As opposed to Canggu, Ubud is the cultural heart of Bali. It is the center for traditional crafts and dance and it is surrounded by temples, shrines, rice paddies, and holy sites. If Canggu is home to the surfer/yogi who occasionally likes to party, Ubud is for the artful, creative, and serene. And did you know this is where Elizabeth Gilbert went in the widely popular novel Eat, Pray, Love?
Ubud is also home to some great restaurants, cafes, and street shops, many of which sell locally crafted goods from the region’s artisans. It’s a different experience from Canggu where you can really immerse yourself in culture and spirituality.
Ubud is around two to three hundred meters above sea level and surrounded by rice fields, making it noticeably cooler than other areas in Bali. You will discover neighboring villages who are well known for many types of crafts such as bamboo and stone-carving.
Hindu-Balinese ceremonies take place on a near-daily basis and traditional dances are performed every night on a regular schedule for tourists. Although far from undiscovered, Ubud is the best place to take a break from Bali’s popular touristy areas.
You won’t run out of temples, historical sites, museums, and art galleries in Ubud. Here are some picks:
Pura Gunung Kawi
Photo from: lonelyplanet.com
In English, Poet Mountain Temple. This temple dates back to the eleventh century and is reached by climbing down 371 steps. The climb is quite difficult but the view is worth it as you go down: a steep valley lined with rice paddy fields.
This photo of Kehen Temple is courtesy of TripAdvisor
This temple is off the beaten path and receives relatively few visitors but is one of Bali’s most beautiful temples. If you visit, take the time to explore the town it’s in as well: Bangli. It’s quiet and full of interesting markets.
This is one of the holiest temples in Bali and is built around hot springs. The Balinese come here to bathe and purify themselves physically and spiritually. Tourists are allowed to bathe with the locals as well.
Blanco Renaissance Museum
Former Spanish artist Antonio Blanco’s home turned into a museum showcasing his interesting works. He is often likened to Salvador Dali.
Photo from: monkeyforestubud.com
A sacred forest full of hungry monkeys so it is greatly advised not to bring food with you or you’ll risk getting bitten. Don’t even bring plastic bags where take-out is usually placed because the monkeys will assume it’s food!
Food in Ubud is good and very affordable!
Photo from: earthcafebali.com
Located in central Ubud, they serve great quality and fresh Mediterranean food while tailoring to individual dietary or allergy requirements.
Photo from: tripadvisor.com
Watercress Cafe has everything from great coffee to all day rustic breakfast, organic salads, and awesome burgers.
Despite a place known more for culture and arts, Ubud isn’t without it’s co-working spaces for digital nomads to take a break from sightseeing and get back to work.
Photo from: facebook.com/hubudbali
One of the most popular spaces, Hubud is also a great a place to meet people as well as work. It overlooks the rice fields and shelters all kinds of workers from creatives to techies and entrepreneurs.
Photo from: facebook.com/theonionco
Yup, that’s a co-working space! This place combines accommodation, a restaurant, and a workspace. They even have a pool and live music events at night.
Photo from: instagram.com/outpostbali
Outpost also offers accommodation as well as work space and has not one but two pools as well as a masseuse! All around, a great place to relax and not feel the stresses of work.
Ubud is a great place to practice yoga as well with over five studios.
The Yoga Barn
Photo from: facebook.com/theyogabarn
This studio has an excellent set of teachers mostly in the Ashtanga/Vinnyasa school. Ecstatic dances also happen here and you can enjoy doing your practice with the surrounding views of rice terraces.
Radiantly Alive Yoga Studio
Photo from: facebook.com/radiantlyalivebali
Beautiful large and centrally located studio with a diverse range of yoga classes from Ashtanga, vinyasa, Iyengar, hatha, dance, kirtan and more. They also host special interest workshops and yoga teacher trainings.
Cost of Living
Nomad living in Ubud costs around 1,333 USD per month or 17,793,019 IDR. Once you’ve settled in and start living like a local it goes down to 554 USD or 7,398393 IDR.
How awesome did all of that just sound? Start packing your bags and get some art and culture in Ubud and who knows, you might just want to stay forever!