After spending 2 weeks in Ubud in Bali I would not call myself an expert, but compared to other travellers, who are just passing through or staying a couple of nights I can recommend some places that I liked spending time at.
There are plenty of nice views of some local rice fields just in the north of Ubud within walking distance behind the palace. Of course you can drive yourself or take a driver to get to the famous Tegalang Rice Terraces which are maybe 30 minutes drive from Ubud, but be prepared that it is veeeeery touristy. You get charge an entrance fee per person (10’000 Rupiahs – ca. CHF 0.80) which is not much, but there are local families that ask you for donations as soon as you walk around the rice fields. You do not have to pay them, but one man got really aggressive, when I told him, I will not give him anything, because Kris gave another family a donation. He did not want to let us through and spitted on the floor after I just walked past him. This whole experience left us with a bad feeling.
So rather put your walking shoes on and take the road Jl. Kajeng (before the starbucks – yes I could not belive they had a starbucks in Ubud!!!) which leads north from the main street Raya Ubud. After maybe 5 min you come to a bend, climb up the hill and follow the paths. There you are in the middle of the rice fields.
I also preferred this to walking on the Campuan Ridge Walk, which is portraid in the lonely planet, but I still don’t get why.
If you absolutely want to see monkeys or if you are staying longer in Ubud, then you can go and walk around the monkey forest reserve. There is an entrance fee but they don’t charge much. The only thing is, the monkeys are „trained“ to stay at the sacred forest because they get fed with bananas, so you do not really see „free“ jungle monkeys in my opinion they are domesticated in a bad way. They learned that people equal food, so they harass some tourists who are stupid enough to bring food with them and steal stuff from their backpacks. We saw that they even stole a waterbottle from two tourists and screwed it open to drink. It is amazing what they have learned but I prefer to watch them in „their“ own habitat eating fruits instead of stolen cookies or chips.
I only went to the palace and I was very disappointed. The parts that you are allowed to visit is quite small and is not really spectacular. The garden and temple of my homestay family was a lot nicer – that says it all. So if you really want to cross it off your list, then you will be done in 5 minutes. The garden of the lotus cafe (next to starbucks as well) is worth a visit and so much more impressive.
If you travel to Ubud chances are high that you will take one or two lessons of Yoga. Ubud is full of Yogis and wanna be Yogis (like me ;-)). Most of the people go to classes at the Yogabarn. It is quite famous and that is the main problem of the place. They have tons of people visiting their classes. The Yoga Shala is huge, but it fills up in almost every class. I am not used to going to classes with 50 people and sometimes it did bother me not to have my space. Therefore I would recommend checking out the Yoga Studio Radiantly alive. Classes were a lot more smaller and the teacher were great. Compared to the yogabarn they have not as many classes, but with 5-7 classes a day I am sure, everyone finds what suits him/her best. I did not get a picture at radiantly alive but even the rooms are much smaller.
Restaurants as Workplaces
Sometimes the internet was not really working in the homestay or I wanted to get away to continue writing my book. There were two special places I always liked to visit when working such as Kismet and Habitat.
Kismet is close to the Taksu Spa which I tested as well for a body scrub and a massage. Heaven on earth! 🙂 I think it is owned by a Canadian but has a wonderful atmosphere, great juices and really good food for a reasonable price. It is not cheap but not expensive either. I never had such a good edamame as at kismet!
Habitat has almost the same prices and lies on the way to monkey forest. Try the different kombucha tastes, you will love it.
No pictures there either, but you will find them online.