Ubud has been a blast, there are tons of things to do in this quiet, ancient city. It is an extremely old and spiritual place, the old mixes with the new in such a strange and interesting way. I’ll break down some of my favorite things that I experienced here in Ubud, to give you a taste of my experiences here in this gorgeous place!
The first thing we noticed upon arrival in Ubud were the SHOPS! Oh my lord it seemed like everything on earth was for sale. Aside from the usual trinkets, there were tons of textiles (silk scarves, pashminas, dresses, sarongs), interesting artwork, organic bath products, silver jewelry, and more. I had to seriously restrain myself cause I was on a budget, but I managed to get some good deals and even some presents that I now have to haul around for three months!! Oh well. I couldn’t resist and you shouldn’t either. Bargain hard here, there are lots of great deals in Ubud if you barter for them.
4. Spa Day!
There are so many options for spas here in Ubud it literally makes ones head spin. From the high-end daylong treatments that include cleansing, detox, colonics, facials and fruit juice baths, to the massages and manicures at the lower end places, there are enough spas here to go to one spa a day for two months and still not hit them all. I got an hour-long head, back and shoulder massage for about 8 dollars, 75000 Rupiah, and it was unreal. The Balinese lady who massaged me was so tiny with the strongest hands, she gave me a good tough massage, just how I like it! Aaaahhh.
3. Take in the Culture – check out all the ancient buildings and go on a photo tour
As I mentioned earlier, Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali, and it’s not hard to see why. Buildings from the eleventh century mingle with corner stores and supermarkets, scooters ride by with Balinese dancers in traditional dress scooting by to their performances, and beautiful art is displayed both in corners of markets and huge galleries as well. I walked around in awe, snapping pics and reading about the history of this magical city, taking it all in. The pictures don’t really do this place justice, but I will post them anyway.
2. Bike through the Rice Paddies
This bike trip was a total highlight. We were short on cash and didn’t want to pay for a full day tour around Ubud, so we rented bikes for a day for 3 bucks (30,000 Rupiah) and took off on a little adventure of our own. We had asked at the tourist centre (which looks like a castle) where the best places to see some country side were, and they made a little itinerary for us. We biked up a hilly plain, passing villages on the way, and even though it rained a bit in between sunny breaks, the rain was refreshing and fitting as we saw the beautiful rice paddies laid out neatly in the villages. People are so friendly in Bali! They called out hello from their doorsteps and driveways, asking us where we were going and what we wanted to see, or just shouted a friendly greeting and went about their day. Awesome! The whole trip took about two hours and there was lots of time to chill at our beautiful guesthouse pool later on in the day.
My favourite place in Ubud, hands down, was the monkey temple forest just on the outskirts of Ubud. It’s a functioning temple that has been in use since the 11th century, dedicated to the animal gods and to harmony with nature and all living things. Inside it’s an oasis, the soaring trees and greenery mixing with the ancient statues and temples, with monkeys causing havoc all over the grounds as they played, ate bananas, groomed each other, and generally delighted the tourists with their antics. They are so humanlike! One greedy little monkey jerk took all my bananas, but then sat very close to me and I watched as he expertly unwrapped and ate every banana in the bunch, guarding his hoard against the other sneaky guys who were watching and waiting for a chance to steal them. It was a great way to spend an afternoon, just chilling with these amazing animals and taking in the beauty of the forest and the temple. I loved it!
These are only my top five experiences, there is so much more to do in Ubud, including yoga, cleanses, detoxing, day trips, volunteering opportunities, watching dances + performances, and much more. I may have to come back here when im older and wiser, with a lot more money in my pockets, cause this is definitely a place to experience twice in a lifetime!