Travel Guide to Ubud, Bali

Hi loves! While I’m staying in Canggu for my solo trip in Bali, I did spend a few days in Ubud doing a looot of touristy things.

I loved Ubud’s vibe. Much more spiritual/healing/jungle than Canggu’s surfer/australian/hipster vibe and it feels like it holds a lot more culture and history.

Here is a list of all the things I packed in over the course of a few days!

Alchemy Cafe

first things first, I went straight to Alchemy cafe because I had heard so many good things about this all raw, all vegan cafe.

The food did nottt disappoint. I got a vegan pizza made with cashew cream, a pineapple/banana/mint smoothies and a lemon/ginger mojito thing (sans the alc) and finished this all off with a lemon coconut cream pie. It was my first and only time so I wanted to try EVERYTHING, but I was definitely uncomfortably full for the rest of the day.

The vibe was very nice and they had a great store where they sell all the healthy/spiritual things (jewelry, face masks, essential oils, etc)

Best of all, I met my idol Jordan Younger here. She walked in with her new hubby on their honeymoon and I low key freaked out. I have been following Jordan for years and really have her to thank for reigniting my personal path with spirituality.

My mom introduced me to this stuff throughout my childhood and I lived on an ashram as a teenager so I was very used to things like ayurveda and yoga and mediums and psychics, but they were so UN-COOL in society that I really rejected it and just all thought it was “weird”.

Jordan is the first blogger that I followed who started talking openly about doing panchakarma treatments, pleiadians, cat mediums, and such and made it seem so COOL that it gave me permission to go on my own personal journey re-discovering the stuff I’ve been around since being a child.

Saraswati Temple

A beautiful temple dedicated to Saraswati, goddess of knowledge/music/art/wisdom right in the middle of Ubud. You can’t enter the temple unless you’re wearing the traditional Balinese prayer outfit (sarong and shawl) or if you’re on your period, but the outside of the temple was still beautiful.

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Yoga Barn

This place is probably one of the most popular “must do, Ubud spots”.

It was like a whole yoga village. It was HUGE. They have their own restaurant, multiple yoga studios or “shalas”, an ayurvedic spa, treatment center, and just as soon as you walk into the property you feel like you’re at a yoga resort/retreat. I was like, imagine if every time you went to yoga this is what it felt like. I would get my butt in class waay more often.

I took a women’s balance class which was a very slow, intuitive class focusing on all things WOMEN, which I loved. Dropping into our intuition, moving slowly, breathing into our womb space, making the yoni mudra, and thinking about how we give ourselves love.

Enjoy a fresh coconut before or after and put on lots of mosquito repellent, because it is HOT out there.

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Tegalalang Rice Terrace

This is also one of those “famous” spots I thought is a must -do in Bali judging by the amount of times I see it on Instagram.

I’ll be honest, the entire time I was here I thought I was in the wrong spot. I was like, no this can’t be the place that everyone posts about! I envisioned these huge empty rice fields where you can just roam all day.

When we got there, it felt like we were at an amusement park. There was this giant statue of a luwak and this lady took me down to show me how they make luwak coffee (essentially poop from the luwak which reminds me of a honey badger) and then suddenly gave me all this tea and coffee to try. I was enjoying it but thoroughly confused because I thought I was again, just gonna end up at some random rice fields and frolic around in them.

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After the tea/coffee tasting, you could pay an entrance fee to the “rice fields” which were essentially, yes rice fields but you couldn’t even walk through them. All you could do is walk down some stairs and take photos at the various photo spots like here, and here.

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You could even pay extra to have your photo taken on a swing! Again, just like my tour to Nusa Penida, this very much felt like just an Instagram opportunity. Nobody was really “experiencing” the rice fields it was all just about getting the perfect shot. I was a smidge disappointed, but hey, at least the pictures look nice.

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Udaya Resorts & Spa – Celebration of Flowers

After the rice terrace, I headed to the Udaya Resorts and Spa because I had booked a balinese massage and celebration of flowers about a month ago. This was the main event and reason for my trip to Ubud as again, I couldn’t wait to experience taking the most luxe bath of my liife.

I had time to chill before my appointment and got a coconut overlooking the pool, and love that they put lime in their coconuts (just like the song)

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I had the balinese massage first. I got taken into a room that had two massage tables and a bath inside the room. At first, I was unimpressed with the quality of the massage tables and sheets. It was very cheap, and this was one of the most expensive massages (the massage and bath were $40 each so I spent around $80 here) and so I was like oh no.

The massage ended up being great, but I didn’t have that “spa” experience like I had in Canggu or back home.

After the bath, I got to enjoy 45 minutes in this GORGEOUS flower bath. It was a lot of fun, but nobody talks about how you’re literally sitting in flower dirt, like there were green stems floating everywhere and the water turned this brownish color, or that they all get tangled in your hair and it’s hard to get them out haha. I had so many questions about where they get all these flowers and what they do with them afterwards. It seems like an awful waste, right? I mean there were just POUNDS of flowers in my bath and the design was awesome, but if you want to move around, you immediately mess the design up.

My bath went from looking like this

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to this

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Nonetheless, I still felt like a queen in this luxe bath and want to recreate the experience with rose petals back at home 🙂

Pyramids of Chi – Sound Healing

On a whim, after the bath I decided to go to Pyramids of Chi.

This was one of my favorite experiences in Ubud.

It’s essentially this like retreat playground where this couple “felt the call” that they had to build two pyramids in the middle of Bali and do healings in there.

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The energy of pyramids is supposedly very intense (hence why people have been building them throughout time) and the combination of the pyramids energy plus the sound healing experience was promised to have an experience like no other.

Their slogan (relating to their sound experiences) was “expect the unexpected”.

I was very into the vibes. They also didn’t have wi-fi because they didn’t want to have electromagnetic radiation, so that will tell you what kind of place it was.

As soon as you enter the pyramid, you undoubtedly feel the energy.

I had a very trippy meditation where I saw all of these jaguars and rivers and trees like in the Jungle Book but everything was neon and black and sparkling.

And then, I feel I met Lakshmi and she told me some stuff and then I truly don’t remember anything else. I went into some vibrational sleep/trance and woke up feeling like 5 hours had passed (it was an hour) and like I had just slept for 2 days.

Traditional Balinese Dancing – Ubud Palace

That same evening, I said no to the temptations of doing a nude yoga workshop and instead decided to get some culture in and watch traditional Balinese dancing.

They have dancing every single night, but depending on the day of the week it can be a different dance, so just google to see the schedule.

You can buy tickets for 100,000 rupiah on the street and watch at Ubud Palace.

Make sure to get there early to get a good seat!

I watched the Legong dance and luckily they gave us a sheet explaining the story behind the dance which was a re-enactment of a Hindu story from the Mahabharat.

It was such an unusual experience. It was fascinating to watch them play the Gamelan. It doesn’t sound beautiful to my ears, kind of like a bunch of pots and pans clanging together, but watching them play it is an experience in itself.

They dance mostly with their fingers and eyes which was also different and the way they tell their stories is just…unique.

You truly need to watch a video or experience it for yourself because I can’t say much more than that.

Nusa Penida tour through Klook

I wrote all about my experience on my Nusa Penida tour here.

I did the west side tour where you visit Kelingkeling beach, Angel & Broken Beach, and Crystal Bay.

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It was basically a lot of driving around to get to pretty beach spots just to take pictures. Very much felt like an Instagram tour and not an “experience the island tour”.

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The only time we had to enjoy ourselves was at the end of the day when we could swim in Crsytal Bay for 2 hours. The water was BEAUTIFUL but actually freezing and the sand was so hot it burnnnns without shoes.

The tour cost $43 and included the pick up and drop off in Ubud, the boat, tour guide and lunch so all in all, it felt like a good deal, it was just VERY touristy.

Monkey Forest

I almost didn’t go to the monkey forest because I heard they can be aggressive and steal things and I was like, sorry not tryna get attacked by a monkey today, but I’m really glad I did.

They are such interesting and cute creatures (and yes a little vicious)

I kept being scared they were trying to attack me but had to keep repeating to myself “respect the monkeys and they will respect you”.

That means, don’t get too close to try and take a pic or put your camera in their face (all things I saw people doing and they got attacked)

They remind me so much of humans. I watched them eat, jump around, saw one monkey aggressively grab another and start humping it from behind with a very evil grin on it’s face, which made me sincerely disturbed, and then I passed monkeys who were tenderly caressing their friends, picking the dirt out of their fur and I fell in love with them all over again.

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sorry for the disturbing monkey pic

Cost: 80K

Tirta Empul Temple

This is known for it’s sacred water ritual. I’ll be honest, I wish I had read more about it before I came.

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I showed up, and first you pay a 50K entrance fee.

Then, I had to rent a sarong to enter the temple for 10K.

After I entered the temple, in order to do the water ceremony, you need to be wearing a special sarong (not the one I just rented) so I had to rent ANOTHER sarong for 25K and then when I finally could almost get in the water, I realized you are supposed to give the temple an offering and learn about the ritual.

So, I asked a guy standing there if he could tell me about the ritual, and he said I had to pay him for him to tell me.

At this point, I had already locked my bags with my money away and was annoyed at the amount of money I had to spend when I had already paid the entrance fee, like shouldn’t that basically cover it all?

So I was like whatever, I’m just gonna jump in the water and do my own cleansing ritual.

So, I prayed to my goddesses and let the water wash over me and got out and felt all clean and purified.

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It wasn’t until after I came back home and researched the ritual and found out that I COMPLETELY did the ritual wrong. You were supposed to cleanse yourself underneath all the spouts and they each represent something different. They also said you have to skip two certain spots because those are only for washing the dead.

I only cleansed myself in two spouts and got freaked out that maybe I used the dead spout because one of the spouts didn’t have a long line which was suspicious.

What’s done is done, so maybe just be prepared to spend all the money to do the ritual right.

I felt like a shitty tourist but also, the temple def felt like a shitty tourist trap, so sorry.

Kanto Lampo Waterfall

Another Instagram attraction that I wanted to check out and wish I hadn’t.

We got there, and I had this huge backpack with nowhere to put it and didn’t realize you would be swimming in a literal creek to get to the waterfall. I was scared about someone stealing my stuff, so put it behind some bushes where it got covered with ants.

Then, you had to pay to enter the natural swimming grounds (of course)

Then, you get to the waterfall and yes it is absolutely STUNNING, but there was a long line of girls trying to take photos and get the perfect spot.

I stood there with my phone, trying to not get it wet and also worrying about my stuff I had left and I was like wtf is wrong with you ley. all this for an IG picture? no thanks.

I was like, I’m not waiting in line for this shit and also this all just feels so inauthentic. Nobody was enjoying or even appreciating the waterfall.

They were just snapping shot after shot after shot. I watched this one girl take like 100 pictures of herself and when another guy climbed up and started taking his own pictures she actually asked him to get down so she could continue her photo shoot.

I spent all of 15 minutes here before I had enough and left without my picture.

So, here’s the pic of a lovely lady who I’m sure got the perfect IG shot.

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WHERE I STAYED:

I stayed at the Keladi House which I found on Hostelworld. The staff were really nice and they make you really nice breakfast in the morning.

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A girl in my room thought she had bed bugs though, so I kinda freaked out for a moment but at that point I had already slept in the bed so I was like, well if I have bed bugs then I already have them.

I didn’t have any bites on me though and haven’t noticed anything unusual, so I guess I’m good but it’s a friendly reminder to always check your hostel beds 🙂

It was super cheap, about $6 USD a night and very close to the Yoga Barn (and the Klook pick up spot which is why I chose it) so I would say, great location 🙂

GETTING AROUND:

Grab, the app I’ve been using to get around all over Canggu is actually banned in Ubud. I didn’t know that at first, so when I got to my hostel, I called a Grab to take me to Alchemy, and the person came, just kinda hid in a discreet location.

My driver ended up being this sweet 20 year old girl and we became quick friends, so I hired her to drive me everywhere else over the next couple days (the rice terrace, temple, and waterfall, and even all the way back to Canggu)

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me & my sweet lil driver

You can take local taxis too, but I avoid those because they can be expensive and you have to pay in cash and I’m all about that credit life.

IN SUMMARY,

Yes, Bali is amazing. Yes the rice fields and the foods and the yoga and the healthy life and the culture and tradition is incredible, but the Instagram traps and touristy stuff kinda ruin all that for me, so while I loved Ubud, I def felt the pressure to snap, snap, snap, which I’m not so into.

Have you ever been to Ubud? Let me know what you think!

 

 

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