3 Days in Ubud: The Perfect Itinerary for Your First Visit
Travel is therapeutic. And when it’s to a place like Ubud, oh, it can enrich you in ways you wouldn’t have imagined. It’s not without reason this quaint Balinese town steeped in culture, is a favourite among visitors. Ubud soothes the soul with its verdancy from canopied streets and rice fields that envelop magical hills. From pristine waterfalls, to breathtaking temples that tell stories of an age gone by, Ubud is sure to rejuvenate you, much like it has for writers and movie makers who have used this as their backdrop to tell many a romantic tale… To know more about how to spend time in this beautiful, seductive town of Ubud, go on and read some, as Ithaka gives you the perfect 3-day itinerary. Word to the wise: if we can learn something from the growing expat community here, it’s this – no amount of time is enough in Ubud.
Morning: Ubud Yoga House
The serenity of Ubud makes it ideal for some soul searching and yoga. So kickstart your first morning here by visiting a yoga retreat that sits pretty in the lap of nature! A mere 15-minute walk from the city center, Ubud Yoga House offers a perfect jungle escape in the heart of the town. If you’re in the mood for some stretches, this is your perfect find; alternatively, you can choose to simply meditate near the babbling stream. Run by Sheila Burch, there is something new to learn here whether you’re a beginner or advanced in this art.
Mid-Day: Fun At Ubud Monkey Forest
Unwinding in Ubud has a lot to do with nature and its folks. So why not head to the Monkey Forest? Offering a perfect escape from the humdrum of city life, you can spend time here with macaques, that too in their natural habitat. Look forward to hordes of Balinese long tailed monkeys as they try to entertain you with their antics, in exchange for some food. Don’t be alarmed if one of them offers to be part of your selfie!
Let nature seduce you with its play of light, as the rays of the sun play peek-a-boo through the trees of this dense rainforest. Soak in the magical aura created by ancient temples guarded by moss-covered statues, and roots of massive Banyan trees that lie woven together.
Good to know: It’s always nice to view exotic wildlife but as responsible travellers, we must also respect the animals and their natural habitat. Please avoid touching the smaller monkeys or feeding them. We also recommend that you not wear jewellery or any loose items or carry food openly. The monkeys here have mastered the fine art of filching from distracted humans.
Evening: Shop at Ubud Art Market
If we could, we’d have perhaps just carried Ubud back with us, but since that’s not possible, I guess we could make do with some souvenirs? Stroll through the streets of Ubud’s Art Market and look up the many stalls fringing its sides, selling all things Balinese. Pick from enchanting paintings, beautiful crochet art, and pretty figurines. Another favourite among tourists is the Ubud Bag. Woven from reeds, these round basket bags are rather handy for storing your knick-knacks and make for ideal fashion statements when you’re back home!
Ubud’s street markets are also great for photography. So don’t forget to carry that camera around.
Morning: Stroll on the 1.5km Campuhan Ridge Walk
Wake up early, perhaps at the crack of dawn to soak in the freshness from Ubud’s lush greens. Start your day with a good stroll on the Campuhan Ridge Walk. If walking long stretches isn’t for you, hop onto a cycle and meander through the temples and art cafes. A walk with nature, the path opens up further to give you a magnificent view of hillsides and swaying rice fields.
Good to know: To beat the heat, it’s best to take this walk either early morning or late evening.
Mid-Day: Eat Raw For lunch
Hold on before you cringe! Eating raw food is a big deal in Bali and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the delicious wonder of raw food that has long evolved from mere salads here. From tasty vegan dishes to even cakes and chocolates, chefs in Ubud have mastered the art of whipping up these plant-based dishes!
Enter restaurants like ‘The Seeds of Life’ or ‘Alchemy’ to try world cuisines with a vegan twist. Pizzas, Nut burgers, Thai noodles, Mexican lasagnas, all made from organic vegetables and exotic mushrooms await you here – that too in their raw – but ready to eat avataar.
After Hours: Visit The Ubud Palaces
Right in the heart of Ubud sits the Royal Palace. Much as the name suggests, this was the home of the royalty and a part of it, continues to be so. Speckled with sculptures and covered with beautiful foliage, the buildings here also display traditional Balinese design. And despite a section of the palace being closed to the public, not much is lost. ,
Tucked away in the streets, approximately 5 minutes away from the palace are some temples, the most famous of which is the Pura Taman Saraswati temple. Filled with stone carvings of the Hindu Goddess of Wisdom, you’ll recognize the quiet grace of Saraswati here. Locals often refer to this temple as the ‘Water Palace’ as it has a serene pond with Lotus flowers in full bloom
Morning: Early Morning At Tegalalang
A 20-minute ride away from Ubud, Tegalalang Rice Terraces are sure to enchant that spirit! Set out at dawn for a jaunt in this valley and you won’t be disappointed. Be mesmerized by the breathtaking sight of rows of terraced rice fields. Watch the paddies glint in gold, as the first rays of the sun hit it.
But there’s more to this place than just the promising views. Wander around the valley and you’re bound to come across the Bali Swings – now a huge sensation, thanks to Instagram. Sit on one and soak in the moment. And yes, don’t forget to capture the moment! If you’re in the mood to explore more, visit the nearby Pakudui village to look at carvings and sculptures of Balinese mythical figures.
Mid-Day: Tirta Empul Temple
For thousands of years, the Tirta Empul Temple has attracted Balinese worshippers, who come to bathe in its refreshing springs. . Take part in this ritual to descend into the pools where the water gently falls on you from stone-carved spouts. You can also simply choose to wander across the vast courtyards and observe the colourful Hindu shrines and revel in the peace and serenity here.
P.S.Don’t forget to visit the Koi Pool to look at fat koi fish swimming lazily in the waters.
After Hours: Live Music At Laughing Buddha Bar
Ubud has a buzzing nightlife scene. The Laughing Buddha Bar in Ubud is one of the town’s liveliest spots, with bands and DJs that play jazz, EDM, and everything in between. Make sure to not miss the salsa night here, it only ups the fun. As for food, from South-East Asian dishes to Mediterranean and Tex-Mex, there’s a fair lot for you to choose from!
With the perfect itinerary in hand, what are you waiting for? Set out for Ubud and recreate your very own epic version of ‘Eat Pray Love’. Saunter about and marvel at the captivating countryside, and you will find that this town has as many hues as you can imagine to awaken your soul.