Ubud is known as the cultural heart of the island of Bali and indeed visitors flock here. But take a few steps back of the main streets and the crowds and you’ll discover a more gentle and genuine side to this very pretty Balinese town.
WHERE: Ubud on the Indonesian island of Bali.
HOW: We arranged a driver to us from Batukaru to Ubud. If you are coming from the airport or Kuta, the trip will take a couple of hours (Balinese roads are busy!)
FOR THE KIDS: The monkey forest is a kid must-do!
We chose to stay in Sayan, about 10 minutes drive from Ubud’s busy centre at the gorgeous Pondok Wahyu booked through AirBnB. Overlooking a jungle clad valley, our accommodation was a quiet retreat after a day exploring Ubud. The walk into town took about 30 minutes – but most of the time we beat the heat by jumping into a taxi for Rp50,000 ($US5). It’s easy to get cabs anywhere in Ubud, drivers line the main streets waiting for a fare.
Top of the list of things to do with children in Ubud is a visit to the Sacred Monkey Forest. Their antics will delight the kids – just don’t pack snacks, these cheeky residents are expert at pick pocketing! With statues, bridges, waterfalls and a stream, the park offers cool respite from the business of Ubud and makes for fun exploration.
We took an early morning trip (organising a car and driver thorugh our accomodation) out to the rice fields of Tagalalang – this gorgeous spot gets busy with sightseers later in the morning but we had the place to ourselves and wandered the rice terraces before the day got too hot. En route we stopped at the Blahkiuh market for tasty breakfast treats and to stock up on tropical fruit.
Kids waking up too early? No problem in Ubud, early morning is the best time to visit the local market or the rice terraces out at Tagalalang!
The fresh fruit and vegetable market in the centre of Ubud starts at around 5am and is a great place to watch the locals get their produce for the day. Vendors sell the flowers you will see all over Bali, left as offerings to the gods and demons of Balinese Hinduism. By 9am the produce vendors will start clearing up as the souvenir stalls begin to open and tourists start to arrive.
The centre of Ubud is dominated by souvenir stalls and can be a great place for children to hone their bargaining skills. If they can’t get their chosen item for a good price, it’s likely there will be the same souvenir a few stalls down the road.
Ubud Palace is the home of the royal family and the palace grounds are open to the public. In the evenings, the palace hosts traditional dance performances – see what visitors think over on TripAdvisor.