Four nights in Ubud
While booking a 10 day holiday to Bali for my brother in-laws wedding, I took advice from a friend to spend a few nights in Ubud before venturing into Legian to spend time with family and friends.
I had never been to Bali before but had heard good things about Ubud and figured that four nights would be plenty. My limited knowledge of Ubud had me thinking that it was mainly a yoga retreat destination with not much to do but relax. I was wrong. There was so much to do and when my four nights were up I realised that I could have spent at least a week there.
There are so many wonderful places to stay in Ubud and I’m sure I didn’t even see half of what the area has to offer however based on my three days of sight-seeing, eating, and relaxing I can recommend a few must-dos when going to Ubud.
Where to stay
Lokha Ubud Resort and Spa
I came across the Lokha Ubud Resort and Spa on Trip Advisor when frantically trying to find accommodation after my original booking at another villa was cancelled due to being double booked. There weren’t many reviews of the Lokha at the time as it was a brand new resort however this appealed to me so I decided to go all out and book a villa with a private plunge pool that overlooked the rainforest and the river below. Mind you, going ‘all out’ is quite achievable in Bali as you can find 5 star accommodation for under $300 per night.
The villa was bliss. I felt like royalty waking up in my Balinese four-post bed each morning, watching the sun pour into the rainforest and hearing the water flow in the river below. Being surrounded by nature was like medicine for the soul.
I usually opt for boutique hotels or B&B’s over big resorts, however the Lokha had a quiet, peaceful and calming ambience which differentiated it from a typical resort.
What to do
Visit Tegallalang rice terraces
Visiting the Tegallalang Rice Terraces is a must-do when in Ubud. Although a tourist hot-spot, the dramatic views of bright green rice paddies sloping across the valley are definitely worth putting up with the crowds. It’s even a good opportunity for the good ‘ol photo for a photo deal (ask someone if they would take a photo of you and then you take a photo for them – no selfie sticks required). There are many nearby cafes that overlook the rice terraces where you can enjoy lunch while taking in the incredible views.
Visit Bali Pulina Coffee Plantation
Located just around the corner from the Tegallalang Rice Terraces, Bali Pulina produces the famous Bali Kopi Luwak, a coffee made from the beans of coffee berries which have been eaten by the Luwak, an Asian palm civet that looks like a cross between a cat and a ferret, then passed through its digestive tract. In other words, the Luwak eats the coffee berries then poops out the beans which are then roasted and ground to making drinking coffee. The coffee is quite expensive to buy, selling for up to $7 a cup at various cafes in Bali. At Bali Pulina you will have a personal guide show you around the plantation while explaining the coffee – making process. The best part is sampling Balinese teas and coffees and eating cassava chips while overlooking the beautiful rice fields. This is all complimentary except for the Luwak coffee which sells for around $5 a cup if you are brave enough to try it.
Take the Campuhan Ridge Walk into Ubud town
The Campuhan Ridge Walk is an easy nature trek and if staying at the Lokha Ubud Resort and Spa, it is only a 20minute trail into town. The views of the Campuhan valley, lined by dense tropical foliage are incredible and the trail feels quite remote without being too crowded with touristsb. Once you arrive in town, wander the streets, browse the markets and stop for a bite at Murni’s Warung.
Treat yourself to a Balinese massage at Karsa Spa
Not only does Karsa Kafe (see below) have amazing food and breathtaking views of rice paddies, it has a day spa which makes it even more of a destination point. For only $14 you can enjoy a 60 Balinese massage in a beautiful, private outdoor hut with traditional Balinese interiors and a shower for rinsing off afterwards. Resorts generally charge a fortune for spa treatments so I highly recommend venturing out to Karsa Spa for a massage and then enjoy lunch and a drink afterwards at Karsa Kafe.
Although there is a lot to see and do in Bali, make sure you leave time to do, well, nothing. Lie by the pool and soak up the tranquil atmosphere or spend a few hours sitting in a hut overlooking the rice paddies while drinking from a fresh coconut. Taking time to stop and appreciate your surroundings will recharge your batteries and have you feeling fresh and alive.
Where to eat
Eating Balinese banana pancakes from a bamboo hut that overlooked the rice paddies became a daily ritual while staying in Ubud.
Karsa Kafe is a short stroll from the Lokha Ubud Resort and Spa and was one of my favourite places to relax and eat authentic Indonesian food. The café is set among rice fields and features bamboo huts built over a pond where you can sit on cushions and spend hours drinking from coconuts, eating juicy grilled corn on the cob for $1.50 and let’ s not forget those Balinese banana pancakes I mentioned.
Naughty Nuri’s Warung
After reading many positive reviews about Naughty Nuri’s Warung, I wanted to see for myself what all the fuss was about. Although we arrived early the restaurant was packed out and luckily some American ex-pats invited us to sit at their table. Roy was the loud, leader of the pack and had a story to tell about everything. Being a local, Roy knew how the restaurant operated and looked after us by yelling across the manic room for the waitress to come and take our order for the famous Naughty Nuri’s pork ribs and cay cay. According to Roy you can’t be shy at Naughty Nuri’s. The staff won’t seat you so you just have to find a seat wherever you can and when you’re ready to order you may have to fight for the attention of the wait staff. The BBQ pork ribs were so finger lickin’ good I didn’t care about the mess I made and I may have even tuned out from Roy’s storytelling as I got lost in my carnivorous activity.
Warung Padi Organic
Set among breathtakingly green rice paddies with the sound of Balinese tickering instrument filling the air, Padi Organic has a magical atmosphere. Kick off your shoes, pull out a cushion and spend the evening dining from a Balinese bamboo hut.
True to the name, the menu features fresh, organic produce, highlighting the restaurant’s philosophy that there is nothing better than going to a restaurant, eating freshly-made food and feeling good about it afterwards.
The Gado Gado is out of this world and the chocolate pie with peanut butter is a must-have too.
Room 4 Dessert
Located next door to Naughty Nuri’s Warung, Room4Dessert is the brain child of New York chef Will Goldfarb and opened its doors just three months ago. A dessert and wine bar, Room4dessert offers a menu of creative and unique desserts with cocktail and wine tastings.
Sitting at the bar becomes a novelty as you watch Will and the chefs prepare the desserts and converse with them as they explain each menu item they serve.
The Remi tasting features a sample of all nine desserts and is perfect to share between two people. Stand outs were the Passion You; R4D style black rice pudding with rambutan, passion and chia seeds, Todo Sobre Mi Coco; coconut milk, coconut cake, coconut candy, ‘tombong,’ and the Cheezus West; Armagnac refined camembert, langsat raisin, no knead-ciabatta, kemangi pesto, rosella.
From the moody ambience to the impeccable service and mind-blowingly amazing desserts Room4Dessert is more than a place to eat, it is an experience.
Hopefully Chef Goldfarb will consider my request to open a Room4Dessert in Sydney.