Ubud is the mature sister of Kuta. The souvenir shops look like little boutiques, the restaurants are more fancy and there are lots of small bars playing Balinese or lounge music. This city became known amongst the big crowd because of the book and film Eat, Pray, Love. Locals call it the cultural heart of Bali and you don’t have to get bored here, that’s for sure. Ubud is the first city we visited on Bali. And the difference with the islands of Java and Sumatra is immense. First of all the temples on every corner is in Hindu style instead of the many mosques, also the roundabouts are decorated with 4 meter high krishna statues. Ubud and Bali have a different atmosphere, and we find it no surprise that Bali is one of the most popular holiday spots on earth.
We’ve been to Ubud several times during our stay in Bali. It is easy to reach from any other place on the island. Taxi’s are quite expensive so it is cheaper to take the Perama bus which connect the main points of interest of Bali for a reasonable price. Better book a day before to ensure a place in this bus.
Ubud has plenty of restaurants, and you can get almost everything you want. We really enjoyed the tapas at restaurant Barcelona, where they serve great patatas bravas. You'll feel like you're in Spain. The excellent (and not even that expensive) steak at Cafe des Artistes is something you have to try! It is a really nice restaurant with a great atmosphere where they serve fantastisch food. For good Indonesian good, just visit one of the Warung. Their food is always good. And for a nice breakfast you have to go to Poopy, especially the panini’s are really tasteful.
We stayed at Pande Permai at Jalal Monkey Forest and really liked it here. We payed 225.000 Rupian for a standard room with fan. The room is spacious, clean (they clean your room everyday) with a nice bathroom with hot shower. Breakfast is included and they have 2 pools which are a real treat after a day walking around and sweating like a pig. The location is quite nice to. Close to the shops, restaurants and the Monkey Forest. You don't even have to go to the monkeys because they will come by and pay you a visit in the morning when they return to the 'forest' coming back from their midnight stroll.
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The market in Ubud is not only a great place to do some shopping for souvenirs and clothing, but also a nice place to visit early in the morning. From 5 am till about 8 am the locals come here do their shopping. They buy flowers for the offerings, fruits & vegetables, fish & chickens, all fresh! When the morning market is about to end, the sweepers clean the place and the tourists take over. When you want to buy souvenirs, go and buy them early. Balinese are very superstitious and believe that their first sale will bring them luck. You will be able to do some good bargaining!
Visiting the monkey Forest can be hilarious. Marije knew from last time not to buy bananas because as soon as the monkeys see you buying them, they will jump on you and won't leave you alone until you are out of bananas. Knowing this, it is great fun to sit down for a while and watch people getting harassed by the monkeys. We thought we were being smart by not bringing a backpack, but just hold a bottle of water in our hand and put the camera on our neck, because you never know how smart they are and what they try to steel. And we found out that the greedy ones aren't only after bananas, they steel your water to! We didn't put up a fight for it and let the monkey have it. It was quite funny to see how he knew to remove the cap and drink from the bottle. Besides watching the monkeys, the 'forest' itself is nice to see as well. It is worth the 40.000 Rupiah entrance fee.
What else is there to do? Well Ubud is famous for it's beautiful rice terraces. Near Tegallalang there is a beautiful green stairway which is free to enter. It can be a bit busy so it is best to go here early in the morning. There are some nice temples close by you can visit like Pura Tirta Empul or go for a walk at the Ridge Walk. The signs tell you that the walk is 2 kilometers one way, you can drink something at the cafe and walk the same way back. Or you can continue your walk and walk 6 kilometers more to end up in Ubud again. The nearby Goa Gajah temple did not make a big impression on us.