Bali has long been a tourist hotspot. I’d dreamed of visiting the island for years, but now in my 30s decided the crazy beach party and drinking area wasn’t really my thing. I wanted to see a bit of the culture and temples, but also relax and rest in a beautiful hotel, so I headed to the slightly quieter area of Ubud and spent 5 days exploring and relaxing.
1. Tegallalang rice terraces
The rice terraces are about 20 minutes taxi ride out of the centre of Ubud, and taxis are pretty cheap (about £5), or if you’re happy on a scooter you can take yourself there. The rice terraces are so well maintained and are absolutely gorgeous with panoramic views everywhere. The rice terraces are also home to the I LOVE BALI sign and some lovely walking paths (all sign posted). My advice is to go early or late, as in the heat of the day it’s wayyyy too hot.
2. Campuhan Ridge Walk
This walk is in the centre of Ubud, although the entrance to it is a little bit difficult to find. If you’re coming from the centre of Ubud, you need to walk to the Warwick Ibah hotel, though take the left fork as you approach it (if you get to the Blanco Renaissance Museum you forked left too early). The trail is then a nice paved route on a hill overlooking the lush forest. It took us in total about 45 minutes to get to the cafe half way along the route and then another 30 minutes to complete the walk. Learn from our mistakes though, and don’t do it in the heat of the day – go early or at sunset!
3. Ubud Water Palace (Saraswati Temple)
This is a hindu temple surrounded by a waterlily pond in the centre of Ubud, in honour of the hindu goddess Saraswati. It’s a stunning temple and I loved the waterlilies.
4. Goa Gajah
Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave, was built in the 9th Century and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a 10 minute taxi ride from the centre of Ubud and well worth the short trip out. We spent an hour wandering the markets outside it, the cave itself and the grounds. As this is a temple, you will need to have your knees covered. If you’re in shorts/a dress then they sell shawls outside to wrap around you as needed.
5. Satria Coffee Plantation
Another nice half day trip is to a plantation where you can tour and taste coffee made locally. The shop is overpriced, and you can get it cheaper, but it’s good to support a local plantation.
6. Mount Batur
An active volcano on the heart of the island, Mount Batur is a beautiful sight. You can also climb it for views out across the island, It is an hour’s drive from the centre of Ubud, but a sunrise hike there is absolutely breathtaking.
7. Pura Tirta
These are holy springs, where you can witness the culture of Balinese Hindus bathing in the water. The temple complex is also just nice to walk around and explore.
8. Batu Balan traditional dance
We got a taxi here to watch a traditional Balinese Barong dance. Barong is a creature like the panther, and it fights Rangda to symbolise the fight between good and evil in Hindu culture. I had no idea what was going on half the time in the dance, but it was a fun way to spend the morning!