96 hours in Ubud, Bali.
Beyond breathtaking coastlines and hip beach clubs, the soul of Bali lies up the highland of Ubud, with all its natural, artistic, and cultural charms. From the iconic rice terrace to shrines and temples, this is how we spent 96 hours in Ubud. From Uluwatu to Ubud we drove for about an hour and a half. Ubud is the most popular city at the moment, from site seeing to eating, most of the popular images you see on IG are mostly being generated somewhere here. Ubud is a mix of Uluwatu’s calmness and Seminyak’s busyness, the perfect balance. Here is where we dove into Bali’s abundance of culture and kindness!
WHERE TO STAY:
We stayed at the incredible Surya Kembar Villa. Down a small rode off a busy street and tucked into a small jungle, sits this amazing property. We had what seemed like the biggest villa there and it did not disappoint. Greeted by the staffed with fresh green juice at the entry of our courtyard, the doors opened up to what would be our paradise for the next four days. The doors open up to a large area that consisted of our kitchen, living and dining room. One set of stairs led up to the master and another down to the two other rooms and the pool. Our over stay here was a bali dream come true. Breakfast was included every morning, so we went all out each morning by ordering one of everything, and shared family style. The property itself was peaceful with the friendliest staff. One local woman walks around in the morning, placing small offerings throughout the property, including at the entrance of our courtyard and near our pool.
WHERE TO EAT:
Our days always started with breakfast from our villa. Eating in Ubud was just as fun as in Uluwatu. Everything was fresh and very delicious. Ketut did most of the recommendations and not one was ever a disappointment.
Bebek Tepi Sawah was a recommendation from Ketut. This restaurant began with indoor seating and continued out to a beautiful open outdoor garden seating. There are paths that lead to each table, that how big this restaurant was. Be sure to bring bug spray, because the mosquitos will want to join you for dinner. The food was prepared fresh and the lychee iced tea was perfectly refreshing in the humid weather. We ordered so much food and drinks and i think we paid 30 USD.
Skinny Pool is one of those fun themed cafes. The placed is decorated with bubble gum pink seating and a pool that is open during the day. We visited Skinny Pool in the evening for some drinks and thee pool was closed. This place, like many others, is an Instarammers dream. The drinks were tasty and could have been made with more alcohol.
Indus Restaurant was by far my favorite. This restaurant was recommended by Ketut the legend. We visited during the afternoon when it was the warmest. From the outside this restaurant looks like a temple. Inside is a huge patio, overlooking hills covered in trees. The openers allowed the fresh air to flow in and cool you down. The food, again was made fresh and did not disappoint. The restaurant is beautifully detailed with woven hanging baskets and orange accents. The price for the amount of food we ordered i think totaled up to 35 USD.
Ibu Oka is where to come to get suckling pig. A Bali delicacy, suckling pig is something the locals like to treat themselves with. I guess you can compare it to Americans going out for a nice steak. I thought I would have loved it but there was a smell that I was picking up that made me not want to eat. The place was packed with people from everywhere, and my friends didn’t smell what I smelled, so it was definitely just me. Still I sat and ordered some food, I couldn’t eat it all but what i did eat (rice and some pork) did taste good. The plate comes with pork prepared in three different ways.
Saras Restaurant tucked up high in mountain, near the Lake Temple. Ketut took us here after a long day of sightseeing. The restaurant overlooks the lush greenery that covers the mountain. The food, again, was delicious and the employees were so kind. Saras and like many others restaurants we visited are all open terraces that allow a breeze to flow through and cool you down. I honestly can’t remember sitting in a restaurant with windows.
Ubud Club is a day and night club with many amenities. From a restaurant to a gym to a pool to fun seating areas, this is a remote worker’s dream location. Located next to our villa, we had free access to the property. The food was good and the whole atmosphere was fun. There were many different areas to sit in that had a different vibe. There were also pool tables and lawn games. From the decor to the lighting to the food, this place was a great way to escape the city and motorbike madness.
Eating around Ubud was great! There are so many cafes with unique settings and again everything was fresh. Katut took us to some places that the locals go to and these places topped the more trending ones.
WHERE TO GO:
Nungnung Waterfall was a hike, and extreme hike. Getting down to the waterfall is easy but getting back up was the real challenge. Definitely wear cool clothes that are easy to hike in, some, sneakers and water shoes. Wear a bathing suit underneath so that you can get in the water once you reach the waterfall, the water is refreshing. There’s little shacks near the waterfall the sell snacks, drinks and beer. We enjoyed a cold Bintang and took it easy before making our back up. On the way up or down from the water fall there are photo-op stations you can take a break at and take fun photos.
Street Market was very overwhelming. A key skill to keep in mind is if you see something you like, don’t look super interested in or else the seller knows you like it and not budge in price. Look around uninterested and ask how much other random things are, then go in for the item that has caught you eye. The market is overly packed with vendors with so much stuff, and they will all talk to you at the same time, hooligans stuff up to your face, even gently grab your arm. The grabbing of my arm was my biggest pet peeve. The whole experience of watching my friends haggle for items was really fun. I personally felt too overwhelmed to want to buy anything, except for gelato from a stand. If you choose to do some shopping here, be prepared for the overcrowded environment and be smart about your purchases.
Rice Terraces were extremely breathtaking! After visiting the rice fields with Ketut and having him explain the process of how rice it picked, I left Bali, promising never to waste rice again. The terraces are very muddy so be sure to wear shoes you don’t mind getting wet and muddy. Try to go either early in the morning or in the evening when the sun is at its lowest. We arrived in the evening and it was still very humid but at least the sun wasn’t beating down on us at the same time. There are a lot of hills that take you to levels and layers of the rice terraces that almost seem endless. There are restaurants overlooking the terraces where we sat after our walk though, and enjoyed a cold coconut.
The Bali Swing, the most reposted photo all over social media at the moment. I swear the IG in my eyes changed when we arrived to the famous swing. I thought there was one maybe two located in Ubud.. Nope! There were 20 all on one space. It looked like a park with different swing locations. So many girls in beautiful dress, waiting in lines to take the same nest and swing photos. This is when I felt super basic and robbed of what i thought was a magical swing. Nonetheless it was fun, and our photos came out beautiful. I think once you’ve done this once, there’s no need to go back.
Handara Gate Bali. Another IG let down… I thought these gats were the entrance to a holy temple or something meaningful.. NOPE! They are gates to a golf course. The best part is that it started to rain when we arrived and we said yolo! We went out in the rain. Ketut probably thought we were crazy but it was extremely refreshing. This is probably the only thing I wouldn’t recommend doing. These gates are very out of the way and you can find similar gates all over Bali.
The next two temples that Ketut recommended and once again were incredible..
Ubuntu Danu Beratan Temple is Ketut’s favorite temple. This is where he said he brings his family to have picnics. This temple was full of locals and a very low number of outside tourists. The grounds were breathtaking and stretched for miles in every direction. At the edge you come to a temple that’s located in a lake. Even though there were a lot of people, everyone was quite and there was a sense of calm. It felt really peaceful.
Saraswati Temple MY ALL TIME FAVORITE TEMPLE! If you were to fly all the way to Bali just to see one temple.. this would be it. Growing up Catholic, I only know how to pray in one way. Visiting temples does something within you that’s calming but i don’t know what to do in a temple or how to pray. This temple encouraged you to not only get in the water but also pray at each fountain how ever you want. I got the most out of this temple and left a lot there and took away much even more. Before you can enter you need to wear a special wrap around your body. You can wear nothing under or a swimsuit. You then was up a small set of stairs, though a gate and here is where you’ll find a long pool with 12 small fountains in a row. You start with the first and make your way down the row. At each fountain you say a prayer and after you dunk your head under the fountain, allowing the water to splash on your head. The water all comes from a natural spring. There are only two fountains that tourist cannot pray at because they are there for the locals only. I don’t remember what my baptism felt like, but this made be feel like I was getting baptized again and again but spiritually. After all the stations you can hangout or go change and walk around the and explore the rest of the grounds of the temple. We came across a huge pond with what seemed like thousands of coy fish. There was a group of men feeding them, it was fun to watch how much joy these fish brought them. Please make time to visit this temple if you are planning to visit Bali.