We visited Bali in June 2012, and were able to enjoy both Uluwatu and Ubud. Bali is a dreamlike place, and Ubud is its cultural center. When visiting Ubud staying in a private villa is a must, splurge a little for one with a private pool like KajaNE Mua, or for a more traditional experience, you can stay, as we did, at KajaNE Yangloni in traditional wooden Balinese houses set on stilts over rice paddies. Many villas along with Kajane Mua have wonderful outdoor bathrooms and some even have cool tubs carved out of stone.
During the day in Ubud, we walked the streets and explored places like the Ubud Palace near the north of town.
Towards the south of the main city area you will find the Sacred Monkey Forest. Make sure to take your time to explore taking the stone path down the stairs to the heart of the forest.
Along the way you will find shopping for all types of handmade crafts, home goods and clothing including sarongs. During your shopping and exploring, if you work up an appetite some great places to stop along the main roads (Wanara Qana and Raya Ubud) include Café Wayan Bakery which is close to Monkey forest and has a calming atmosphere with seating pavilions amongst lotus ponds and traditional indonesian food. Murni’s Warung is a short walk from to Ubud Palace and has a great river view and good Indonesian food at affordable prices.
One place that’s a must is Ibu Oka known for traditional Roast Suckling Pig where you actually sit on the patio floor in the open air to eat. Ibu Oka has multiple convenient locations, one located right behind the Ubud Palace and another newer location a little further south than Monkey Forest.
In the evening in Ubud some great dinner spots include Bebek Bengil, otherwise known as The Dirty Duck Diner. This place has an excellent atmosphere with individual huts over rice paddies. But please note that if you want a whole duck you should plan to order a day in advance.
For more upscale dinners, looking for a real treat, Mozaic is an institution in Bali and bookings are essential. Mozaic is highly recommend by chefs and they have a wonderful surprise tasting menu. They also have open and outdoor dining in a beautiful Balinese garden.
For drinks anytime of the day or night, Ary’s Warung is on the corner in the heart of Ubud. It offers a great place to hang out, grab a few drinks and just watch the people go by.
After you’ve explored Ubud and are all shopped out, why not plan a short drive out of the city to see the breathtaking rice terraces. You can plan a stop at the Bali Elephant Camp to ride some Sumatran Elephants, drive through the Monduk Country side with a stop to hike to the Monduk waterfall or even visit Lake Bratan and the Ulun Danu temple. It’s also always a good idea to do a search to see what temples are having traditional holidays/ceremonies during your stay.
Vicki Grafton is a fine art wedding and lifestyle photographer and dog lover. Vicki lives in Virginia but travels worldwide to capture all things pretty on a mix of film and digital.