Located just under an hour from Bali’s International Airport, Ubud is Bali’s spiritual and cultural heartland. While other parts of Bali such as Kuta and Seminyak mainly attract surfers and party goers, it is Ubud’s inland setting that will leave you charmed. The city’s location has allowed it to skip a lot of the rapid growth that Bali has seen in the last few years, letting it develop at a much slower pace. Known for its rice paddies, Zen-cafes and thriving art scenes, it is a mecca for those who truly want to get away from it all.
Each of 14 mountain villages in Ubud has their own speciality. To truly appreciate its beauty, you need to spend as much time as you can in this beautiful inland, however, if you are able to squeeze in only 24-hours out of your tight schedule, then here is a one-day must see-must do itinerary to experience the best of Ubud.
Start your day early at 6 am with a morning yoga class. Ubud is known for its health and wellness programs. A trip to this city would be incomplete without experiencing this dose of energy to fuel you up for the long day ahead. Head next to the famous Ubud morning market which is a riot of colours and sounds. Vendors set up stalls to sell everything from eatables to flower offerings and dried produce. Before the rest of the city wakes up, it will allow you to get a glimpse of the genuine local life and interact with friendly locals.
Move over to the Tegalalang rice paddies next to get a glorious glimpse of the rice terraces and some wonderful shots before the tourists start piling up. As streaks of the morning sunlight light up the green rice paddies, you will witness a sight which is symbolic of Bali. After an action-packed morning, take some time out to visit any of the popular cafes in Ubud for a sip of some of the best coffee in the world and enjoy a wholesome breakfast.
After a healthy and relaxing morning, head into the city centre for a visit to the famed Ubud Art Market. You will be amazed by the dizzying display of locally made crafts and souvenirs. Bargaining is a must at the market, which stays open from 8 am to 6 pm every day. Another main attraction near the city centre which is popular with the tourists is the Monkey Forest. You can purchase bananas at the Monkey Forest and make your way through moss-covered temples that are home to these mischievous creatures. Be warned about taking care of your belongings as these monkeys can be quite grabby.
For lunch, head over to a fusion restaurant near you. While the idea of eating anything apart from Indonesian food during your short trip may seem absurd, the city is home to an eclectic mix of global cuisines. From Japanese to French, Ubud has it all.
To freshen up from your long day of exploring, head to one of Ubud’s best kept secrets- The Tukad Cepund Waterfall. Unknown to many tourists, the sight of the breathtaking waterfall makes it all worthwhile. This magical waterfall gives you the feeling that water is falling directly from the sky. Take a quick dip to let the refreshing waterfall rejuvenate you for the rest of the evening.
Unlike other destinations or the countryside, the magic in Ubud continues even after the sunset. A visit to witness the popular Kecak Fire Dance is highly recommended. Based on the Ramayana story, this act is filled with theatrical dancing that ends in a flaming finale.
Ubud is also well known for its active nightlife. Of all the streets in the city, Jalan Gootama is one of the most popular ones for tourists. Closed off to traffic at night, it has restaurants, cafes and artsy shops to keep you entertained. After a fulfilling day, it is the perfect place to unwind and let your thoughts wander.
While this will cover your must-dos, Ubud is a destination which will leave you wanting to come back for more.
Tip: Rent a motorbike or a scooter to get around town. Ubud is a huge place and post noon, there are chances of you getting stuck in plenty of traffic. With only 24 hours to cover the city, a scooter will allow you to zip from one destination through another while avoiding congestion.
‘Curated by Neha Bhise’