Ubud is a yogi’s dream come true. It has beautiful yoga studios and countless healthy (and inexpensive) restaurants. A more moderate climate due to the slight elevation. Home of the arts and culture on Bali. Don’t expect a nightlife, most of Ubud is sleeping by 10PM. You can drive an hour to the beach if that suits you.
Although central Ubud is VERY touristy, you’ll quickly find that most of the tourist sticks to the main sights (Temple road near the market and Monkey forest). As soon as you start exploring you’ll find tons of Ubud to call your own. I think it’s fair to say Ubud is the =best place to do your yoga teacher training.
Ubud is one of my top 5 destinations in Asia. We spent a month there and were devastated to leave. Both Anne and I agreed we WILL be back to Ubud!
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Without further ado, here is our Yogi’s guide to yoga in Ubud, Bali!
How much does Ubud cost? ($25/day or $750/month)
If you’re just visiting, you’ll notice Ubud is a little more expensive than the rest of Indonesia – expect to pay around $25/day. If you plan to stay a month or more, expect to pay around $600-$900 per month. This depends greatly on a few things… How frequent you eat at the AMAZING restaurants, if you need fast WIFI for a business, and how much you spend on accommodation.
We spent around $750/person during the month we were there. Our accommodation cost $9/person per night, and we ate at “expensive” healthy restaurants for 2 meals per day, bought tons of fruit, got a few massages, and tons of smoothies!
Things to do
Monkey Forest – probably the #1 tourist attraction in Ubud but it’s really not that great. However, if you’ve never seen or interacted with monkeys before, here’s your chance. If you’re “monkey’d out” I probably wouldn’t go. It is in a beautiful area with old ruins and temples but the monkeys are not nice, often stealing things and biting tourists for no reason.
Take a walk on Campuhan Ridge – Perfect way to get a little exercise and see a different side of Ubud. You walk along a ridge surrounded by rice terraces and river valleys. Eventually you reach a little area with lots of local art galleries and a café with a great view for sunset. Popular place to live among expats.
Hubud Events / Entrepreneurship events – Hubud is a coworking space and the digital nomad / lifestyle entrepreneur nucleus of Ubud. They have events every day, many of which are free. We attended a full day free workshop on entrepreneurship, learned a lot, and met some other great lifestyle entrepreneurs. Also has the best WIFI in Ubud so if you need to get some work done, Hubud has you covered.
Yoga – of course! (See below for details)
Check out some live music – Every night in Ubud has live music. From jazz, to rock, downtempo electronica, acoustic singer songwriters, to trashy bar cover bands… Ubud has you covered.
Learn a new skill – silver working, batik painting, raw food cooking, acupuncture, yoga teacher training, massage therapy, etc – there are endless opportunities!
Get a massage / visit a healer – there are spas and healers on every corner of Ubud. You can’t walk down the street without getting solicited for a massage. De-stress for as little as $5 for an hour long massage.
Dragonfly Village – Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday they host a gathering where you can swim in their saltwater pool, relax in an herbal sauna, and drink tea around a bonfire. Very cool place to hang out and unwind. We met some great people here. Located in the rice terraces on the way to Sari Organik. Herbal sauna is open every Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday from 6-9PM. Come hungry as they have a delicious cafe with healthy food and yummy smoothies! Dragonfly Village is also a retreat center with their own organic garden and antique wooden bungalows. If you’re on foot, it makes sense to call a motorbike taxi to/from as cars cannot go through the rice terraces.
Climb Mount Batur – Although not technically in Ubud, it’s worth the 2 hour cab ride. Starting at 3AM, it takes 2-3 hours to reach the summit. Great sunrise overlooking the lake. You can even see Mt Rinjani, Agung, and Gili islands in the distance. Cost around $20-30 per person. Make sure you do the “mid tier” tour so you can walk around the crater rim, it’s a much more interesting tour and it’s not as crowded as the sunrise point.
Visit an Art Gallery
Ubud is FULL of artists. The Blanco Renaissance Museum is the most well known museum in the area. However, you can wander the streets and find amazing art all over the city. It would take you weeks to see everything.
Although we didn’t get the chance to do this, it gets rave reviews and I’m sure it’s a blast. You get driven up North in Bali and ride a bike all the way back. It’s downhill the whole time and you stop along the way at various sites.
Where to stay in Ubud:
There are tons of options for short term and long term stays in any budget range. We’ve been to Ubud twice, one time for 3 days and the other for a month.
If you’re staying a month or less I would recommend staying in the main area of the city. You can walk everywhere, and you’ll be closer to the restaurants and yoga studios. If you’re staying longer than a month, I suggest finding a place outside of the town center. You get much more house for the money and it’s more relaxing. Definitely would need a motorbike though. Be careful – the streets in Ubud are insane!
Budget Accommodation in Ubud ($10-15/night)
Perfect for long term shoestring travelers planning to explore Ubud for less than a week. Most places have WIFI and breakfast included, although neither are usually that great. For better value, check out places a couple blocks away from the main roads (ex: Amel’s or Tude’s Homestay)
- Amel’s Homestay [$200k IDR/night] – Our go to place for short term stays. Basic rooms, WIFI, western bathroom, excellent location, breakfast included, super friendly owners!
- Tude’s Homestay [$200k IDR/night] – Right next to Amel’s, also a nice place to stay, nearly identical to Amel’s. Ask for the upstairs rooms if you can as they are brand new and have a nice view!
Mid Range Accommodations in Ubud
Ubud has quite a few mid range spots that offer a much more comfortable stay while still not breaking the bank. They come with free breakfast, free WIFI, and Air Conditioning which is really nice during hot season. If you’re on a 2-3 week trip and would rather pay a little extra for comfort and convenience – these midrange spots are ideal.
- Sahadewa Resort & Spa [$60 USD/night] – Located in the center of town, walking distance to Monkey Forest. Restaurant onsite. Very “typical Ubud” meaning a beautiful garden, outdoor pool, and Balinese architecture.
- Ubud Wana Resort [$80 USD/night] – 3 pools onsite, very nice rooms, restaurant onsite serving both Western and Indonesian food. Only a 15 minute walk to central Ubud.
- Cocoa Ubud Private Villa [$90 USD/night] – Can rent a 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villa. Perfect place to relax as the villas are very secluded. 10 minute drive from Central Ubud.
Luxury Accommodations in Ubud
If you wanna ball out in Bali, here are some top choices! You can get your own villa starting around $300 USD per night. Private villas often have their own pool and offer use of a luxury spa nearby.
- Alaya Resort Ubud [$130 USD/night] Insanely good price for what you’re getting. Onsite spa, bar, and restaurant. Free afternoon tea and local tropical fruit. Located in Central Ubud.
- Kayumanis Ubud Private Villas & Spa [$320 USD / night] Located on the edge of the river valley, this exclusive resort offers Private villas with private swimming pools and 24 hour butler service.
- Puri Wulandari – A Boutique Resort & Spa [$500 USD / night] Rent your own villa with traditional open air Balinese design. Surrounded by tropical jungle. Specializes in Italian food.
- Four Seasons Resort Bali at Sayan [$600 USD/night] Absolutely stunning property. Surrounded by the lush jungles of Ubud. Onsite yoga classes, full service business center, restaurant, bar, etc.
Longer Term Apartments/Condos/Cottages
If you’re planning to stay longer term you can find a really awesome place for a good deal. Some people want to splurge on their own massive villa with a pool, we opted for a nice modern apartment with a kitchen in a good location. Generally speaking, the best value cottages are outside of town a bit which is OK as most people hire scooters in Ubud.
Adi Jaya Cottages [$250k IDR/night] – Amazing new property, your backyard is the jungle, very quiet (except for the birds). Set off the main road (5 minute walk). Near Warung Sopa, 7min walk to Yoga Barn, 5min walk to Coco grocery store. If you only planned to stay a couple nights it would be more like 300k IDR / night. Price includes free wifi, kitchen, large patio, huge bedroom with high ceilings, free toiletries/towels, and free cleanings whenever you want. Note: this is the price for long-term stays in high season (July, August).
Yoga Studios in Ubud
There are several yoga studios in Ubud. We spent our time at the two biggest and most popular studios, Yoga Barn and Radiantly Alive. We heard good things and planned on visiting Intuitive Flow, Taksu, and Ubud Yoga House but didn’t get the chance to experience it for ourselves.
The biggest and most picture perfect studio in Ubud. Offers tons of different classes at various times. Not only yoga asana, but also pranayama, meditation, sound therapy, movie night, etc. Located near Coco super market on the south side of Central Ubud. They offer retreats, workshops, and have accommodation onsite. The also have a café onsite which makes for a convenient stop before/after class. Drop in classes cost $9 USD and they offer great deals on packages (which can be shared with friends). 20 class pack drops it down to a little over $5 USD/class.
Favorite instructors: Les, Bex, and Emily
The second biggest studio in Ubud. Also has many class types and a convenient schedule. Located across the street from Bali Buddha towards the North end of Central Ubud. Also have salsa dancing classes.
Other yoga studios:
- Taksu – 110k IDR drop ins, 3, 5, 10, 20 class passes. We loved the free health talks onsite, check their schedule online.
- Intuitive Flow – 5 classes per day starting Dec 1st (hatha, power, gentile). Located in Penestanan Hills area.
- Ubud Yoga House – 100k IDR for drop in classes. New as of April 2014.
- Seeds of Life – serving up daily Mysore style Ashtanga classes above their popular raw food cafe and tonic bar.
Fitness Centers / Gyms
There are 3 fitness centers I found in Ubud. I lifted weights at Ubud Fitness Center 2-3 times per week and recommend it.
Ubud fitness center – Fitness center with the free weights, weight training machines, cardio machines, and fitness classes. Café with great wifi onsite to grab your protein shake. Decent locker room and showers. No pool or sauna. 70k for a drop in which includes a towel/locker and access to the fitness classes. 2-week, 4-week membership also available. Located just North of Central Ubud.
Restaurants and Vegetarian food
Alright it’s no secret we LOVE to eat and Ubud is the best place in the world for healthy eating. I don’t know of anywhere else with as many healthy restaurants packed into a 2 mile radius. We ate out twice per day for 30 days. Here are our favorites!
Popular Healthy Restaurants (Vegetarian/Vegan/GF/Paleo/Raw friendly)
Clear Cafe– Super cool restaurant and hangout spot. Awesome vibe and always packed for meal times. Michael Franti (musician) loves Clear and always hangs out there when he’s in town. Smoothies are amazing. Try the dragon bowl with fish. Mint water is super tasty. Nice place to hangout and work (in-between meal times). Free Wifi.
*2015 update: Clear Cafe had a kitchen fire and is no longer open. Hopefully they can rebuild and rehire their staff again soon
Kafe/Garden Kafe – Yoga Barn owns both Garden Kafe (onsite at Yoga Barn) and Kafe (on Hanuman). Typical hangout for the yogi community in Ubud. Free Wifi.
Soma – Higher end restaurant, little more expensive compared to the others in Ubud. Great place to hang out, often people playing music. Funky shop upstairs. I recommend Ojas Builder – it’s an amazing drink!
Bali Buddha Café – right across the street from Radiantly Alive yoga studio which makes for a convenient combo. Homemade kombucha for less than $1USD per glass. Just around the corner they have a health foods store so you can stock up on your chia seeds, spirulina, and maca powder. No WIFI.
Seeds of Life – Raw Vegan/Vegetarian place, offers yoga, raw chef classes, and sells some awesome health foods (yogurt, probiotic, puer tea, etc). You cannot leave Ubud without eating both the Italian or Mexican raw lasagna. Also have excellent smoothies and desserts. Free Wifi. Also has daily Mysore style Ashtanga classes above the restaurant.
Atman Kafe – Wide variety of healthy food on the menu, great breakfast, tasty kombucha, and excellent WIFI.
Down to Earth – Yet another healthy food option. A great health foods store is located just below the restaurant. Anne loved this spot for the soup, salads, and dessert.
Alchemy – Although we never made it , everyone always talks about the breakfast buffet. Raw food is their specialty.
Lesser known, but really awesome healthy restaurants:
Dayu’s Warung – turned into our go-to restaurant during our month in Ubud. Laid back vibe, tasty healthy food, reasonable prices, huge portions, and near Adi Jaya Cottages. Great vegetarian menu. We loved the fish Lasana and quinoa/fish tacos. For dessert get the carrot cake – out of this world! Free WIFI.
Warung Sopa – another excellent vegetarian restaurant! Their main appeal is the vegetarian Nasi Campur, a delicious take on Indonesia’s national dish. You get organic red rice with your choice of various gourmet Indonesian sides. We loved the Lentil curry, Tofu-lafel, eggplant curry, Sayur Jepang in coconut sauce. Free WIFI. It’s a really relaxed place to hang out and get some work done, and where I wrote the majority of this guide J
Not healthy (but still delicious)
Warung Gitari BBQ – I stopped here one random day because I smelled real BBQ sauce for the first time in 7 months. A carnivores dream come true, they specialize in BBQ chicken ($1.5 USD), pork ribs ($2 USD), and fried chicken wings. The BBQ sauce is amazing, even by US standards. Since I was lifting weights and trying to gain muscle mass, I ate here frequently for some extra protein. And the owners/staff are amazing, if you go here please tell them HI for me!
Taco Casa – Not authentic by any means but worth your time if you’re craving Mexican food. Burrito and Tacos were solid.
Mama Mia Pizza – multiple locations, nice thin crust pizza. I would have preferred more sauce, but I’m an extra-sauce kinda guy.
Café Havana – Fun place to for dinner and live salsa music. Serve Cuban fusion food; do not miss the vegetarian taco! If you like salsa dancing or want to learn, this is your place.
Other Travelers in Ubud:
Start with this video… OK…. Now you’re ready for Ubud 😉
Short Answer: Ubud draws several different types of people. You got short-term holiday folks, guided tours, crazy spiritual seekers, lifestyle entrepreneurs/digital nomads, and retired old hippies.
Long Answer: Although there is a fair share of tour groups and people spending 2-3 days during a quick holiday, Ubud is much more than that. There are tons of spiritual seekers which range from the average yogi to the super far out there sun eaters. It’s not uncommon in Ubud to see a Vegan, Vegetarian, Raw foodie, and a person who eats Paleo sitting at the same table for dinner. Luckily the restaurants are prepared. There is a great lifestyle entrepreneurship/digital nomad community in Ubud. Lastly there is a group of retired old hippies who bought property in Ubud “when it used to be cool” who complain (rightfully so) about the massive development and noise pollution. Good thing Mitch from OneTwoStudios is there working his sonic soundscape magic.
Coco – typical super market, has all the essentials, plenty of produce, good beer/wine selection. South Central Ubud at the junction of Hanuman and Monkey Forest rd. 2 minute walk from Yoga Barn.
Delta Dewata Ubud– My favorite super market in Ubud, incredible selection in all categories. Not as convenient as Coco for most people, located NE of central Ubud on JL Gunung Sari street. Near the Ubud Fitness Center, so I would stop here after lifting for certain things that Coco didn’t have (like Durian and popcorn kernels)
Bali Buddha Market – health foods store and bakery. Small and overpriced but super cool, wildly popular, and has hard to find items such as raw cacao, macca, bee pollen, etc.
Local shops – All over Ubud you will find tiny little local shops. We frequently shopped at these for local vegetables, water, and any last minute items.
Don’t forget your travel insurance!
This may be a no brainer for most people, but if not here is your warning…
While traveling is generally quite safe, accidents do happen. Wouldn’t you rather be covered in case something happens?
I didn’t think I would ever need travel insurance and even though it’s not very expensive I still didn’t want to buy it. I decided to get travel insurance to please my mom and to have a little extra peace of mind. Fast forward a few months and in surgery at a hospital in Vietnam after tearing a tendon in my hand! Thank god I had travel insurance – they covered all my hospital bills (totaling over $2,500 USD). We use and recommend World Nomads – they are the most popular, have the best coverage, and reimburse you in a timely manor. No brainer!
We have used World Nomads travel insurance for almost 2 straight years and recommend them to any traveler. We’ve had to file two claims and were fully reimbursed for both totaling over $3,800 USD.
Looking to learn if Travel Insurance is right for you? Click here for our travel insurance guide.
Indonesia Visa Requirements
Most countries are required to purchase a Visa to enter Indonesia. Luckily you can buy a 30-day visa on arrival for $35 USD. If you want a 60-day visa (recommended), you need to book online. We recommend Visa HQ for your Indonesian Visa.
While you can do this on your own at the immigration office (found on most islands), it’s not a fun process and can require you to visit the office 3 days consecutively. I’d recommend paying a tiny bit extra and have a tourist agency or your guesthouse do it for you while you’re out surfing.
The 30-day visa is only extendable for an additional 30 days while in Indonesia, although I’ve heard of people getting more than 1 extension.
If you get the 60-day visa in advance you can extend up to an additional 120 days in 30 day increments.
Hospitals and Clinics in Ubud
Ubud Clinic – North side of Central Ubud, near the Ubud Palace. Small general doctor practice, spoke decent English, seemed like mostly tourists went for treatment. Pharamacy onsite. Can refer you to a specialist or xray but cannot do those things onsite.
RSU Famili Husada – If you need something more serious like an x-ray or a specialist this is a good bet. Anne got an Xray here after she was hit by a motorbike. Located on Jalan Astina Timur in Gianyar. About 5km outside Ubud.
Festivals in Ubud:
Ubud Readers and Writers Festival (Oct) – “The mission of Ubud Writers & Readers Festival is to create a world class festival that celebrates extraordinary stories and amplifies brave voices; tackles global issues and big ideas.” I would LOVE to be in Ubud for this one as well! The artsy vibe is there normally, I cannot image how much fun it is during these event!
Bali Spirit Fest (March/April) – Annual Celebration of Yoga, Dance, and Music. Heard nothing but good things about this crazy festival. We hope to make it here in 2016!
Need a personal driver for Bali?
We highly recommend our guy Gusti, a local guy who will treat you right, has great English, and always gives a fair price. He is based in Ubud but can cover all of Bali. If you call Gusti, please say HI to him from Brandon and Anne! Phone number: 081558528376
Getting to Ubud:
Nearest Airport is Denpasar (DPS) on Bali. About 1.5 hours away from Ubud by Taxi. You can also fly into Jakarta or any other airport in Indonesia and book a quick flight over to Denpasar. Taxi from Denpasar/Kuta area to Ubud should cost around 200k-250k IDR.
For a reliable taxi/private driver, our friend Gusti will treat you right and give you a great deal. His number is 081558528376
Getting out of Ubud:
If you’re looking for beach time – Take a shuttle or taxi to one of the port cities and then take a boat to the GIli Islands. We preferred the more chilled out GIli Air instead of the packed party centric Gili T.
If you’re looking to be active – Go climb Mt. Batur or Mt. Agung in Northern Bali. We recommend the relatively easy 3 hour trek to the summit of Batur. Beautiful views of Lake Batur, Mt. Agung, and Lombok’s Mt. Rinjani.
WIFI in Bali is not the greatest, here are the best spots in town!
Hubud – The central hub for entrepreneurs, creatives, and dreamers in the Ubud Area. They throw free events all the time, check their website for the schedule. You can purchase various packages starting from a 25 working hours membership ($55/month) up to unlimited ($250/month). Otherwise, they offer a single drop-in rate of $25/day. Also has organic café connected which you can work at even if you’re not a Hubud Member. Located near Monkey Forest.
Warung Sopa – chilled out little café with great vegetarian food, solid wifi and friendly staff. I spent many days here. Super close to our place, Adi Jaya Cottages.
Atman Kafe – Another healthy foods hangout. Excellent breakfast and WIFI was good enough for my Fantasy Football draft!
Clear Café – amazing restaurant and usually busy. If you show up in-between meals, the WIFI is pretty good and you can’t beat their vegan chocolate shake! Located in the Northern part of Ubud center.
Money and ATMs
Indonesia used the Indonesian Rupiah, roughly 11,500 IDR per $1 USD. There are tons of ATMS in Ubud and in most areas in Bali.
Additional Ubud Resources:
- Travel Guide by Bridges and Balloons
- Things to do and eat by GRRRL Traveler
- 10 Healers and Yoga Teachers to Meet by Love, Laugh, & Let Go
- Best list of healthy restaurants in Ubud on the internet by Nomad is Beautiful
Are you a yoga teacher?
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Until next time,