Bali is paradise. All those things you imagine: palm fronds waving in a warm breeze, azure pools that fall over the edge of a hillside into a lush rainforest, a cocktail with fresh a pineapple slice perched on the edge of the glass if you’re into that (I’m into that). We found all these things and more in Ubud.
Away from the beach partying scene of Kuta, Ubud is in the center of the island. You might know it from Eat, Pray, Love where Elizabeth Gilbert/Julia Roberts stays in a villa surrounded by rice paddies during her journey of spiritual discovery. But back to real life…
Ubud is the art & cultural heart of Bali.
We stayed at the Tunjung Mas Bungalows. Our room was gorgeous – the top half of a bungalow with a wall of windows and a patio where we had breakfast delivered every morning.
We were just south of the central loop of shops, spas, and hotels on Monkey Forest Road, which is the hub of shopping and pampering. Artists and craftsmen sell wood carvings, batik silk scarves, and a huge variety of other souvenirs. There is so much to see (& tons to buy…) but the street also offers cafes, bars, and massages.
Bali is quite touristy compared to the rest of Indonesia (or at least what we saw). It absolutely caters to luxury with its resorts and spas and shops, but it was pure bliss after navigating bustling Java.
We rented a scooter to explore the island and drove up to the Tellalang Rice Terraces just outside of Ubud. The road climbs up from the flat plain, into steepening ravines where the rice paddies are sculpted into amazing bending tiers. We found a restaurant for lunch on the side of the road with a stunning view over the edge.
After snapping some pictures, eating club sandwiches and two large Bintang beers, we grabbed our helmets and hopped back on the scooter to find Hanging Gardens Ubud, a spectacular hotel with this infinity pool (and others) for an afternoon of swimming.
I wrote a whole post about this noteworthy place. You can read it here! This pool and incredible view might be my favorite part of our stay in Bali. So gorgeous & relaxing.
Besides this exploring outside of Ubud, we mostly meandered around the city and our beautiful hotel. We ventured around the nearby shops for scarves and post cards, and we bartered for wooden carvings. We found patio drinks, spas for hour-long Balinese massages, and took books with us to lounge by our hotel pool.
Ubud was our first spot in Indonesia that I wasn’t ready to leave when the day came. Bali is hugely accessible by scooter, and we could have done a lot more exploring around the whole island. But our next destination was only a short boat ride away, and we were off to the island Nusa Lembongan just off Bali’s coast for scuba diving!
To read an overview of our whole Indonesia trip, click here.