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This post is part of a larger trip report from my 16 day honeymoon in Southwest Asia!
Southeast Asia Trip Reports:
- Planning a Southeast Asia Honeymoon
- Park Hyatt Saigon Vietnam Hotel Review
- Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon Activities
- Le Méridien Angkor Hotel Review
- Angkor Wat / Siem Reap Activities
- Grand Hyatt Bali Hotel Review
- Bali Beach Town Activities
- Ubud (Bali) Hotels and Activities
Ubud was by far my favorite part of Bali. Ubud is in the center of Bali and filled with culture, art, and nature and about and hour and a half from the southern beaches. While you can absolutely visit Ubud as a day trip from the beaches and take part in the many activities, I am so happy that we split up our trip and did not stay at the beach the entire time. Although I loved the beaches of Bali, for some reason it did not meet my expectations. While living in the US, going to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world in the Caribbean, I was not as impressed as I thought I’d be. Staying in Ubud definitely brought more of a cultural and Balinese feel.
Hotel: We stayed at a little boutique hotel, The Ubud Village Resort and Spa, which was absolutely luxury. All the rooms are separate villas with individual pools and lounge area. The hotel is not in town (about 5-10 minute drive), however, they provide a complimentary shuttle to/from town during certain hours, which was extremely easy. The hotel also offers complimentary bicycles which you can use to explore the area. The hotel sits right next to a rice paddies where you get a beautiful view while eating breakfast every morning. There is also a central pool, but we did not use. The grounds overall were breathtaking. There are many hotels right in town, as well, but not as resort like. They do, however, provide a lot of convenience and are much less expensive. This hotel cost about $200/night, where a hotel in town can be found for probably $50/night. The only chain hotel in Ubud is the Four Seasons (although Hilton is building a Conrad hotel there soon).
Activities in Bali and the surrounding area:
The first day we hired a driver and had him take us all around the area. We were given the name of a driver from a friend, but the hotel can easily set you up with one. Similar to the beach area, the going rate for a full day driver is $40.
We visited many beautiful rice paddies, drove up to the volcano, and even spent time at a spice plantation where they were making kopi luwak coffee (the worlds most expensive coffee). We also visited a few sacred temples and happened to be there on one of the more holy days.
This is the Luwak animal which produces the kopi luwak coffee bean. This animal eats the raw red coffee cherries as part of its usual diet. Kopi Luwak coffee costs about $300 per pound, making it the most expensive coffee in the world. You might know of this coffee from the movie “The Bucket List.”
We visited one of the holy water spring temples, where there were hundreds of Hindu’s in the spring water. This is a ritual for them where they believe the water source can heal a variety of diseases and ensure eternal youth. Many Hindu’s come to this source to collect the holy water as it is considered one of the holiest in Bali.
While visiting these temples, along with any other temple in Bali, it is required for both men and women to wear a sarong. This is to show respect to the Balinese people and their beliefs. I brought a sarong from home to wear at the temples (including those in Cambodia), but at many temples you are able to borrow a sarong if need be.
Our first day in Bali we went on a white water rafting tour. The Ayung River was about a half an hour away, but the tour company was able to pick us up from our hotel. The entire excursion was about half a day with the actual rafting tour lasting two hours. During this time we saw many waterfalls, rice paddies, and carvings along the wall. The trip ended with an included Balinese lunch.
The afternoon presented us with some rain, so we took the opportunity to get a one hour $9 massage at a nice place. It does rain quite often in Bali, but typically just light showers. It was only a few dollars more than the sketchy looking places trying to lure you in. We went to Zen Bali Spa and would absolutely recommend it. It was so good we even went back the following day and I got a $10 facial. You are in your private massage room with a shower to rinse in before and after. It was very relaxing and at the end they gave you some of the best tea I had ever had.
Our last day in Bali we decided to spend the day in the town walking around. We started our day at the monkey forest which is quite a site to see with hundreds of monkeys hanging around. I personally did not touch the monkeys as some seemed to be quite vicious and would snatch anything you had (food, sunglasses, water bottles). The monkey forest is right at the beginning of the town and doesn’t take much time to walk through.
Monkeys at the Monkey Forest
There is a place in town which is very well known for their suckling pig. If you end up in Ubud, make sure you go to Ibu Oka’s Suckling Pig, but get there early. Once the food is sold out, it is done for the day (typically around 1pm). Utensils were slim, so we ended up just eating with our hands! It was by far the best pork I’ve ever had. Anyone in town will be able to direct you to this hole in the wall place.
The outside kitchen for the suckling pig
Restaurants: We loved the restaurants in the town of Ubud that were part of the Bali Good Food group. You cannot go wrong with these restaurants (including: Terazo, Cinta Grill, Batan Waru, and Siam Sally). All offer different types of food. The menu and service were excellent. One of the restaurants was actually next to the spa we visited.
Hope you enjoyed my trip report from Ho Chi Minh City, Siem Reap, and Bali. If you have any specific questions feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am more than happy to give you additional details or recommendations for an upcoming trip!