Ubud is a must if you’re visiting Bali. Just an hour from the airport, this bustling town is surrounded by lush green jungle and makes a fantastic base for exploring Bali. Here are our top five things to do in and from Ubud…
1. Explore ancient temples
There are countless temples scattered across Bali, with many of the larger ones easily accessible from Ubud. As soon as you step outside your hotel in Ubud you will likely see countless ornately decorated temple. For us, Ulun Danu was one of the best, situated on Lake Bratan in Bedugul surrounded by misty mountains. There’s plenty of room here for little ones to run around and explore Bali’s history in the beautifully manicured gardens. Entrance fee costs 50,000IDR. There’s also a few friendly restaurants, a small (slightly rusty) playground and some pedalos too.
2. Brave the Monkey Forest
Whilst slightly stressful, the monkey forest was a few hours well spent. It’s walkable from central Ubud in around 15 mins and costs 50,000 IDR to enter. The ancient forest is thick with lush vegetation, has a small river and is dotted with a few temples. We avoided feeding the monkeys (as advised), however I still ended up with three of them swinging off my dress at one point! Be careful not to have loose items visible such as sunglasses, water bottles or toys as the monkeys will help themselves.
3. Visit the Bali Bird ParkTake a short taxi ride from Ubud to the Bali Bird Park which was a clean and well kept wildlife centre. Non-flying birds such as Guinea Fowl were wandering freely around the grounds and it was possible to handle Macaws and Hornbills. There’s a fantastic cafe with a play area and clean toilets. Entrance costs 350,000 IDR per adult.
4. Jungle Trekking and Waterfalls An abundance of wildlife, precarious bridges and swimmable pools makes jungle trekking a great fun for the kids. We embarked on a few small treks straight from our hotel with a guide, and other longer treks to waterfalls such as Gitgit. Entrance to Gitgit was 20,000 IDR per person with a relatively well-surfaced path leading down to the waterfall which makes it easier for little legs (or when you end up carrying them…). There are swimmable pools so take a towel and rubber flip flops as the stones underfoot were surprisingly sharp!
5. Lovina dolphin watchingFrom Ubud this requires an early start (around 3am) but if like us you’re suffering jet lag, that’s not a problem! The drive to Lovina is around 1hr 40mins in the dark through twisting mountain roads so best to book a driver for this one. The sun is just rising when you board the motorised narrow boats at 6am to see the dolphins (300,000 IDR for two hours on a private boat). There were quite a few boats out on the water, and this was in low season, but there were a lot of dolphins around too. We took a life jacket for our little one just in case but ear defenders might be a good idea for your littler ones… if they will keep them on!
Bonus one for the adults…If you are heading off north of Ubud, stop by the Hidden Garden coffee plantation where you see how Luwak (Civet) coffee is made and have a taste of 12 different coffees in a beautiful garden.