Ubud is the most visited place in Bali and for good reason – it’s simply awesome. It stands up to its brand image of being Bali’s cultural heart. You can experience the traditional spas and Balinese hospitality in luxurious resorts located in the middle of the beautiful rainforest, go on a hike to terraced rice paddies, shop for some of the authentic handicrafts in the market, visit the centuries-old palaces and temples, go cycling in the villages and enjoy the local food. It is such a beautiful place that you surely don’t want to miss out on anything here.
Here is our travel guide to Ubud:
Shopping @ Ubud market
If you have been to Bali and didn’t visit Ubud market, then you have not seen Bali at all. Take a leisurely stroll on the market footpaths and check out the traditional Balinese handicraft. You will be overwhelmed by the colors, variety, the crowd and the noise.
Things To Buy
1. Clothes and Silver Jewellery – Ubud market offer you a range of fashionable clothes from partywear dress to off-shoulder tops and traditional Sarongs. You can also shop for cheap t-shirts like the typical “Bintang Bali Tshirt” at IDR 75,000 to IDR 150,000. Colourful cotton sarongs are a must buy here. If you are buying clothes from an Air Conditioned shop that sells better quality clothes, you will find it very expensive and they will hardly negotiate on the prices. However, if you buy clothes from the street shop, you must negotiate to bring down the price by at least 50%-70%.
Bali is also known for its Silver jewelry. The traditional jewelry designs and crafting technique have continuously evolved over decades. Add a simple yet stylish design from the Balinese silver collection to your wardrobe.
2. Handicraft – Demon masks, colorful skulls, penis bottle openers, wooden windchimes and dream catchers are the typical attractions in handicraft. Make sure you buy one of these as per your choice.
3. Cosmetics – “The Padi Collection” near Ubud Palace is the place for buying Cosmetics in Ubud. You will get a range of products to choose from including colorful bathing soaps, body butter, shampoo and hair conditioner. Cosmetics with Frangipani extracts are the most popular.
4. Wooden bamboo handbags – We girls, definitely have a fetish for handbags. Would it really be a trip without buying a fancy handbag? You will get trendy bamboo handbags in different shapes and sizes. Pick the one that suits your style.
Timings: Ubud art market is open until 6:00 PM. However, the clothing stores are open until 8:30-9:00 PM and restaurants till 11:00 PM.
Watch Dance Performance @ Pura Taman Saraswati Temple
This temple is the worship place of the Goddess of knowledge – Goddess Saraswati. The temple is a perfect depiction of Balinese architecture. It is surrounded by lotuses in ponds. We simply loved the serenity of this temple. Café Lotus near the entrance of the temple provides a very romantic feel. There is not much to see here but to just sit and admire the beauty.
Apart from the lotuses and the architecture, this place is also famous for the cultural dance performances. Except for Fridays, there is a dance performance every night. It is worth a watch!
Visit Ubud palace
Ubud has been a “royal town” of Bali for over a hundred years. The royal families used to live in traditional palaces called “Puris”. The Puri Saren Palace, also known as the Ubud Palace in the Ubud Market is one of the main attractions in Ubud. Built in the 17th Century, it is an epitome of Balinese architecture. The palace was under renovation during our visit to Bali, so most of the area was restricted. We finished our tour within 10 minutes.
Visit Goa Gajah
Built in the 9th century, rediscovered in the 1920s and fully excavated 30 years later, this temple is one of the oldest and most beautiful temples in Ubud. Goa Gajah also known as elephant caves is dedicated to elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesha. Surrounded by trees, this is a serene and cold place. Most of the trees here are more than 100 years old. Buy a ticket at the entrance and walk down the stairs to see the reminiscence of collapse building and hear the sound of water gently falling from the stone statue. It is mandatory to wear a Sarong before you enter the premises. The temple is a beautifully carved T shaped cave. You enter the cave through the demonic mouth. It is a very small cave and only one person can enter at a time. There is complete darkness inside the cave. Carry a portable light/ mobile flashlight inside the cave to see a Ganesha Statue and three holy-phallus. The Elephant Cave only takes minutes to explore, however, the beautiful surroundings take more than an hour.
Timing: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
Take a cooking class – Take a 2-3 hour cooking class to unlock the secrets of authentic Balinese cooking. Check out Cookly, a website that offers a large selection of cooking classes for travelers.
Hiking @ Tegallalang Rice Terrace
The beautiful panorama of rice fields at Tegallalang is what draws tourist here. It is about 25 minutes’ drive from Ubud Market. Hike down the rice terrace and walk up the other side again. It is a fun hike where you walk through few small wooden bridges and muddy terrain. Even though the entrance is crowded and has many restaurants and shops, the other side of the terrace is quiet and peaceful. Find a wooden bench to sit and relax for some time before you return to the entrance. From restaurants to shopping areas, everything here is twice as expensive compared to Ubud Market.
Monkey Forest is very close to Ubud Market. The sellers at Ubud market insisted us on visiting this Hindu Temple. Since we both are scared of monkeys, we skipped it.
Good To Know
- Start your day early and visit Ubud Palace and Pura Taman Saraswati Temple before you start shopping in Ubud Market.
- In the morning, the market is less crowded and hence the sellers are willing to give you a better price. Negotiate to bring down the price by at least 50%-70%
- In Ubud Market, finding a parking place for 4-wheeler is very difficult, especially in the evening. Rent a 2 wheeler, hire a cab or make sure you reach the market before 3 pm to ensure you get a parking nearby the market.
- Avoid shopping at Tegallalang Rice terrace. It is one of the most expensive areas nearby Ubud
Where To Stay
- Maya Ubud Resort & Spa – If you are looking for a luxurious stay then Maya Resorts is the best place in Ubud
- Onje Resorts & Villa – We stayed at this resort. This place is a complete value for money. Spacious, clean rooms, a private garden surrounded by the compound-wall, friendly and helpful staff, amazing food and free bicycles for village tour is what you can expect at a nominal price of USD 50 per night.
Have you ever been to Ubud? Share your experiences in the comments below 🙂