We were beyond excited to finally visit the spiritual Indonesian island of Bali as it’s been on our travel bucket list for many years. We landed in Bali and headed straight to Ubud, a town known for its peaceful culture and tranquil beauty, to decompress from our long 30 hour flight. Ubud is nestled in the heart of Bali surrounded by lush rice fields, dense forests, and a vibrant cultural scene.
We found Ubud to be a much larger city than we had imagined, but the peaceful energy helped us discover balance as we explored this magical corner of Bali. And be sure to pack comfy shoes since you’ll be walking a LOT!
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a place with a deep spiritual and historical significance. As we walked through the jungle, we encountered hundreds of monkeys and explored the ancient temple ruins.
We were able to get up close and personal with the playful monkeys. The interesting blend of history, wildlife, and spirituality makes the sanctuary a must-visit in Ubud.
Important to note, keep your belongings securely fastened to you as sometimes the monkeys can be aggressive and go for your pockets and handbags.
Don’t offer them food and don’t encourage them to climb on you. They look small, cute and innocent, but they can be very aggressive!
The Ubud Art Market is an eclectic place to explore. It’s where local artists gather to showcase their beautiful handmade crafts, paintings, textiles, and jewelry.
It’s brimming with paintings and beautiful wood items, to handmade crafts and stunning jewelry, each with the artist ready to share the story of how it is made. We found the perfect piece of Bali’s spirit to bring home to Hermosa Beach
The Tegallalang Rice Terraces are beautiful stepped rice fields located in Tegallalang village near Ubud, and they’re one of Bali’s most amazing sights.
The view of the green terraces flowing down the hills is truly breathtaking. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even take a swing high up in the air or stand at different viewpoints to take in the stunning scenery.
This is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and it’s a fantastic way to enjoy the fresh mountain air and connect with Bali’s natural beauty.
The Ubud Palace, is where the Ubud royal family still lives and it’s located in the center of town. What’s cool about this palace is the blend of history, architecture, and the performing arts.
In the evenings there are often traditional Legong Balinese dance performances, offering a glimpse into Bali’s artistic and cultural traditions.
The architecture and pristine gardens are a nice escape from the bustling streets of Ubud. The Ubud Palace is a peaceful place to leisurely wander around to immerse yourself in Bali’s culture.
Ubud is home to many hidden waterfalls. Tegenungan Waterfall and Tibumana Waterfall are popular choices because they are relatively close to Ubud. Tegenungan Waterfall is located about 10 kilometers to the south of Ubud, making it a convenient day trip.
Tibumana Waterfall is a bit further away, approximately 20 kilometers northeast of Ubud. There are also many other smaller waterfalls in the area too. Their proximity to Ubud makes them easily accessible if you’re looking to explore these natural wonders. I’d highly recommend arriving early to take a refreshing dip in these magical waterfalls to avoid the crowds.
6. Recharge at a Yoga or Wellness Retreat
Ubud is a world famous wellness and yoga destination and the serene location provides the perfect sanctuary for your practice, surrounded by lush nature and rich culture.
We joined yoga classes at The Yoga Barn to rejuvenate our minds as expert instructor Byron de Marsé guided us on a journey of self-love to help us find our inner power. With stunning natural gardens and a welcoming inclusive community, The Yoga Barn experience is not just about exercise, it’s a path to inner peace and a deep connection to the beauty of Bali.
What makes the food in Ubud truly special is the use of locally sourced, fresh ingredients and the commitment to preserve authentic recipes. Ubud is a vegan paradise filled with local restaurants and charming warungs (small restaurants) offering a variety of traditional dishes showcasing many rich and diverse flavors of Indonesian cuisine.
Nasi Goreng is one of Bali’s popular dishes. It’s a base of either fried rice or fried noodles, topped with a fried egg and dried shallots, mixed with veggies and and side of pickles, prawn crackers, and a few sticks of either chicken or beef satay.
It’s seasoned to perfection and locals flock to eat it for a quick lunch or dinner. We also enjoyed the freshly squeezed fruit juices!
There are many temples located around Ubud and we visited the Pura Tirta Temple and Goa Gajah Elephant Cave Temple.
Pura Tirta, known as the Sacred Water Temple, is a temple considered sacred by Balinese Hindu community. The temple has several holy springs which are said to have been created by The God Indra and believed to be blessed water that could purify those who bathe there.
It is considered one of the five most holy temples in all of Bali and is considered one of the holiest water sources in Bali.
The Goa Gajah Elephant Cave Temple dates back to the 9th century, and features a massive carving of a menacing face at the entrance.
The temple’s underground chambers and yoni structures add a feeling of mystery and spirituality to this sacred site.
The temple is nestled in a lush tropical setting, creating a serene and picturesque atmosphere. The surrounding jungle and scenic pathways make the site not only culturally enriching but also a visually stunning place to explore.
Wearing sarongs to temples in Bali is a sign of respect for the sacred sites and their cultural significance. The sarong is a traditional Indonesian garment symbolizing modesty and humility.
Additionally, menstruating women are restricted from entering temples as in Hindu traditions menstruation is considered to reflect impurity.
Ubud offers a wide range of experiences, making it a destination suitable for relaxation AND adventure. Whether you’re in the mood to explore ancient temples, swim in waterfalls, or simply unwind with a yoga class, Ubud has something for everyone. With its natural beauty, rich culture, and warm hospitality, we created many lasting memories.
I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.