Is it time for you to start planning your next vacation? Perhaps it’s been a difficult start to 2020 and you’re in need of some rest and relaxation? Maybe you’re planning a fun adventure for you and all the family, or a romantic getaway for some quality time with your partner? Or perhaps you need a break on your own to escape the stresses and strains of everyday life?
Whichever type of holiday you’re after, the beautiful setting of Ubud has it all. Although foreign tourism in Indonesia dropped by 2.03% between 2018 and 2019, the number of visitors to Bali actually increased by 9.9% over that same period – a sure sign of the island’s enduring popularity.
If the bustling party destination of Gili Trawangan or the beach resort of Seminyak are not your thing, the quieter, cultural hub of Ubud – set deep in the heart of the jungle – may be more to your liking. And it’s not hard to see why it’s fast become one of the best places to visit in Bali, with a vast array of attractions guaranteed to make your stay one you’ll never forget.
To get around, hiring a driver can often prove the simplest and most cost-effective option, although the braver souls may want to rent a moped and travel like a true Balinese. There are an abundance of places selling delicious, authentic food to keep you refuelled and the likes of Café Lotus or Bridges Bali provide particular highlights in that regard, but what are the best things to see and do?
Have no fear – we’ve compiled a selection of the top sights to help make your Ubud adventure the trip of a lifetime.
The Monkey Forest
This natural sanctuary in the outskirts of Ubud is an absolute must-see, with more than 700 grey long-tailed macaques roaming freely among old temples and foliage. You can follow winding paths through the forest, spotting the monkeys as they happily go about their daily business, entirely unruffled by your presence. The monkey forest is famous for its conservational work, as regular checks and studies are done to monitor the animals’ health and behavioural patterns. If you are going to visit, be careful to keep any loose items such as sunglasses, wallets, food and drink out of sight – the monkeys are not shy and their curiosity may be triggered by anything left on show.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces
For stunning vistas, it’s difficult to top those from the Tegallalang rice terraces, a short drive from central Ubud. It’s possible to wander down into the depths of the valley and then back up the other side, to give yourself a full view of your spectacular surroundings. And, for something a little different, why not have a go on one of the swings that send you soaring out into their air above the paddies – you can even hop on with a friend or partner for that epic photo opportunity.
Campuhan Ridge Walk
For those who prefer to take things at a more sedate pace, the Campuhan ridge walk may be more to your tastes. Setting off from the heart of Ubud, the trail takes you steadily uphill and offers sensational views to either side. You may want to tackle this walk either in the early morning or in the evening, when the temperatures should be slightly cooler, and you might even time it perfectly to see the sun rise or dip below the horizon.
Tirta Empul Water Temple
Built well over 1,000 years ago, the Tirta Empul water temple is rich in history, culture and spirituality and one cannot fail to find some inner peace among its gardens and statues. It’s important to dress in a respectable manner, with sarongs available for visitors and if you want to benefit from the full experience, why not enter the water to purify yourself from one of the spectacular crafted spouts? Before leaving, you can also take a wander through the market and food stalls, browsing and haggling over a range of hand-made goods that you just won’t find anywhere else.