Going to Bali was one of the most special trips I have ever done. I’ve travelled to over 20 countries and nothing has stood out quite like the uniqueness of Bali. Everything about the tranquil island allured me. All the vegan food, the fresh fruit, the mossy covered temples and that laid back lifestyle that seems to draw travellers in.
After a two month whirlwind trip to China, Aaron and I decided we wanted to have a nice calming trip to Bali. On a skinny bumpy road on the way to Shangri-la, somewhere along the Tibetan boarder surrounded by mountains and cattle, Aaron and I booked our roundtrip flight. A few days later and after visiting the Longsheng Rice Terraces we were off. We flew from Guilin to Xiamen airport and after more than one flight delay, being shuttled to an airport hotel and stuffing ourselves at the buffet – we were finally en-route to Bali.
After a six hour flight we found ourselves in such a different environment with a car waiting for us. On the hour drive to Ubud all the chaos of China fell away as we lugged our suitcases up the villa stairs and fell asleep to the sound of crickets and humidity.
When choosing a place to stay in Bali, we decided we wanted to spend the 9 days in Ubud, one of the most beautiful places in Bali. Ubud is home to vegan cafes, rejuvenating yoga retreats, endless rice fields and lush jungles that holds monkeys and the most gorgeous exotic birds and lizards. Spending 9 days in Ubud was kind of a lazy choice but I thought it was perfect. We really didn’t want to be packing up our things, rechecking into hotels, finding transfers and all that on such a short trip. I mean that takes so much time up. I rather make a basecamp and move around from there without the worry of check in and out. Ubud is so central and it doesn’t take that long to drive to major sites.
Where To Stay
We stayed at Graha Modings which was a short drive from Ubud centre. I booked here because it was such a reasonable price and was built in that enchanting Indonesian style that makes your heart leap. The villa is nestled in the thick jungle of Ubud with so much green and flowers surrounding you. The villa has drivers that can be called when it’s convenient for you so you don’t need to worry about getting around. You can also arrange for the drivers to take you on excursions around the island with a days notice.
The villa was a perfect place for Aaron and I to stay and we couldn’t have been more excited to be welcomed into the hotel. They provide breakfast which is always started with fresh fruit and coffee or tea. For a main you have your choice between a few dishes but I always chose the banana pancakes! They were delicious. One day they ran out of bananas and gave me plantains which was really different! One of the best parts of breakfast is it’s ready when you are. The hotel asks you what time you would like to eat in the morning so after a peaceful sleep you can walk to your patio and start your morning off with a lovely cup of coffee and a filling breakfast.
One of the other highlights of the hotel is they have their own pool right out your front door. It was so nice being able to beat the heat and hop into the pool after a long day of exploring Bali. I also told myself it was a little workout doing some laps so there’s that haha. The staffs service was above and beyond, we stayed here for the whole 9 days and they did everything to make us feel at home. Would recommend to anyone staying in Ubud.
What To See & Do
Monkey Forest: One of the most memorable and exciting (and a bit scary) was wandering inside the flourishing monkey forest that’s in the heart of Ubud. The price to get in is about $2 Canadian dollars and once you’re in you forget that you’re in the city because of all the green around you. The monkeys are a bit aggressive though, so do not bring food or water in with you because they will steal it right out of your hands.. this is from experience haha.
Saraswati Temple: This is a beautiful temple easily located in Ubud. It’s free to get in and has a breathtaking lotus pond.
Tirta Empul: This is one of the most famous spots in Ubud. This Hindu Balinese temple has a bathing area where you can step into the holy spring water for a ritual purification. It is a very spiritual process which shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Gunung Kawi: This is a Hindu temple which is known for it’s unique architecture is carved into the cliffs. It is a marvelling sight to be near something so grand and ancient. It is one of the less crowded temples and can be enjoyed peacefully. There is lots of steps to get down (and up!) so make sure you bring water and be prepared. Aaron and I were basically dying the whole walk up.
Ubud Palace: This is a beautiful place to sit and take in the traditional Balinese architecture. There is Balinese dance performances in the courtyard so bear that in mind when travelling here.
Tegallalang Rice Terraces: This was such a highlight for Aaron and I. We got here and it was pouring rain, so much that everything was covered in slick mud. I ended up taking off my flip flops after almost slipping into one of the rice patties, much to the amusement of two Balinese ladies. They actually took my shoes off for me and helped me along the path. Clearly I looked pathetic. But it was extremely fun and Aaron and I had the whole terraces to ourselves because of the rain.
Ubud Skin Organic: A trip to Bali wouldn’t be complete without treating yourself to a full spa day. Ubud Skin Organic was such a dream to spend four hours in. I got waxing which was quick and professional and then once I felt like a lady again it was time to start relaxing. They started with a pedicure, then a facial and then finished with a full body massage. It felt sooooo good after travelling for two months straight. Aaron joined me as well for the pampering and he loved it. I think we all need to get pampered more to be honest
While staying in Ubud was an amazing experience we did enjoy a few excursions to Seminyak and Canguu.
Somethings to do are go to Seminyak beach and do some shopping. One of my favourite places to shop is of course the flagship store Gooseberry Intimates. There are lots of places to eat but I’ll get there in a second. You could also check out my guide on where to eat in Bali.
Another great place to drive is Uluwatu! Again there a monkeys here and they will snatch your purses haha. After that head to Rock Bar for some evening cocktails and enjoy a beautiful sunset over the water. It’s one of the most beautiful places you’ll eat and it’s worth every penny.
Where To Eat
After 9 days in Ubud I definitely picked up some favourite places to eat.
The Watercress: Probably my favourite place to eat in Ubud. I loved going upstairs and getting nestled under the fan and ordering a nice big cold acai bowl. On more that one occasion I got the acai bowl and the pumpkin salad for some healthy greens and fats and it was so delicious. Their bagels are also worth getting!
Alchemy Cafe: This is your one stop shop for everything holistic and healthy! This is a vegan, raw, gluten free friendly cafe hidden off the streets of Ubud. They have delicious smoothies and everything you could want on your Bali escape
The Seeds Of Life: I think I went here about 3 times when we stayed in Ubud. I loved their chocolate smoothie bowl. After 2 months in China I was so grateful for fresh and nutritious food especially when there is a raw chocolate bar crumbed on top.
Kopi Kat: As a healthy eater I usually don’t find myself raving about greasy fried food but honestly this place was so good! It’s right across the street from skin organics so you have to go here after. We got the appetizer platter and it was so much food. We got mozzarella sticks, fries, croquettes, spring rolls and garlic toast (there were some meat ones but those were for Aaron). Definitely the place to go when you’ve had a few drinks and want to eat some amazing greasy food.
Casa Luna: A foodies haven. They have the BEST gado gado (a must try in Bali) and for breakfast (or snack or dinner..) you can get the famous Balinese naga bowl. I also went here about 3-4 times haha
Is Bali in your future?