Information before you go
Ubud Bali has probably become one of the most famous villages since the 'Eat, Pray, Love' movie. It was already a busy village before Hollywood put another spot light on it but now you can pretty much say that Ubud is experiencing an explosion of visitors.
The first time we visited Bali we both described it as 'idyllic' and despite the traffic, the introduction of Starbucks, Ripcurl Surf Shop and a restaurant chain called Tropics we still love heading over there. You can almost say that a visit to Bali wouldn't been complete without seeing this cultural village or staying in one of the nearby village hamlets.
Walking while balancing the baskets on their head with ease...
Between the large groups of tourists the Balinese are still able to maintain their traditional life as much as they can. In Ubud men and women still place offerings gracefully on the side of the road and every day you will see them riding beautifully dressed on a motorbike to temples and ceremonies while holding colorful woven baskets.
Flowers, big banyan trees, temples, bright colored decorations, rice paddies, sleepy villages around Ubud where Balinese people still live as many years before are the things that complete this idyllic picture.
The village is surrounded by fertile land which has resulted in the beautiful rice field terraces you always find in travel and photo books on Bali. Like many other places in Bali these rice fields are slowly being replaced by villas and other luxury accommodation whose owners keep on trying to find the ultimate spot overlooking the paddies or river valley. But with the many initiatives popping up, especially in the areas in and around Ubud we hope that this village is able to keep it's charm and beautiful surroundings.
In the rice fields just outside Ubud
In the past the rice fields and ideal irrigation systems have provided the people with a surplus in rice yields. With time to spare the king of Sukawati ordered the rice farmers to dedicate their time on paintings for temples and palaces.
From here an unique place has emerged into a painter’s village that has attracted many people, including foreigners who have played their part in forming various painting styles.
It is not surprising to see that many artists feel at home in this village considering the mystical and inspiring setting. Today paintings still play an important role in Ubud and around. There are many galleries where Ubud artists sell their work.
An artist selling his paintings at Jalan Monkey Forest Road.
When travellers refer to Ubud they actually refer to the touristy part of this village but also the less touristy neighboring hamlets of Campuhan, Penestanan, Padangtegal, Peliatan, Pengosekan, Sayan, Kedewatan, Sambahan and Nyukuning. Over the years more tourist facilities have expanded from Ubud to its surrounding areas.
The village Ubud is an ideal place to walk around just as the connecting villages. Make sure you go exploring and check out the small streets and alleys on the side of every road. They lead you to amazing places such as rice fields, river valleys, temples and Balinese living court yards where families live together.
Monkey Forest Road
Ubud has three big main roads which are all one way-streets. So you will definitely drive through them regularly if you are finding your way through Ubud by car or motorbike. The busiest (always a massive traffic jam) and one of the longest is the Monkey Forest Road. This road starts in the south when you come into Ubud and ends all the way in the north at the crowded Ubud Market.
This street is overdeveloped with shops, restaurants and places to stay. Monkey Forest road already looks cramped, but there is even more behind the many buildings along this road. The many alleys (called: 'gang') on both sides of the road are passages to tucked away hotels and bungalows (where in our opinion you shouldn't stay), spas and restaurants.
Map of Ubud
Jalan Raya is a road that crosses Monkey Forest Road in the center of Ubud Village. To the west, this road leads you to the Campuhan area. Within these sacred grounds you can start a rice field walk that goes on further north of Ubud and passed the ancient-looking luxury hotel Ibah.
Another road that you’ll certainly come across is Jalan Hanoman, located east of the long Monkey Forest Road. Like the Monkey Forest Road, Jl. Hanoman street is long and it has many shops, restaurants, hotels and home stays.
The street goes on passing the ARMA museum in Pengosekan, one of the many things you should go to when you are in Ubud.
Road to Campuhan, one of the most beautiful in Ubud village Bali...
Ubud Palace right at the crossing of Jalan Raya and Jalan Monkey Forest
Every time I’m in Ubud I'm always surprised to see some travelers moving around on bicycles considering this village is situated in the hilly parts of Bali.
However, if you are thinking about staying in the center for a while and are not planning to go anywhere far it's a good and environmentally friendly way to move around.
The quiet little streets are the best way to get around Ubud village Bali
Along Monkey Forest Road there are many bicycle rentals. It’s only Rp25.000 a day to rent a bicycle; much cheaper if you want to rent it for a couple of days.
Usually right next to the bicycle rental or near the tourist information center you can rent a motorbike too. Just like the bicycles, you can get a better deal if you rent it for more than one day.
Favorite means of transport for locals too
If you are making travel plans out of town, you can find the bemos mini-busses waiting at Central Ubud, near the market. They have different colors indicating their different destinations.
It’s cheap, a bit uncomfortable and it would be an adventure to travel from A to B because unlike in Europe there are no maps showing their time tables and routes.
Just ask around and you will find somebody who will help you or is heading the same way as you. Don't worry, you will eventually get where you want to go ;-)
The bemo waiting for its passengers
Everywhere in town you will find many private drivers sitting in the shade of a tree only to jump up when you come in sight. Instantly they will make this driving movement with their hands and at the same time wiggle a little with their body.
‘Transportation...?’ is the first thing they say. If you reply with: ‘No thank you...’ you can immediately expect the next question ‘How about tomorrow...yes?’ They are harmless but can get on your nerves after passing dozen of them within minutes.
But if you are considering touring around for a day then a private driver is far better then arranging a taxi. Check out if you like their car and then bargain for a price that suits you. Usually it is around Rp.350.000 per day including a chatty driver who is your Bali guide for the day and fuel.
Kadek from Padma Travel in Jalan Kajeng
Important Addresses and Handy Phone Numbers
The Perama Tourist Shuttle Bus at Jl Raya as scheduled services between major tourist villages. Perfect if you want to travel on a budget.
The Post Office is located on Jalan Jembawan on the east-side of Jl Raya. If you don't feel like walking all the way you can always leave your postcards with the hotels' concierge service.
The Ubud Clinic, 24H (0361-974911) can be found on the west-side of Jl Raya before the Campuhan bridge and here bilingual staff is also available.
The Toya Medika Clinic (0361-971264) is located on Jl Raya Pengosekan in the south of Ubud near the Arma Resort. Here too you'll find English speaking staff.
If you need the Police (0361-975316) you can find them on Jl Raya Andong in the north-eastern part of Ubud Village Bali. Turn left at the traffic lights at the end of Jl Raya near the huge statue.
The Tourism Information Office is open from 8am-8pm daily and located on the crossing of Jalan Monkey Forest and Jl Raya, just across the Ubud Palace.
Here they can offer you some maps, brochures and the monthly issue of Ubud Community with useful articles and a calendar of events.
Placing offerings, a daily activity...
Most things to do in Ubud always seem to be intertwined with the daily village life. Not a surprise considering art and culture still dominate in this village and its surrounding hamlets. But there are many Ubud activities besides soaking up the ambiance and absorbing the cultural beauty.
The Campuhan (or also known as Tjampuhan) temple, Pura Gunung Lebah
The stunning location of the village provides enough opportunity to explore the rice terraces or river valleys that are found in and around the village. When walking through these panoramic sceneries you will soon see more about the life of the Balinese people who are for instance working in the fields throughout the day.
There are many great things to do in the village itself but it is definitely worth it to visit the nearby sights such as Tirta Empul, Goa Gaja or Gunung Kawi. If you leave early in the morning you can easily visit these three sights in one trip.
Terraced Rice Fields at Ceking, Unesco heritage just north of Ubud
We have listed just a number of Ubud activities below. But check out our list of things to do on this island as well. Many of these activities are found in Ubud, such as joining Balinese art courses, following cooking classes, participating in a yoga class or going down hill on a mountain bike. Other tours can also be easily arranged when staying in Ubud. Whitewater rafting and other outdoor activities are popular things to do when staying in Ubud, as this village is ideally located in the center of the island.
Museums and Galleries
If you want to create an understanding of the history and the many styles of the Balinese paintings then head to the museums and galleries in Ubud. One of our favorite is the Neka Museum followed by the ARMA Museum. Another great museum is the Puri Lukisan Museum were you can find an exceptional selection of modern paintings, drawings and statues dating from the 1930s. Here you will learn how great the influences of foreign artists such as Walter Spies, Rudolf Bonnet and Arie Smit were on today's Balinese art.
For more Balinese inspired western art head to the Antonio Blanco's House or Symon's Studio.
Every evening there are many performances in and around Ubud. Often, a specific location has another program each day. The tickets are Rp50.000 each but some performances can cost slightly more.
The performances start at 7pm and 8pm at the latest. You can choose between various dances or the fire and trance dance.
Right in the middle of town there is a densely patch of forest which is inhabited by hundreds of mischievous long-tailed macaques. You can stroll around the cool forest and meet the monkeys up close. Watch out for your belongings though!
Don't forget to check out the temples where you can find the scary-looking statues of Rangda, the goddess of death...
Walks around the area
Blessed with a beautiful location and surrounded by nature, Ubud has magnificent walking paths along scenic rice-fields and stunning valleys of the Wos rivers.. Most walks start around the Campuhan ridge, an area known for its mystical and inspirational powers.
This is probably one of my favorite outdoor activities in town because every time I do a walk, there are so many different things to see...
You can pretty much say that Ubud is one of the spa destinations on the island so not surprisingly there are many spas to choose from. I found some really good and nice ones at Jl. Monkey Forest Road with garden or rice field view. Another spa you should try to visit is located right in the rice paddies.
The majority of the spas in Ubud offer professional massage and aromatherapy treatments with products made out of natural ingredients, which often have healing purposes.
Market in Ubud:
This central market is the place to do some serious shopping if you are looking for nice Balinese arts and crafts, clothing, decorations, etc. But if you just want to stroll around than this is an amazing experience to catch colorful market scenes.
The best time to check the hustle and bustle of the local Ubud market is really early in the morning. You can find it at the north of Jl. Monkey Forest, which is pretty much the town centre.
Bird watching with the eccentric Victor Mason and keen birdwatcher Pink should be on anybody's things to do list when they travel to the Ubud area. It is very likely you are going to see species of birds such as the Java Kingfisher, the Black-Winged Starlet, Scarlet Headed Flower Pecker, Bar-Winged Prinia and many more...
The numbers and diversity of Ubud Restaurants are amazing. Restaurants serve delicious local food and there is a large choice of great restaurants serving organic and even raw food. Ubud is definitely the leader when it comes to becoming more 'green' and being organic. There is so much choice in organic restaurants that after just a couple of meters you will bump into another one again. So no chance of getting hungry here...
There is a mixed choice such as the classy modern looking restaurants, restaurants that only serve organic food and drinks or restaurants that have a gorgeous garden where you can sit on a big pillow on the floor.
Ibu Oka, the most famous place to eat Babi Guling in whole Bali..
But there are also the basic restaurants (but always with some nice decoration) that just offer you what you're looking for: good food.
Besides restaurants you can also find a long list of cafes serving freshly brewed coffee and home made cakes.
Organic All The Way
Located on Jl. Dewi Sita this cafe not only offers a nice and colorful place to sit, but also has healthy organic food and drinks.
It used to be a tiny place but it has expanded with more tables and chairs to comfortably enjoy a dose of healthy food when you are traveling in Bali. If you need boost of energy you can find fresh wheat grass juice here...
This little restaurant is one of the many new organic restaurants in Ubud that have been popping up throughout the village.
If you are already familiar with organic and raw food then you will fully appreciate the dishes they serve here. For the newbies it's a great way to taste food that isn't only delicious but consciously healthy too. If it's all too much for you then at least go for their incredible smoothies. (Location: Jln. Dewi Sita)
Buddha Health food store and cafe
This colorful place offers a great selection of health conscious food and drinks. You can even choose what type of crust you want for you pizza or bread such as rye bread, rice bread and whole meal.
The food store also sells wonderful snacks, try the sticky cinnamon role...you'll be hooked. (Location: Jln. Jembawan)
Down to Earth:
This vegetarian restaurant is located on Jalan Goutama Selatan, a small side street of Jl Hanoman and Jl. Dewi Sita. Besides a restaurant there is a shop too.
It's a colorful place with a massive menu that lists a huge variety of veggie dishes inspired by Asian and Mediterranean cuisine. If you want to enjoy their food to the fullest try out their different platters. On Sunday's you can go for their All You Can Eat Buffet.
This place is one of the few with such a unique location: right in the middle of the rice fields. You can't even reach it by car because the paths are to narrow to get there. But if you don't feel like walking through the fields to get there, they even offer pick up service.
The extensive lists show dishes made with ingredients which are organically grown.
This attractive place is yet one of many new organic restaurants but when you look at their mission and menu you will soon realize that these guys go all the way.
Natural supplements, organic and locally produced juices and food and raw desserts such as raw cheesecake and raw chocolate are just one of the few things they prepare to help you one step further to healing your body and leading a healthy lifestyle. For the 100% experience you can even go for a Colon Hydrotherapy at their Clinic. (Location: Jln. Penestanan)
Great Local Food
This restaurant is always packed with customers. Not surprisingly, considering their extensive Western and Asian menu. On top of that, the chef is able to cook wonderful creations so you will be surprised.
If you read the story in the beginning of the menu, you will know that a sweet lady had fulfilled her life goal. (Location: Ubud Monkey Forest Street)
Compared to other countries, food and drinks are reasonable priced here. However there are several places where you can really eat for much less and the food is really good.
We have found a couple of restaurants scattered around town which are even cheaper compared to other places and have really tasty food too. Some serve food that you will only experience when you visit Bali or other Indonesian islands...
There are several nice Ubud restaurants located in Jalan Kajeng.
We often went to Sura's Warung as they serve delicious Balinese dishes with the best selection of Jazz (as mentioned on their sign) for a very good price.
I am always pretty full after my main course, but I can never resist their pancake for dessert. I guess a comfortable place with some good music increases my appetite...
This "homestay-community-get-together-coffee-shop" is an ideal stop for a good cup of organic Indonesian coffee while flipping through their selection of magazines or going online.
It is nicely decorated with bamboo and furniture made out of natural materials. Besides coffee and cake Kopi Desa organizes events were locals, travelers and expats can get together. Instead of being one of the many other restaurants this place aims more at staying in touch with local and environmental issues. (Location: Banjar Penestanan Kaja)
Other Great Restaurant Options
When standing in front of this cafe, at the busy Monkey Forest Street you can't imagine that their is a lush tropical garden behind it.
Explore the gardens of this popular place first before choosing the best seat to have lunch or dinner. Don't forget to leave some space for dessert. The cafe has a large selection of cakes that's worth a try.
There are many restaurants that are just timeless and Three Monkeys is one of them. After many years it is one of the cafes to be to have wonderful coffee with a homemade pastry while enjoying their great music selection.
It is quite big and there are many nice tables in the back where you can have excellent breakfast, lunch and dinner too. Their menu is a mix of Balinese and International cuisine. (Location: Jl. Monkey Forest Street)
This is one of the most popular restaurants in town and every night it is packed. Once you're there you will understand why; the ambiance is great and the selection is not only excellent but prepared with care.
You will definitely have a great time here, but make sure to book ahead. (Location: Jalan Sayan)
The Art Kafe Bar
Live-music draws in the crowd every evening and this is one of those Ubud restaurants where you can hang out for hours. Besides their music the various dishes on their menu are as great.
What about pan seared Yellow Fin Tuna and for dessert Fudgy Brownies on ice cream? Their good breakfast menu makes this place a great place to start the day too (Location: Ubud Monkey Forest Street)
Located in Penestanan, far away from the busy streets of Ubud you can find the comfortable and inviting Cafe Vespa.
You can practically sit here all day starting off with their large choice of delicious breakfast treats, followed by a healthy fruit juice or their great coffee together with cake and pastries. For lunch or dinner there is a variety of organic dishes such as meal salads, curries, sushi, sandwiches and pastas. Leave room for their desserts!
Ubud Jazz Café
This is the place to spend the evening listening to excellent life music. We were there on Wednesday: the Latin Grooves night. People were dancing to the great music while enjoying drinks and Mediterranean food.
Every night there are different styles of Jazz music such as Latin Grooves, Acoustic, Funk & Acid Jazz, Modern etc. (Location: Jalan Sukma)
Home > Ubud Bali Ins and Outs
If you are thinking about joining a course the Ubud is also the place to be. Numerous courses are given here from art and crafts to yoga and meditation.Read more
Ubud is the best place to go on a Bali cycling trip. The bike company will pick you up and take you to the starting point at Kintamani. From here it’s only downhill back…Read more
Besides visiting Ubud try to make some time to explore the surrounding sights in the area. Sights such as Gunung Kawi and Tirta Empul are not to be missed.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
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