Things to do in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
by Emm Austria
Ubud is one of the must-see destinations in Bali. It’s far from the roaring nightlife in Kuta; Ubud is for those who seek to be suspended in awe by the profound beauty of the vast green lands with its thick, lush rainforests. Those who are willing to lose themselves in the nurturing sound of crystal waterfalls.
For a moment of calm and centeredness: Those who seek the solitude that is ever so longed for when you feel trapped in the chaos of life in the city – Ubud is a perfect place for you.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
Talk about suspended in awe! If you’re like me who likes to trek in the early morning. This is a highly recommended place to visit. Just a short drive from the heart of Ubud (~30 minutes, one way). You can rent a scooter or take a Grab ride using their mobile app (Beware: If you take a Grab ride, there’s a chance it might be difficult to get a ride back. There’s a monopoly of local taxis discouraging Grab drivers to enter Ubud.).
This is definitely a complete sensory experience! The slight chill from the cool mountain breeze is certainly a refreshing soft feel to the skin. The orchestra of serene sounds all around you: The soft chirping of distant and near birds. The steady melody of buzzing insects. The gentle touch of leaves brushing against each other swaying along with the wind.
They don’t charge tourists an entrance fee, however, there are farmers roaming around different parts of this labyrinth that will ask for 5,000 IDR for donation. Although tagged as “donation”, you must provide this amount or else they will not let you through the rest of the walk. Make sure to wear trekking boots as the landscape is mostly muddy paddy areas. Best time to go is early morning as it can get scorching hot here around noon up to the rest of the afternoon (plus you’d want to avoid the other tourists to maximize the experience).
Campuhan Ridge Walk
One of the unforgettable parts of my first time in Bali was my early morning trek at Campuhan Ridge walk. It was a short walk from where we were staying. On my way to the ridge walk, I was able to witness the city at its’ purest form. Filled with a sense of calm – no crowd, no hustle and bustle of tourists. Before sunrise, fruit vendors start to quietly set up shop – just before the streets start to come alive.
The entrance point is a bit tricky as there is no sign that that pathway sloping down from that restaurant and spa entrance called “Warwick Ibah – Restaurant and Day Spa” actually led to the ridge walk. To find the place easily, make sure you download the map before you leave the hotel.
It’s an estimate of a 2KM walk (one way) from the starting point. It’s an up and down winding road, but I promise you, the full sensory experience is worth it.
I will never forget that picturesque sunrise.
It was incredibly cinematic; Hues of gold and light sienna surrounding the edge of thick foam, soft white clouds parting from the center of the sky outwards a vast gradient of cerulean shades.
It felt very powerful to be in its presence. It felt like the heavens were opening up to make way for the dawning of angels.
Standing there, a serene breeze gently caressed my skin. The harmony of insects humming, birds singing all around me. Light gradually seeping through the coconut trees, towards the precipice where faint fog rose from the steady flowing river below. The therapeutic sound of the ebb and flow of that stream of water from the river.
Away from the crowds, the solitude of just being – I was reminded of the beauty of life.
Everything was just right! It was a nurturing experience for the mind, body, and soul!
A delightful hidden gem at Gianyar, ~40 mins away from the heart of Ubud!
There’s a modest entrance fee of 10,000 IDR. Locals were very welcoming towards tourists and guided visitors towards the pathway to the waterfall. There’s a short hike down wherein you walk across lush greens and along man-made bamboo bridges set above a calm stream of water.
It was healing just staring at that frothy glowing white freshwater falling down onto an olive base. The sound of that continuous flow hitting the water had a certain effect on me; A quieting of the mind.
What I adore about this place is that since it’s not a mainstream tourist spot just yet, if you travel in the morning, you might just get the place all to yourself. Talk about an ultimate escape!
Tibumana waterfall, Jalan Desa Apuan, Kabupaten Bangli, Bali 80661, Indonesia
Lastly, don’t forget to try different Balinese dishes!
After visiting the different parts and nearby landscapes of Ubud, be sure not to miss out on Balinese dishes! Even the modest family restaurants cook delicious, classic, tasty home-style local dishes!
This particular one is from a place called Warung Sandat (it’s along Jalan Sandat street). I had to try it because it was right along the corner from where we stayed. And yes, you’ve guessed it, I came back multiple times in different weeks because the food was just incredibly satisfying.
The always had tourists from different parts of the world trying their food. It’s a small family owned, house-turned-into-a-restaurant type. It felt so homey!
Anyway, I hope my sharing has helped somehow shape your itinerary to better explore Bali! I wish you a fulfilling trip! To living life! Cheers! *Clink!