Our first destination in Bali was the spiritual city of Ubud. We divided our time (4 nights) between 2 guesthouses on either side of the city center. One of the places we would stay had a large swimming pool – an important feature since Ubud is a good distance inland – 13 kms from the nearest beach.
We also earmarked a few promising restaurants.
The goal of searching out all possible activities in Ubud is not necessarily the best way to appreciate and enjoy this traditional and cultural town. The ideal thing to do here is just to relax and soak up the atmosphere, and then go out and sample some of the excellent food on offer.
Of course there are a number of venues at the center of town that you should not (and cannot) avoid.
Ubud Bali activities to keep you in the zone…
Assuming you come to Ubud to experience what this town has to offer (rather than using it as a base to travel elsewhere around Bali), then 3 or 4 days is more than enough time to spend here.
That gives plenty of opportunities to discover the town, wander around the paddy fields, visit the central temples, idle away a few hours by your guesthouse pool and target a few outstanding warungs.
Music & Dance at the Ubud Bali Royal Palace
Located next to the central crossroad of Ubud is the Puri Saren Royal Palace. Entrance is free, and you can wander around during the day to enjoy the Balinese architecture and the relaxing garden settings.
The place is not very big, so you don’t need more than 20 minutes or so to take a look around.
Ubud Bali Activities – The Royal Palace
Every few nights you can pay to watch ceremonial Balinese dancers perform inside the Palace courtyards.
Alternatively, you can just turn up outside the Palace to catch one or more of the regular street performances of music and dance.
Most nights in Ubud there seemed to be some sort of organised performance in or around the various temples. These are normally scheduled between 7 pm and 9 pm and are free to watch.
After 9 pm everything starts to shut down as the tourists wait to take their complimentary shuttles back to their guesthouses.
Ubud Bali Activities – Monkey Forest
Monkey Forest is apparently the biggest tourist attraction in Ubud. You can pay IDR 50,000 (€3) per person for the privilege of wandering around this enclosed area which is home to some 600 or so Macaque monkeys.
The monkeys are small but can be quite aggressive and daunting in numbers. Feed them at your peril! The forest has onsite medics available to treat the inevitable monkey bites and scratches.
If you don’t relish the full-on experience, you can still observe the monkeys close up without even entering the forest. The monkeys go where they like – in or out of the forest – and they don’t much care if you’ve bought a ticket or not.
Just make sure you hide away any food.
We found scores of monkeys hanging around the car park and the outer walls of the forest. They offered plenty of entertainment and photo opportunities.
Ubud Bali Activities -Ubud Market
You will no doubt be sold the idea that the Ubud market is the place to buy all your holiday souvenirs and trinkets – Don’t believe the hype.
The Ubud market is undoubtedly the most expensive place to do your shopping. If you’re fresh off the boat, and not yet up to speed with real prices, you’ll end up with a big hole in your wallet.
Even if you have a good idea what you’re doing, the shopkeepers drive a hard bargain. After all, you’re just another tourist and there’s no shortage of those in Ubud. This applies not just to souvenirs but also to the fruit and veg sellers. Best head away from the center to do your shopping.
Better still, wait until you get back to Denpasar where you’ll find some real bargains – exactly the same stuff as in Ubud but at a fraction of the price.
Following our 4-day break, we were next heading to a large, lush island off the south coast of Bali. We planned to stay in Lembongan for 8 nights. Our idea was just to relax on and around the island’s beaches, and enjoy some leisurely water sports.
If you enjoyed Ubud Bali Royal Palace – Music & Dance, check out our Bali & Lembongan 2-island itinerary. You may also like: