Ubud is a town in Bali, famous for its temples, the Monkey Forest and the surrounding rice fields. After the intense night we spent hiking up a volcano in East Java, we decided we needed a bit of time to relax, so what better place to explore than Ubud? We spent 24 hours in this lovely town, and will share with you the best things to do you only have a day to spend in Ubud.
Ubud is often considered Bali’s cultural heart, as it is a centre of for traditional crafts and dance. It is located in the mountains, away from the sea, about an hour drive from the airport and surrounded by green landscapes. There are temples dotted around both the town and surrounding fields, which add to the charm and Balinese atmosphere of the location. Ubud was always a popular destination in Bali, but has received particular attention from the tourist spot light after the movie “Eat, Pray, Love”, where Julia Roberts speeds around the rice fields on a scooter and falls in love in Bali. The high numbers of tourists around the area take a bit away from the idyllic picture I had painted in my head of Ubud, however I still really enjoyed it and highly recommend visiting it.
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The Monkey Forest in Ubud
Our lovely hotel, Komaneka at Monkey Forest, is on the same road as the famous sacred Monkey Forest of Ubud, so it just had to be the first stop of our 24-hour Ubud tour! The price to get inside the Monkey Forest is the equivalent of about £3, and inside there are various stalls where you can buy bananas to feed the monkeys. The moneys are free to wander around, with some of the more bold ones coming up to tourists and climbing over them to get food (like the guy in the video who had to give up his water bottle to a cheeky monkey)! The Monkey Forest is also a beautiful place to walk around, with temples dotted around and trees picturesquely growing over the bridges.
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The rice fields of Ubud
Ubud is also famous for its rice paddies and green fields. From our hotel we quickly reached the main rice fields walking path, which loops around and takes approximately an hour and a half to get back to the main road. Getting lost in the rice fields was one of our favourite things to do in Ubud. We wandered around cutting across side roads which we thought would be short cuts, and then just ended up getting lost amongst the rice fields and the houses of local farmers or guest houses. Other than the occasional scooter speeding down the narrow roads, we walked for ages without meeting other tourists. There was something truly magical and soothing about walking around the rice fields, which I highly recommend when you visit Ubud! The Tegalalang Rice Terrace is amongst the most famous and photographers areas of Bali and Ubud, which unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to see (the downsides of getting lost)! Most people associate these to Ubud, however they are actually a 20-minute drive or 2-hour walk from the Ubud town centre.
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Ubud Town Centre
Ubud is a lovely town known for its relaxing surroundings, however the peace and quiet that we found in the rice fields isn’t really reflected in the town centre. The traffic is probably worst than that of Seminyak, and the amount of other tourists around added to the perceived chaos. There are a lot of temples dotted around the town that you can visit, accompanied by tourist shops where they will try to sell you a sarong to be able to enter the temple. There is also a market in the town centre, if you’re looking to buy some colourful dresses or sarongs this is a great place to do so! While walking around in the evening we also had the opportunity to view a local ceremony, where a man was walking on hot coals, check out the video to see it all!
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All in all I enjoyed my time in Ubud, although it wasn’t quite the idyllic rice field getaway I was expecting. Bali isn’t just about beaches, and if you enjoy being in the countryside surrounded by green fields, Ubud is the place to go. Playing with monkeys that are free to roam around the Monkey Forest is an added plus in my opinion, and one of the highlights of my Indonesia trip. Have you been to Ubud? Did you enjoy it? Let me know in the comments below!
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