Updated: Jun 6
North Bali is beautiful and very different to the South. It's full of rice paddies, jungles, mountains and amazing viewpoints. We loved it! It was a terrific time where we stayed in amazing places, ate delicious food and managed to see and do lots of incredible things. Here is our guide on what you can expect from Ubud...Spoiler! You're in for a treat!
Ubud is a true testament to North Bali and is an amazing place with lots to do and see. It's full of amazing eats and visual treats that are sure to keep you out on your feet. It also makes the perfect hub for short escapes to Sidemen and Munduk which are nearby.
Here are all-out top spots to see when you visit.
KANTO LAMPO WATERFALL
A beautiful waterfall surrounded by great scenery and the opportunity to get some truly killer photos! The photographers here certainly earn their keep. A modest 50-100k IDR ensure you walk away with some amazing pictures and videos. I have no idea how, but they can film slow-motion videos that look like they're shot on a drone and know the exact effects to make the water look like smoke. They did it all from our iPhone, and gave some top tips on the best posses too! It's incredibly impressive.
One of the best views you can get, aside from the higher MT. Agung. It takes around 1-2 hrs from start to finish, and you have to set off between 2-3 am to reach the summit in time for a marvellous sunrise. The guide tried to get us to sit a little lower down, but we made sure we reached the very top. That's where the best views are. You can sit with some hard-boiled eggs, steamed fresh in the volcanic smoke on the mountain, and watch as the sun comes up.
It's a little brisk on the top so wear clothes you can add and remove with ease, as it gets warm again on the way down. Leave the flip-flops at home for this one too, walking uphill through ash in the dark is a trainers/ walking boots only kind of trek.
If you think there is a common theme of waterfalls in the north, you are correct. This is where the most impressive ones are...Tibumana is among them. There's a lot to visit, but because they're all different it doesn't get too repetitive too quickly. This one is a large waterfall that falls in a neat stream to the lake below.
This impressive waterfall is great to see and even better to get to. You may need to recruit a buddy for pictures because you need to cross the river for the best shots. There is a rope that helps you get across, which makes for some amazing "behind the scenes" videos. As with so many waterfalls in Bali, the views are amazing. The river is clean, not overly strong and is a great place to cool down and relax.
Leke Leke is about an hour outside of Ubud, but it's a great drive. It takes about the same amount of time from Munduk too, so you can do it from either place. It's 50k IDR, which is more than most other waterfalls you can see, and there's a 15-20min jungle trek to get there too. There are places you can swim here to cool down after the jungle trek, and it's a very beautiful area.
WHAT ELSE IS THERE?
Suwat Waterfall: It's nice and there is a raft that has been placed aesthetically for pictures. It's a very nice waterfall, we just preferred the others above.
Campuhan ridge walk: It's a must-do while you are in Ubud. It's a great walk along the ridge looking out at the jungle and rice paddies below. There are better views throughout Bali, but it's still worth a visit.
Monkey Forrest: A fantastic place where you can wander around the jungle and see monkeys roaming free. There are old temples which have been engulfed by the jungle and become indistinguishable from nature itself. Make sure to keep an eye on any belongings while you're there!
White water rafting: It was a pretty tame ride the whole way round, but there are some awesome views.
Bayan ancient tree: It's a very large tree that is worth looking at, but it won't be the thing you rush home to tell your friends and family you saw. You can couple it up with Leke Leke while you're that way too.
WHERE TO EAT?
Canggu is commonly known to foodies as the place to be, but Ubud has some strong competition. Here are some of our favourite places:
Blend: The best smoothie bowl in Bali, and we don't say that lightly...it is a work of art.
Nostimo: One of the best Greek restaurants you're likely to find on the island. Very good, well-priced food.
Wedja: A local gem where you can eat amazing food in an incredibly beautiful setting.
Compounds Warung: A small family run Warung, if you spend over 100k then you get free pancakes.
Suka Espresso: These are found in most major areas in Bali, but it's always good food. They have a bunch of offers and their cakes are amazing too.
Sushi Key: A small cart you would very easily drive past without giving a second glance. Worth a stop for some very good sushi at great prices.
Mamma Mia: A solid Italian with good portions and well-priced food. Not the best Italian food we have had in Bali, but a very good pizza if you're in Ubud.
Anomali Coffee: Great coffee, pastries and food. They make one hell of a cheese toastie.
Opini Kopi Garden: Good breakfast and a beautiful setting.
Bali Board Cafe: One to note down for any cheese lovers out there...which we are! For 200K you're not likely to find a better cheeseboard around.
WHERE WE STAYED
As a cost-saving hack, we tend to stay in places for a month if possible. You tend to get great discounts this way, and you don't need to move your things around a lot. Here's where we stayed and the prices:
Taman Harum: Somewhere that does Ubud justice, as you feel like you're right in nature. The room we had was huge, and the walk through the garden/ courtyard is beautiful. There are plants and trees everywhere and it cost 3million IDR for the month when we stayed there. The only improvement would have been better wifi, but that's about it.
Sandat Home Bali: One of the most authentic places you can find in Ubud, and we are so happy we stayed here. It's a family-run homestay and you are immersed in Balinese culture from the moment you arrive. The family are incredibly kind, can't do enough for you and will often cook as well as provide massages for a mere donation. We would most definitely come back again. It was 750k IDR for 4 nights, but you could get a month here for 3-3.5mill IDR.
Ubud presented something different that we hadn't experienced in Bali so far. It was beautiful, busy (although by local accounts very quiet for what it would usually be) and authentically Balinese. It is somewhere we would love to come back to one day.