Always wanted to experience the exotic and colorful beauty of Asia? See vibrant colours of beautifully diverse flowers, listening to different languages and hear relaxing music in the air? Yeah Elizabeth Gilbert got that one right when travelling to Ubud in Bali! I can imagine back when she went to Bali it sure was extremely quiet and peaceful. Thankfully not all is lost in Ubud and you can still experience the Balinese culture, their friendliness as well as experience their delicious foods and find one of the most detailed art in jewelry I saw in South East Asia! Though I can imagine that it sure was less touristy than it is now… Nonetheless check out what I experienced whilst visiting Ubud for 6 weeks in March from getting out of the plane all they way to leaving Ubud to get to Kuta Bali….
The very first thing when you arrive at the airport in Bali is that for one it is tiny in comparison to other airports and much more quiet… until you step out of the airport gate where you are greeted by “Taksi” drivers who try to catch your business…. So here is the first tip..
1.How to get to Ubud from the Airport
Luckily you can find a price list at the wall of the airport BEFORE you walk out into the “yelling market hall” which will give you an estimate as of how much a taxi ride to a certain area in Bali is. The official taxi drivers all were the same shirts which are blue and Hawaiian looking 🙂
The taxi ride to Ubud costs around 200k (16 USD/20 AUS/ 15 EUR) and it takes about 1 hour to get there.
***TIP: Get a quote for a ride from a few taxi drivers to find out if they are taking you fir a ride BEFORE you get into the taxi and don’t be shy asking around to get an idea if the price is right.
2. Getting around Ubud by “Taksi”
There is not a lot of choice when it comes to transport. Here are no trains, public buses or even tuk tuks. Nope, it’s either you walk around Ubud or you take a taxi. You will see that when you start walking around Ubud, people at every corner scream “Taksi, Taksi,” at you so it is really easy to get a taxi. We did not use one as we walked everywhere and took lovely breaks in beautiful cafes and restaurants but a lot of tourists used them so they must be reasonably priced!
3. Grocery shopping at Ubud’s Coco Supermarket
You will be able to find a few supermarkets in Ubud wre you can buy your water, fruit, veggies and sweets 🙂 We went to Coco because it was the closest to our hotel. It offers all the standard western foods like cereals, jams and coffee as well as fruit, veggies, drinks and the like as well as Balinese souvenirs. Great to save some money and get some healthy food if your hotel has a fridge and/or you brought a kettle..
4. Get lost in Ubud’s side streets
Go into the little side streets that go off the main streets as you will find lots of other little cafes and shops and most importantly beautifully detailed little houses with Balinese architecture just like this one on the picture above! Don’t be scared to wander around Ubud as I found it to be quite safe. Of cause do not lose your wits about you and keep your “safety radar” on and don’t walk around in the middle of the night by yourself in some remote areas! If something feels wrong to you just leave the area. This applies to all places in the world!
5. Discover the Balinese culture in Ubud
One of the beautiful things in Ubud is that their culture is still very much present in form of offerings to their gods on the streets to full moon progressions on every full moon were the locals walk around Ubud in their full Balinese clothing. They also play relaxing Balinese music on some nights which is just lovely!
6. Find an abundance of massage places in Ubud
Ubud is bursting with reasonably priced massage places. They cost around 200k (16 USD/20 AUD/15 EUR) and usually take around one hour. I have personally not tried one as I felt too hot for it at the time but I met a German girl who was raving about that “Chocolate Spa Massage”. She said she was so relaxed afterward that she will go back again before leaving Bali. So it must be good 🙂
7. A great choice of hotels and homestays in Ubud
You do not need to worry about not finding a hotel or guest housein Ubud. The choice is huge! We went to ealk around the main streets for a few days to check out other guest houses and pricing as we wanted to stay over one month and there really was everything for anyone! From luxurious resorts to hostels where you share bunkbeds! Check out my hotel review in Ubud here!
8. Taste amazing Balinese food and a great choice of vegan and vegetarian food in Ubud!
One of the best things about Ubud is s that you can find vegan, vegetarian and even raw vegan food options everywhere!!!! And all the restaurants are really great priced. The average price was around 20k ( 1.5 USD, 2 AUD, 1.5 EUR). Check out my restaurant reviews on Kafe Ubud, the Vegan Café or another delicious restaurant that offered vegan food as well which was named Biah Biah!
9. Dine and watch a movie at Paradiso Ubud- the vegetarian Movie Theatre
Yep, you heard it right!!! Ubud has a cinema which offers food whilst you watch the movie. The food is cooked and served by Earthcafe in Ubud and they cook vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan meals. Check out my review here!
10. Feel like going on a tour? No Worries!
Easy to find on each street corner are tour guides who sell you day tours. Sightseeing like rice fields, visiting wonderful temples or a tour through the famous “Monkey Forest”. When we asked for a tour the guide quoted us around 20k per tour (16 USD/ 20 AUD/15 EUR). We did not get on one though because we enjoyed to just stay put and experience s much of the “local lifestyle” as possible. However here is a great summary on Ubud tours you can go on!
11. Shop and discover traditional craft in Ubud
Another thing you will find in abundance in Ubud other than great food and culture is lovely jewelry!!! They are handcrafted and just beautiful and totally affordable! From necklaces, rings over to earring its all there ad made with the finest details!
12. Getting back to the airport/Kuta
The same tourist stands offer shuttle buses from Ubud back to Kuta or the airport. It costs around 120k (9 USD, 12 AUD, 8 EUR). WARNING: The ride takes around 2 hours and you get packed into the bus like a sardine. To make things worse, even though we were told the bus was air conned-it wasn’t! It was the hottest bus ride I have ever been to. That was an experience for sure.
Are your ready to explore and to discover the beauty of Ubud in Bali?
I hope these tips and info’s about Ubud in Bali help you decide if you want to visit Ubud and what to expect there if you do. It may not be what Elizabeth Gilbert experienced years ago as things do change and advance.
Well I loved it none the less even though there was no beach and it was way too hot!