1-day roadtrip from Canggu to Ubud
October 23, 2016
by Lilla Kovács
When it comes to visiting the main attractions of Bali, Ubud is clearly one of the top destinations. The view of the rice terraces is breathtaking, the Monkey Forrest is a must.
We rent a villa in Canggu, a surfers’ paradise with a group of digital nomads, called the Wifi Tribe. After our first working week in Bali, we decided to abandon this lovely villa, jump on our scooters, and go on a weekend trip together.
We started out from Canggu at around 6 o’clock in the morning – pretty tough timing, but it is definitely worth it! Imagine that you are part of a scooter gang, and you ride your bikes together through the morning traffic (crazy traffic!), heading East, watching the tropical sunrise.
Crossing towns in the rush hour can be difficult. The distance between the two towns is about 30 kms, but it can take from 40 up to 60-70 minutes to drive there, depending on the traffic. It is much faster to go by scooter, as you can slalom through cars. Well, sounds cool – but to be honest, I would have never imagined myself doing this a week ago. Asian traffic is crazy, rules are chaotic, they drive on the left… However, it can be very inspiring to be part of a group full of adventurous people. It helps breaking out of your comfort zone by setting the norms elsewhere that you are used to in your everyday life. Following the crowd is still much easier than setting sail alone, and can help you reach dozens of things you wouldn’t even think about when alone. Choose your groups carefully, they have a huge impact on your life.
It took a whole weekend of driving to overcome my fear of driving in crazy traffic, but i have to admit: being part of a scooter gang is the coolest means of transport in Indonesia 🙂
The first stop – Hidden Canyon Beji Guwang
After a 20-minute ride we reached our first stop, the Hidden Canyon. Entry fee was around 10.000 IDR (less than 1 USD) each, plus we had to hire a guide, for 100.000 IDR shared by a group of 10. He was a friendly, easy-going local guy, who showed us the best path across the canyon. It was about a 1-hour long hike, and i would rate it as intermediate – you need to be able to climb some rocks, step into the river – and it is recommended to do the whole thing bare-footed.
Some unexpected extras:
- at the beginning of the tour, there is a bathing spot where you can step into the water from a small bridge, and try the real fish-spa! Small fish come and start to eat the dead skin from your feet. If the fish don’t bite, try to move around a bit. Weird, but cool feeling!
- after the canyon, there is a „Mini Zoo” with some really exotic inhabitants. They take out any of them from their cage and you can touch them, so it is really interactive J There is no entry fee, but donations are welcome.
- the tour ends with a few-minutes walk through the rice-fields.
It is worth doing the tour early in the mornning, since the temperature is more tolerable at that time. Make sure you have enough water and suncream with you! Don’t worry if you have forgotten it, they sell water at the Minizoo. A hat might also be useful.
Stop #2 – The Tegenungan waterfall
After a short scooter ride we reached our next stop, the Tegenungan waterfall. Entry fee was 10.000 IDR (less than 1 USD). Breakfast at one of the warungs (small, family-owned restaurants) is highly recommended. Ask for a young coconut, served chilled 🙂
This spot is very popular, so you can expect a bunch of other tourists. You can jump in the water and approach the waterfall – if you like adventure, you might as well wanna walk through it! The water is shallow, but never underestimate the power of nature – it will definitely push you underwater. Make sure someone is waiting for you on the other side before you try it.
Monkey Forest, Ubud
As you reach Ubud, you can immediately tell that the place is very popular among tourists, even in low season. The town is lively, the main street is full of shops, bars and spas, offering traditional balinese massage. A massage for one hour costs about 90k IDR (approx. 6.5 USD), and it is a wonderful experience. It can be very refreshing not just for your body, but your soul, too.
The Monkey Forest is a must, do not miss it! Be prepared, though – make sure you do not wear any shiny jewelry, and hide your sunglasses. Do not walk in the park with any food in your bag. The monkeys are really cute, and you can approach them – but never look them in the eye, as it is considered to be open agression. This way you can avoid phisical contact, which i highly recommend you to do. You don’t wanna end up in a hospital because of a monkey bite. The monkeys are very friendly in general, and they will not attack you without a reason. Just respect these rules, and you can observe them from really close.
After the monkey forest, try one of the many amazing warungs – it is almost impossible to eat unhealthy, and the prices are really cheap, even for an Eastern European fellow like me. If you have already mastered how to drive the scooter even on a narrow and curvy path, or do not mind some walking, i highly recommend Yuga Warung. Check it out on Tripadvisor!
Tegalaland Rice Terraces
The last stop of our roadtrip was this mesmerising spot, just a 10-minute ride from Ubud. Make sure you reach it before sunset – the sun goes down quite early, since we are close to the equator. You can descend along the terraces, or just sit down and admire this unique view.
In case you want to spend the night in Ubud, you can easily find a bed in any hostel for about 100.000 IDR (7-8 USD) per night in low season.
You can try to book online, but there is no guarantee you will get the place if you just decided to stay on the spot (speaking of experience…). You’d better keep it simple and just walk in and ask – if the place is full, they will probably recommend you another place to stay. The locals are very open, friendly and helpful in general. Switch off your phone and start talking to them 😉
If you decide to drive home, prepare to heavy traffic – the rush hour usually starts around sunset, and continues for hours. And yet again – it’s not only safer to drive in a group, but also much more fun 🙂