January 12, 2016 | talktraveltome | 5 Comments Of all the places we have traveled to, Ubud, Bali is one of our favorite destinations. It’s also the place we spent the most time while traveling and got to know the best. While teaching English, Ubud became our home away from home. It is a cultural center and great place to get a feel for the Balinese way of life. If you’re traveling to Ubud, Bali we’ve created a comprehensive list of things to do while visiting. Some activities are within Ubud and the others are quick 20-30 minute drive outside of the city! 1. Get a Massage: If you’re going to Ubud, getting a Balinese massage should be at the top of your list. For starters, they are some of the best massages we have ever had and to top it off you can get a great massage for about $10 US. Yes, you read that correctly. Where to go? Don’t worry we got you covered… below are our favorite spas. Taksu: A little more expensive (about $30US), but if you want a one of a kind experience and totally bliss-out, Taksu is the place to go. Bali Botanica: For a spa day, Bali Botanic is the place as they have some great spa packages. Putri Bali Spa: As we mentioned above you can get a great massage for about $10 US and Putri Bali is the place we went to get an inexpensive massage. Their Balinese massage is 100,000 IDR. 2. Breathe in and out and do Yoga: Keeping with the Bali spirit, yoga is definitely big in Ubud. There are a ton of places you can get a morning stretch, downward dog and find your center. There is no shortage of yoga studios in Ubud, so we’d suggest going to few and finding the one you like the best. Below are the one’s that we enjoyed while in Ubud, but there are a bunch more, so happy yoga studio hunting! Yoga Barn Bodyworks Also if you want to embrace the yoga experience while in Bali, try to plan your trip around the BaliSpirit Festival. The festival runs from March 19th – March 26th (2017 dates), and takes place throughout Ubud! 3. Great creative and take Batik making class: While walking around Ubud you’ll find plenty of shops selling batik’s, however making your own batik design is a unique experience. Batik, originating in Java Indonesia, is a method of hand-dyeing fabrics and using wax as a dye repellent to cover parts of the design. Learning how to batik takes years of practice, however with the help of an instructor you can create a one-of-a-kind piece. Depending on how creative you want to get, some classes let you create a batik for a small wall hanging or a sarong to wear at the beach! Pudak Wangi: This is where we went to design our batik and we’d highly suggest going! If you want to take a class, you will have to visit the store first as they don’t have a website. Driving from the center of Ubud, it’s located on left side of JI. Raya Sanggingan a little bit past Naughty Nuri’s. Look for the batiks hanging outside. Other companies: Widya Batik Class 4. Design your own jewelry: Now that you’ve got the creative juices flowing, we’d suggest taking a jewelry making class. Chez Monique Jewelry offers classes starting at 450,000 IDR and with the help of your instructors you can make some really cool pieces. If you’re not sure what you want to design they have books to flip through for examples. And don’t be afraid to get creative, the instructors have your back and will make sure you don’t screw up too badly. 5. Bargain at the Ubud Market: Located in the center of Ubud, this market is the place to go for funky souvenirs at an affordable price. However, be prepared to bargain and it goes a long way to learn a few words in Bahasa Indonesia. It’s a bit of a maze so take your time and walk around all the shops. Most of the stores sell similar items like sarongs, dresses and other nicknacks. Also, if you’re looking to get a traditional Kebaya made you can buy fabric, have one of the shops measure you and get it custom made! I got mine on the second floor of the market behind where all the taxi’s park. Not sure how helpful that is, but if you really want a Kebaya made you’ll find someone in that market to help you! 6. Find one-of-a-kind shops walking through Ubud: One of the best things to do in Ubud is walking around town and enjoying all the little shops. While there are a few brand name stores (including four Polo outlets within a few blocks… who knew Polo was big in Bali?!), there are tons of unique shops with handmade clothes, jewelry, crafts and more. We spent many days wandering in and out of stores picking up little trinkets and nicknacks along the way. Here are a few of our favorite shops: LABA: Create beautiful sandals and bags with vibrant fabrics. If you have time you can choose the fabrics you like and design your own shoe or bag. AnjalyBali: They specialize in 100% organic yoga inspired clothing, and this is the place to go to get a bamboo bra. Why would we mention bamboo bras? Well it get’s very hot and humid and bamboo bras breathe a bit better than your conventional Victoria’s Secret. It might have been the best purchase I made (Justine speaking). Utama Spice: An amazing skincare company located in Ubud. All of their products are made with 100% pure natural ingredients. Their products include moisturizers, scrubs, essential oils and our personal favorite the pure peppermint chapstick. Lingsir Paperie: They sell beautiful Balinese handmade paper, stationary, handmade books, frames and hand painted cards. Starship 22: This is probably one of the most unique shops in Ubud. They handcraft sacred geometry jewelry and charms. It’s worth a visit just to look around the shop and see the women in the shop create the jewelry. 7. Visit Tirta Empul: Not far outside of Ubud is one of the most sacred temples in Bali, Tirta Empul. Meaning Holy Spring in Balinese, Tirta Empul is a holy water temple where many of the locals travel to receive purification. Although the predominate religion in Bali is Hindu, they accept and allow people of all religions to visit their temples as they are considered spiritual places of worship and not just for Hinduism. Depending on when you go the pools can get pretty full, but to get the most out of your time at the temple we would recommend going with a local guide. 8. Rice Field Walks: Most people who travel to Bali already know that the rice fields/terraces are a defining characteristic of this island and there are plenty of walks visitors can go on. Tegalalang Rice Terrace: Located about a 20-minute drive from the center of Ubud, the Tegalalang Rice Terraces are one of the most popular and impressive rice terraces. The rice fields and countryside offer a magnificent view and show the traditional side of Balinese life. Campuhan Ridge Walk: Located behind the Grand Palace, this ridge walk is a well-maintained path between a bubbling river and lush rice terraces. During the walk, three are small shops selling drinks as well as some local art. We’d suggest doing this walk early in the morning as their no shade and once the sun comes up gets very hot. We ended our walk at Karsa Kafe for a much-needed coconut. 9. Mingle with the locals: The Balinese people are some of the most amazing people we have ever met. They are extremely approachable, kind and helpful. When we rented a motorbike we had a little accident on our second day scooting around. When we fell, Nick broke his sandal and before we could stand back up there was already a group of locals offering us help. One man even offered Nick the shoe off of his own foot. Needless to say, this is a little bit of a different reaction then we would have received if we fell in NYC (where we would have probably been honked at for slowing traffic). Anyway, while in Ubud we would highly suggest striking up a conversation with some of the locals. They’ll love being able to practice their English with you! 10. Watch a movie at the first organic movie theater: This may be a bold statement, but our favorite place in Ubud is Paradiso. It is an organic movie theater that is set up like a huge living room. The seats are couches and lounge chairs making you feel like you’re right at home in front of your very own movie theater. They also serve great meals, popcorn, smoothies, and coconuts! We became frequent visitors to watch the latest Game of Thrones episode every Wednesday night. Oh and did we mention it’s air conditioned?! 11. Go chasing waterfalls: The Tegenunhan Waterfall is about 20-minute drive from Ubud and is surrounded by a lush green forest. When arriving at the waterfall you will have to climb down some steep steps and cross over some rickety bridges made of only bamboo and rope, but once you get down to the bottom the trip will be worth it! 12. Climb a Volcano: So this one might not be right near Ubud, but it’s an easy day trip to take and absolutely worth it. Mt. Batur is a volcano located about 2 hours outside of Ubud. You can book a car to take you at 2:00 AM which allows you to make the summit by sunrise. It might sound daunting to climb a volcano that early in the morning, but if we can get our asses out of bed in the middle of the night so can you! For more on our experience climbing Mt. Batur check out our Sunrise from The Top of Mt. Batur blog post. 13. Watch live music: You may not expect it but, Ubud is home to several great places to watch live music. Just grab your motorbike, drive around and you’ll be sure to hear bands playing. We usually went to Laughing Buddha! 14. Gianyar Night Market: The Gianyar Night Market is set-up every night and has a little bit of everything. There are great food stalls, especially the desert stalls when you first walk in! You must try the green ball things covered in coconut flakes… We not sure what they’re called but they are delicious! You can also pick-up clothing, shoes and anything else you might need. 15. Indulge in some dessert: While living near Ubud we heard about this place that specializes in hand-made desserts so we knew we had to go and indulge our sweet tooth! Room 4 Dessert is located on Jalan Sanginggan and has some out of this world desserts! Their menu changes regularly, but we loved the Brioche French Toast and Creme Brulee. You can also do tastings of either a half (430,000 IDR for two people) or full portion (825,000 IDR for two -four people) of all nine desserts. For Bali, it’s on the expensive side but extremely delicious. When you walk-in don’t forget to look-up and check out the ceiling! 16. Kecak Fire Dance and Trance: This is probably one of the more interesting things to see while visiting Ubud. Kecak is a form of Balinese dancing and chanting combined with storytelling. During the performance, music will is created by chanting or “ke-chak” by a choir of men sitting in concentric circles, swaying, standing up and laying down throughout the performance. The story being performed is from the Ramayana. At the end of the performance, they also have one of the members walk over hot coals! Cost: 75,000 IDR per person. 17. Play with Monkeys at Monkey Forest: One of the most famous places in Ubud is the Sacred Monkey Forest Temple. It is exactly what it sounds like: a temple in a forest that is home to hundreds of monkeys. If you’ve ever wanted to get up close and personal with some wild monkeys this is the place to do it! The monkeys are free to move around but have become very accustomed to seeing tourists. So much so that you better be careful with anything shiny. They’ll walk right up to you and steal your phone if you’re not careful. Instagram Moment: If you want a great picture with your furry friends, hold a banana over your head (they sell them in the forest), and a monkey will climb your body and sit on your shoulder! Just don’t let them bite you or you’ll be in for a few rabies shots. 18. Eat some great food: One thing we were blown away by in Ubud was the number of diverse places you can get a meal. They have plenty of local warungs where you can taste the local cuisines, but when we started craving other foods we were happy to know we could get great international meals as well. For more of our favorite places to eat check out our Ubud Guide to Eating! 19. Drink Kombucha: Kombucha is a type of fermented tea drink that is supposed to have many health benefits and can be found throughout Ubud. With a sour taste, it’s not for everyone, but it turned out to be one of our favorite drinks! Confiture de Bali located in Ubud is known for their handmade jams, but they also sell bottles of Kombucha at a very reasonable price! You can also bring back your bottles to get some money off on your next bottle of Kombucha. 20. Visit Nyuh Kuning: While living in Bali for three months, we lived in the small village of Nyuh Kuning, located right outside Ubud. It’s a very small village but is home to some of the most caring and amazing people we’ve ever met. While in Bali we volunteered and taught English at the Bumi Sehat Youth Center, however the Youth Center is just one of the many things that Bumi Sehat is doing to improve Bali. The Bumi Sehat Foundation was founded by Robin Lim (2011 CNN Hero of the Year) and is an incredible organization that believes the access to quality healthcare and kind, hygienic, culturally appropriate childbirth is a human right. Robin and the Bumi Sehat Foundation are devoted to improving the quality of life of the Balinese people and beyond. Outside our home in Nyuh Kuning! 21. Bonfire at Dragonfly Village: If you want to embrace a little healing and get that hippie feeling while in Ubud head over to Dragonfly Village for their bonfires on Wednesday, Thursday (silent), Saturday or Sunday from 6-9pm. We went and it was an unique experience to say the least! We found ourselves in steam sauna which included about eight other people and a bongo drum… let’s just say things got very interesting. They also have a saltwater swimming pool and you can order food and drink tea while sitting around the bonfire. Bonus: the admission cost includes a sarong that you can keep! 22. Learn to cook Indonesian food: While in Ubud there is no shortage of Indonesian restaurants, but why not take it to the next level and learn how to cook like the locals?! There are many companies that offer cooking classes, and for those interested, TripAdvisor has a pretty comprehensive list of where you can go for cooking class. 23. Take a salsa class: Did we just suggest taking a salsa class while visiting Southeast Asia?! Yes we did! When we went out in Ubud, we regularly ended up at the same restaurants that the Salsa Club was showing off their new rhythmic moves. Although we never took a class, the people in the class looked like they were having a blast and would suggest giving it a try if you’re brave enough! 24. Rent a motorbike: The best way to get around Ubud is hands down on a motorbike. It gives you the freedom to move from place to place and to go out and explore. However, if you’ve never ridden a motorbike before, take your time to get comfortable before hitting the VERY busy streets of Ubud. A lot of visitors get in motorbike accidents, which is apparent when you see people with cuts and scraps. We’d suggest practicing down a small side street to go overturning, stopping and getting a feel for the motorbike. Also before riding, go and watch the locals ride and see what hand signals or gestures they use while riding. Costs of renting a motorbike vary from place to place. You can get a huge discount renting a motorbike for a month or more. A three-month rental cost us 500,000 IDR per month, however we also rented for three days and it cost us 200,000 IDR. It doesn’t make any sense, but that is how it was all over Bali. 25. Listen to health talk: With so many yoga studios, spas, healing centers within Ubud you can take advantage of a variety of health talks or wellness classes that are offered on a weekly basis. Here are few places that offer health talks/classes: Taksu Spa Yoga Barn Radiantly Alive Amrtasiddhi 26. Drink a cat-poo-cincho: If you’ve seen the Bucket List, starring Jack Nickelson and Morgan Freeman, then you’ve most likely heard about Kopi Luwak aka the most expensive coffee in the world! Kopi Luwak is produced from the coffee beans that have been digested by a cat-like animal known as the Luwak. So basically you’re drinking coffee from cat shit! It can cost up to $100 – $600 per pound, but while you’re in Bali you can try it for a fraction of the cost. Oka Argo Wisata 27. Visit the greenest school on Earth: The Green School, located about 30 minutes outside of Ubud, is pioneering sustainability within education. Children learn in open air classrooms, showcasing the importance of being surrounded by nature where students develop green habits. Within the Green School campus you can find bamboo buildings, permaculture gardens, a bird sanctuary, designated compost areas and much more! They offer campus tours (click link for costs) weekdays at 2:45 pm and weekends at 10:30 am. It’s absolutely worth seeing to open your eyes to another form of education. 28. Sip on as many fresh coconuts as you can: Last but not least, while in Ubud you should drink as many coconuts you can get your hands on! We went coconut crazy while in Bali and you find them just about anywhere! It’s hot and humid in Bali, so you should be mindful of staying hydrated and what better way than with a coconut!