The R&R Guide to Ubud, Bali / by Sam Hurster

WHAT TO DO

Sunset Ridge Walk + Karsa Spa ($)

This rice paddy walk has stunning views of the town. It takes about 30 mins and has some hills. Pamper yourself at the end of the walk with a facial or massage at Karsa spa. Plan ahead and make a reservation, this is definitely a hot spot.

Kecak Fire Dance ($)

A traditional dance at a temple in town – great for singles, couples, or families. A unique way to explore the temple and learn about some of the local Balinese Hindu tradition (pro tip – show up early to get seats, the show fills up quickly!)

Cantika Zest Spa ($)

At only $13 USD per facial, this could possibly be the best bang-for-your-buck spa experience we have ever had. Treat yourself and take a visit to Cantika Zest – great staff, service, and overall experience.

Mt. Batur at Sunrise ($$)

I am hesitant to recommend this hike because it has become so touristy and crowded that the view at the top almost isn’t worth it, but IF this is the only opportunity you have to climb a mountain in Bali, then I say go for it. The sunrise is INCREDIBLE, however…if you have the time and energy (and money) I would recommend climbing Mt. Rinjani on Lombok Island. Mt. Rinjani is a more immersive hiking experience that requires a minimum of two days and two nights, yet the reward comes with less people and even more beautiful views. (pro tips – 1) hire a private guide so you don’t have to hike in a large group and 2) wear layers, it is freezing once you get to the top!)

Intuitive Flow Yoga ($)

Yogi or not – very peaceful studio with GREAT instructors and a beautiful view over the Balinese canopy. Stop in for a 90min sunrise class or an evening cool down. Namaste.

Quick No-Brainers:

  1. Visit the Tampak Siring bone carving village and watch the talented masters at work.
  2. Rice paddy walk to restaurant Sayan, have a cocktail, and watch the sunset.
  3. Take a traditional Balinese cooking class (http://www.paon-bali.com/).
  4. Listen and dance to live music at Laughing Buddha Bar.
  5. Rent a moped and visit Tegalalang Rice Terrace and the various temples nearby.
  6. Visit the Ubud Monkey Forest and see hordes of grey long-tailed macaques swinging through the canopies.
  7. Walk through the artists’ village of Penestanan, one of the hippest areas in town.

 

 

WHERE TO EAT

Moksa ($$)

Local plant-based cuisine curated from the restaurant’s permaculture garden amongst the rice paddies. Think light, healthy and happy. Give the chef’s bowl a try for lunch – fresh and delicious!

Alchemy ($$)

One of the many “it” spots in Ubud where you can find young visitors eating and lounging. A vegan fare with an inventive and tasteful menu. The main event is the salad bar which comes with a hefty line up of colorful organic veggies. Don’t forget to try their wide range of desserts and smoothies. Tegan and I got the PB&J smoothie and it was as tasty as it sounds.

Yellow Flower Café ($)

One of our favorite spots in all of Ubud. A whimsical, family-run, health-conscious Balinese café nestled amongst the lush trees in Penestanan village. The café sources its tasty ingredients from local farmers and home grown produce, serving the freshest organic breakfast, lunch and dinner (pro tip – visit Sunday evening for a traditional Balinese buffet). Their nasi campur and nasi goring (traditional Balinese dishes) are delectable. Yum yum yum.

Made’s Warung ($)

A local Balinese restaurant with all the Balinese staple foods. A little less healthy than some of the other cafes in Ubud but absolutely delicious and not so touristy due to its somewhat hidden location. Come hungry and be prepared to get the best bang for your buck in Bali!

Sayan ($$$)

Considered one of the top restaurants in Ubud – this is the real deal. Sayan is a Japanese-owned restaurant just around the corner from the Four Seasons. Attention to detail is their forte but be prepared to pay for it. Fantastic meal and an even better view (pro tip – make a reservation near sun-down and request a table near the back of the restaurant to get a great view of the sunset).

 

WHERE TO STAY

Passiflora ($$)

If you want a local experience but don’t want to rough it, look no further. Passiflora is a unique Airbnb lodging experience located in the peaceful rice paddy fields in the artists’ village of Penestanan. This 100-year-old reclaimed wooden joglo (a traditional house of the Javenese people) is designed with incredible attention to detail, and is surrounded by lush greenery and a salt water pool. It is also very private, accessible only by foot on a five-minute walk from the nearest road. The owner, Alejandra, was there to greet us when we arrived and gave us great local tips on what to do, see and eat in the area. She hires staff to make a delicious breakfast of colorful fruits and home-made bread for her guests, and even organizes a free in-joglo massage. Our stay truly felt like a dream - we never wanted to leave! (https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/58045)

Bambu Indah ($$)

An intimate boutique hotel curated for those who crave an eco-lifestyle. Recommended to me by a yogi-friend, Bambu Indah prides itself on its modern and sustainable practices. The hotel consists of 13 tastefully designed Javanese teak wood houses, a local farm to table Balinese restaurant, an open-air yoga space, a natural swimming pool, a spa, and an organic kebun (garden). Although a bit pricey, this hotel is the perfect place to unplug and get in touch with your inner yogi.

Kamandalu Ubud ($$$)

A serene 5-star resort and spa nestled in the jungle canopy of Ubud. This resort is good for honeymoons and romantic getaways, but be prepared to splurge! The luxurious infinity pool with stunning views of the jungle makes you want to relax all day, and gaze at the exquisite beauty Ubud has to offer.

Alam Ubud ($$)

A tranquil jungle hideaway located north of Ubud in the Tegalalang area. If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of Ubud center, this is the perfect place. This quaint hotel has 20 villas with many of them having private infinity pools. For rooms from only $120 a night, this is a total steal!

Hoshinoya Bali ($$)

Hot off the press – this hotel JUST opened, and we cannot wait to book a future stay here. Owned by one of Japan’s leading luxury hotel brands, Hoshinoya Bali is an idyllic resort designed with traditional Balinese architecture and Japanese minimalism. Splurge on a private villa overlooking the Pakerisan river!