From the minute we arrived in Ubud we fell in love, with the amazingly scenic rice terraces, the happy, friendly locals and the general feeling of health and wellbeing you get from being around all that…. Wellness! It’s one of the places we seriously discussed relocating too and I don’t say that lightly! Being Bali's Cultural Capital there are plenty of learning opportunities as well as plenty of chances to just kick back and relax. Here are a few of the places we visited on our three-day trip with our six year old daughter Piper. (It was most definitely not long enough!).
Ubud is green, the rice fields and the surrounding, luscious jungle give the cultural heart of Bali an “other wordly" feel and we loved our walk along the Campuhan trail. It’s a fairly easy trek so Piper coped ok but make sure you take some sturdy shoes, plenty of water and attempt it either early morning or evening out of the unforgiving Bali sun.
We also had the opportunity to visit a local village, learnig about how the locals live in these beautiful surroundings. We visted a traditional Balinese property, learned about the village bell which is rung to announce a town meeting, and stopped at the place where farmers swap crops for cash or whatever else they need. This really demonstrated how very friendly the people of Ubud are, being welcomed into someones home and spoken to about their life is a humbling experience, the homeowner was also selling pieces of art work but unlike other rural villages we have visited, we felt absolutely no obligation to buy.
Ubud is full of Art and there are many beautiful galleries to visit where you can take home a souvenir or two. We spent time at the Antonio Blanco Museum, the home of the “Dali of Bali” and enjoyed the beautiful grounds and stunning architecture. There's also a lovely restaurant to rest tired little feet and enjoy a cold drink overlooking the well kept grounds. The artists studio which has been preserved exactly as he left it was a great insight into this fascinating mans mind.
Massage parlours and spas can be found all across the island with varying degrees of quality, price and style. We mostly opted for foot massages which were cheap enough to treat Piper toes as well. We also splashed out (around £15) on a balinese massage in our hotel which was simply divine.
I spent a lot of time researching the Monkey Forest, lots of people have had scary experiences with these unpredictable creatures but also many have stated how amazing it is. In the end we caved and found it a lovely place and had no trouble from the cheeky monkeys. That said we spent about an hour before reiterating to Piper not to go near or touch the monkeys so by the time we got in she was rather wary (or perhaps slightly terrified) and made sure to keep her distance. If you take food, water or purchase bananas for your picture to be taken, the monkeys will approach you and they do seem a little aggressive. You have been warned! Keep an eye on little ones, monkeys can seem very friendly and tempting, we noticed a few crying kids who had got too close.
Totally geared towards tourists and similar to markets you will find across the whole of South East Asia it’s a fun place to hunt down souvenirs and Piper loved doing her own negotiating, bartaring away her spending money with the sellers.
This is located quite a way outside of Ubud, as we had a hire car we thought it looked pretty easy to find with the help of Googlemaps. Unfortunately there were a few roads closed so we ended up getting totally lost, driving around as we couldn't figure out the diversion! It did however give us an opportunity to drive through authentic Balinese villages and meet some great people who helped us on our way, it was just one of those family travel experiences where you have to laugh it off and know the memories will stay with us forever!
When we finally arrived at the butterfly farm we had a great time getting up close to many stunning insects. Piper absolutely loved the hands-on area where she was able to hold a huge stick insect, a leaf insect and several huge moths and butterflies. She was in heaven!
Ubud is a vegetarian heaven with many organic, veggie only cafes and restaurants. Our favourite 3 restaurants in Ubud are:
Kismet, gorgeous décor and vegetarian food to die for.
Murnis Warung which was lovely they even served my chicken satay on its very own little BBQ - cute!
Karsa Kafe, just outside of Bali with a very relaxed vibe and yummy pizzas.
We stayed at the Lokha Ubud on the outskirts of town in a 1 bedroom pool vila which was absolutely gorgeous. You can read all our thoughts on the hotel in our Lokha Ubud review.
Have you been to Ubud with kids? We would love to hear about your favourite things to do, just leave us a review!