If you’re looking for some “Eat, Pray, Love vibes,” then you may be considering a stay in Ubud as part of your trip to Bali. The image of Julia Robert’s in her stunning Balinese villa is particularly evocative. When I first started looking for accommodation in Ubud, I thought about staying on the outskirts because I couldn’t get the image of this private villa out of my head! But I quickly came to realise that staying in the centre of Ubud was a more practical choice for me. Julia Roberts I may not be, but I have enjoyed Ubud nevertheless. If you too are wondering where to stay in Ubud, here’s our short guide to help you decide between the centre of Ubud and the outskirts.
Should I stay in the centre of Ubud?
Firstly, where is the centre of Ubud?
The centre is regarded as the cross roads of Jalal Raya Ubud, Jalal Suweta and Jelal Monkey Forest and near to the Royal Palace but it stretches out along these roads and the streets in the vicinity.
If this is your first time in Ubud and you are only visiting for a short time, my strong recommendation would be to stay in the centre. However, if you plan to stay longer, you may want to consider splitting your time between the centre and one of the more rural accommodation options.
For solo travellers, I think staying in the centre may also be more suitable. Many of the accommodation options out the outskirts can feel more isolated. This is not to say that you won’t be safe on the outskirts, but (certainly for me) it always feels much safer to stay in central accommodation alongside other travellers. It’s also easier to meet people as you are likely to spend more time in cafes and restaurants.
Are all the restaurants in the centre of Ubud?
The majority of restaurants are spread around the central streets. One of the great things about visiting Ubud is the food! All of the restaurants in the evening come alive but you’ll also find people eating out for brunch and lunch or drinking coffee in one of many coffee shops throughout the day.
What I love about Ubud is the sheer numbers of coffee shops, cafes and restaurants. You could spend weeks in Ubud and still try new places every day. If you stay in the centre, you can wander out on an evening and try any of the many restaurants on your door step.
That said, there are restaurants out of town. Most Airbnb’s, even those on the outskirts of Ubud will have restaurants or cafes in good proximity. For example, this stunning airbnb is next to the Yellow Flower Cafe, which serves delicious food all day.
There are also restaurants on the outskirts set within the Sari Organic Walk and near to the Campuhan Ridge Walk. Tegalalang, famous as the much-photographed tereaced rice field, also has a few restaurants. Try the Green Kubu Cafe or Saj Prema for vegetarian food. If you choose to stay in the Pajangan suburb, where there are many Airbnbs, you will also find many restaurants, some of which are top rated.
Of course, you can walk, get a taxi or ride a scooter into the centre of Ubud for restaurants, but if you’re coming here to enjoy food and nightlife, I’d recommend staying more central to make your life much easier.
Is it really noisy in the centre of Ubud?
Ubud is busy, many tourists visit here every day. There are lots of shops, a market and many bars and restaurants as well as Yoga Studios and plentiful tourist attractions. This makes it very busy.
The central streets are bustling and do get noisy. Whether it’s the sound of people hawking taxis, scooter engines or just general chatter, it is quite loud. But what is remarkable about Ubud, more than anywhere else I have travelled, is that you can be away from the noise and the hustle and bustle in seconds.
Throughout Ubud there are many temples, as soon as you walk into the gates of a temple voices are hushed and an air of peace is evident. Many restaurants also have secret gardens. What may seem like a small shop front on a busy street, quickly turns into a peaceful garden oasis restaurant when you go out the back.
One my favourite places in Ubud for peace and quiet, is this restaurant, which has an incredible garden (and great Indonesian food.)
Many of the accommodation options in the centre of Ubud are also restful. Despite the central location, a number have swimming pools and gardens. These can feel like a little slice of heaven as soon as you walk in. Be assured that you will not hear scooters going all through the night! For a central location with absolute chill vibes, try Pondok Bambu Homestay.
Where to stay in Ubud: Pros and Cons of staying in the centre
- Access to all the restaurants and cafes
- Get to know the centre of Ubud really well
- More likley to meet people
- Central so can reach all tourists attractions (which are to the North, South, West and East of the centre)
- Ease of jumping into a cab at short notice
- Ease of movement, especially in the rainy season
- You won’t wake up looking at a rice field
- Accommodation is perhaps slightly smaller in the centre – one room in a a hotel may cost the same as an apartment with kitchen on the outskirts (but let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to cook for yourself in Ubud when the food is so good in restaurants!)
Where to stay in Ubud: Pros and Cons of staying on the outskirts
- You may get to know one area of Ubud really well
- You will wake up to gorgeous views every day
- Accommodation on the outskirts, particularly Airbnb’s, tend to be bigger and may come with private pools and kitchens (depending on budget).
- If you’re in one rural area, you may find it difficult to reach tourist attractions at the opposite end of town (unless you have our own transport)
- It may be difficult to come into the centre for dinner in the evening, especially if you want to drink alcohol
Do I need a scooter to get around Ubud?
Many tourists choose to hire scooters in Ubud. As some of the tourist attractions, Yoga Barn, the Tegalalang Rice Field, The Monkey Forest and others are located on the outskirts it can be helpful to have your own transport.
That said, I don’t think it’s totally necessary to have one. If you stay in the centre, you can pretty much walk to all main attractions, or jump in a low-cost taxi. In Ubud, taxi hawkers are everywhere, so you would never need to worry about not finding one. Personally, I prefer the freedom of not having a vehicle.
It’s also worth adding that it rains a lot in Ubud, especially in the rainy season (obviously.) It can be really dangerous to ride a scooter in heavy rain, so there may be days when you won’t choose to ride it.