When I Went To: Ubud, Bali

Last November I was lucky enough to be flew out to Bali with work alongside four of my colleagues. I spent 16 days seeing the sights of Ubud with weekend trips to Canggu, Seminyak and Uluwatu.

I can honestly say it was the best holiday of my life so far!

The trip started out with a pretty epic 18 hour flight to Kuala Lumpa followed by a three hour flight from there into Bali. It was then into a car for another two hours to our accommodation – but every minute was worth it.

We stayed in an Airbnb which was aptly named The White House – I couldn’t of imagined staying anywhere more perfect in such a picturesque place. The whole home was minimalistic with tasteful decor and glass walls and windows wherever possible – giving views of the impressive rice paddies that surrounded it. It sure was luxury, but overall Bali is a fairly inexpensive country so I would definitely recommend splashing out on accommodation.

While Bali is such a tiny island, there really is so much to see and do. Here is what I managed to see and do in just 16 short days and a few little tips for anyone who might be thinking of travelling there.

Where To Go For What

As I was travelling with work I was unsure how much down time I would actually have so it was hard to plan too many activities before we got there. However despite working and only being there for 16 days, we managed to cram a lot in as well as coming back with a pretty impressive golden glow.

Monkey Forest, Ubud – This place costs just pennies to get in and one of my standout memories from the trip. It only takes around an hour to walk around the entire park and allows you to get up close and personal with the primates. However warning the monkeys can become vicious and are known for stealing tourists belongings.

Surfing, Canggu – Surfing is a loose term for what I did in Canggu. I had a surf board in my hands and jumped around a little when a wave came close, but no actual surfing happened. But the waves are big and there are plenty of boards to rent.

Potato Head Beach Club, Seminyak – Ok so there is so much more to see in Bali than a fancy bar and an infinity pool but this beach club is definitely well worth a visit. We spent the afternoon lazing around in the sun, drinking pina coladas out of coconuts – perfect after a long week of exploring. The pool looks straight out onto the beach and is meant to be a perfect location for watching the sun go down.

Mount Batur – When there was mention of climbing an active volcano on this trip I almost counted myself out – it sounded like my idea of hell. But I thought this is a once in a life time opportunity so I just need to grab the bull by the horns…however it wasn’t exactly the excursion we were expecting. We had to set off from Ubud at 2am in the morning in order to make it to the base and up the volcano to see the sunrise at the top at 7am. However after 2 hours of trekking, we reached the top only to be met by thick thick cloud…so no sunrise for us. But the hike itself was fun and definitely something I never imagined I would do.

Rice Fields, Ubud – The rice fields were literally a flying visit for us. We hopped out of the car, snapped a few pictures and got on our way. But they are iconic so definitely worth a visit. Apparently you can cycle round them which I would love to do if I ever visit again.

Luwak Coffee, Ubud – A Luwak is a cat-like animal that eats coffee beans and poos them out. So any guesses on what Luwak coffee is? Yup, coffee made from those beans that have passed through the cat. But honestly it’s so so delicious and can cost up to £70 a cup in swanky London hotels. We visited a plantation that allows you to fully see the process of how the coffee is made, as well as letting you have a go at roasting the beans. At the end we were able to try the coffee as well as a range of around 12 other flavoured teas and coffees…whilst looking over the jungle. Basically it’s a Balinese version of Afternoon Tea and I would recommend it to everyone!

Ubud Water Temple – Religion is a huge part of Balinese culture so when our driver offered to give us a tour of the temple, we simply could not refuse. It was absolutely beautiful and serene. And while I am not a religious person myself I was amazed and in awe of the people who were gathered there to pray and the importance of this temple in their lives. Ladies are asked to cover their legs, but sarongs are provided. Again this is an activity that only takes around an hour.

Jungle Fish, Bali – Another beach club, but this one was definitely my favourite. It had a gorgeous infinity pool that looked over the jungle and sunbathing area as well as offering great food and massages. I think I could have easily spent 16 days at Jungle Fish – it was just pure bliss.

Food

Before heading out to Bali we were concerned about the food and really were not sure what to expect, especially as we had one vegan and a vegetarian in the group. However I can honestly say the food was some of the best I have ever tasted.

It turns out Ubud is basically the vegan/organic capital of the island which was an instant win for our diverse group of eaters. Obviously the trip was a few months back now but I’ve racked my brain to try and remember the best eateries.

Earth Cafe, Ubud- This was actually one of the first places we ate on during the trip and I was very dubious. It was entirely vegan and the jet lag was kicking in. Also to make matters worse there were around 20 geckos on the ceiling and I am terrified of them. However I had a falafel pitta that was delicious and while the portion are small, the taste of the food more than makes up for it. Below the restaurant is also a lovely little shop selling essential oils, incense and body lotions – so well worth a visit!

Sage, Ubud – Sage was super close to where we were staying so became a regular haunt. Their iced tea was great and we found ourselves eating their delicious banana bread on an almost daily basis.

The Shady Shack, Canggu – This was actually a recommendation from a friend but it turns out i’d been following this adorable little place on Instagram before our trip. The whole place is completely veggie and vegan. After a long day of trying and failing to learn how to surf I had an halloumi salad with a fresh berry smoothie (with a dash of vodka) followed by the most delicious vegan dark chocolate pie.

Clear Cafe, Ubud – I have to talk about this place, because of the smoothies and the setting. Clear Cafe is Bali to a T – you take your shoes off when entering, there is water running through the entire restaurant, flower arrangements don the stairs- ahh it’s just bliss! The smoothies are also to die for – I had a peanut butter and chocolate one that I can still taste to this day.

Watercress Cafe, Ubud – We found this little place towards the end of our trip and ended up visiting more than once because the food was just incredible. After a long trek up mount Batur this place served the the best salmon bagel I’ve ever tasted. They also had a huge selection of smoothies and fresh ice cream on offer.

Taco Casa, Ubud –Ok ok so this isn’t strictly Indonesian food but it was hands down the best burrito I’ve ever eaten. Me and the other girls ended up calling in here more than once. Their veggie burrito is to die for!

Mexicola, Seminyak – Mexican food again, but this place was without a doubt my favourite place in the whole of Bali. We started our meal off of course with tequila, followed by fish tacos, cheesy quesadillas, nachos and topped it all off with chocolate churros. The atmosphere was amazing with waiters dancing with guests and I could have stared at the decor all day. A must visit!

Nalu Bowls, Uluwatu – There is no denying it, I like to instagram my food and this was the perfect destination for that. I had a peanut butter (shock) smoothie bowl that was topped with granola, bananas and honey which was absolutely delicious. We ate them while watching some pretty impressive surfers.

 

Tips

  • While there is a lot of westernised food available be sure to try some traditional Indonesian dishes such as Nasi Goreng and Mie Goreng.
  • Be prepared to bargain with locals. The people in Bali were beautiful and friendly and always willing to lend a helping hand, however be sure to work out a price with them before – especially with taxis.
  • Also Über is banned in a lot of areas, so avoid them at all costs if you wish to stay out of danger.
  • Be prepared for insects and animals. This might be an obvious one but it’s not really something I considered before arriving. I was too busy thinking about the idyllic beaches. Spiders, geckos and other creepy crawlies are just a way of life here.
  • No amount of time is enough on this beautiful island, so before you set off make sure you have a rough idea of all the things you want to achieve during your time there, so you don’t leave disappointed.

I could go on forever about this amazing amazing place, but nobody would read a 10 page blog post so I hope I’ve covered the best bits.

If you’re thinking of heading to Bali, I couldn’t recommend it more, I would return in a heartbeat. And while you’re there make sure to squeeze in a trip to Ubud for the best food of your life!

Also I’d love to hear from anyone that’s also been to any of these places 🙂

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