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So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

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So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

Hi TAers! Happy Friday!

We love Bali & are about to begin planning our 2nd annual MonoWilli family ChilLaxCation! YAYYYYYY

Last time we did Seminyak, Jimbaron then Sanur over 14 days. Had an amazing holiday and would go back in a heart beat to experience this magical place. I dream of the day we will return!

This time will be 11 nights - 5 of which will be back in Sanur cause we LOVE the place.

I would like to spend the rest of the time in Seminyak as I loved the shopping & cool vibe. Plus if we stay at Kerobokan we love wandering around the back street seeing cows grazing & whole families on scooters.

Please tell me about Ubud though...

Is it magic? (in the sense that I will fall in love all over again?) Is there plenty of sights to see in terms of walking around and people watching? Cool cafe's with some shops. Is it quite easy to get around either by walking or grabbing a cab? Will it be 'worth' it to drive the 90 mins each up there with a whingy, car sick & upset 5 year old?

I don't think we'll miss the coast or beach but will need a great place to stay with swimming pool plus a variety of places to eat within a small walk (think 5 year old whinging again).

Please tell me what utterly captivates you about Ubud and any suggestions on if you think it's too far with a vomitty kid (we take travel calm tablets but sometimes they don't work).

Thank you for indulging my Bali fantasies as I look out the office window onto grey, rainy old Sydney.

: )

Melbourne, Australia
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1. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

I just wanted to comment on "ChiLaxcation" I love that word!

I have been to Ubud for only 2 nights last year and loved it, definitely worth going but I will let others who have spent more time there fill you in.


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2. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?


Love your word too!! I am going to be the "odd one out" here! I do not like Ubud! Too hilly, poor footpaths, too many big tourist buses, think the Monkey Forest is over rated. Market stall holders can be very "serious" about getting your business!

That said, there are many who will respond with exactly the opposite point of view.

Having a child, who is not a good traveller, can be quite a worrying time for you. I would not recommend you "stay" in Ubud this time around, plan a day trip, to have a squiz and you will soon "feel" whether it is a destination your whole family would love to stay, play and explore!

Have fun deciding!



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3. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

i agree with wendy about too steep, bad paths, nasty monkeys, far too crowded during the day, traffic jams etc.


i do like the restaurants at night, stay somewhere like greenfields and you get the rice paddys accross from your room, ducks,peasants etc. they also give you free drop off and pick up to restaurants. during the day avoid ubud central by doing bali bike ride day trip, white water rafting, treetops adventure park.

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4. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

Is there plenty of sights to see in terms of walking around and people watching? Cool cafe's with some shops. Is it quite easy to get around either by walking or grabbing a cab? Will it be 'worth' it to drive the 90 mins each up there with a whingy, car sick & upset 5 year old?

in a word...... yes. But certainly not for 1 day with a whingy child.

If you want to enjoy Ubud, stay a week, away from Monkey Forest Rd. There you will experience magic, cool cafes, everyday, serene Bali life and absolute pleasure. I Even your child will be captivated.

f you drive up to Monkey Forest Rd, walk up and down the hill and then drive home, you may as well have stayed in Kuta and like others will say... Ubud stinks.

Leeds, UK
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5. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

Completely agree with bosslady and Wendy (may I say you're both looking lovely this morning ladies) about the negative aspects of Ubud. The pavements are terrible and I've seen people fall flat on their face. I've nearly done it myself thanks to a rogue dollop of dog excretia which sent me pavement surfing for a couple of metres. The traffic in the daytime can be terrible as bus loads of Japanese tourists appear from nowhere, curtains on the bus closed so they can't see a thing as they pull into the Dirty Duck restaurant. The monkeys around the monkey forest aren't the best behaved. You get hassled for transport all the time. It rains a reasonable amount.

But on the flip side, the centre has your cafe culture, spas and shops a-plenty. There are some excellent restaurants to while the night away in. The centre is about a kilometre square, so easy to get around providing you look where you're walking. The dance and music shows are fascinating. You can get reasonably priced accomodation for quite a good standard. It's an excellent base for trips and touring around. And if you make the effort to get out of the centre, there is some spectacular lush tropical scenery, rice fields, cool gorges.

I used to be a pretty dedicated beach bum, but Ubud calls me back every time. And yes, get yourself a nice hotel with a good pool for some relax time. If you can suggest what your budget is, we may be able to help with suggestions.

If you actually go to Sanur first, then it's only about 45 mins to Ubud from there, thus minimising vomiting time certainly on the way there, allowing you to stock up on plastic bags in Ubud for the return journey to Seminyak.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

Noodles, this just cracks me up, I love it!

"The traffic in the daytime can be terrible as bus loads of Japanese tourists appear from nowhere, curtains on the bus closed so they can't see a thing as they pull into the Dirty Duck restaurant".

Sydney Australia
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7. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

I’m with everyone else in regards to the negatives about Ubud. Though seriously I could tic for tac Kuta/Legian/Seminyak with Ubud with for all the negatives, plus some.

So with that in mind.......

Memories of Ubud are always tinged in green and softened by mist. The sound of monkeys calling floats up from the valley early in the morning. Dusk falls and gradually you can see firefly’s skipping along the top of the rice shoots, see them gather in the trees?

Little cafes full of cakes, funky shops with clothes that the stall holders around Legian want to touch if I wear them down south. “Where did you get this?” they ask, “Ubud” I tell them and they nod their heads.

Monkey Forest Road is long and steep. I’m hot and bothered but always it’s worth the trek, even if it’s just for ice cream and sparkly shoes!

Transport? Transport? No thanks….

Still walking and shopping and eating and drinking and chatting.

Yes the markets are crazy, as I write my eyes light up… I absolutely love to hate the Ubud markets; they are exhausting in the most intense way!

Back to my hotel, it’s not far from the rat race but it’s an oasis of quite. I float in the pool and relax to the sound of wind whispering through the palm trees and rice fields. Oh no! Monkeys around the pool someone help!

Water travels in the gully below and my room has the most amazing view, have I turned into a princess?

Dusk falls and the frogs begin their nightly chorus, quick look another firefly!

Tomorrow I might walk through the rice fields. Smooth dirt tracks meander through the green and yellow butterflies run ahead of me. Walking around here feels like I've stepped back in time.

Yes I do love Ubud.

Here's a link to photos of our last trip to Ubud. It was only for three days, not nearly enough time, but better than going to Bali and not staying there at all!


Ubud is definitely worth it for your daughter.

If you can splurge for one night stay at Taro Elephant park WOW! Bali Zoo is very kid friendly, art lessons at Museum Puir Lukisan. My kids have seen a lot of temples over the years and they both loved Pura Gunung Kawi (spring temple) perfect introduction for little kids. (lots of pictures on my blog under 2010)

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8. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

Ubud is like any village or city. If you go to the main drag it is great for the first 20 minutes. It is not until you venture out just a little further that you get to see the real magic. I would not be surprised if you could not see what the big deal was if you just visited the market for the afternoon,

You need to stay somewhere with breath taking views of a valley. This time we are staying at the Komaneka on Monkey Forest Road for access to the buzz of Ubud for two days (including candle lit restaurants with fabulous gardens) but we are also staying at the Royal Pita Maha for those magnificent views that will sooth the soul.

Last time we stayed at the Michi Resort. Which had spectacular views of the rice paddies, river, palm trees and the majestic volcano. But you have to be an arty person to really appreciate this place as it is not commercial.

As a part of your Ubud journey go to the Lake View Restaurant near the volcano which has SPECTACULAR views of Mt Batur.

On the way back to Ubud you can check out the amazing views of the rice terraces.

Go for a tour amongst the rice paddies and jungle by the river.

Go shopping along monkey Forest Rd and check out the Ubud market.

In the afternoon go to the monkey forest when the monkeys are full and watch their quirky antics.

In the evening go and watch a traditional dance and have dinner at Cafe Wayan or Dirty Duck.

I agree Bali Zoo is great!! They have close encounter shows:D

Last time we also fed the lions :D

A stay in Ubud will always be a must on our plans. When people refer to Ubud fondly they are often talking about the general area.

Ubud, Indonesia
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9. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

Ubud is a collection of traditional Balinese villages - Peliatan, Ubud (these two have royal families) Pengosekan, Penestanan, Taman, Padang Tegal, NyuKhuning, Kedewatan etc etc etc- that have melded together into a reasonable size town with distinct 'districts'.

This means there are a ton of temples, ceremonies, street parades, constantly people going about their ceremonial business- as well as serving tourists and running businesses, schools etc. This used to be the reason people came here- cultural tourism- wanting to see/immerse in the culture of creativity, ritual and spirituality that is still very alive here. Though people won't notice that if they're just popping into a new Paul Smith shop or checking off the 'must dos' of 'recommended' restaurants etc. And the markets IMHO is a small dose of hell! I don't even go past them if I can avoid it!

There are only a few entry and exit roads into the smallish 'centre' (Monkey Forest Rd, the Markets etc) whose streets would have been a fine size in the original villages.. but now struggle to cope.

Though that development is quite a thin skin. Those ricefields people get off on at Greenfields are right in the middle of town. (though personally I wouldn't stay that end of town.. that's where the traffic from the south comes in!) Go up to Black Beach rooftop cafe and you can see that 'real' Bali life is going on just behind the row of shops. Just up Jalan Bisma or anywhere to the north of town, it's green, watery, constantly changing vistas, fireflies and ducks, as Tannalee says.

There is also a significant number of expats who live in the wider area, many who are involved in more Western style 'spirituality/creativity' things like writing groups, yoga, dance, film-making as well as social/charity activities like permaculture, community projects, etc. This means there are bookshops, film nights, a lending library, health food shops and other amenities that also serve tourists. The 'me' style holiday of massages, spas, clothes, shopping etc is also more than adequately catered for.

People watching is wonderful. Galleries are wonderful. Danceshows are wonderful. Lots of daytrips possible. If he doesn't like cars, stay on the north side of town where it's easier to get in and out.


Totally agree with Linda 52 and others who've pointed out that utterly the worst way to experience Ubud is as a day trip. It's not only missing the best of it, it's actually adding to what people don't like: the day trip traffic- recently much worsened by the epidemic of Big Buses of Chinese tourists which cannot negotiate the corners/tree branches/ anything and cause horrendous jams. (People being ferried around in shuttle cars instead of just going to a spa/restaurant close by don't help either!)

Night time in town is a different story.. lots of great and child friendly restaurants, the candles and pretty lights come out, it's cool in both senses.

Also, what time of year you come in important. Never come here in late July/ August! The main tourists who stay in Ubud are European and Japanese. Which adds to the style of the place (discerning shoppers) but means they come in their main holidays, en masse! It gets harder to get around.

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10. Re: So what's Ubud really like? Should we go?

Tannalee, what a beautiful post!!!