12 November 2019

One Day in Ubud (Itinerary)

Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud

The beauty of Ubud is that there are so many things to do, regardless of what you're interested in. Love culture? You have your fill of temples here. Yogi at heart? Take your pick of the yoga retreats dotted around. Foodie? You can eat to your heart's content for a really reasonable price. 

But what if you don't have time on your hands? If this is the case with you, then there are some main attractions that you can hit that won't cost you the earth but still give you a feel for the place. 

Obviously, if you can, try and spend at least 3-4 days in Ubud, as then you won't feel like you're rushing around too much but sometimes schedules don't allow that. 

So here's a 1-day itinerary for seeing the best of Ubud.




If you know about Ubud, then you probably already know about the Sacred Monkey Forest as it's one of the most well-known places there. Filled with adorable monkeys (which aren't so adorable when they try to steal your water bottle) and beautiful temples surrounded by the peace and calm of the forest, this is a must-see in Ubud. We found it pretty easy to walk to as we were staying in the centre, but you can easily pick up a taxi from most street corners that can take you there. 

Entrance is 80,000 rupiah (£4.50), and I suggest heading there when it opens at 8:30am to make the most of the quiet before the tour groups arrive. You can easily spend a few hours here exploring at your own pace and probably find some little spots all to yourself. 



By the time you leave the Sacred Monkey Forest, it will be about mid-morning, and with the rest of these places scattered around Ubud, I suggest you hire someone to drive you around for the rest of the day. We organised a tour with the people who ran our homestay and managed to have them for the whole day to go wherever we wanted to for around £24 (which we thought was very reasonable). 

If you want to experience traditional Barong dance, then this is the place to go! The show is an hour as it tells a story through the dance, speech and music, so I suggest bringing a scarf to sit on as the seats are quite uncomfortable. However, the experience of seeing a traditional performance with amazing musicians and dancers is well worth the numb bums! 

I'd discuss with your driver about what time the performances are (I can't seem to find them anywhere online) and decide whether to go in the morning after the Monkey Forest or in the afternoon. When we visited, the price for a ticket was around £6, but I think they've dropped the prices since then. 



An obvious one, but you can't go to Bali and not experience one of its many rice terraces. There are a lot around Ubud, but Tegalalang is the most popular one. Interestingly enough, I was expecting there to be more crowds when we went, but I think because it's such a huge place, everyone is able to spread out. 

You could spend ages wondering along the terraces, and we were able to find spots that we had completely to ourselves. I think a lot of people want to go for a photo op and therefore stay nearer the top, but if you feel adventurous, head further down the slope, or walk around to the other side where not many people venture. 

On some levels, you will find that they have set up little food and drink stalls that are a little overpriced in my opinion, and also if a rice farmer comes up to you asking if you want a photo wearing his hat, he'll probably want a tip at the end. They are completely harmless, and just trying to earn a little more than their daily wage, so feel free to tip them 10,000 rupiahs or so as when it comes to the exchange rate, it's not a big expense for you. And on top of the £1 entrance fee, it's a pretty cheap part of your day. 



About 20 minutes out from the centre of Ubud is this fantastic coffee plantation which holds free tours and coffee & tea tasting. Obviously, if you don't like either of these hot drinks then you might want to miss out this place, but for me, this was a great place to discover some of the flavours that this part of the world is known for. Think lemongrass tea, ginseng coffee and the infamous Luwak coffee (otherwise known as cat-poo-chino, where the coffee beans are fed to Asian civet cats and then brewed when they come out the other end) which is the only thing you have to pay for if you want to try it. 

The staff here are so friendly and sitting at the shaded tables looking out over the beautiful countryside is a welcomed rest from the heat of the day and all that walking you've already done! The tour ends at the shop where you can purchase any of the tea and coffee products made at the plantation, but there's no pressure to buy. We picked up the lemongrass and rosella tea, a loose ground tea which kept us going throughout the rest of our travels in Asia. 




Also known as Goa Gajah, the Elephant Caves are a little sanctuary in the bustling Ubud, due to it being located deep in the forest. After climbing down the steps you are surrounded by the wonderful architecture and amazing gardens that surround the caves and makes a great relaxing end to your day. By the afternoon the crowds have dissipated so you can walk around at your own pace, or just sit and take in the peace of the place. 

The entrance fee was around 70p when we went which was a big tick for the budget! Also, make sure you're wearing something respectful or bring a sarong with you to cover your shoulders as there are a lot of touts that wait outside to try and sell you an overpriced sarong. 


Have you ever been to Ubud, or is it on your bucket list? If you've been, what are your favourite places there?


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