The Ubud Guide for Wellness Enthusiasts
Ubud is the cultural hub of Bali, the epicenter of holistic health, spirituality and over the last couple of years, yoga. Locally sourced, healthy, fresh produce is easy to come by, it is restaurants in Ubud that really started the raw, vegan and vegetarian food revolution and culture here in Ubud.
Although yoga originates from India, Bali and more specifically, Ubud has more recently drawn in yoga practitioners and teachers from all over the world to practice on the Island of the Gods. We are giving you a low down on everything you need to know about getting out and about in Ubud and making the most of your stay here.
Ubud is a small town, with lots going on – usually in the “central” area – the circle of Jln. Raya Ubud, Monkey Forest Road, Jln. Hanoman (and Dewi Sita/ Jln. Goutama) which cut through Monkey Forest and Jln. Hanoman.
All of these areas are walking distance away and filled with restaurants, spas and shops. There is no public transport in Ubud, but there are drivers everywhere (you can’t miss them; they shout TAXI at everyone who walks past) who can drive you further afield by scooter or car. Remember, prices in Bali are ALWAYS negotiable and you should negotiate the price BEFORE you leave with your driver, not at the end of your journey! Most people in Ubud and Bali ride motorbikes. If you want to hire a bike it would cost you about IDR 50,000 per day, or less if you hire it for 1 month. Wherever you stay in Ubud, your homestay owner or hotel staff will be able to rent a bicycle or a motorbike to you or help you with arrangements.
When you first get to Bali you might want to buy a local SIM card with Telkomsel, a good quality service provider that you can slip into your phone and post, tweet, hashtag all you want. It is easy and cheap to top up for internet or “PULSA” which is phone credit on little stores across Bali – mostly outside any Mini Mart or Alfamart you see, you will be able to top-up your phone credit!
From cute Balinese-style homestays to luxurious hotels, there is somewhere perfect to suit all budgets and desires! Whether you are looking for something centrally located, more picturesque and tranquil or for an ultimate luxury getaway. Here are our favorite stays in Ubud:
Central Ubud Hotels and Resorts
Bebek Tepi Sawah Villas are boutique Balinese style villas overlooking verdant rice paddy fields, decorated with selected paintings and artifacts by Ubud’s famous artists. On the Spirit Shuttle bus route, only 5 to 20 minutes drive away from the festival venues. Just across from the nighttime venue and Spirit Shuttle stop at ARMA is The Grand Sunti Ubud, where modern simplicity meets Balinese harmony, surrounded by rice paddies and villages. Relax with a choice of 3 swimming pools and massages available. We also love the brand new MaxOne Hotels on Jln. Pengoseken, with modern architecture and pop art culture influences throughout and only 800 meters from Monkey Forest. Also on the same road, a walk away from everything is The Evitel Resort, a large expansive property of modern luxury rooms with rice terrace views.
Ubud Picturesque Scenery Accommodation
Tjampuhan Spa, is a legendary and original Balinese hotel since 1928! Just a short walk from central Ubud, Tjampuhan is a timeless landscape of natural beauty, a true artistic heritage site encompassing Balinese spirit. Just further up on the main road (Jln. Raya Ubud) is the beautiful Beji Ubud Resort, a middle range boutique hotel with enough space, peace and tranquility. The stylish and contemporary Roam Ubud, set up in the Artisan village of Penestanan is a co-working and co-living space a little further out from central Ubud. Each with private bathrooms and surrounded by rice fields, cafes and other friendly travelers and residents. Sapu Lidi Resort Spa and Gallery, is located further out in Ubud Mas area giving you space to truly feel one with nature. There are 38 Balinese style villas designed in a zen environment perfect for those who want to fully escape, switch off and relax. Also on our list for epic scenery is Royal Casa Ganesha Hotel and Spa, a serene, calm hotel which has spectacular views with a luxury spa on site, close to Sthala Ubud in Lodtunduh, with incredible tropical natural scenery. (Please note: the Spirit Shuttle does not stop at these locations, however, the staff will help you arrange transport to the festival venues.)
Ubud Luxury Resorts
Maya Ubud Resort and Spa is a stunning, environmentally sustainable ultimate luxary resort with a wide variety of settings in an immaculate, natural and beautiful setting.
Plataran Ubud is an expansive luxurious property where accommodation is set way back among the rice terrace fields and beautiful manicured gardens for relaxation – a short walk from the nighttime venue, ARMA.
Embedded in lush Balinese gardens the ARMA Resort provides an elegant, tranquil and serene environment, a genuine refuge for people seeking a tropical escape.
Ubud Restaurants and Cafés
Ubud is jam packed with restaurants, from cosy health cafes to local Indonesian warungs to fine dining, it is always hard to choose where to go as there are so many options! A couple of our recommended MUST-eats are:
Alchemy, located up in Penestanan village is the first raw vegan restaurant. A beautiful, stylish and minimalist interior serving salad buffets for morning fruit and granola smoothie bowls to tasty afternoon salads. Alchemy is a much loved Ubud institution and a must-see for anyone visiting.
In central Ubud, located 2 doors down from one another, you can’t miss two of our favorite restaurants on Jalan Hanoman – KAFE and Kebun. KAFE is one of the oldest and first restaurants in the raw, healthy vegetarian movements in Ubud. A comfy, homely and family focused café, with its laid back vibe and happy atmosphere, open from 7am until 11pm. Next door is the fabulous Kebun, bringing the Mediterranean to Bali. With a large selection of fine wines, tapas, sea food and French inspired patisseries, Kebun is one of our firm favorites for indulging on cocktails and late night dining.
Just a short walk up the road from KAFE is Earth Cafe and Market – a vegetarian-vegan shop and restaurant providing for all your healthy food and lifestyle needs.
Other food and drink you can find around Ubud or at the festival:
- You can’t visit Bali without trying a classic and deliciously refreshing Indonesian drink – Teh Kotak. Made from best quality local tea leaves and jasmine and made through traditional tea brewing process. Also we love that their packaging is eco-friendly and sustainable!
- Fresh cold-pressed, healthy elixir juices and smoothies: try them from The Juice Bar (at The Yoga Barn), Alchemy or Earth Cafe
- In case you didn’t know, Bali has amazing ice-cream! Indonesia’s largest and highly ethical ice-cream manufacturer, Campina is one of our favorites with their abundance of fresh fruity flavors. Another must try is Bali’s own “East Meets West” artisanal gelato and non-dairy sorbetto creations, Gelato Secrets. Vegan ice cream? Mind blown? Yes, it exists, it is delicious and we have it! At BaliSpirit Festival quirky vegan popsicle brand, Mad-Pops Bali will be selling their irresistable and locally sourced, natural tropical fruits pops and Bali’s much loved vegan designer gelato creations, KOKOLATO (our favorite is red velvet!) will also be there.
Yoga in Ubud
If you feel you want MORE yoga before or after The BaliSpirit Festival, check out these 2 centrally located yoga studios in Ubud offering a wide range of classes: The Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive.
The Yoga Barn is the biggest yoga studio in Bali with over 100 classes and workshops to choose from every week and hosting the increasingly popular Ecstatic Dance every Friday night and Sunday morning. Hosting a range of workshops from BaliSpirit Festival presenters throughout the week from March 20th – 24th and hosting Ana Forrest and Jose Calarco’s highly anticipated weekend workshop on Saturday and Sunday, 25 – 26th March. If you would prefer a more intimate and smaller yoga studio,Radiantly Alive is a cool, urban yoga studio that includes unique classes like anti-gravity SKY YOGA and Tibetan Heart Yoga.
Massage and SPA
Ubud is the place for ultimate relaxation and spas. Massages may be shouted at you left right and center if you stroll down Monkey Forest Road, however our favorite’s are: KUSH Ayurvedic Spa (at The Yoga Barn) and Fresh! SPA. You also should not miss the award-winning massage by Jari Menari who will be at BaliSpirit Festival! Jari Menari has a male-only team who use yoga style stretches to manipulate, open and release the body. If you don’t get the chance to have a massage during the festival, then you can conveniently drop by Jari Menari on your way to leave Bali – Jari Menari is only a short drive from the airport.
Ubud is packed with shops, from the famous Ubud Market on Jln. Raya Ubud to the plenty of boutique shops, jewelry, clothes and homeware along Dewi Sita, Monkey Forest Road and Jln. Hanoman. Conscious shopping is a big part of BaliSpirit Fesitval’s ethos at the Dharma Fair and we represent fair and ethical brands which sell clothes and accessories to compliment your yoga lifestyle. We love the Aum Rudraksha malas made from sacred Rudraksha beads and empowered with healing energy and sacred stones. Another beautiful jewelry collection is Sudiana Designs made by Balinese artist Made Sudiana, handmade in Bali using a wide range of unique materials from silver, brass to feathers and wood.
For clothes, we love Bali Yoga Shop and WE’AR for good quality, super comfy, stylish and ethical clothing to wear on and off the mat. WE’AR is located on Jln. Monkey Forest and Jln. Hanoman. Bali Yoga Shop can be found on Jln. Hanoman (next to Kebun), inside the Yoga Barn and on Jln. Dewi Sita and has a wide range of yoga and spiritual books, props, CDs, clothes and accessories.
We all get festival blues when BaliSpirit Festival ends… But there are a wide range of exciting yoga, meditation, massage and spiritual lifestyle workshops, trainings and events for you to take part in across Bali with your favorite BaliSpirit Festival 2017 presenters. See the list here.
Must-Visit Ubud and Bali Sights
Ubud Traditional Art Market
Located on Jln. Raya Ubud, the always busy and lively market sells everything and anything, have a wander through and be ready to barter!
Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary
At the bottom of Monkey Forest Road is a beautiful and spiritual sanctuary of 12.5 hectares of forest with around 700 monkeys roaming around. Be careful not to look them in the eye!
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
walk through the large beautiful, scenic and most popular tourist destination in Ubud.
Tirta Empul Water Temple
Tirta Empul is a famous Balinese Hindu temple with holy water springs flowing into an open bathing area. Many people visit Tirta Empul for purification rituals.
Don’t let the 2am wake-up call put you off! Join a group and hike up the impressive volcano to watch the sunrise with monkeys at the top of Mount Batur, truly breathtaking.
There are spectacular waterfalls all over Bali, the closest one to Ubud is Tegenungan Waterfall with a huge bathing area to swim in, you just have to make it down all the steps!
Traditional Balinese Dance
Although you will traditional Balinese dance at the festival, we still recommend you see ancient Hindu storytelling through beautiful Balinese dance at Ubud Palace or one of the other Ubud temples every evening at 7pm. There is a different performance every night so you can go back again and again!
You will see that the Balinese are very warm and friendly people. If you ever want to know more about things to do, places to go or you are curios about the Balinese ceremonies and culture, then just ask! 🙂
Written by: Maeve Nelligen