Ubud is the rich, dark soul of Bali, encompassing serene forests, ancient temples, verdant valleys, and inspired artwork. The Indonesian town offers many simple pleasures like listening to gamelan music at a local temple or enjoying the healthy fare at a vegan café. But for a truly life-changing trip, here are the five things you should definitely do in Ubud:
Spot countless monkeys at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
Located close to the main market, the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is the main attraction in Ubud. It is home to countless grey long-tailed macaques who can be playful and even aggressive at times! While many tourists take the risk of playing with or feeding the monkeys, it is better to watch from afar. The nutmeg forest also features many mossy temples in its eerie depths. The ancient Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, a bathing temple, and a funeral site are among the prominent ones. Tree-fringed paths with mere whispers of sunlight peeking through make the forest seem thrillingly mysterious.
Beautiful fields of paddy on lush green valleys are a striking feature of Ubud’s rustic landscape. Tegallalang is one of the best-known rice terraces and there’s a café where you can enjoy a sweeping view of the fields. Water pools around the lap of the paddy crops in the aftermath of a downpour and the whole scene are like a painting come to life.
Soak in nature during the Campuhan Ridge Walk
Enjoy a romantic stroll through the hills of Ubud at the scenic Campuhan Ridge. You may pause often during the easy 9km hike to take photographs of the mesmerizing vistas. Cross the bridge over the Campuhan River to reach the regal Pura Gunung Lebah temple complex. Embark on the walk in the wee hours of the morning to watch the sun rise over the valleys of the Sungai Wos River. The Campuhan Ridge Walk sunset is also worth watching.
Feel spiritual at Goa Gajah Cave Temple
The best-known cave temple complex in Ubud is situated in Bedulu village, featuring a courtyard replete with ancient relics, carvings, and caves. It’s also known as the Elephant Cave Temple, though there are no pachyderms inside. Apart from the archaeological wonders, there are also fountains and pools with Hindu angels to be explored. In the 11th century, the temple served as a meditation spot and you’re likely to feel the spiritual draw even today. At the south of the temple, visitors can navigate lovely streams and paddy fields to make their way to the sacred Petanu River.
Watch a Balinese dance performance at Puri Saren Agung
The Ubud royal palace garden is the ideal location for watching a traditional Balinese dance performance in the cool evening. Often accompanied by a gamelan orchestra, the dancers perform against the grand setting of the palace’s gates and statues.
Easily accessible from Ngurah Rai International Airport, Ubud is best explored on a bike or hired taxi. Art collectors would discover many treasures in the galleries and museums of Ubud. As for accommodation, stunning nature resorts with Balinese spas make Ubud an unforgettable luxury destination in Bali.
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