If you have the time, I would always recommend you to stay in Ubud for at least two nights. Reason being is that Ubud and Kuta/Legian are totally vast in comparison. The quiet nights in Ubud totally differs from the chaotic Kuta and personally, I prefer quiet nights having lovely meals and conversations with people than partying til the sun rises. Ubud might not offer as much activities unlike Kuta, Legian or Seminyak but if you’re set to spend time here, you’ll be suprised at the amount of things you’d be able to do around Ubud. I’ve compiled a list of things and places we did and did not manage to do around Ubud to fill up your time with:
Go to a Spa in Ubud town
Body treatments are exceptionally cheap in Bali. Known as a place to go for affordable massages, there are plenty of spas or beauty parlours from the high end to the lower end for you to choose from. If you’d like a different experience, the bodywork spas or holistic massages should definitely be in your top choice. There are plenty of parlours on Jalan Hanoman, so you should google and make your choices.
Price range would be about rp75000 (RM30/ USD10) to rp 170000 for a 1-hourbody massage depending on places. We personally paid rp21000 (RM7/ USD2) for a 30 minute foot massage after a whole day of walking in town which was awesome. If you go to Ubud to relax, don’t stinge on these things. They’re super affordable so you should go for the whole mile – body massage, cream bath (scalp treatment where they massage your head with conditioning stuff for an hour), lulur (traditional body scrub), mani pedi, and facial.
Ubud is known as a spiritual and healing place. While I was in Ubud, I unfortunately injured my back (it was an old injury where I had some sort of a slip disc) and the hotel called a holistic masseuse to come to the hotel to fix me up so I could get up and walk again as I had to go diving in two days time. Their service was excellent, and they were really attentive to your body needs. This deep tissue/ healing sort of treatments however, should be avoided if you’re expecting a slow, sensual massage as I felt like my spine was re-aligned along with my other internal organs.
Avoid spas or massage parlours recommended by taxi drivers as they are commissioned to bring you to certain places. If you’re unlucky, they might just bring you to another gritty, greasy spa that would spoil your entire trip. Do your research thoroughly on the internet before making your decision.
Visit Pura Beratan/ Beratan Lake Temple
A drive from Ubud to Bedugul would only take an hour uphill. Bedugul, the capital for Muslim communities in Bali island is known for their Hindu lake temple at Beratan Lake, and is best to visit in the morning when it’s much more cooling. If you’re lucky, you could experience the mist covering the lake area as it gets hotter in the afternoon. If you’re luckier (and maybe not for some), there would also be a traditional religious procession or ritual going on in the temple and maybe you could witness a duck sacrifice ritual, just like we did.
Go Strawberry Picking near Beratan
If you’re going around with a driver, just mention strawberry picking and they will bring you to places they know best or familiar with. If not, near Lake Beratan (near the fruits market) there are a few strawberry picking farms where you’re free to pick your own strawberries, weigh, wash and eat them as you go. They charge you by the weight, and it’s definitely not pricey at all (unless if they try to pull a tourist trap on you). If you think it is expensive, you can always tell your driver that it’s expensive and he will help you negotiate.
Visit the Tegalalang Paddy Terrace
On our way back to Ubud from the north, we asked our driver to go through Tegalalang to just have a look at the paddy terrace. I grew up with paddy fields behind my grandmother’s house, but seeing a terraced one on higher grounds was a different sight. It might not have been so exciting as most of the paddies were already reaped when we were there, but if you’re not from Asia it wouldn’t hurt to stop for half an hour along the way. There’s a small fee to pay for your vehicle to enter the area, but you could make a stop and buy a bottled drink form small sundry shops for your journey back. There are some souvenir stores if you itch to shop, but other than that it’s mostly a touch and go pit stop on the way.
If you’re lucky to have a knowledgable driver, he would bring you to a nicer paddy terrace nearby Ubud.
Visit Pura Tirta Empul Tampaksiring
On your way back to Ubud, do not forget to visit Pura Tirta Empul. We were there just in time before sunset after a long journey from the north due to traffic. Bali’s inner roads are small, sometimes just one lane on each direction and when there are bigger lorries, it might cause a little bit of traffic. So make sure you plan your time with some extras, just in case. Pura Tirta Empul is not too far from Ubud town, being one of the holy temples around the areas, and the water, deemed to be holy comes from the ground. Here, you can see bathing ritual before the devotees actually goes for their prayers every morning and evening.
– When visiting temples, make sure your legs are covered. If not, just look for the cloth provided by the temple for tourists that are wearing shorts or skirts.
– If you’re not comfortable with stopping anywhere, tell your drivers. Some of these drivers have deals with certain stores or restaurant so when you eat or shop there, they get their commissions. It works just the same as tour operators around the world.
– Do not expect a show from the people. Temples are sacred places, and the devotees visit them to pray. Don’t shove your cameras to them, instead find a comfortable space between you and the person.
– Comfortable shoes. There’s a lot of walking and climbing in Bali so you want to make sure your shoes are fit for the whole day.