Last year I visited Ubud with my daughter to celebrate and honour her upcoming 13th birthday and transition into the next phase of her life. My brother, Matthew, was living there and involved in the conscious community/healthy living that Ubud offers in abundance. So we were lucky enough to have a ‘local’ as our guide.
Ubud stole my heart in ways I could not have predicted. Being my first time to Bali, I wasn’t sure what to expect. And what I found affected me on a multi-sensory level. Visually rich and stunning. Melodic. Fragrant. And culturally vibrant and fascinating.
Plus fun. Loads and loads of fun.
Even though our visit was relatively short, we had an amazing array of experiences. Matthew’s briefing on our first day included the reminder to allow a day or two to get into the rhythm of Ubud life. And if you spend all day sitting in a café or by the pool, this is what you’re meant to be doing.
My tip – slow right down and notice the ‘coincidences’ that show up. Allow yourself to be guided, trust and enjoy the wisdom of your intuition meeting the magic of Ubud.
Our accommodation, located centrally, allowed us to walk to all the eating, shopping and pampering destinations. The only restaurant we took a taxi to was Alchemy Bali. If you stay in a central location, you will be within an easy walk to all the places mentioned below.
Find your way upstairs for fresh, delicious food. Raw food available.
Popular, trendy and delicious. Easy to hang out here soaking up the gorgeous surrounds, yummy food and renowned drinks. *Check their website for updates following the fire in late 2014*
Our first visit, 3 days after they opened, was a discovery. In a terrific place just around the corner from where we stayed, we enjoyed it so much we went back for a second visit. Daily specials, awesome tonics, fab raw food.
They also offer a 2-week Raw Food Chef Certification course.
Being only a few doors down from our accommodation, this was the first place we visited in Ubud. Earthy and crunchy, come and soak up the Ubud vibes.
Hike through the rice paddy’s or hop a ride on a scooter, either way visit this off-the-beaten-track restaurant. The location, food and mission is worth the time and effort to get there.
Definitely best to book if you want to eat here. And it’s highly likely you do want to eat here. Check the glowing reviews on Trip Advisor to seal the deal.
You might walk straight past but don’t. Wayan always gave us a warm welcome and the chance to sample sweet rice cakes. You might try the crepes, sticky rice dessert or, like me, the bottles of homemade kombucha.
Living Food Lab (at the back of Hubud)
Calling all digital nomads and location independent entrepreneurs, here is your home! Hubud is an amazing co-working space which is worth a visit even if your business and laptop are not ready, yet, to hit the road. Adjacent to Hubud is Living Food Lab, an organic, raw food café that will refresh you after your adventures in the Monkey Forest (located nearby). I highly recommend the Mango Wrap. Living Food Lab also has an outlet at Green School.
You can find so many good places to eat on Jl Gootama, and this restaurant is another. The French owner is charmingly welcoming and friendly and the food is delicious. On the day we visited, there were two specials so we ordered one of each. Definitely worth sharing to experience the flavours on offer.
“One meal pays for two free medical consultations for people in need”. If you enjoy hearty food and the chance to support a worthy operation, this restaurant is worth adding to your must-eats list.
This café re-opened on the day we left (after being closed for renovations) so, lucky for us, we squeezed in one last meal before catching a taxi to the airport. Come here for the cool, Ubud vibe and delicious food. My ginger kombucha hit the spot. I heard breakfast is good too.
There are so many outstanding places to eat in Ubud, that it can become a little overwhelming. If you want to take a step back and enjoy a sweet little spot with a healthy choice for everyone, track down Dayu’s Warung. On the day we visited we enjoyed the desserts and drinks. Next time, a proper meal.
Grab a taxi and pay homage to this outpost of all that is fresh, young and healthy in Ubud. Known for the salad bar, once there you’ll be tempted by so much more.
We also ate at the following places and would recommend them. You might find your favourite among them, as many people do.
We ate breakfast there one morning. I had tropical fruit and a green juice and Lily had delicious buckwheat pancakes.
Popular with the yogi’s as close to Yoga Barn.
Close to Radiantly Alive. I really enjoyed my Vegetarian Nasi Campur. Has a small, enclosed toddler cheap cialis mexico play area.
For coffee lovers (which I’m not), they also offer Sacred Scoops, delicious raw vegan organic ice cream.
You will find a variety of raw, vegan, organic, healthy, vegetarian and non-vegetarian options at many of these restaurants. Consistently, though, what you will find is a tempting selection of drinks, juices, smoothies, tonics and teas. For example, head to the back of the Seeds of Life Raw Café menu and try one of their interesting, custom-made tonics.
My top drink suggestions
Fresh whole coconuts
+Many places listed have free WiFi
We stayed at the centrally located Dewangga Bungalows which meant the best of Ubud was on our doorstep. The grounds are lusciously green and calm, the included breakfast is served by the infinity pool and the room was a good size, clean with a welcome balcony.
Narasoma was another possibility, also in a central location.
MASSAGES AND TREATMENTS
Boreh Pijat Salon and Sauna
Jl Gootama Selatan, Ubud
Come here for a traditional Balinese boreh treatment, which I bought as a ‘package’. First, the 1hr Balinese massage which you can ask soft, medium or hard. My medium massage certainly ironed out all my kinks, from head to toe. Then the boreh was applied, a wet paste made from 50 herbs and spices. This aromatic mix was left to dry a bit before I went in to the steam sauna for 30mins. Well, I lasted for 20mins before needing a break and some Jamu (they make their own which is handy). After the full 30mins there is a cooling shower before rejoining the world, softer, cleaner and very relaxed.
We had the 4.5hr spa package and were truly treated to a magnificent series of pampering delights, including refreshments. This place came highly recommended and I can see why. For an inexpensive, yet decadently indulgent experience, make a beeline off Monkey Forest Rd to this gorgeous sanctuary.
Looking for reflexology that is more healing than relaxing? Go straight to Papa at Sandat Bali. No pain, no gain? Maybe, but Papa (and his wife, Mama) was so friendly that it was worth the experience. The accommodation receives great reviews too.
Traditional Balinese Healer (Balian)
Tjokorda Gde Rai
Singapadu Tengah, Sukawati (the village of Puri Negari)
Ph 0361 94 565
My brother made us a booking to see Tjokorda Gde Rai as I was curious to see a Healer (or Balian). He also booked us a driver to take us here, which we combined with a trip to Sukawati Art Market
Tjokorda Gde Rai poked and prodded my face and other parts, asked a few questions and gave a few pertinent suggestions (‘control your emotions or else heartbreak’). He had a Westerner student present who performed what I assume was energy work (hands off) on me. My daughter was also booked in for an appointment, but Tjokorda Gde Rai said she was too young. He chatted with her, encouraged her to love her studies before opening herself up to love at 17yo. And that was the age he suggested was suitable to see him. I appreciated his honesty.
Suggested donation 200,000 – 250,000 rupiah.
Yoga, Markets, Temples and Tours
Yoga Barn offers a vast array of classes and services. Check out their list of free community events. We enjoyed a fantastic Friday night yoga class and informative Monday night nutrition talk. If this is your thing, you’ll no doubt find yourself at Radiantly Alive.
Ubud Market, located in the heart of town, is a must-visit for shopping. Come early in the morning for the food and produce market with a definite local flavour. We arrived at 7.30am on the morning of our last day and were interested to see how different it was to our visits which had been later in the day.
For clothes, jewellery, souvenirs and all manner of curiosities, visit later in the morning when the majority of the food market has disappeared. Bargaining expected.
Sukawati Art Market for an interesting market experience.
If you have the time, a tour of the temples is an interesting break from Ubud and a chance to see more of the countryside. We had a driver for the day who took us to three temples and showed us how to make an offering and receive a blessing. A highlight of one of the visits was the opportunity to bathe in the sacred waters and enjoy the refreshing spring waters flowing from a series of symbolically significant pipes.
If you have school age children or are interested in a greener, more sustainable world then I highly recommend a tour of Green School. Book yourself a spot on a tour, organize a driver and then enjoy the opportunity to see what is hopefully the future of education.
One afternoon we spent a pleasant couple of hours wandering around Bali Bird Park. Great for kids and bird lovers.
One evening we took a taxi to Gianyar Night Market. If you’re after a local experience with Indonesian street food and cheap clothes, this is your destination!
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