Ubud, Bali: Our Eat Pray Love Experience
So, Bali, huh? Either you just watched Eat Pray Love for the first time or you have seen breathtaking images all over your social media channels, Bali is calling your name. I don’t blame you – it was calling ours too.
After researching when to visit Bali, we decided to pull the trigger. After college graduation, we and our friends spontaneously booked a trip to Bali exploring these three areas: Ubud, Canggu, and Uluwatu.
We’re excited to share with you all why Ubud is a must visit if you are coming to Bali. With tons of food options, countless waterfalls, rice terraces, fancy villas, and the nicest locals, you’ll discover that you’re in for a treat.
Let me first start off with where we stayed in Ubud…
You’re probably wondering where to stay in Bali. Well, you have plenty of options ranging from low-cost hotels to fancy villas. Our first taste of Ubud started with our Airbnb, which was impressive. A pool facing the jungle of Ubud, an open layout styled villa, AND a house staff to accommodate the guests – you’re probably thinking…DAMN. What a view!
Our Airbnb had 3 bedrooms, an open kitchen, living room and a large infinity style pool facing the jungle high up from the main road.
Fun fact about this place: this villa is entirely outdoors, except for the bedrooms!
This was ideal for us rather since we got to experience living in a Balinese styled villa.
On top of the amazing design, and friendly house staff, it also came with our very own personal driver that picked us up from the airport and dropped us off. The amount of days and time you want to book your driver is entirely up to your discretion. Having a local driver, made our travels so much easier, and even fun since he joined us at some of our stops! (Hint: don’t forget to tip these drivers!)
The hospitality of this place is more than anyone can imagine. Expect to be treated like royalty while enjoying a Balinese adventure.
So you’re probably wondering…how much did they spend on this place? Well, you’ll be surprised when we tell you that in total this place was $532 for two nights. We had a group of 6 people which made this cost doable. Traveling with larger groups is ideal to experience the luxury Bali has to offer, while still maintaining a budget. Explore our amazing villa here.
The Sanctuary Monkey Forest
The Sanctuary Monkey Forest is an absolute must…if you can handle it! For those who dare to spend time with these monkey’s, expect to be on the lookout. The most enjoyable time at the monkey forest is watching these beautiful animals in their habitat. Be warned, these monkeys have NO shame. They will grab just about anything!
Avoid wearing hats, sunglasses, or anything that isn’t tightly fit on you. Also, don’t stare or point at the monkeys straight in the eye.
Tip one of the workers to have a monkey jump on you to grab their food! This place is well worth it and it’s quite big, be ready to explore the forest for an hour or more.
We’ll start off by saying SAVE MONEY to shop in Ubud. There are a ton of flea markets spread out sporadically through the town. They have so much to offer with a variety of beautiful local handcrafts and touristy souvenirs that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. The special part about these flea markets are that they’re ran by local Balinese artisans, selling their colorful handmade clothes, plates, art, face scrubs, and more!
As you can imagine, negotiating is the essential business tactic here. Try to get a good deal with the seller, but be reasonable and don’t be disrespectful.
We can say we were quite the collectors at these flea markets. From getting a handmade Balinese dress, jewelry, coconut made bowls, and even the famous Balinese round woven bags all at a good price, was quite the steal. Go shop & get your gems!
The Yoga Barn
Yoga may not be a must-do activity for the average tourist, however, if you’re really going after the Eat Pray Love experience, you’ll have to try it! It’s also affordable, starting at around $9 per class. After all, what better place to try yoga than in Bali, aka every yogi’s paradise?
Yoga is personally very special to us, and a practice we do 4-5 times a week. So, going to the Mecca of Yoga in Bali was a priority.
The Yoga Barn is the biggest and most popular studio in Ubud with a dozen of classes to choose from, a restaurant, a juice bar, and a treatment room.
We started off our day attending a vinyasa flow in one of the bigger rooms with 60+ yogis. This yoga experience felt like an oasis of bamboo, colorful flowers, and a forest facing us as we practiced. After class, we completed our session with a vegan smoothie at the juice bar located straight outside from the check-in.
We left the Yoga Barn feeling inspired and in the most relaxed state of mind. Start your morning getting into the tranquil spirit with a vinyasa flow to really get you in the Ubud vibe.
Where to Eat
Ah, finally the food part. We were wondering around the shops in Ubud when we came across Toro Sushi. The menu was so diverse in selections that we had to get it all. The food was indescribable! If you aren’t a big sushi eater, they also had rice bowl options.
We got to dine outside facing the shops while people roamed around them.
Our favorite item on the menu was the Lobster roll – which took sushi presentation on a whole other level!
Prices were fair, can’t complain. If you are sold, take a stop here.
Not saying sushi in America isn’t great (because it is!), but the sushi here tasted so fresh and the family-owned service style was impeccable. It’s no wonder they are ranked #2 on trip advisor for sushi in Ubud, Bali.
Tegalalang Rice Terraces
Ubud is famous for its many rice terraces along the city. These rice terraces are rice paddies that spread down on the slopes across the valley. Some rice terraces are less-touristy than others and others are well worth the visit. However, the Tegalalang Rice Terrace is one of the most common ones for a reason! This one is widely spread out, and the scenic views are incredible. Start from the lower end by taking the stairs down, and then walk along it until you go higher up.
You’ll discover local vendors selling fruit, ice-cream, refreshments and asking for donations to help keep the terrace maintained (partake in this – grab a fruit bowl & donate).
It tends to get muddy and wet so make sure to bring comfortable covered shoes. Don’t make the same mistake we did! (comment below if you want to find out what happened to us, LOL).
Overall, the beautiful scenery is mesmerizing and something to appreciate.
Side note: Don’t waste your time on the swing that’s been publicized on Instagram. It is a tourist trap ($25 for a 10 second swing ride) and the lines are too long.
There are so many waterfalls in Bali. Too many to see unless you plan on staying in bali for a month, seeing every waterfall is just not possible. Do your research and plan which ones seem the most appealing to you. Keep in mind, Bali is very spread out and traffic is horrendous. Plan ahead when visiting each waterfall destination.
The Tegenungan Waterfall is magical. It’s also one of the more accessible waterfalls and not far from the main center of Ubud. It is not located in a mountainous area, so getting here is about 10 kilometers outside of Ubud. Our personal driver joined us, and did the hike down with us. As you are hiking down, notice these signs that value their religion.
As humid as Bali can be, you’ll want to feel the misty water on you. So stand close and take it all in..
Pura Tirta Empul Temple
The Tirta Empul temple is a Hindu Balinese water temple. This temple consists of a petirtaan or bathing structure, very famous for its holy spring water where Balinese Hindus go to for their ritual purification.
This temple was spread out by rituals and prayers in session, and people bathing in the water. In our experience, it was truly magical to witness this.
As traditional as temples are, be prepared to respectfully cover yourself up (both women & men). They offer fabrics that you can wrap around your waist. This temple did have a small entrance fee, but for what it was, it was 100% worth checking out.
So there you have it. Our Ubud experience. If we could go to Bali again, we definitely would spend more time in Ubud. We underestimated how much there is to do in Ubud! From trendy vegan foods to lemon pilsner Radlers, fancy villas, a million rupiahs, Ubud steals hearts. There’s a reason this hidden gem stays popular on the exotic places to visit.
Consider visiting and if you do, we hope you have your own Eat Pray Love experience!
Comment below if you have any questions, thoughts, or simply just want to share your Ubud experiences with us.