Only got a day in Ubud? Here’s how to fit it all in
Ubud sits right in the heart of the island of Bali.
It is Bali’s cultural compass and in 2010 prominent magazine Conde Nast Traveler voted it as Asia’s best city destination.
Ubud gained international recognition in 2006 when it was one of actor Julia Roberts’s destinations in the film Eat Pray Love. Fans of Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the book Eat Pray Love, still arrive daily, 13 years after the movie, seeking enlightenment. The good news for them is that it’s easy to find in Ubud.
Depending on traffic, Ubud is about an 80-minute drive from the Bali airport.
If you want to understand Bali and Ubud, then it is essential to visit some Balinese temples. Balinese life starts and ends at the temples.
Even though its name means Elephant Cave, you won't find any pachyderms at Goa Gajah, a historical cave built sometime in the 11th century. It contains stone idols, meditation spaces and a bathing pool that was excavated in 1954.
The Gunung Kawi Temple complex northeast of Ubud is a fascinating collection of ancient shrine reliefs that have been carved into a rock face. Be sure to take the 300 steps down, through the paddy terraces to the river. The scenery is stunning.
The Pura Taman Saraswati Temple in Ubud is a typical water temple with ponds, blooming pink lotus flowers, and traditional dance ceremonies held every night at 7.30 pm.
Ubud is at the centre of the Balinese art community with a plethora of galleries and art sellers If you think jewellery is modern art, then head to the John Hardy Workshop or Studio Perak in Ubud to check out some of the best silver creations in the world.
Because of its distance from the hustle and bustle of Bali’s tourist traps, Ubud is developing its own strong food identity. You can still eat local Bali cuisine cheaply, but there’s a slew of trendy restaurants opening their doors each month.
La casita Fonda Mexicana is arguably Bali’s best Mexican. It’s a big call, but many say the enchiladas served here are as good as you will get in Mexico.
If you want fine dining, then the award-winning Mozaic Restaurant Gastronomique attracts patrons from around the world. You will definitely need to make a booking if you want a table here.
Locators made it on to the list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants and you will only be served sustainably sourced local ingredients from Bali. Try the seven-course degustation feast to fully understand the story behind the chefs Ray Adriansyah and Eelke Plasmeijer’s food.
Vegans are in for a treat at either Zest Ubud or Sage; sushi lovers should try Ibu Susu Bar & Kitchen; and meat lovers will be well catered for at Batubara Argentinean Grill.
If dessert is your thing, you must try Room 4 Dessert where chef Will Goldfarb, from the Netflix Chef’s Table series, serves nothing but puddings. This full tasting experience, with paired wines, will cost you about $120.
The Pita Maha is only a short distance from Ubud village, set in the Tjampuhan valley overlooking the River Oos. There’s a choice of three different room types – all thatched villas.
Hotel Tjampuhan is one of Ubud’s first hotels, built in 1928 as a royal guesthouse. It overlooks the Ayung River. It is worth noting that this hotel has lots of steps, so it suits guests who don’t mind a cardio workout. Check out our Ubud holiday packages today.