Is Ubud worth visiting: 10 things to know before you go
Ubud is on the radar for most travellers to Bali. Picture green rice fields surrounding a buzzing town filled with nature and stunning Balinese culture. If you’re considering a stay in Ubud as part of your trip to Bali, here are 10 things you need to know about Ubud to help you decide, is Ubud worth visiting?
Is Ubud worth visting?
Ubud is a special and lively town in Bali, Indonesia. It that is known for its lush green rice fields, ancient temples and traditions, and all around spiritual ambience. But, it may have lost some of it’s magic in recent years as it’s now very popular as a destination. Read on to find our more below.
How long to spend in Ubud
I would recommend three days in Ubud, as part of an itinerary visiting more of Bali. I spent one week in Ubud and this was plenty of time to explore, take some yoga classes and chill out.
Is Ubud worth visiting for a day? If you have a lot you want to do in Bali, it is possible to visit Ubud for a day if needed. Ubud is not far from the airport or the coast. You can also find organised day trip tours to Ubud.
What month is best to visit Ubud
First off, let’s talk about the wet season in Ubud. The wet season runs from November to March. In my experience, Ubud is best avoided during this time. It is likely to rain, and when it rains in Ubud, it really rains. Sometimes, it can rain all day. Although it is likely to be warm, there isn’t much you can do in the rain as the roads can be quite dangerous. Is Ubud worth visiting in the wet season? Honestly, I’d say no, unless you pan to spend a lot of time in cafes and yoga classes!
The best time is probably April to June or September to early November. The summer is also pleasant, albeit hot, but it can be even more crowded than normal.
1 / Ubud is the yogi centre of Bali
Ubud has long had an association with yoga, even before Eat Pray Love made it famous. Nowadays, there are at least 4 yoga schools in Bali. Yoga Barn is the biggest and most famous, but there are others around town.
You’ll see many yoga fans walking around Ubud and it’s quite normal for a lot of people to be carrying a yoga mat around town on the back of their scooters.
The aptly named Bali Yoga Shop on Jalan Hanoman is probably the biggest supplier of yoga clothing and accessories if you need anything. But this whole street has a number of different shops selling mats and clothing.
2 / There are lots of Digital Nomads living in Ubud
With cheap living costs, plenty of accommodation and fabulous coffee houses, Ubud has fast become the place to be for Digital Nomads.
Just something to note if you see lots of young people working on their laptops!
Find out about Sami Sami space, a great space for Digital Nomads.
3 / Night-time in Ubud revolves around eating out
Everywhere you go in Ubud there are restaurants. It’s big business there! With so many tourists as well as digital nomads, there is constant demand for new restaurants. In Ubud new places seem to keep opening. There are some high end places, and some selling Western food if that’s what you’re after.
There are also more local restaurants (Warungs), which sell more traditional food at inexpensive prices. Personally, this is what I would prefer.
Either way, make sure you get out in the evening and enjoy a few Bintangs and some delicious food out!
If you want to learn more about cooking in Bali, you could take a cooking class with a local in Ubud. A fab and authentic experience.
4/ The main tourist attractions are…
So why is Ubud worth visiting?
The famous terraced rice fields! There are some stunning ones to see in Ubud, not least Tegalalan. There is also a monkey forest, where you can visit many monkeys – just make sure you don’t show them your teeth as they will think you’re being aggressive.
Ubud is also famous for the various temples to explore, including the Royal Palace.
If you do visit in rainy season, just note that the rice terraces don’t quite look like the pictures you will have seen on Instagram. They tend to be flooded. The walks around are nonetheless still pretty but manage your expectations about the aesthetic!
Most of our planning is done using other blogs, but you can’t beat a guide book at the bottom of your case. Find yours on Amazon here and get the travelling started!
5 / A scooter is useful to get around Ubud but is not essential
Hiring a scooter in Bali is pretty common. Most tourists will do this in order to get around. In Ubud, I would estimate that 80% of tourists have a scooter.
Personally, I chose to stay for 5 days and was quite content walking around by foot rather than having the extra cost and concern about driving. I found getting around on foot to be pretty easy and it didn’t stop me from exploring.
Taxis in Ubud are also pretty cheap and readily available. So, if you need to go somewhere further afield and don’t have a scooter, it’s easy to do so.
The other thing to be mindful of if you hire a scooter in Ubud, is that the roads are very busy. Often there are traffic jams at peak times. Finally, if you are travelling between November and March (the rainy season), you’ll notice that the roads can get quite slippery and it can be dangerous on a scooter.
6 / You can choose to stay in central Ubud or on the pretty outskirts
You have two main options for accommodation. Either staying in central Ubud or outside. There are pros and cons to both and it depends what type of visit you’re looking for.
We’ve written more about this here.
7 / The markets in Ubud are great
There are two main markets in Ubud. One is a clothing and souvenir market found on Jalal Kajeng and the other is an art market.
On a morning, you’ll also find a more local food market, which also sells the beautiful flowers that Balinese people use for their offerings.
8 / Ubud us pretty busy
Ubud is really popular with tourists and Digital Nomads. Subsequently, it is really busy. If you’re looking for total peace and quiet, Ubud may not be the best place for you. Although you can find some quiet in the town, it is buzzing the majority of time.
You’ll see many a traffic jam and it can be tricky to cross the road. But if you like things busy and want to meet people, then Ubud is great.
9 / Ubud may have lost some of its magic
I’m not trying to be negative but Ubud is definitely not the place that it probably was 10 or 20 years ago. It’s busy, there are lots of restaurants and there’s even a MASSIVE Starbucks.
It wasn’t quite what I had pictured. I don’t want to put you off, but it has become really quite commercial. I still enjoyed my time in Ubud and I am glad that I visited, but it has perhaps lost some of the authenticity that it once had.
10 / But you can still experience some local culture in Ubud
Whilst it is busy, and it is very touristic, there are some beautiful experiences to be had. The offerings placed all around town by the locals are stunning, the constant smell of incense very relaxing and the food everywhere is delicious. Locals are kind, welcoming and the best hosts you can find especially if you opt for a homestay in Ubud.
When dining out, if you want to keep things authentic then head to one of the many wonderful Warungs. Find out more about what a Warung is here.
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