Mandapa’s reflexologist to get some relief. Bali Botanica and Iman Spa are also excellent options.