This post is part of the series Bali
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This post is part of the series Indonesia
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Welcome to Ubud – the “real Bali” as the locals used to call it! The small town is surrounded by ample jungle and rice paddies. It encompasses a lot of what I can call “authentic Bali”. The emblematic Ubud is a shrine to Balinese Culture and a well-done exotic mélange of sacred temples, tropical nature, rice fields, river valleys, Mecca for yogis and veggies, classical artists’ villages, 1-to-5 star spa centers, art galleries, heritage museums, fashion boutiques… Ubud has it all!
The name Ubud comes from the word Obad and means medicine and also healing. Do you remember the movie “Eat, Pray, Love” with Julia Roberts? Yes, it was filmed in Ubud and actually made it a famous spot for Yoga retreats, alternative medicine, and spiritual journey. The heart of Bali is the spiritual home of the island – everybody searching for balance and harmony in life is welcome here. And the best thing about it – you can explore some of its best attractions on foot, different from many other places in Bali.
Where to Stay in Ubud
As you would expect from a major travel destination in Southeast Asia, Bali has no shortage of options when it comes to accommodation. As always, I’d suggest you stay somewhere central, to make accessing all the attractions as easy as possible. The best place to stay in Ubud if you want to explore the town on foot is in the center.
Bisma Cottages – We stayed here for 5 days and absolutely loved our experience. Bisma Cottages is centrally located in Bisma Street, very close to Ubud’s Center. Bisma Street is home to spa’s, shops, coffee shops, bars with live music and many restaurants offering local and international food. Here you can also find necessities like ATMs, money changers, laundry, minimarts and pharmacies. Rice Fields are still a beautiful feature of the street. Bisma Cottages are within walking distance to Ubud’s main attractions: Monkey Forest, Ubud Market, Ubud Palace, Campuhan Ridge, Temples, Yoga Barn, etc.
Explore The Best of Ubud on Foot: Self Guided Walking Tour
Explore The Best of Ubud on Foot
1. Bisma Street, Our Favourite Street in Ubud
There is no secret – our favorite street in Ubud is Bisma street due to its strategic position and the rich variety of shops, restaurants, bars, massage studios, galleries, etc. We stayed at Bisma Cottages from where we could just walk to Monkey Forest, Ubud Market, Ubud Palace, Campuhan Ridge, Yoga Barn, etc. If you want to explore Ubud on foot on your own, Bisma Street is a good choice for finding accommodation for your stay.
2. Monkey Forest Ubud
You cannot leave Bali and especially Ubud without visiting the Sacred Monkey Forest located in the village of Padangtegal. So did we – the Monkey Forest was the first place to visit during our first day trip around Bali. Monkey Forest is within 10 minutes walking distance from our accommodation Bisma Cottages which made it easier for us to visit it in the early morning before all the tourists were coming (it can get crowdy!). The Sacred Forest is an important spiritual, economic and educational place in Bali. Here you can say “hello” to 700 long-tailed macaques and visit 3 of the most important ancient temples of Ubud. The monkeys are considered sacred and therefore are very well protected by the local government.
3. Campuhan Ridge Walk Ubud
Hidden behind the hotels of Ubud’s main street you will find the beautiful Campuhan Ridge Walk, an absolute must-see when visiting the town of Ubud. The Campuhan Ridge Walk is only a short walk from Ubud’s center and within 15 minutes walking distance from our accommodation Bisma Cottages – catching the sunrise here will be the perfect start of the day, especially if you want to see the greenest green in your life! The Campuhan Ridgewalk has the scenery of a jungle or forest rather than that of rice terraces and fields. The hike is really worth it if you’re around Ubud and you want to escape the busy streets.
4. Ubud Palace
The Ubud Palace is an old building complex in Bali with some fantastic carvings and courtyards. Also known as Puri Saren Agung, this is an important historical landmark for the Balinese and it’s also very accessible, with some great spots for taking cultural photos. Dwarapala statues and classic Balinese carvings aren’t just the only things that spark in Ubud Palace. The Royal palace holds not just some beautiful architecture. Besides history, the palace is one of the few places left in Ubud embracing the original Balinese architecture. Ubud Palace is located in Ubud’s center (15 minutes from Bisma Cottages).
5. Pura Dalem Ubud
You can wander among the demons and attend a Kecak dance at Desa Pakraman Ubud. The temple is known as the temple of death and is one of the most beautiful temples in Bali. Pura Dalem is located within 5 minutes walking distance of Ubud’s center (20 minutes from Bisma Cottages). You have to wear a sarong if you want to come inside. The temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The entire complex is very calm and gives very peaceful vibes. The priest told us that people visit here when they are disturbed and find peace here.
6. Saraswati Temple
As you know that the temple is a Hindu holy place in Bali and the Saraswati Ubud temple is one of them. This temple is, according to its name, the place of worship of Goddess Saraswati. Saraswati is one of the most popular tourist attractions located in the very center of Ubud. If you really like seeing typical Balinese carvings, this is the best place to see them. The temple was built in 1951 and designed by one of the most popular Balinese Architects Gusti Nyoman Lempad. The design of the temple was based on the Tri Mandala philosophy, which divides the temple area into three areas: Nista Mandala, Madya Mandala, and Utama Mandala.
7. Watch Legong and Barong Waksirsa Dance
Bali traditional dance is an ancient dance tradition that is part of the religious and artistic expression among the Balinese. Bali traditional dance is dynamic, angular, and intensely expressive. Balinese dancers express the stories of dance drama through bodily gestures including gestures of fingers, hands, head, and eyes. You can expect expressive gestures, complex footwork, and finger movements that are just mesmerizing. Two of the most popular dances to watch in Ubud are Legong and Barong. You can watch these traditional dances in Ubud Royal Palace.
8. Kajeng Rice Field
Ubud rice field walks are some of the best things to do in Ubud, Bali. And some of the best can be done just a short walk off the main streets of Ubud (25 minutes from Bisma Cottages). One of our favorite walks in Ubud is the Kajeng Rice field walk, where you will see stunning rice fields and a local village. Kajeng Rice Fields Walk is now joined to the Subak Juwuk Manis Rice Fields walk. This makes the walk so much more enjoyable and beautiful. You now get to walk through Kajeng Village, where you will see a less touristy side of Ubud, and then you will arrive at the green rice fields.
9. Ubud Traditional Art Market
Ubud Traditional Art Market is located in front of the Royal Ubud Palace (15 minutes from Bisma Cottages) and is open daily. Ubud Art Market is the best art market in Bali, where you can find beautiful silk scarves, lightweight shirts, handmade woven bags, baskets or hats, statues, kites, and many other hand-crafted goods.
Most of the goods found at the Ubud Traditional Art Market are made in the neighboring villages of Pengosekan, Tegallalang, Payangan, and Peliatan. The location of the Ubud Traditional Art Market which is centered among the art-producing villages, and is just opposite the royal palace which is a center point of Ubud itself, makes it a strategic shopping place for Balinese handicrafts and souvenirs.
10. Cremation Ceremonies in Ubud: A Must See when in Bali
Many people come to Bali hoping to see an Ubud cremation ceremony. As Ubud is still relatively rural and is often referred to as being the cultural center of Bali, the cremation ceremonies in Ubud tend to be quite extravagant. It’s a centuries-old tradition culminating in the cremation of the deceased body. Colorful, elaborate ceremonies are a regular occurrence in Ubud, but none more breath-taking than Ngaben, the Balinese cremation ritual.
11. Balinese Food
Balinese food can be something of a mystery… Like many aspects of Bali, Bali food is an amalgamation of different cultural influences over time, fused together to create a spectacular cuisine that’s unlike any other. Head to neighboring islands such as Java and Lombok and you’ll find completely different dishes: Balinese food is completely unique. Ubud is one of the best places to try traditional Balinese food, but if you search for Indonesian Prices, Balinese Food, and Western Standards we can recommend our favorite Warung (Local Restaurant) Warung@Bhisma Ubud which is located on Bisma Street within 5 minutes walking from our accommodation Bisma Cottages.
12. Get a Balinese Massage in Ubud
Yes, everything you’ve heard about getting a massage in Bali is true. They are dirt cheap, insanely relaxing, and available everywhere you look on the streets of Ubud. Imagine paying someone 7 € to give you a full body rub down while listening to the sounds of waterfalls, breathing in the scents of lemongrass, and finishing with a warm ginger tea… Amazing, right?
13. (Why not) Getting a Tatoo in Ubud
One of the best places to get a tattoo in Asia is right here in Bali. The island is home to a huge number of talented tattoo artists who all specialize in many different styles of tattoos. Getting a tattoo can be both frightening and exciting at the same time. The rush of getting a permanent piece of art embedded in your body can be triggered just by the thought of getting a tattoo. So if you are searching for a good Tatoo Studio in Ubud, please make your research in advance. We can recommend IBU Tattoo Ubud Studio not only in Ubud but also in Bali!
14. Visit a Balinese Art Gallery
The endless exploration of art and design is one of the main reasons people get attracted to Bali and especially Ubud. On this small island, artists from all over the world came and interpreted their own vision of Bali into paintings and design works. Collaborations become unavoidable, and thus art in Bali flourishes. There are many Art Galleries located in Ubud’s center that you may visit on your next trip to Bali.
15. Rent a Scooter
If you are done with the walking tour around Ubud, we can recommend renting a scooter and exploring the beautiful nature around Ubud: waterfalls, rice fields, mountains, and villages – the options are endless! After renting a scooter so many times in Bali, we know it can get tricky! If you are in Ubud or anywhere else in Bali, we would recommend the scooters and services of Santi Star’s Scooter Rental they have brand new scooters, and the service is five-star! They bring you the scooter to your hotel and pick it up when you are ready to leave 🙂
Rental Car in Bali
Rentalcars.com searches all the big car rental companies in Bali and finds the best price for you.
If you are the type of person who prefers joining a tour, Bisma Cottages can personally tailor your Ubud tour (find more information here).
Enjoy the day!
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