When I think of Bali, I imagine Ubud. Full of palm trees, endless green rice terraces, and little shops selling local artwork. But before I tell you about it, a disclaimer: purchasing a TEFL course through the link here will result in us receiving compensation. We appreciate you trusting our opinion on the products that will help you teach and travel in 2020!
Ubud was a wonderful change of pace from Kuta, where the streets were full of tourists and locals looking to make a quick buck. Molly, Victoria and I arrived in Ubud after about an hour and a half ride from Kuta. Arriving in Ubud on a Balinese holiday, the streets were less crowded and many local shops were closed. In fact, we walked through the traditional market and all the shops were shut up for the day.
The closures were particularly unfortunate since Molly and I desparately needed to do laundry. We were out of clean clothing, including underwear. This led me to do something I never thought I’d do: buy underwear at a convenience store. Little did I know, they read “I (heart) Bali” across the back. While they’re quite tacky, they’re also a quirky souvenir.
We stayed at Puji Hostel and Bungalows during our stay in Ubud. We originally booked Ubud Rice Field House, but the hostel was under renovation and we had to book another place about a week before our trip.
Puji Bungalows ended up being exactly what I was hoping for in Ubud. We stayed in a little bungalow that looked out over the beautiful greenery. The people staying here were also amazing. We met so many people, spending many nights eating snacks, drinking Bintang, and chatting about our travels.
In the morning, we were treated to free breakfast, coffee, and tea. This was great considering our room was only $5 a night per person.
This hostel was also in a fairly central location. We were only a ten minute walk from the Sacred Monkey Forest, traditional market, and our street was lined with great restaurants.
Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest
The Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest was somewhere I wanted to go since I first started researching Bali. I love seeing local wildlife, especially in open, protected areas.
The monkeys ranged from babies to older monkeys. Some slept. Others played. And others beat the crap out of each other. Seeing how animals act in the wild is so fascinating. Fortunately, I did not witness anyone get attacked by monkeys. The worst I saw happen was that a monkey climbed all over a mans head when he sat down to take a break. Eventually he left, but that monkey hung out on his head for a while.
Not only did we see a ton of monkeys, but the scenery in the forest was absolutely beautiful. Thick trees, statues, and winding paths that take you through the entire sanctuary make this stop particularly special.
Outside the sanctuary, there are many restaurants, many of which are super affordable. Following our walk through the forest we stopped for lunch, enjoying tempe satay and fried noodles.
Day Tour From Ubud
On our final day in Ubud, Victoria, Molly and I invited Kim, another girl we met, to join us on a day tour from Ubud. We hired a driver through our hostel and decided to visit the best things Ubud has to offer. We visited a rice terrace, a coffee plantation, a temple, and a waterfall. All of these are must-sees in Ubud, but that does make them quite touristy.
Tegallalang Rice Terrace
Our first stop was the Tegallalang Rice Terrace. It was absolutely breaktaking, winding its way along the hillside. Parts of the terrace were a bit muddy, which wasn’t great in my Birkenstocks, but I made it. It was also incredibly hot. If you want to trek a terrace, I recommend going early before the sun gets too hot.
Our next stop was a coffee plantation, Bali Pulina. We were showed parts of the coffee process and then given 10 coffees and teas to sample between the four of us. The flavors included lemon tea, ginger tea, turmeric tea, ginger coffee, ginseng coffee, vanilla coffee, chocolate coffee, coconut coffee, pure cocoa, and Bali coffee.
We all had our preferences, which was great since we had to share the coffees. So we all took a sip of each one and then divvied the rest up based on our favorites. The plantation also overlooked a rice terrace, so it was another opportunity for more beautiful pictures.
Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple
Our next stop was the Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple. This temple is one of the most popular in Ubud. Within the temple is a large pool of holy water used for traditional Hindu rituals.
While visiting the temple, it started to rain. Fortunately, we were able to duck into a restaurant and get a bite to eat. One of my favorite things about Bali was how easy it was to find vegetarian food. Almost everywhere had multiple options, and if they didn’t the cooks were more than willing to take out the meat and fish, often adding tempe or tofu instead.
Once it finally stopped raining, we explored the rest of the temple before heading to our final stop.
Tegunungan Waterfall was a bit far from the rest of the places we went, but the drive was pleasant. Our driver recommended this waterfall, stating it was less touristy than others. That being said, there were still a lot of tourists. When we arrived, we made our way down the countless steps that led to the waterfall. Since it was rainy season, the waterfall was a bit brown, and it was massive!
Many people were swimming, while others were trying to get the perfect instagram shot in front of the waterfall. This made it a bit hard to get good pictures here. Once we had enough, we headed back to the car, stopping for ice cream first.
The Final Night Together
Back at the hostel, we spent the afternoon swimming during a rainstorm and deciding what we’d eat for our final dinner together. That night, Molly and I had Balinese massages complete with tea tree body scrubs and flower baths. Then, we joined the others at our hostel in a night of snacking, drinking, and sharing our final stories before many of us went our seperate ways.
The next day was full of goodbyes and tears. When we said goodbye to Victoria in the morning, Molly and I both had to keep ourselves from crying. We had spent the entire week with her. Without her, we knew our trip wouldn’t have been as incredible as it was.
When it was time to take Molly to the airport, saying goodbye was even harder. As we hugged and said goodbye after goodbye, two Italian sisters looked on, nearly bursting out in tears themselves at the sincerety of our goodbye. Once Molly walked through the gates, I headed back to my hostel for one final, solitary night in Bali.