I’ve been staying in Ubud for almost two months. I’m planning to stay here long term, so I don’t rush myself to visit “the must-visit places in Ubud”. But, I’ve put together a tailor-cut itinerary if you’re only visiting a can only stay there from, say, Friday to Sunday.
People come to Ubud to enjoy the peace and quiet ambience, but you wouldn’t get it if by sticking to Ubud main road. Things you’ll notice at first are chaotic traffic and hot air in the evening.
No worries, though, here are some tips for a serene and tranquil stay in Ubud:
1. Book your stay in Anahata Villas & Spa Resort. It’s about 10 minutes driving from Ubud main road. They provide special packages. For me, the best choice is the Yoga package since you can ask a friend to join you. If you want it only for yourself, it okay, too!
Anahata is the best place to enjoy your morning tea on the balcony as you watch the sunrise crawling over the hills and rice fields in front of your villa, breath the clear air with a slight scent of frangipani and ylang-ylang.
2. It sometimes rains in Ubud, but don’t let the rain stops you from enjoying the area. Put your feet in your running shoes (if you don’t have any, you can buy them at Sport Station in Jalan Monkey Forest), wear your Nike+ SportWatch GPS, start jogging through Ubud main road – Jalan Hanoman – Jalan Monkey Forest – Ubud main road. Your Nike+ SportWatch GPS will say you got through 10k.
3. After running, you’ll want a decent breakfast to grab. Visit Anomali Coffee at Jalan Raya Ubud, they serve a long list of light breakfast items and freshly brewed coffees to start your day. If the shop isn’t busy yet and if you like to try a new thing, you can ask the barista to teach you how to brew a perfect espresso. They are all nice and friendly.
4. Now time to pamper yourself with a Balinese massage. Anahata got a decent therapist at the main building, so you wouldn’t need to go anywhere else to indulge your body with a head to toes massage and a body scrubs. It will release the the sore in your muscles after jogging in the the morning unlike any other day spa in the area. Feels even better if you take a nap afterward.
5. After your nap, dress up and grab a lunch at Tutmak Cafe at Jalan Dewi Sita next to the only football field at Ubud Center. Sit next to the window, order nasi campur Bali, Balinese rice wine and a drink you prefer in the menu. The nasi campur is prepared fusion style, but it’s as good as the authentic one. If you think it’s too early for wine, consider this: the rice wine tastes like a rough moscato. It’s sweet, but rough. The alcohol will kick in the first three sips. But it will decrease gradually as you take the next sips to the bottom, so, drank with moderation, it won’t get you tipsy.
6. Everyday is a nice day to have gelato. Try Gelato Secret, it’s located in Jalan Monkey Forest. Cross over the road from Tutmak. Take a walk to the left, at the end of the road turn right then walk through until you see Gelato Secret fuchsia neon box at your right. Gelato Secret’s Salted Caramel is my favorite. Their chilli gelato also tastes nice. But if you want a no-funny-taste gelato, their matcha and rum raisin are the best. Buy two scoops on a cone. Enjoy it while you’re walking the pedestrian paving blocks heading to Monkey Forest, pretending nobody can see you.
7. Enjoying the trees in Monkey Forest. Yes there is a lot of monkeys in Monkey Forest. Kind of obvious isn’t it? These little devils are both adorable and playful, and they will take a special interest in anything you’re carrying. Put all of your belongings inside your backpack so the monkeys won’t be able to grab it. If you are wearing glasses like me, you can use contact lenses so you won’t miss anything you want to see.
8. After you feel satisfied seeing Monkey Forest, Cafe Lotus and the Balinese dance show awaits for you. Cafe Lotus is located in Ubud main road, next to Starbucks. The dance is interesting -though I wonder why they wear make up that way. And oh! The food was great. I had Sate Gourmet. It is two each of sate lilit kambing (goat), chicken and pork, grilled on skewers with lawar (Balinese mixed vegetables), steamed rice and sambal (chilli paste) it was paired with Jacobs Creek Shiraz Cabernet. It felt like heaven. I could die happily after that dinner.
9. The next morning, you can join the Yoga class at Anahata, have vegetarian breakfast at the Anahata villa on the table next to the rice field. Enjoying morning breeze.
10. You’ll feel fresh after yoga class and vegetarian breakfast in the morning. So you’ll be ready for a sightseeing at the museum. Go to the Antonio Blanco Museum. It’s one of a must-visit places in Ubud. Take a picture of you amongst the gamelan and paintings. Post it on Path, Facebook, or Twitter to show your friends that you’ve been there. ;p
11. At Lunch, go to Naughty Nury’s. It’s located on the left side of Sanggingan Raya road. It serves mostly grilled meat, pork and chicken in Balinese style. I ordered half spare ribs with mixed vegetables and mashed potatoes paired with a bottle of beer Bintang and I love it. You’re going to leave the place with happy tummy. It’s the best spare ribs ever!
12. Visit Bali Bird Park. It’s located in Jalan Serma Cok Ngurah Gambir, Singapadu, Batu Bulan. Yes, it’s a little outside Ubud. But it’s only about 25 minutes driving from Ubud main road. If you like birds, like me, you’ll enjoy the visit. It has a great selection of from all over the region. You can take a photo of you with a friendly cockatoo on your arms. The staffs is also really helpful.
13. For your last night in Ubud, you want your dinner to be the special one, I understand. Go to Pizza Bagus, then, and order a Caesar Salad, a Pizza Bagus and Sangria. All are excellent. The food will not disappoint you.
14. You are not experiencing the whole Ubud if you haven’t tried a Tibetan meditation class, at Yoga Barn. It starts on 8PM to 9PM every Saturday and Tuesday. I came by at the Saturday class. I can’t tell you how it was during my last Tibetan meditation class. I can just say, you had to do it yourself. I also won’t tell you how I felt afterward, because I think the effect is different for everybody.
Let’s say your flight back home is on Sunday morning before lunch. You’ll still have enough time to enjoy the villa and Ubud’s sky in the morning with a bit of this “Don’t want to go back home” feeling. But Ubud will always await for you to be back and enjoy its tranquil and serene ambience.
Of course, this “program” is just my own version. Nothing prevents you from trying dozens of other activities available in Ubud. Be curious, experiment, make friends!
Have you ever been there, by the way? What’s your experience of the place?